Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- October 16, 2002

Cal Poly Landscape Architecture Students Take Top Honors in National Design Competition

Cal Poly landscape architecture students Arienne Smith and Micheal Brennan won two of four first-place prizes in a recent individual undergraduate design competition sponsored by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Three other Cal Poly students were awarded commendations at the competition, and two, including Smith, won scholarships for their work.

Smith, a senior from Garden Grove, and Alex McDonald, a senior from Morro Bay, each won a $1,000 Wayne Grace Memorial Student Design Scholarship, sponsored by the Landscape Architecture Registration Boards Foundation.

Smith’s awards were given for her project “A Healing Garden in Walker’s Field.” The project, located at the San Francisco Presidio, uses outdoor green space to promote healing for emotionally disturbed adolescents living in a rehabilitation center.

McDonald was recognized for his project titled “San Luis Obispo Recreational Trails.” The project uses San Luis Obispo as a model city for the development of guidelines and design recommendations for the integration of bicycles and recreational trails into the transportation and recreational system.

Brennan’s first-place award was given for his project “Martin Gang Earth Learning Center.” Brennan is a senior from Valley Center. His project, located on the grounds of the Valley Center Elementary School, provides a master plan for the renovation and construction of new facilities to provide environmental and agricultural education, and principles of ecology.

Smith, Brennan and the three students who won commendation awards were selected from 66 entries in the undergraduate categories that were submitted by students from around the country.

In all, seven students were singled out for commendation awards, including Cal Poly’s Melissa Grubb, a senior from Atwater; Erik Spring, a senior from Calabasas; and Nicole Winn,
a senior from San Luis Obispo.

Jim Verdone, president of the Landscape Architecture Registration Boards Foundation, said that the Cal Poly student projects “clearly demonstrate how the practice of landscape architecture and licensing affects our life. Cal Poly should be proud of the Landscape Architecture Department and its faculty for fostering such a sound understanding of public health, safety and welfare.”

Students in Cal Poly’s Landscape Architecture Department have won eight of these awards in the past two years, more than any other college or university program in the country, according Dale Sutliff, head of the department.

“The faculty and students continue to make great contributions to the community and profession in all of their works,” Sutliff said. “Cal Poly is considered a national leader in undergraduate landscape architectural education.”

The national student award winners will be honored, and their projects exhibited, at the annual American Society of Landscape Architects Meeting and EXPO to be held Oct. 18-22 in San Jose.

Contact: Ray Ladd, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, (805) 756-7432,

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