By Steve Johnson, Vice President of Product Development at Vectorworks, Inc.

*Editor’s Note: Some of this content originally appeared in Metal Architecture Magazine’s September 2016 article, “Bringing Buildings to Life.”

With Pokémon Go’s quick rise to fame showcasing the accessibility of augmented reality (AR), it’s clear that immersive technologies such as AR and virtual reality (VR) are here to stay. AR technology superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of reality in real time, while VR technology generates a 3D simulation that allows users to “walk” and “explore” designs. However, these technologies are used for more than just games.

The AEC, landscape, and entertainment industries are using these technologies, especially VR currently, to revolutionize how designs are presented to clients or judges for competitions. The way I see it, there are three huge benefits to adopting VR technology.

  1. Attracting clients: Virtual reality software will give firms a leg up on competitors who don’t have the same technology, as clients will be intrigued and excited at the opportunities the technology presents. Providing an additional immersive experience via virtual reality on top of high-quality renderings is likely to sway clients to choose a firm that showcases their designs this way.
  1. The development of designs: Designers are making use of virtual reality’s immersive capabilities to better experience how all the different facets of a design come together to define that space. As a result, they’ll be able to better evaluate and make updates to perfect their designs prior to the final presentations to clients, which will leave designers confident and positioned for success.
  1. The presentation process: Never before have we been able to actually put our clients right in the middle of a design. They can walk from room to room, even up and down stairs in a completed structure. With this in-depth experience, not only will clients be much more likely to be pleased with the presented designs as-is, but they’ll be able to voice any objections prior to the construction to ensure the final design is exactly what they want. They’ll see how different colors, shapes, textures, etc. work together in context to voice any other concerns earlier on.

So really, no matter what niche market you serve, you can clearly see that there are big benefits to VR. In particular, more complex and bold projects will benefit from virtual reality technology because designers will be able to test that the elements of their design work together prior to presentation, as well as better emulate their desired vision in the final presentation. Additionally, if you’re ever dealing with a tough client, presenting your design to them in virtual reality could tip the scales in your favor — they’ll be able to experience how the presented design works and imagine the elements coming together in real life.

Whether or not you’ve been exposed to virtual reality, I truly believe that one day most designs will be presented to clients and judges of competitions using virtual reality, in addition to the traditional methods of sharing models. Architecture wasn’t meant to be experienced only through a flat computer screen, as it doesn’t always do a design justice.

Currently, designers looking for a better way to pitch their designs might get stumped by the expensive price tag surrounding Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but there are other options out there worth considering. That’s why I’m so excited about our web view and virtual reality features in Vectorworks 2017. All you have to do is use the new Export Web View command to access your 3D information model on any web-based browser and then generate a shareable link to your model. Then, the model can be viewed by anyone on a computer, iPad/tablet, or any mobile device without additional hardware. On these devices, the model can be viewed in normal 3D where the viewer can click or use their finger to orbit around the design. On a mobile device, all one has to do is activate stereoscopic or 360 degree view to enable virtual reality-like functionality where every step you take in the real world is reflected in the model. With a Google Cardboard headset and a mobile device, the viewer is guaranteed the best virtual reality experience with the model. Get a taste for the new feature with this video below.

 

Excited about this new feature yet? We sure are here at Vectorworks. This technology will take the industry to the next level and really lowers the barrier to entry for VR technology. Firms don’t have to spend thousands on headsets and upgrades to their computers, all you need is a pair of Google cardboard goggles, Vectorworks 2017 software, and an Internet connection.

Otherwise, the only other limits to virtual reality with our software is the need for a 3D model, challenging designers who still do not model in 3D to convert to model-based workflows in order to exploit the benefits of virtual reality.

