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LAF Honors Two Auburn University Case Studies
Case Studies First of Their Kind in Ala.


The student teams behind the case studies worked in a two-year collaboration with the design firms, Holcombe Norton Partners of Birmingham, Ala. (for Samford Park at Toomer's Corner) and Tom Leader Studio of Berkley, Ca., along with Macknally Land Design of Birmingham (for Railroad Park).

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) recently selected two case studies, designed by Charlene LeBleu, FASLA, and students in the Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program at Auburn University, for publication on the LAF Case Study Investigation website.

One team examined Samford Park at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Ala., and the other researched Railroad Park in Birmingham, Ala. Both case studies are the first of their kind in Alabama to receive this national honor.

The LAF's Case Study Investigation program highlights landscape architecture projects that can make positive contributions to solving some of the issues of our time. The program showcases LAF-funded faculty-student research teams who collaborate with leading practitioners to document the benefits of landscape projects. Teams develop methods to quantify environmental, economic and social benefits and then produce Case Study Briefs. The briefs are featured in LAF's Landscape Performance Series, an online site that features information and innovations from research, industry, academia and professional practice.

The first project, Samford Park, focused on the replacement of Auburn's own Toomer's Oaks, a historical landmark found in the city. The designer, Holcombe Norton Partners, replaced the poisoned oaks and surrounding contaminated soil. In the process, 1,778 tons of soil was removed. The designer also used a permeable paving system to filter thousands of gallons of storm water. An enhanced threshold under the historic gateway improves the connection between downtown Auburn and the Auburn University campus, and seat walls secure Toomer's Corner's tradition as a gathering place for the Auburn family.

Railroad Park is a 19-acre green space in downtown Birmingham that celebrates the city's industrial and artistic heritage and provides environmental, social and economic benefits. Over five hundred newly planted trees sequester atmospheric carbon and intercept gallons of storm water. New foliage has also increased the number of bird species by 250 percent. The park now attracts 600,000 visitors annually and has improved the perception of downtown Birmingham, catalyzing $324.5 million in public and private investments.

This article was republished with express written permission and can be read in full on the Auburn University website HERE.

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October 20, 2019, 8:04 pm PDT

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