Landscape Architecture

Posted December 4, 2019

Weitzman Landscape Architecture Students Dominate at ASLA Design Competition

Weitzman students Katie Pitstick and Rosa Zedek won the Extreme Design Challenge at the annual conference of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), held from November 15 – 18 in in San Diego. Both are candidates for the Master of Landscape Architecture.

Pitstick and Zedek’s winning proposal was for a circular burial system in which the deceased are composted to enrich the soil for the planting of a tree of their choice. Pitstick explains:

If they desire, they could be a fruit tree which could be harvested for the production of hard cider and sent to their loved ones yearly on the day of their death. We also have a tech component to the idea. Geolocational devices allow people to be marked as a coordinate point which takes up less space than a typical casket, it also allows people to visit them virtually and learn more about them online.

Pitstick has also blogged about the project on her Instagram.

The proposal grew out of work done in collaboration with Sara Harmon for a second-year studio at the Weitzman School taught by Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Christopher Marcinkoski.

The competition consisted of a “Shark Tank” style review where students presented proposals for a jury of leading professionals. The brief, which was announced in May, was open-ended. According to the organizers, “Ideas can be as small as a bench or as big as an urban resiliency plan: it’s all about the idea!”

The jury consisted of Walter Hood, founding principal, Hood Design Studio); Mikyoung Kim, founding principal, Miyoung Kim Design; and Michelle Delk, partner, Snohetta. Thaisa Way, professor at the University of Washington and program director at Dumbarton Oaks, and Bryan Chou, Design Leader of MYKD, moderated the discussion.

Landscape architecture students Tone Chu and James Billingsley were also finalists in the competition. Penn was the only School represented by two teams among the finalists.

The other finalists included: Alex Balog and Julia May, University of Oregon; Brianne Fast, University of Minnesota; Jingyi Li, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Leah Bryant and James Oberhansley, University of Colorado – Denver; and Charity Cheung, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The winning students have been invited to participate in a seminar with members of the jury focused on the creative process and innovation at Dumbarton Oaks, the Harvard University research institute, library, museum, and garden located in Washington, DC.