So, now that you know you have access to virtual reality with one simple command in Vectorworks 2017, you might ask: what’s next? I think virtual reality’s capabilities will continue to expand and become much more accessible and common, resulting in experiences no longer tied to a computer mouse. I predict that more senses will be incorporated besides just sight, such as touch, smell, etc., as more content is captured in 3D models to create a more immersive 3D experience that better communicates a design. Being able to feel the difference in texture between a metal, concrete, or wood façade without having to execute the actual construction will change the world of architecture.

And I don’t think Pokémon Go is just a passing phenomenon. I think that augmented and mixed reality is the next frontier for VR technology, as illustrated by Pokémon Go’s functionality where you can see your location-specific information in your current reality. Moving forward, this will translate to the design industry in various ways. One obvious medium is through using a mobile device to experience an exact proposed design while standing in the pre-existing site. And, like Pokémon Go, it will be fun!

You can try out a Vectorworks model in web view and virtual reality here. If you’re on a desktop computer, you can click and drag to move around the model in 360-degree mode. If you’re on a smart device, enable mono mode where the model responds to device movement to orbit the model. Alternatively, you can click first person to use the arrows to move throughout the model. Only use stereo view if you’re viewing the model on a mobile device and have google cardboard goggles.

Creating functional designs that balance the wants, needs, and budgets of clients can be a time-consuming process — one that’s further complicated by the complexity of AV projects. Take the first step toward streamlining your design and budget processes and enhancing your collaboration with the “Streamlining Your Audio-Visual Workflow” webinar hosted by Audio-Visual Design Consultant Chuck Walthall of Walthall and Associates.

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A thirty-year veteran of the AV industry, Walthall explains how 3D renderings help reveal budgetary and logistical difficulties while in the first stages of design, and he uses real world examples to demonstrate how tools like the connectCAD plug-in and Renderworks feature set can increase efficiency and help communicate complex ideas with clients and contractors.

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Find more webinars and learn new, innovative techniques and design trends on our Inspiration page.

 

“I don’t know what it is with me, but I guess I like to improve things,” says Kenn Bates with a chuckle as he reflects on his upcoming elevation to the ASLA Council of Fellows. Bates feels humbled to be recognized on the same level as other fellows who have all exhibited extraordinary work and service because he doesn’t feel that he has done anything other than what is expected of him. “I was raised to give back to the community and do what you can to make it better,” says Bates. “To me, it’s just what I do.”

Bates (left) with Dana Worthington, former FL ASLA trustee (right), advocating for the profession with U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster.

Bates (left) with Dana Worthington, former FL ASLA trustee (right), advocating for the profession with U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster.

Despite his astonishment at his impending fellow status, Bates has demonstrated incredible work as he’s risen through the ranks of the ASLA, constantly exhibiting his commitment to improving everything he touches. In the many roles he’s played, rising from member to committee head and then president of the Florida Chapter of the ASLA, and then becoming chair of the ASLA National Chapter Presidents Council, Bates has brought his showmanship and selflessness to all he’s done.

Starting with the Design Awards Committee for the Florida Chapter of ASLA, Bates strove to make the awards program something more than just, “landscape architects standing in a ballroom, patting each other on the back.” Bates learned how to put on a show from his professional experiences of designing for themed entertainment, and he brought those skills and keen eye for design to the awards ceremonies.

In addition to producing more engaging events, Bates added student awards to the program, as well as the Edward D. Stone, Jr. Landmark Award, which honors Stone, a pioneer in the landscape architecture industry, and his legacy. Bates was also responsible for resurrecting Florida ASLA Landscape Architecture, a design awards publication that issued 30,000 print copies along with digital versions in the time he served on the Florida Chapter.

Presentation of the Edward D. Stone, Jr. Landmark Award at the 2010 FASLA Award Ceremony.

Presentation of the Edward D. Stone, Jr. Landmark Award at the 2010 FLASLA Award Ceremony.

In 2011, while Bates was chapter president, Florida legislature introduced a bill that threatened deregulation of the landscape architecture industry. By quickly galvanizing the 700 members of the chapter to reach out to representatives about the importance of the industry and licensure, Bates was successful in leading the charge that halted deregulation.

