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D/P/S Wins 4 NMASLA Awards for Landscape Architecture and Planning

The New Mexico Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NMASLA) recognized four landscape and planning projects designed by D/P/S, two of which received the top Honor Award in their respective categories: The Santa Fe Medical Center and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Manual. In addition, Civic Plaza Renovation and Sawmill Market earned Merit Awards. We had a great time celebrating these successes with our clients and taking time to learn about the many important landscape and planning projects that are contributing to our communities.

NMASLA Honor Awards

NMASLA Merit Awards

Santa Fe Medical Center

The welcoming campus of Santa Fe Medical Center is a notable destination for top-notch healthcare in northern New Mexico. Carefully situated on a beautiful 40-acre site just south of Santa Fe, the 340,000sf hospital facility was designed to support healing and foster wellness for patients and staff alike. With guidance and encouragement from Presbyterian Healthcare, the design team focused on elements of biophilia and evidence-based design to create therapeutic spaces for connection, activity, and respite both inside and out. The unique features of the site and landscape design at SFMC were carefully implemented to lift spirits and inspire hope, creating a beautiful space for all visitors to thrive.

Although the site presented a few considerable constraints for the hospital program, the design team successfully created a memorable place by focusing the design around what we had been given. With the presence of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in the distance and the large sandy arroyo just to the north, the building was oriented to take advantage of the regal mountain views, but also configured to work with the significant change in elevation across the site, as well as plans for future hospital expansion. 

The landscape and site design at SFMC supports the healthcare community and the larger community of New Mexico by providing patients and staff with inspiring options for wellbeing. Although the central spine separating parking from an area of significant slope could have ended up as an unusable remnant, the landscape architecture team was able to make the most of its unique shape, creating a dynamic wellness path to promote relaxation, socialization, and a sense of accomplishment for patients. Each node along the path represents a goal to strive for.

In addition to the main wellness path, SFMC boasts three other dynamic ground-level courtyard spaces that provide opportunities for fresh air, support physical therapy and yoga programs, assist in wayfinding, and welcome patient families of all sizes. The crown jewel, however, is the 2,800sf second-floor rooftop patio space which is strategically located near the birthing unit and NICU, providing flexible options for laboring mothers, their families, and the steadfast nurses and doctors that serve them. The design features of this space address many of the important dimensions of wellness including seasonal plantings, local art, movable furniture, a toasty fireplace, and an outstanding view of the mountains.

Santa Fe Medical Center is a special place of healing that reflects the heart of the extraordinary history and community that surrounds it. As patients and staff pass from the soaring interior spaces of the hospital into the inviting wellness gardens that flank each entry point, they are afforded a quiet place to pause, breathe, and reflect. SFMC was designed with the sensitive needs of all humans in mind, and seeks to inspire respite and recovery, so that patients and staff alike can get back to the life that awaits them.

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Manual

In 2005, the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), required by a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) Permit obligation created a National Pollutant Discharge System (NPDES) Manual for use by both NMDOT and other New Mexico MS4 permittees. By 2020, the Manual required updates for current regulations and practices, mainly comprised of the following:

  • changes in the Construction General Permit (CGP)
  • new General Permit for the Middle Rio Grande Watershed MS4s in New Mexico
  • updated Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) for Stormwater Discharges from Industrial Activities

NMDOT took the initiative to not just update this Manual, but to transform it into a guidance document of state-wide significance that includes green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) and low impact development (LID) strategies for stormwater management in arid regions. The inclusion of GSI/LID strategies was in support of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s 2019 NM Climate Strategy’s goal of increasing the resiliency of built infrastructure and reducing the negative environmental impacts of stormwater runoff.

The goals of this third update were to:

  • update information to reflect current permits (CGP, MSGP, MS4)expand upon the use of GSI in the manual’s Best Management Practices (BMP’s) Appendix A
  • provide a manual to be used internally for NMDOT staff and externally for contractors on NMDOT projects
  • provide a manual that would be useful to New Mexico’s municipalities and co-permittees state-wide

Public Participation

The 2020 Manual update benefited from engaging a diverse team of sub-consultants and NMDOT professionals including civil engineers; landscape architects; NMDOT Environmental and Drainage Bureaus staff; and NMDOT district patrol, construction, and maintenance professionals. The comprehensive team tackled this entire update during the COVID19 pandemic, collaborating in completely virtual settings. In addition, NMDOT offered the Manual for review to over 30 agencies across the state and incorporated the diverse feedback.

Research and Collaboration 

To start the update, the team researched GSI and LID Best Management Practices (BMP’s) developed in states with similar arid conditions (Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas, and Utah). The research focused on the review of existing LID/GSI Manuals, precedent identification, and phone interviews with experts who either developed similar manuals or were their end-users. This research assisted the project team in choosing additional BMP’s to add to the revised Manual. The research findings also provided valuable information for BMP details, maintenance practices, redundancies, and general practicality.  


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