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 Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
     Monthly Newsletter

January 2011
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: The Lakeshore at Landmark Prospect Park

Landscape Architect of the Month:
Christian Zimmerman, ASLA of the Prospect Park Alliance

Helpful Links for Architects


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Prospect Park BenchesWelcome to the January issue of our newsletter! In each issue we present you with informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If you have a project you would like to share with us, please contact us and tell us about it. If chosen, we will feature your project in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter, which goes out to architects and building industry professionals across the country. Click here to find out more about us, or visit us on our Facebook Fan Page.

Landscape Architect of the Month: Christian Zimmerman, ASLA of the Prospect Park Alliance

Prospect Park AllianceChristian Zimmerman, ASLA has been Vice President for Design & Construction for the Lakeshore project for the Prospect Park Alliance in Brooklyn, NY since 1990. He has overseen the revitalization and restoration of the 585 acres that comprise the Park, the adjacent Parade Ground and Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza. This includes over $120 million in capital projects. In 2009 Christian Zimmerman was nominated by the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for an extraordinary career focused on one project.

In partnership with the City of New York and the community, the Prospect Park Alliance restores, develops, and operates Prospect Park for the enjoyment of all by caring for the natural environment, preserving historic design, and serving the public through facilities and programs. The Alliance has boosted public awareness of the crucial role parks play in the urban environment, while gaining support from donors and volunteers for the restoration projects that have brought Prospect Park back to prominence. The Alliance's efforts combined with the support of many business partners, private donors, and Alliance members, have increased use of the Park by 300%, while making critical improvements to its fragile ecosystem and preserving its historic and architectural treasures.

For more information visit:

Topic of the Month: The Lakeshore at Landmark Prospect Park

Prospect Park 2
Fort Hill Landscape 2
Lakeshore Phase I, a small portion of an overall 26-acre project to restore the Lakeshore area of historic Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY, is now essentially complete. The design process began in 2008-2009 and construction started in late 2009.  Lead Landscape Architect Christian Zimmerman of the Prospect Park Alliance, who is also Vice President for Design and Construction on the project worked with Project Landscape Architect Crystal Gaudio, along with their well rounded team of professionals.

Prospect Park is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and is a New York City Scenic Landmark. The 585-acre Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1865 and was constructed between 1866 and 1874. Olmsted and Vaux created Prospect Park to serve a rapidly growing urban population. The landscape in and around the Park has endured more than a century of change, and Prospect Park features the 90-acre Long Meadow, the 60-acre Lake and Brooklyn's only forest.

Zimmerman explains, "The Park is a historic landmark. It's an Olmsted and Vaux landscape. In most cases we follow their precedent according to what was there, the paving style and the materials."

"In the particular case of Lakeshore Phase I, that was a completely new landscape. It didn't look like that originally. It had changed a number of times throughout history, so we couldn't really go back to what it once was. What we wanted to do then is the next best thing, which was to defer to the original design in its materiality and scale so everything is lower scale, not dominating in the landscape. Then we used granites and bluestone, which were traditional materials used near this part of the park. The bulkheads for the dock area are 3' by 1' thick by 5' long, and those kind of pay homage to some original stone that is in the Concert Grove because the sizes are exactly the same.  Hex block was used in the park, so we have hex block in this area, and also granite cobble. "

Zimmerman also chose to use Glacier Blue® Devonian Stone in the Lakeshore Phase I project. "We were going to use traditional bluestone, but the Glacier Blue® Devonian Stone is a different type of stone with a different look. It's a beautiful stone and it met the requirements of the park, so we wanted to be able to use it in this area. The paving pattern on the sun terrace kind of mirrors a boardwalk. The paving stones are long, narrow dimension stone pieces that measure 9" x 3', and ½" by 3'. There is the path system with hex block, and then you go off of that into the Devonian Stone, and then off of that is the dock. We wanted to make these areas a little more special, so they are differentiated by the materials."

According to Zimmerman, the area is vastly improved from the asphalt, granite cobble and concrete that was there before. "We also put seating in and we used traditional benches made of wood and iron. We put in plantings which are all pretty young right now. We used mostly native plant material that is a food source for the wildlife, and some ornamental plants as well. Everything is low scale so the material doesn't dominate the landscape, it really does flow as you walk along next to the water." It's a very harmonious design, which is exactly what Zimmerman was trying to accomplish.

