Jason Kentner Wins 2017 OCASLA Merit Award for Pizzuti Sculpture Garden

Associate Professor of Practice Jason Kentner received a Merit Award from the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (OCASLA) for his Pizzuti Collection Sculpture Garden. The project created a contemporary garden to house a portion of the Pizzuti Collection when it moved to the Short North Arts District and Columbus’ historic Victorian Village. The charge for the design was to site 10-15 sculptural works of varied sizes, while also allowing for the rotation of pieces.

The garden’s final design evolved from conceptual conversations with Pizzuti Collection co-founder, Ron Pizzuti, and the collection’s curator, Rebecca Ibell. “It was my first experience working directly with an art curator and collector but the language of art and landscape have so much in common when it comes to thinking of space, movement and view/perspective that those conversations were really influential to both of our perspectives,” commented Kentner. “In fact, as the landscape design developed and began to articulate spaces and features, it generated an idea for a site specific work that Ron commissioned and I worked on in collaboration with Jason Middlebrook, an installation artist from New York.”

Kentner indicated the design utilizes a traditional set of garden features and materials, including ornamental magnolia trees and hydrangea shrubs. A contrasting floor of decomposed granite allows for the contemporary collection to feel at home adjacent to the 1920s era building and a public park from the 1850s.

“While using traditional materials, the garden’s plan is a contemporary composition of forms. Experientially, the forms are intended to sequentially narrow and expand the sense of space, creating extremes of foreground, middle ground and background. This helps focus attention on individual pieces. It also encourages exploration through the garden given the way the space wraps around the museum building,” Kentner added.

Throughout the garden, details such as the texture and sound of granite dust under foot, the radius corners of hardscape and planting areas, sloped grade transition and even the design of a set of bronze handrails at the museum’s main entry, allow guests to gracefully move through the garden as though on a Sunday stroll in the park.

“As a professor of practice, I am often asked about the balance between and value of both teaching and private practice,” commented Kentner on the synergy between professional and theoretical work in the field. “I was very fortunate in my early professional career to work with Douglas Reed and Gary Hilderbrand, who both regularly taught and/or lectured at the time. Their example made it clear that the two efforts - teaching and private practice - enriched and informed each other, and I’ve tried to keep similar values and ambitions at the core of my academic and professional practices.

“I was very honored to have the Pizzuti Collection Sculpture Garden and my firm, IMPLEMENT, recognized by OCASLA,” Kentner concluded. “Culturally, it’s an exciting and visible time for landscape architecture when so much about our cities and public spaces are changing for the better, and that is certainly true in Columbus and throughout Ohio.”

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