Richard Bergmann Architects, of New Canaan, received a Connecticut Design Award for a project on Hollow Tree Ridge Road in Darien.
The design, which was for the "Bend-in-the-Road Landscape" entry, focused on engaging an historic house with the land and the land with the house, according to Bergmann, whose office is at 63 Park St. The house "had the appearance of being arbitrarily plopped down on the land."
The awards, presented by the American Society of Landscape Architects, Connecticut Chapter, recognize excellence in landscape architecture design. Eligible applicants must be a licensed landscape architect either living in Connecticut or with a project in the state.
A specific challenge was to draw visitors to the front door, instead of entering through the kitchen. The original driveway led straight to a detached barn/garage and guest parking area behind the house, near the kitchen entry. The problem, according to Bergmann, was solved by creating a four-foot-high fieldstone linear wall and planting a row of tall columnar Hornbeam trees, which reinforce the architectural features of the home with its row of pillars framing the front porch. The wall and trees separate public and private spaces, screening the kitchen entry and creating an obvious path to the front door.
"The overall design is an incredible improvement, straightforward and a terrific upgrade," according to the competition's jurors.
"This shows what a creative landscape architect can accomplish."
Bergmann said another major goal was to solve safety issues, entering and departing from a blind driveway on a major bend in the road. This was resolved by relocating the driveway. A new semicircular drive was created, incorporating a large area for guest parking and a turnaround area near the front door. Honoring "green" design guidelines, the pre-existing asphalt was replaced with gravel, allowing storm water to recharge the site. Overhead wires were buried underground. A redesigned swimming pool and terrace completed the landscape project.
"The overall design is an incredible improvement, straightforward and a terrific upgrade," according to the competition's jurors. "This shows what a creative landscape architect can accomplish."