As a Landscape Architect working on a historical landmark, a balance must be struck between the architect's own design sense and the constraints required with working on a historical site. "We have to work within the constraints of the original design and respect it. There are different periods within the history of the park when architects and designers came in and added various elements. Within this Lakeshore area, it is an Olmsted and Vaux landscape. It might have been altered, but there wasn't anything really new within this area except the WWI Memorial which was installed in 1921. Other than that, we filled in a portion of the lake to create the current lake edge. To do that, we put up dams, drained the water out of the lake, removed the sediment and then refilled it. The shoreline has changed numerous times throughout history, so we didn't go back to the original shoreline which would have been difficult because we really didn't know what that was. We have a rendering of it, but we don't have a measured drawing, or a survey. So there would be guessing on our part. We could blow up the rendered drawing and say that's it, but that's not quite accurate either."

"There are general plans of the park, of the original design, and then we have historic pictures that we use as photo reference. It's very challenging, but it's also very rewarding, especially when you do make it work."

As with all historic restorations, there was a lengthy approval process to go through before the project could be started. Zimmerman explains, "The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is the client agency, if you will. They're the owner of the property. Then there is my organization, The Prospect Park Alliance. Then there is the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the Public Design Commission. And this phase of the project, Lakeshore Phase I, and the other Lakeshore phase, won a Public Design Commission Award just last year for Excellence in design. So they appreciated it as well."

Zimmerman is proud of his work, as well he should be. "It worked very well, it looks beautiful, and it's pretty much done everything that we wanted it to do. We still are tweaking some things, but overall it's met expectations."  Tupper Thomas, the soon-to-be-retired Administrator of Prospect Park and President of the Prospect Park Alliance, has said, "Prospect Park has been twice blessed; once by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux and once by Christian Zimmerman. Christian approaches design holistically, bringing together just the right members for each project team, including community users and park managers as well as engineers and consultants, and he listens to them all. It is miraculous then, to see the beautiful solutions that emerge in response to myriad issues."

Helpful Links for Architects

AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community
The AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations. Through the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, important links are maintained with allied professionals, service providers, and manufacturers. If you wish to become a member of the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, call AIA Member Services at 800-242-3837, or visit:

Architect Online's Continuing Education Center

Architect Online's Online Continuing Education Center gives professionals a convenient way to earn necessary continuing education credits without having to set foot in a classroom. The courses listed, sponsored by the companies noted, are accessible from anywhere you can establish an online connection. Just register, read the required material, and then take the test, either through a downloadable mail-in form, or free via a secure online connection, depending on the course. You'll be able to maintain your professional credentials, at your pace, and at a location that works for you. Visit:

Architectural Record Continuing Education Center
Architectural Record magazine has a free Continuing Education Center where architects can earn AIA Continuing Education Credits online. Visit:

Architectural Record Discussion Forums

The McGraw Hill Construction Community, publisher of Architectural Record, has provided architects with a forum to express ideas, opinions, suggestions, and gripes. The discussion forums are open to all, and include topics such as Green Building Projects, Virtual Design, Practice Matters and a forum for younger architects. Visit:

CORA - Congress of Residential Architecture
CORA is a grass root organization that encourages our members to participate in the dialog of improving residential architecture in a way that suits them best. The purpose of the CORA is to provide a continuing forum for advocating and enhancing residential architecture by all individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, that share a common interest in improving the quality of the homes and communities we live in. Visit:

The Green Meeting Industry Council

The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is a non profit 501(c)(6) membership-based organization. Their goal is to encourage collaboration within the meetings industry toward the development of green standards that will improve the environmental performance of meetings and events on a global basis. The GMIC is the only professional green meetings organization that is a member of the Convention Industry Council. For more information visit:

The World Architecture Community
The World Architecture Community invites all architects to create a free profile on their website. The World Architecture Portal is a unique comprehensive international directory and catalog of contemporary architecture where all architects, scholars and institutions may submit their work and links to share with colleagues from around the world.
For more information visit:

We hope you enjoyed our informative monthly e-newsletter. For questions, comments or more information, please e-mail or call us today.

Liz Benton, Editor 
Glacier Blue™ Architectural Topics & News
Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.

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