ASLA Iowa Chapter Recognizes Excellence in Design

October 18, 2023
Civil Engineering & Water Resources Landscape Architecture Public Art Parks & Open Space

RDG Planning & Design honored for outstanding contributions to landscape architecture with designs that positively impact communities and improve quality of life.

The Iowa Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA Iowa) has recognized RDG Planning & Design with multiple 2023 ASLA Iowa Awards. These awards bring recognition to organizations and individuals who demonstrate superior skills in the practice of landscape architecture. The 2023 awards ceremony took place on Thursday, October 5, 2023, at the Bright Grandview Golf Course.

The three projects recognized include the Iowa Confluence Water Trails (ICON Water Trails) in Des Moines, Iowa (Merit – Design Unbuilt); the Springfield Third Street Greenway in Springfield, Illinois (Honor – Planning & Analysis); and Chaplain Schmitt Island Veterans Memorial Plaza in Dubuque, Iowa (Honor – Design Built).

“This recognition reflects the unyielding dedication, remarkable creativity and collaborative spirit of the people who contributed to these projects," said RDG Landscape Architect and Managing Principal, Justin Platts, ASLA. "We share this award with our clients and hope these projects serve as catalysts for community connection, growth and transformation."

The ICON Water Trails is part of the regional Central Iowa Water Trails initiative, a large-scale effort to reconnect Iowans and visitors with the state’s rivers and waterways. The initiative, which spans more than 150 miles of Central Iowa Waterways and includes up to 86 different points of access, is designed to enhance the local quality of life, provide a new recreational amenity, attract new talent to the state and spur tourism and economic development across the region.

Supported by a community-driven concept, the Third Street Greenway connects historically divided and disrupted areas within the City of Springfield, Illinois. The project creates a linear park corridor with multi-use trails to bring a level of community connectivity not seen in Springfield in the past. While this greenway will become a backbone for Springfield, the auxiliary uses in and adjacent to the corridor elevate the potential success of redevelopment opportunities.

The Veterans Memorial Plaza located on Chaplain Schmitt Island in Dubuque, Iowa seeks to honor veterans by unifying and enhancing existing memorials. The memorial enhances the overall riverfront, creating a direct connection for users to the Mississippi River and establishing a sense of place for the community. An integrated artistry piece, Skyward, serves as a solemn tribute to veterans and is designed as a contemplative fold to offer visitors respite for reflection. Placed over water, the installation suggests suspension between earth and sky, and ultimately, the moment between life and death.

Participation in the ASLA Iowa awards program broadens professional boundaries, increases public awareness of the role of landscape architects, raises the standards of the discipline and brings recognition to organizations and individuals who demonstrate superior skill in the practice and study of landscape architecture. In 2023, a jury of qualified professionals from the Prairie Gateway Chapter voted on winners in each award category.

Written by Erin Van Zee, Communications Director