“Two days after finding out that we were in this bill, the plan was going full steam,” recalls Bates. “Within the first three days we had made 3,000 contacts to the state House. And within two weeks we were successful in being removed from the deregulation bill. We estimate that we had made 10,000 touches by that time.”

Bates as FASLA Chapter President.

Bates as FLASLA Chapter President.

“For our chapter, or really any chapter in the ASLA, to make that kind of effort in the first few hours is pretty important,” Bates explains. He remembers that people were so engaged in spreading the message that he actually had his own email encouraging people to reach out to their local representative forwarded to him several times. Laughing about it, Bates says, “I took that more as a positive than a negative — that we were able to activate people that quickly.”

Bates took his service to ASLA one step further by serving as chair of the Chapter Presidents Council. One of his focuses as chair was to improve the mid-year and annual meetings that all ASLA chapter presidents attend. “There are a lot of billable hours in that room, and I certainly don’t want to waste anyone’s time,” explains Bates. He encouraged different meeting formats and discussions to make sure everyone in the room felt involved in the conversation.

Bates (second from left) at ASLA Annual Meeting with former and upcoming Chapter Presidents Council Chairs.

Bates (second from left) at ASLA Annual Meeting with former and upcoming Chapter Presidents Council Chairs.

In his professional experience, Bates has worked on many themed entertainment projects, but he highlights one project that has particular sentimental value. When his son was four years old, Bates was working as the senior project manager for landscape and parkscape of the new LEGOLAND® Florida Resort on the site of the former Cypress Gardens, which Bates recalls visiting with his parents when he was four.

“That kind of experiential connection really made me feel like I had a vested interest in this park and getting it right,” reflects Bates. “And then on opening day, walking with my son under the same large trees — trees greater than 50 years old that our team had worked to save — being able to walk under those same trees that I had walked under with my dad, was really, really cool.”

Bates enjoying the park’s success with lead Landscape Architect Todd McCurdy at LEGOLAND® Florida.

Bates enjoying the park’s success with lead Landscape Architect Todd McCurdy, of Morris Architects, at LEGOLAND® Florida.

Over the years, Bates has not only served ASLA tirelessly, but he has also helped improve Vectorworks Landmark software. “What struck me about Vectorworks software was that it made doing what I do even more fun,” explains Bates. Having participated as a beta tester several times, Bates says, “the Vectorworks software programmers really do pay attention to what the beta tester group is telling them and what we’re suggesting, and it’s so rewarding to see your suggestions actually implemented in the software.”

This year’s ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo, taking place in New Orleans on October 21-24, will recognize Bates and the other new Fellows. Read about all of the Fellows being elevated here, and if you’re going to be at the conference, you can sign up to receive a personal demo of the new capabilities of Vectorworks 2017.

Over its 30-year history, the Rock in Rio music festival has entertained thousands by bringing some of the biggest musical acts from across the globe to cities like Rio de Janeiro, Las Vegas, and this year’s location, Lisbon, Portugal. Our latest success story highlights how the event’s lighting designers took advantage of the Vision Studio, a previsualization suite set up by PRG where designers could program their shows before the artists hit the stage, ensuring days of seamless shows for the expectant crowds.

 

Stay inspired and continue exploring lighting design, and more, by heading over to our case studies page.

You asked — we delivered. Vectorworks 2017 software includes more than 100 improvements and new features, over 70 percent of which were driven by designer feedback. From a best-in-industry Resource Manager and innovative irrigation tools to an improved Vectorworks Graphics Module and immersive virtual reality features, our new line of software empowers you to create unmatched experiences like never before.

 

“Vectorworks software is unique compared to other competing products because of our company’s dedication to pushing the programming of the products to maintain flexibility while offering state-of-the art technology,” says Vectorworks CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar. “Our continued commitment to reengineering parts of the code base enables Vectorworks products to constantly evolve with the demands of designers resulting in improved software performance, reliability, and functionality.”

