December 2019 CLARB Board Meeting
Mr. Gunderson is currently a Director-at-Large on the board of the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB), through 2020. He recently attended the quarterly CLARB Board of Directors (BOD) meeting in Reston, VA, on December 13-14, 2019. The board meeting combined both the CLARB BOD and the CLARB Leadership Advisory Council (ALC) – a standing committee which is charged with finding and vetting future leadership candidates for the organization, amongst other tasks.
The December meeting was the annual CLARB strategy review for year 2020, with updates on CLARB’s strategic initiatives. At the large-scale level, CLARB is learning about and working on 1.) what a future landscape architecture regulatory system could look like; 2.) who CLARB will work with in its regulatory ‘ecosystem,’ and 3.) how to produce a richer understanding, by the public, of the important contributions by the field of landscape architecture.
Of particular interest this year, is the “Reframing the landscape architecture profession” project. This is a partially CLARB-sponsored multi-year (2018-2021) project identifying gaps between how landscape architects think about their work and the public’s perception. The finished report, expected out in January 2021, will be a multi-media messaging presentation, illustrating effective recommendations and strategies to reframe the profession.
History of Reston
Reston, VA was founded on April 10, 1964, by Robert E. Simon. He lent his name to the town, by using his initials (RES), and adding the “ton” to the end (“ton” is an Old English word meaning town.) It is a mid-century modern planned community, laid out in a clustered residential pattern, which conserved the rapidly declining landscape, wildlife habitat, and other “fragmented” spaces around it. Also, it was the first privately-planned community in the United States to use the nascent conservation development technique.
The Early Years 1964 – 1967
Mr. Simon hired the architect James Rossant (who studied under Walter Gropius, at Harvard) and William Conklin to plan this new community. The town was initially planned for 75,000 inhabitants (current population, slightly over 60,000). Their first design was Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza village center (shown above), which featured a manmade lake with a large jet fountain—an aeration system―that also acted as a visual focal element for the clustered single-family homes, townhouses and apartments surrounding Lake Anne. Above Lake Anne, at a development known as ‘Hickory Cluster,’ noted local modernist architect Charles M. Goodman designed the very distinctive cubist townhouses.
Mr. Gunderson (myself) toured Lake Anne Plaza in 1979, while on a graduate student field trip with his class, from the University of Pennsylvania Department of Landscape Architecture. I have been back to Lake Anne several times (the latest being December 15th, 2019) over the years to gauge the success of the surrounding development. I have sat in, and walked the area, at different times of the day to measure the durability of the plaza hardscape elements, evaluate the space as a social gathering area, and to―anecdotally―note how this mid-century design has withstood the rigors of a half-century of use & abuse, from the current sustainability and resiliency perspective.
About CLARB: Founded in 1970, CLARB is an international organization that promotes professional licensure standards for education, experience and examination for the profession of Landscape Architecture.