“Meyers Pond Retreat,” designed by Bunny Mellon Garden Design Prize winner Daria Szalinska for Araiys Design Landscape Architecture (Photo: Anthony Crisafulli)
“Meyers Pond Retreat,” designed by Bunny Mellon Garden Design Prize winner Daria Szalinska for Araiys Design Landscape Architecture (Photo: Daria Szalinska)
Presented as part of the Bunny Mellon Curricula at the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, the prize recognizes exceptional achievements in landscape design by emerging professionals.
February 1, 2024
The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) is honored to announce that Daria Szalinska is the winner of the third annual Bunny Mellon Garden Design Prize, recognizing work completed for Araiys Design Landscape Architecture. The runner up is Thomas Fraley of Gregory Lombardi Design.
The Prize recognizes the excellence and creativity of a project from an emerging garden or landscape design professional that embodies the principle that design and craftsmanship are vital to lasting and meaningful places. Further, the prize honors a project from an emerging professional that demonstrates skilled knowledge of horticulture in a design that holistically considers the symbiosis between outdoor environments and physical structures and is in the spirit of Bunny Mellon’s “ceaseless interest, passion, and pleasure” in gardens, horticulture, and design.
As an Associate at Araiys Design Landscape Architecture, Daria Szalinska approached the project, “Meyers Pond Retreat,” with the objective of overcoming site-specific challenges, prioritizing sustainability, and achieving a sense of timeless elegance. In fact the challenges of the project prompted creative design solutions that led to the use of reclaimed granite planks and stone blocks, showcasing the project's commitment to both aesthetics and environmental responsibility. The project also incorporates many native species while minimizing concrete retaining walls, exemplified by the bioswale planted with switchgrass along the road.
The project evolved from its initial modern design cues to a garden that seamlessly blends contemporary and classic elements. This transformation influenced both the hardscape materials and the plant palette, creating a harmonious fusion of design themes. Plant selection aimed to create a Japanese-inspired Hamptons garden, marrying the tranquility of Zen gardens with the vibrant spirit of the Hamptons.
The runner-up, Thomas Fraley of Gregory Lombardi Design, served as designer and project manager at Gregory Lombardi Design Landscape Architects on “Woodland Clearing,” located in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The project takes strong cues from the preserved perimeter of oak, pine, hickory, and sassafras that beautified a site that had otherwise been left to deteriorate. Now, where a previous residence once stood, a charming tennis court nestles into the hillside accompanied by a large elliptical play lawn, each surrounded by thoughtful plantings consisting of native species, perennials, fruiting trees, and shrubs.
The prize was awarded by a jury of distinguished architects, designers, and professionals:
Jury chair Janice Parker reflected on Daria’s winning project: “We were struck by the authentic nature and elegant approach of her design work and installation process: there seemed to be no stone unturned, literally. Daria displayed deep commitment to the project and her passion for the profession was evident in her submission. Her hands-on approach as well as her critical thinking about the process stood out, and we agreed that she is a design professional with a great deal of knowledge and experience, and is one to be watched in the future!”
The ICAA is very grateful to the Gerard B. Lambert Foundation for its generous support of this program, along with the Curricula's Lead Co-Sponsor Edmund D. Hollander Landscape Architecture Design, Bunny Mellon Continuing Education & Public Programs Co-Sponsor Charlotte Moss, Bunny Mellon Curricula Landscape Design Prize Co-Sponsor Harrison Design, and Bunny Mellon Curricula Garden Symposium Co-Sponsor Kathryn M. and Ronald J. Herman Charitable Foundation.
The Bunny Mellon Garden Design Prize is the result of the Gerard B. Lambert Foundation's landmark gift that created and supports the study and practice of the landscape arts as part of the ICAA's Bunny Mellon Curricula. The Curricula honors Bunny Mellon, visionary garden designer and leading contributor to the horticultural arts, with programming that addresses the importance of garden and landscape design as part of the traditionally built environment.
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