2017-product-boxshotsDon’t just take our word for it. Some of your fellow designers have already tested out the features in Vectorworks 2017 and shared their insights.

“I have to say thank you to everyone at Vectorworks for giving us some great irrigation tools in the 2017 version of Landmark,” says licensed irrigator Kellan Vincent, project lead and vice president at Vincent Landscapes, Inc. “Previously, I was using another AutoCAD-based module that really made for an irritating workflow when going back and forth between the two programs. Now the entire design process can be managed within Landmark, saving me time and creating a better, more complete end product.”

irrigation-designThe updates extend throughout our entire software line, including Spotlight improvements such as the introduction of cable tools, enhanced interoperability with Vision, our previsualization software, and other functionality upgrades.

“3D label legends will be a massive time saver for folks who have to draw a lot of plots with stacked trusses,” says Tyler Littman of entertainment design company Sholight, LLC. “Production electricians can also rejoice since Vectorworks 2017 now offers cable tools.”

3D_LABEL_LEGEND_V2And, of course, there are plenty of architectural advancements and features.

“The Structural Member tool in Vectorworks 2017 makes BIM work better with smaller projects, as well as larger, more complex projects,” says Chad Hamilton, AIA, LEED, AP, principal architect at Hamilton Aitken Architects. “Since it’s easier to draw the actual structure of a complex building, the model is more complete and our coordination of the work is better because it’s easier to make the design look more realistic.”

STRUCTURAL_MEMBERS_bkgdBut the developments aren’t just industry-specific — this release includes updates to the software’s overall usability, streamlining your workflow and enabling you to be more efficient.

“The Graphics Module improvements in Vectorworks 2017 allow me to remain engaged with my design in a much more fluid way than before,” says Neil Barman, intern architect at Barman+Smart Design. “In turn, I have definitely noticed how interacting with my work now feels more seamless and natural.”

VGM_TOP_PLANThe upgrades benefit both designers and their clients, as well.

“I exported my first model to virtual reality, viewed it on my phone, iPad, and desktop browser, and it was fabulous,” says Ion Webster, principal of Pults & Associates, LLP. “I am chomping at the bit to send links like this to clients! I can’t believe how easy the transition has been, and I look forward to delving deeper into some of the other new tools.”

WEBVIEW_VRWe’re sure you’re eager to dive headfirst into Vectorworks 2017 for yourself, but before you do, make sure you check out our 2017 page to learn more about the updates, and sign up for one (or all) of our upcoming webinars covering everything new in Vectorworks Architect, Landmark, and Spotlight. If you can’t make the live airdate, register anyway and we’ll send you a link to the recording once it’s available on demand.

P.S. — Don’t forget to share your excitement on social media using #Vectorworks2017.

Since its inception in 1999, the Vectorworks Community Board has acted as a hub for designers to exchange ideas and advice, engage in industry discussions, and troubleshoot issues with our internal team, all while enabling designers to play a role in our software development by submitting their feedback through our Feature and Content Requests Wishlist forum. Continuing with our dedication to valuing and responding to your feedback, we’ve completely reengineered our Community Board to create a better user experience.

One Community Board superstar is our own User Experience Manager Jim Wilson. Known by many designers on the forum for his expertise and sharp sense of humor, Wilson is always a valuable resource for all things Vectorworks software on both the Community Board and our Tech Support Twitter.

“We hope the new Community Board acts as a fast, powerful, and comprehensive tool to facilitate communication, debate, and discussion between designers and our user success and R&D teams,” said Wilson. “We have renewed focus on communicating with our users both to revamp existing features and to help plan out new ones, both in the software and the other various services we develop.”

Before you start exploring our new Community Board, check out this introductory playlist where Wilson will guide you through the new interface and setting up a signature.

 

This improvement is the first of many steps we’re taking in the coming months to reshape how we communicate with designers, so if you like this upgrade, you’ll love where we go next. In the meantime, head on over to the new Vectorworks Community Board and start exploring now.

