Heritage

CULTURALLY SIGNIFICANT LANDSCAPE RESOURCES
Places that connect people with the cultural heritage embedded within the place

Historic site developments and archeological resources reveal our cultural heritage in ways that buildings alone cannot. Sites retain evidence of past relationships between the natural and built environments, layered over time and carrying the imprint of the cultural, social, economic, and environmental values of different periods.  Where a culturally significant site has been used and altered over multiple periods, the landscape is often a better medium to convey the changing identity of place than is a specific historic structure.  However, a particular moment in the heritage of a place or a structure is often the driving force behind its preservation, and thus that period of significance will typically guide the approach to the site developments, from restoration through adaptive reuse.

Since landscapes change over time, they cannot be frozen at a single moment like a building.  Cultural resources change through weathering and deterioration, ecological succession, erosion, plant growth, and other natural factors. We work with these processes as well as the cultural context of the period of interest to incorporate features that evoke an authentic sense of place for interpretation of the specific era, not simply re-creating the historic developments.  Often, further cultural enrichment can be achieved by acknowledging historical cues that are subtly imprinted on the site from other eras, like lines from abandoned street cars, to inform a site design without becoming the main focus of the site development.

In our experience, we have discovered that historical and culturally significant landscape resources, particularly those developed without modern technologies, often reflect a relationship between the built and natural environment that can be very instructive to the modern world.  Frequently, historic resources can reveal important ways in which the built and natural environments have co-existed in the past through the relationships with their supporting natural ecological systems.  Such historic precedents can help interpret an important era of human development, and inform the landscape choices we are making today.

Successfully completed projects include the following:

  • archeological sites (American Indian, Spanish/Mexican colonial, early American)
  • culturally significant historic sites
  • historic restorations
  • renovations
  • historically compatible adaptations to new sites and new uses
  • historical ecological restoration
  • integration of green infrastructure with historic restoration