Reed Hilderbrand Designs for LSU Master Plan

Cross-section of master plan design. Illustrated trees.

LSU Master Plan design. Images courtesy of Reed Hilderbrand.

Reed Hilderbrand, an award-winning design firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts, collaborated with LSU on the university’s Comprehensive and Strategic Campus Master Plan, informing the landscape architecture plans.

Doug Reed, FASLA, received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from LSU in 1978, and is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He founded Reed Hilderbrand  in 1993, and over the years the firm has housed generations of LSU alumni.

The firm’s projects have been published in LandForum, Landscape Architecture, Garden Design, Garten und Landschaft, Designed Landscape Forum, and Architectural Digest. Reed’s role as a founding board member and co-chair of the Cultural Landscape Foundation affords him a platform for leadership in national debates that frame landscape architecture’s role in preserving and amplifying design heritage. The Architectural League of New York recognized Reed and Gary Hilderbrand in their Emerging Voices program, an honor bestowed on firms with distinctive voices that have the potential to influence the design fields.

Douglas Reed. (Man in jacket.)

Doug Reed, BLA 1978

“I had an exceptional undergraduate education that encompassed both broad liberal arts courses and comprehensive, rigorous coursework in landscape architecture, including design, landscape history, construction, ecology, plants and graphic representation,” Reed said. “The school was ranked at the top in the nation for undergraduate education in landscape architecture.”

A leader in the field, Reed Hilderbrand currently employs fellow graduates of the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture Lydia Gikas Cook (MLA 2014), Jeremy Martin (BLA 2008), and Garrett Newton (BLA 2011).

Jeremy Martin, man with beard in blue checkered shirt

Jeremy Martin, BLA 2008

“The connection to Louisiana and LSU among the alumni working at Reed Hilderbrand is strong in both our firm’s practice and culture,” said Martin, senior associate; he has managed numerous civic and academic projects, including the redevelopment of City Hall Plaza in Baton Rouge.

“With several projects in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas, alumni in the office have enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate on works that have special importance to us because we spent time there before we became professionals, like LSU’s campus, or City Hall Plaza in Baton Rouge and City Park in New Orleans. We also keep our LSU roots strong by sharing some of the best parts of its culture with our colleagues – filling the office with king cakes during Mardi Gras, taking the afternoon off to watch bowl games against our peers’ teams, or hosting crawfish boils and pig roasts every spring and fall.”

Lydia Cook. Young woman with brown hair, black shirt.

Lydia Cook, MLA 2014

“As a Baton Rouge native, I have watched the city grow and change over the years,” Cook said. As a senior designer, her projects in Louisiana include the Baton Rouge City Hall Plaza and the New Orleans Museum of Art Sculpture Garden. “During my time at Reed Hilderbrand, I’ve been able to contribute to the city’s progress in meaningful ways through our projects, like our continued work downtown and the LSU Campus Master Plan. These opportunities have been made even more rewarding through sharing in the work with fellow alumni, who are as passionate about these places as I am.”

Reed Hilderbrand’s connection to LSU has strengthened as the firm recently worked with the university: in 2016, Reed Hilderbrand collaborated with the university, architects, and other specialists on the LSU Comprehensive and Strategic Campus Master Plan, providing landscape architecture consultation to the project. Doug, Jeremy, and Lydia all contributed to the master plan design.

Working alongside NBBJ and Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, the landscape architects created a practical and flexible framework for development of and capital investment in the LSU campus landscape over the next decade and beyond. The plan proposed contemporary solutions to traffic, pedestrian circulation and experience, open space, and maintenance, while maintaining the culture, heritage and diversity of LSU’s physical campus.

LSU campus map

LSU campus map, by Reed Hilderbrand

The Comprehensive and Strategic Campus Master Plan established “landscape spines as the primary connective tissue” of the campus, connecting existing landscapes of cultural and programmatic significance, informing pedestrian priority projects, enhancing stormwater management capacity, and defining future development zones. “Shade is a critical element of the circulation system, and the plan identifies gaps in the urban canopy and proposes diversified vegetation strategies to compliment the extensive mature live oak canopy,” the landscape architects stated in the project overview.

Martin said revisiting his alma mater’s campus as a designer was a unique vantage point. “As a student at LSU, even in a design program, there is often a tendency to accept the campus as-is, because so much of it is beautiful and powerful,” he said.

“Returning to campus as a design professional requires a different, critical approach, but one that is more informed than a complete outsider,” he explained. “The new opportunities for growth and improvements that seem obvious as a professional are balanced by our understanding of the systems and constraints that we experienced during 5+ years spent on campus every day. The resulting campus master plan is rich with new, exciting ideas but grounded and authentic to LSU and the special character of the campus.”

And for those LSU alumni that collaborated on the project, it felt like returning to their roots – and this time, giving back.