While you patiently await the upcoming release of #Vectorworks2017, let’s satisfy your curiosity about the exciting new developments coming in our software with this series of videos exploring some of our biggest advancements.

Preview our new Resource Manager, an interface designed to help you access, edit, and manage all of your resources and libraries with ease.

 

Previously only available to Vectorworks Service Select subscribers, everyone will soon be able to enjoy Vectorworks Cloud Services and the easier communication it enables between clients and collaborators.

 

New structural members will extend your BIM capabilities and help you model complex structures more accurately.

 

Check out our innovative irrigation tools, which allow you to design networks for water-efficient sites.

 

Navigate through even your heaviest drawings more easily with enhanced panning and zooming thanks to the reengineered Vectorworks Graphics Module.

 

Whether it’s on your desktop, tablet or smartphone, soon you and your clients will be able to “get inside” your designs with web view and virtual reality features to experience and share your designs like never before.

 

If you just can’t contain your excitement about our new release, you’re not alone. Join the conversation on social media with #Vectorworks2017.

Lighting and previsualizing an event on the scale of the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival is all about working with tight deadlines and even tighter spaces. Just 24 hours before 40 performers were set to take the stage at Jones Beach Theater on Long Island, New York, entertainment designers were jockeying for space at the front of house to prepare for the coming two days of music, from the festival’s lighting designer Tyler Littman, founder of Philadelphia-based entertainment design company Sholight, LLC, to the audio, video, and laser specialists, as well as artists’ individual designers. Introductions between these varying professionals were brief, as handshakes immediately turned into workflow and logistical discussions about how all the aspects of the show were going to come together.

Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on Long Island, New York, the site of the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival.

The stage comes together at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on Long Island, New York, less than 24 hours before the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival.

Part of this production process took place with the Vision Studio — a previz suite where the festival’s designers transformed their Vectorworks Spotlight lighting models into graphic pre-visualizations of how each performance was meant to look using Vision software. “Meant to” is a relative term, however, as the designs continued to be refined as the local crew and lighting vendor BML-Blackbird worked on final placement of the lights and rigging. For example, as Littman worked on his designs, he could tell that changes needed to be made to his light plot with just a cursory glance toward the busy crowd of technicians setting up the stage.

Using tools in Spotlight, Littman was able to immediately make adjustments to his file, all of which could then be exported to Vision software. Being able to make changes on the fly in real-time is critical with events like this, so the ability to quickly patch and invert parts of a design is a necessity for Littman and other designers.

Littman uses Vision software to previsualize an upcoming performance while crowds cheer on the current artist currently using the stage.

Littman uses Vision software to previsualize an upcoming performance while crowds cheer on the artist currently on stage.

“I’ve used Vectorworks almost every day since 2003, even on the weekends for projects around the house,” says Littman. “I use a library of very detailed, custom symbols that we make in-house to pull information into highly organized worksheets. I also use the software’s architectural tools, like the Wall tool, to turn the 2D DWG files of the venue layout that lighting designers are normally given into comprehensive models that I can use to make more accurate designs.”

As the hours until the performances ticked down, Littman used his expertise, combined with the capabilities of Spotlight and Vision software, to efficiently create and then add, remove, or modify aspects of his designs, making the looming deadline for the performances seem less imminent. His confidence in the communication between the two software programs helped ensure the success of the festival.

“I’ve been using Vision almost since its inception,” explains Littman. “It’s a big part of my workflow for the live music events I design, especially when I have to coordinate with others, like Ariana Grande or Martin Garrix’s designers here at the Billboard Hot 100 Festival.”

A previz model of a performance at the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival.

A previz model of a performance at the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival.

The lighting in action during a performance at the festival.

The lighting in action during a performance at the festival.

