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  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News     
          Monthly Newsletter
June 2012
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: Land Planning & A New England Home

Architectural Firm of the Month: Greylock Design Associates

Helpful Links for Architects     

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Devonian Stone paving stones4Welcome to the June issue of our newsletter! In each issue we present you with interesting and informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If there is a project you would like to share with us, please feel free to contact us and tell us about it. If you are chosen, we will feature your project in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter, and highlight your firm as well. Click here to find out more about us!

Architectural Firm of the Month: Greylock Design Associates
Greylock 1Greylock Design Associates provides comprehensive Landscape Architecture and Land Planning services in the Berkshires of Western MA and throughout Connecticut, New York and New England. Lead Landscape Architect Robert Akroyd and the staff of GDA have over 20 years experience designing, master planning and managing landscape opportunities and interests of all kinds, including commercial developments and residential estate design, swimming pool design, driveways, walls, plantings and all aspects of site development.

The mission of Greylock Design is to incorporate physical, environmental and horticultural sciences into the design of outdoor space to create both practical and harmonious relationships between people and their landscapes.   

Robert Akroyd explains, "
When we design we always look to find the harmony that most certainly exists and try to embellish it, replicate it, re-create it, but most importantly it starts with understanding it. Through an understanding of the site we can engage in a long term vision allowing us to see all the possibilities obtainable. I strive to understand the inconsistencies between what the property/site calls for measured against a client's wishes to ultimately design an art form that allows for a successful unity. Through this process we add value to the design process, the end product and ultimately to the larger landscape. We identify and develop a sense of place."

For more information visit:

Topic of the Month: Land Planning & A New England Home        

Greylock 2 When Robert Akroyd of Greylock Design Associates spoke with us about his project in New Marlborough, MA, he also discussed the importance of land planning before a house is built.

Akroyd explains, "We got involved in the very beginning and walked the property when it was just a wide open field. We met with the client and discussed possible house locations. After coordinating infrastructure developments and conducting soil suitability tests to make sure the property was buildable, we then hired the architect, Crisp Architects, and did a lot of work on the placement of the house. We spent a lot of time taking into consideration how the house would be viewed, specifically on the approach, and how the relationship of the house would affect the existing open meadows and fields."

When figuring out the best placement for a home on a piece of property, very often a direction is chosen in which the house will receive the maximum exposure to sunlight. With this particular home, Akroyd looked to the land for his answer. He explains, "The house took less of its direction from solar orientation and more of its direction from its relationship to the meadow and to the surrounding environment. Once we sited the house, it worked within the context of the meadow and the woodland. We didn't take down any trees for the placement of this house."

One might think that not having to remove trees on a piece of land would make a project a bit easier, but that is not necessarily the case, according to Akroyd. "We wanted to construct the house so that it looked like it had been part of this landscape for a century or more, so the grading work had to be done just right. The fact that we didn't have to take down trees did make it a little bit easier in that we didn't have more work to do, and we were working in an environment where we had a very strong woodland edge which is always a plus, but it was challenging in the sense that the finished grading would be under much more scrutiny because its relationship to the house is so much stronger. When we set the elevation of the house, it was really critical that it be set just right so it was not a burden to the landscape but rather a complement to the landscape."

"A lot of mistakes can be avoided by hiring a landscape architect immediately, in the very first stages of a project. One of the most critical aspects of a project is to establish the elevation of a house right from the start because that works visually. With a properly sited house, both from a vertical perspective as well as a horizontal perspective , the grading becomes much easier. What you end up with in the end is a project that integrates with the land. I can't tell you how critical it is from the very beginning that landscape architects are involved in terms of the placement so that comprehensively everything works together the way it should. You really need to be able to look at a property and say this is where the building goes and then you have to be able to work with an architect who's willing to collaborate with a landscape architect and make changes. This house, for example, was changed almost 180 degrees based on where the architect had it and where it ended up."

After the house was built, Akroyd worked on areas around the building including the gardens, the pool, pool house, pergola, guest house and long, winding driveway. "After the site planning and site development, we moved into the design development in terms of how the house worked with respect to courtyards and the strong sense of arrival that we had worked on. We then put in the pool, the pool house, and did a lot of landscaping associated around the house, drawing from the existing vernacular which was beautiful New England stone walls and open meadows. We were looking for a refined elegance through simplicity, if you will."

"The gardens around the house are really a series of spaces throughout the property. The space right off of the back of the house, which faces the meadow, has a tertiary zone between the inside and the outside, which is where the pergola is located. That space is a wonderful outdoor space partially enclosed with views of the meadow. There is a screened-in porch right off the kitchen terrace, and again, it's that tertiary zone between indoors and outdoors. These are spaces that bring the environment into the house. Those spaces flow out onto the pergola area, the kitchen terrace which is right off the screened porch, and then even farther out into the pool house as it blends from the inside of the pool house to the outdoor terrace and then ultimately to the pool itself. So the series of buildings that we placed on the property have really helped to define the space." The rooms that connect to the outdoors and create a natural flow from interior space to exterior space are just another way that Akroyd has used his expertise to harmonize the house with the vast rolling landscape that surrounds it.

The driveway is another part of the property where Akroyd focused a great deal of his attention. He explains, "It seems silly to spend an awful lot of time designing driveways, but we spend a lot of time in our office designing driveways for some of our higher end residential estates because of the fact that they play such a significant role in how the property is experienced. We all know that life is just a series of experiences. When you enter this property, you immediately cross over a brook and you feel like you're entering one larger room. Then you travel through a corridor which is flanked on one side by a posted rail fence and an allée of oaks. Then you come around a corner and you pass through an entry portal which is flanked on one side by a very strong stone wall and on the other side by the Carriage House. Then you enter into a wonderfully level courtyard. So there is really a progression of spaces as you move through each one and ultimately arrive at the house itself."

As a landscape architect and land planner, the most important thing, as Akroyd explains, "is comprehensive planning. It really means taking a look at the bigger picture and determining how all the elements relate to one-another." It is following through with this philosophy that has made this project such a success in every way. "It's a house that's fully integrated into the environment around it and the end product is a wonderful place where our client loves to be living." 


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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