Building Authenticity in the Landscape


Inspired by the existing modernist façade, the new courtyard at IBM Victoria Ward tower showcases a landscape expression of modern Hawaiian architectural motifs and powerful cultural history. The  historic IBM tower was designed by Vladimir Ossipoff—Hawaii’s quintessential modernist. The new landscape is a distilled expression of Hawaiian identity and serves as an introduction to a larger mixed-use master plan of over 60 acres in central Honolulu.

Native Grass Sod


Caltrans landscape architects partnered with academia and local business to develop native grass sod that is now available across California. Doug Brown was the landscape architect and project manager for the state-funded research project that led to the development of this brand new product. Before the study there wasn’t such a thing as native grass sod.

Golden grass-covered hills dotted with majestic oaks conjure images of iconic California landscapes. Preserving and establishing these kinds of native grasslands is a priority in creating and managing sustainable landscapes. Native grasses are especially sustainable, tolerating drought; requiring little irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides; and demanding less mowing. Though they may be golden brown in the warm seasons, native grasses are truly the most ‘green’.

California’s harsh climate, lack of rain and invasive weeds make it difficult to establish native grasses using traditional seeding practices, whereas sod provides instant cover that can be established quickly.   Though deep-rooted native grasses seem like an unlikely candidate for sod harvesting, university laboratory studies and field-testing ultimately produced viable native grass sod mixes that were further refined and made commercially available by sod growers.

Creating a New Walking-Focused City District for 30,000 People


Raycom City, a new mixed-use district for Hefei, China, has a 3/4-mile-long public linear park flanked by stores and restaurants as its heart. The park and retail promenades provide a comfortable, convenient walking spine connecting the district’s residential, hotel and office towers, schools and amenities, an upcoming metro station and the surrounding city fabric.  To design the linear park and flanking promenades, Marco drew on Hefei’s identity as a river city with grand river parks to imbue the new district with a dynamic, high-performance outdoor environment.  With the rich mix of amenities and services provided in close walking distance within a beautiful and varied setting, the design strives to create an urban “Sculpture for Living” where people enjoy living locally for a higher than average percentage of their lives.

From Concept sketch to Construction How to hold on to design intent through engineering


Hyphae joined the design team for a 4-story multi-family mixed-use project in Santa Barabara, to take on a complex landscape over structure scope, engineering grading and drainage for greenroofs while integrating raised stormwater flow-through planters all set on podium.  Our design goals were to create a distinct design for several courtyard gardens, utilizing geometry, materiality, and plant habitats to create a clear distinction.  Overall approaches repeated the use of raised planters and vegetated screening to transform this unconnected structure to include network lush spaces for group gathering and personal reflection.

Brisbane Baylands Specific Plan

The Brisbane Baylands Specific Plan is an integrated new mixed use district planned for a Bayfront brownfield site sitting just south of the San Francisco City and County line.

The plan puts forth strategies for regaining ecological function lost through successive land “reclamation” initiatives and leveraging a confluence of existing and planned transit resources to create a vibrant new mixed use neighborhood at the northern edge of Brisbane and eastern edge of San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley.  The plan combines high density, transit-oriented housing with walkable retail, commercial office space and sites for new tech campuses, all within a framework of public open space that provides recreation and restoration of native ecologies.