Once the Vectorworks model is exported, hard work is poured into the Vision model to prepare for each performance. Patches are entered and fixtures updated as the setup progresses on stage. As the previsualization took shape, the abilities of the software to accurately represent how the lights would look during the shows proved invaluable.

“Vision does a great job of even recognizing split colors,” says Zach Hendrix, who programed the GrandMA2 consoles for the festival’s main stage and supervised the previz for many of its performers. “It’s amazing what it can do.”

Using Vision to program the show, Hendrix was able to test different combinations of light, motion, and color to create a library of incredible moments for the roaring crowds. While he worked, Hendrix made adjustments to the Vision file, like modifying the graphical representations of the auras and queuing certain commands in the grandMA2 board, to make things easier for the programmers that followed, including Fetty Wap’s lighting designer, who had never programmed on a GrandMA2 console before but was still able to previsualize his show in Vision.

Part of lighting this festival also included taking Littman’s creative diagrams and transforming them into lighting cues to apply to the show. Littman’s overall design for the stage made it easy to turn these ideas into reality, as his practiced eye for design made the 84-light rig look larger than life.

Martin Garrix performs during the first night of the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival.

Martin Garrix performs during the first night of the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival.

“Tyler does an incredible job of creating depth with the lights,” says Hendrix. “They aren’t spread so far apart that you can tell that the rig is small, but they aren’t too clustered together that it looks dense. It’s really easy to make this stage look incredible.”

On the day the festival started, the Vision Studio was still working full force toward preparing for the sets to come. As the bands and backup dancers practiced on stage, the lighting designers and programmers communicated by yelling over the pulsing music to discuss the designs and finesse the previsualizations.

Littman, Hendrix, and Vectorworks’ own Spotlight Product Planner Brandon Eckstrom worked together with other lighting designers at the festival to pull off a successful event in spite of minor technical and logistical snags, like DJ Martin Garrix and his crew, including his lighting and video designers, arriving hours late to the festival due to airline issues. They were in such a rush that they had to take a helicopter from the airport to arrive in time for his set. Since the lighting designer arrived only an hour before the crowds expected to see a dazzling show, the Vision Studio was invaluable to the show’s success, as he previsualized Garrix’s performance while the preceding act finished.

Headliner Ariana Grande performs during the opening night of the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival.

Headliner Ariana Grande performs during the opening night of the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival.

Fans don’t see this high-stakes workflow in action, but you can hear their appreciation nonetheless. As thousands gathered and cheered for acts like Grande, Garrix, and Fetty Wap, as well as Calvin Harris, Rachel Platten, Nathan Sykes, and many more, they don’t realize how their two days of fun on Long Island wouldn’t be nearly the same without the tireless efforts of dedicated designers and programmers working to create unmatched experiences.

Learn more about how you can design and previz your own incredible shows, both large and small, by visiting the Vectorworks Spotlight page, and check out where else the Vision Studio has traveled to this year in this article.

When Noah Mishkin, principal of contractor referral company CraftJack, saw the need for a bigger and more playful office environment, he called on Nathan Kipnis, FAIA, LEED BD+C, for the job. Watch our latest success story to find out how Kipnis and his team at Kipnis Architecture + Planning used textures and 3D modeling to express CraftJack’s brand identity through environmentally conscious design.

 

To learn more about how Kipnis combines sustainability with great design, read our in-depth case study about his firm’s work.

For Gregory Duckworth, ASLA, the practice of landscape architecture is synonymous with service. Throughout his professional career, he has demonstrated a zeal for helping both his community and industry in many ways: from involving his firm, Environmental Concepts, LLC, in pro-bono projects, to serving in the Boy Scouts of America as Scoutmaster and providing guidance for Eagle Scout service projects, to working for his neighbors as an elected official at the local and state levels. In recognition of his service in the field of landscape architecture, as well as his public service, Duckworth is being elevated to the ASLA Council of Fellows.

