Giving Voice to the Land
“We gave the landscape voice… and turned the museum toward the land.” This is how Reed Hilderbrand Principal Beka Sturges, ASLA, LEED AP, describes her firm’s award winning expansion of The Clark Art Institute for which she served as landscape architect and manager. The Clark is one of many high-profile projects Sturges has led—each a powerful spatial demonstration of the cultural and environmental value of landscapes. This sensitive integration of architecture, ecology, and history can also be seen at The Mill, a residential project that draws inspiration from Eastern Connecticut’s rolling terrain and agrarian traditions and unifies upland meadows with the stream and raceway of a former industrial mill. Similarly, Sturges’s designed garden surrounding a Minimalist house in Old Quarry (CT) reorders and manipulates the industrial site’s own granite—refuse and bedrock—to create pathways and places within the rough. The landscape’s essential character has been unearthed, not carpeted. Other work includes landscapes at Yale and Brown Universities, Boscobel House and Gardens, Storm King Art Center, and the Mill River Trail running through the center of New Haven. A committed educator, Sturges teaches landscape studio at Connecticut College.