SmithGroup honored by the American Society of Landscape Architecture, Michigan Chapter

SmithGroup, one of the nation’s largest architecture, engineering and planning firms, has been honored by the Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (MiASLA). The recognition was made at the organization’s annual meeting, held on September 29 at the Thousand Oaks Golf Club, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Monique Bassey, a landscape designer at SmithGroup’s Ann Arbor office, was named MiASLA’s “Michigan Emerging Professional of the Year.” In addition, two of the firm’s projects – ReImagine Washtenaw and the Temple University Campus Master Plan – were honored for “representing the leading edge of landscape architectural practice and techniques” as they received awards of honor and merit, respectively.

Bassey was also elected secretary of the chapter for 2017. She has served in numerous capacities for ASLA, such as awards juror for the Iowa and Illinois chapters of ASLA, and member of the 2015 Michigan ASLA Annual Meeting Planning Subcommittee. Bassey was also 1 of 12 participants in the 2016-2017 National ASLA Diversity Summit, tasked to identify an action plan that the ASLA will implement in the coming year to promote diversity in the profession.

Passionate about spreading awareness and developing initiatives to teach young minorities about the profession of landscape architecture, Bassey is co-creator of SmithGroup’s Diversity by Design. The platform encourages discussion of diverse experiences by embracing unique individual qualities, which in turn strengthens the firm’s culture. She joined SmithGroup after earning a Master of Landscape Architecture in 2014 and a Bachelor of Architecture in 2011, both from the University of Arizona.  

For “ReImagine Washtenaw,” SmithGroup won MiASLA’s 2016 Honor Award for Landscape Planning Analysis. As the primary vehicular route between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan, Washtenaw Avenue links the region’s largest employment and educational centers with the residential areas that serve them. The current condition, resulting from decades of auto-centric development, limits safe transit use, hinders neighborhood connectivity and creates a barrier to healthy lifestyle. ReImagine Washtenaw transforms a noisy, congested, non-sustainable transportation artery into a five-mile-long “complete street.” It provides for safe and sustainable transportation options that meet diverse needs while focusing design guidelines on the pedestrian and creating mixed-use economic development opportunities. ReImagine Washtenaw reinvents the transportation corridor between two linked communities with an active transportation framework enhancing social equity and improving quality of life.

SmithGroup was also the recipient of the MiASLA’s 2016 Merit Award for Landscape Planning Analysis for its Temple University Campus Master Plan, Philadelphia. Temple University is in the process of transforming itself into a leading, public research university, translating its successful “Temple Made” branding campaign into a dynamic vision for physical re-development and growth. While Temple’s main location in north Philadelphia underscores its diverse and vibrant urban identity, it also requires this landlocked university to embrace the city in new ways in order to grow. The University sought a far-reaching plan to realign physical and academic assets across its six campuses, spur and support increased enrollment, establish a safer and more connected residential experience, and infuse much needed open space into its main campus framework. The purpose of the Campus Master Plan was to lay out a road map for the next 10 years of campus improvement and investment, and to establish a dynamic new sense of Temple’s place and role within the city.

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the national, professional association representing landscape architects. With more than 15,000 members and 48 chapters, ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship.

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