Over a decade and a half ago, community members first took notice of Duckworth’s penchant for helping others and called upon him to represent them in an official capacity. On the way to his studio one morning, Duckworth recalls, neighbors stopped him to ask if he’d consider running for City Council. Although he had previously not given the idea any thought, he decided to campaign after more friends in his community encouraged him to serve.

Duckworth speaking with constituents at a campaign event.

Duckworth and his wife, Crissy (right), speaking with constituents at a campaign picnic.

During his 12 years serving on City Council for the City of North Myrtle Beach, Duckworth drew upon his knowledge and skills as a landscape architect to provide insight for policy decisions on land use planning and best management practices. His professional experience also allowed him to see issues from a unique point of view; Duckworth explains that, “We are stronger when we are diverse, and understanding that we can make diversity work for us is most helpful in developing creative solutions.”

Upon deciding to step down from local politics, Duckworth’s friends and neighbors saw a need for both his experience and drive at the state level, and asked him to represent his community in the South Carolina House of Representatives. During his campaign for the South Carolina House, Duckworth was branded a “consensus builder.”

“It’s about bringing different people and perspectives to the table and being able to work together on developing solutions,” says Rep. Duckworth. “It’s pretty much what I do every day as a design professional, so it’s natural to bring those skills to my work in the South Carolina House.”

Duckworth at the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Duckworth at the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Duckworth’s talent for mediation and his landscape architecture knowledge have served his constituents well during his freshman term in the South Carolinian House, where he was appointed to the prestigious Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee. Since South Carolina’s devastating 1,000-year flood event in 2015, Duckworth has been assigned to the task force reviewing the incident and evaluating dam safety. He recently brought this issue to his colleagues in an informed assessment and dialogue during a roundtable discussion about dam safety and land use management at the 2016 SCASLA Annual Meeting: Come Hell or High Stormwater in Greenville, South Carolina.

In addition to his impressive contributions as a public servant, Duckworth continues to embody a spirit of service with nearly 25-years of projects with his firm, Environmental Concepts, LLC. Among the community service projects he’s completed, Duckworth says there are a few standouts. “Helping improve the places that are integral to our community, like churches and schools, has been important to me,” says Duckworth.  “Giving back and using our skills to help those who help us is very rewarding.”

One highlight is the work completed for the St. Andrew Catholic Church and School. Duckworth’s firm helped the church and school with numerous site development and landscape architectural plans for improvements to their campus including the playground, family life center, and school expansion.

Playground at St. Andrew Catholic Church and School.

Playground at St. Andrew Catholic Church and School.

Duckworth is particularly honored to be a part of the work his firm has contributed to Brookgreen Gardens, a designated National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places and accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). These premier gardens contain the largest and most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture in the country with over 1,400 pieces. Duckworth explains that he values these projects because of the trust placed in the integrity of his firm’s work. “It’s quite an honor to have a hand in something like this,” Duckworth reflects. “We’re passing through history – Brookgreen Gardens is history.”

Designing the otter exhibit at Brookgreen Gardens was a particularly fun and rewarding project. Duckworth’s team was not only responsible for creating the native landscape of the exhibit, but also for developing a complementary environment from which to observe the otters frolicking.

Otter exhibit at Brookgreen Gardens.

Otter exhibit at Brookgreen Gardens.

Environmental Concepts also recently completed design and construction observation services for Anna Hyatt Huntington’s Fillies Playing sculpture plaza at Brookgreen, revitalizing the gardens’ welcome center.

Fillies Playing sculpture plaza at Brookgreen Gardens.

Fillies Playing sculpture plaza at Brookgreen Gardens.

Duckworth and Environmental Concepts, LLC use the industry-driven toolset in Vectorworks Landmark to create their inspired projects. The ability to customize the software in order to meet their needs, along with its powerful presentation tools, help them to better serve their clients and community.

Gregory Duckworth will be recognized along with the incoming class of Fellows on October 21-24 at the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo in New Orleans. Learn more about the work and service of all the new Fellows here.