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12-23-21 | Feature

Ritchie Smith Associates

Memphis, Tennessee

Established in 1983, Ritchie Smith Associates is involved in all aspects of planning, landscape architecture, and urban design. They offer a full line of project services including master planning, site design, contract documents, and construction administration. The firm is comprised of licensed landscape architects who provide experience, design ability, and technical expertise to carry out successful projects.

RSA is known for its leadership and advocacy of the multiple benefits of open space. The completed projects, including the earliest and most prominent greenways and sustainable site design projects in the region, are testament to our commitment to these principles.

Memphis International Airport, GTC
Pedestrian Plaza, Memphis, Tennessee
Above & Left: Ritchie Smith Associates was responsible for the overall design of the pedestrian plaza that connects the new $90M GTC (Ground Transportation Center) to the airport terminal. The 80' x 800' plaza was carved out of a 1960's parking garage. The plaza creates a lush and unexpected green space in the center of the airport.

The design concept is a sequence of three landscape zones that symbolize those found in West Tennessee, creating an introduction to the regional landscape. Moving south to the airport terminal, the zones represent the natural, agrarian, and urban landscape. Each zone has distinctive planting patterns and a thematic water feature. Continuity is provided by the consistent treatment of paving, curbs, planters and seat walls. RSA produced the plaza layout and grading, along with detailed design for hardscape, water features, planting, irrigation, and site furnishings.

RSA also provided site design input and landscape design for the new six-story parking garage and the large quick-turnaround-area for the rental car agencies.

Honor Award, TENNESSEE Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects.

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Kirkland Cancer Center, Jackson, Tennessee
Above: Ritchie Smith Associates provided landscape architectural design for a $42M state-of-the-art oncology center on the campus of the Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. A focal point of the Kirkland Cancer Center is the Healing Garden, designed to provide a place for respite and contact with nature for patients, visitors and staff. The garden is located adjacent to the two-story glass atrium, allowing pleasant views from the interior. A stone veneer wall encloses the outdoor space for privacy. A meandering walk loops through the lush shade garden planted with a variety of native and ornamental plants. A linear fountain creates a transition from the entry forecourt to the main garden space. The garden is paved with plankstone pavers and lighted by bollards.

The site design includes a vehicular court and entrance plaza enhanced with pavers, bollard and post lights, site furnishings and layered planting. The project was completed in 2014.

Honor Award, Tennessee Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects, 2015.

Lamar Park Master Plan and Improvements, Oxford, Mississippi

Right, Top & Bottom: RSA prepared the master plan to convert a former golf course into a 63 acre park, one mile west of the University of Mississippi. Lamar Park is the principal green space in Oxford providing passive recreation including trails, picnicking, free play, fishing, an amphitheater, and nature study. The master plan incorporated elements of a botanical garden including display gardens with plants. Much of the site is being reforested, and large swaths of native grass meadows are proposed to complement the more active lawn areas. Connections were created to link the park with the McElroy Road Bike Path to the north and Entergy Greenway Trail to the west.
While crafting the master plan, RSA worked closely with a park steering committee appointed by the mayor. Following the master plan, RSA designed the first two phases of improvements with a new park entrance, parking, arrival terrace, pavilion, restroom building with overlook terrace, trails, picnic areas, a naturalistic play area, an amphitheater, and extensive plantings. RSA also designed a sculpture trail for eight sculptural pieces, by regional and national artists, to be rotated with curation from the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.

Honor Award, Tennessee Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects, 2015.

Discovery Park of America, Union City, Tennessee
Above: RSA was the team landscape architect providing the overall master plan and detailed site design for the 50-acre site for Discovery Park of America in northwest Tennessee. The iconic museum and surrounding landscape offer unique educational opportunities as well as space for leisurely recreation, entertainment and community events. A variety of display gardens are set amidst a framework of trees native to the region. An amphitheater and great lawn accommodate outdoor performances and large gatherings. Historic and reconstructed buildings are grouped in three areas to recall an 1890s town center, farmstead, and working mill. The 50-acre site includes extensive contouring and landforms along with ponds, connecting canals, and custom designed weirs.

The landscape complements the museum in educating visitors, not only about the local, natural environment, but also related, cultural traditions.
Merit Award, TENNESSEE Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects.

Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center, Memphis Tennessee
Left, Top: Ritchie Smith Associates provided site and landscape design for the 15 acres of the new community center funded in part by the estate of the founder of McDonald's restaurants, with a local match from the Salvation Army. The center provides indoor and outdoor space for recreation and enrichment. A variety of educational, wellness and cultural arts programs for the community are also offered, some in cooperation with other organizations.

Every aspect of design was planned to achieve sustainability in construction and operation and to earn LEED silver certification. A formerly derelict inner-city property dominated by asphalt parking lots was converted to achieve these goals, with a significant increase in vegetated open space. RSA designed details for sustainable development of the site, particularly related to efficient water use, including infiltration islands in parking areas, permeable vehicular and pedestrian paving, rainwater harvesting with a cistern and a drip system for irrigation. The planting plan is comprised of native and low-water demand plants.

Honor Award, Tennessee Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects, 2015.

Harahan Bridge Boardwalk / Big River Crossing, Memphis, Tennessee
Left, Bottom: Ritchie Smith Associates was a part of the team landscape architects for the new bike and pedestrian trail on the historic Harahan Bridge built in 1916 over the Mississippi River. The boardwalk offers dramatic views of the Memphis skyline, the river, and Arkansas farmland. It has regional and national significance, serving as the essential link in a multi-state, multi-modal system, promising recreational and economic benefits. The boardwalk was constructed on an abandoned outboard roadway structure on the north edge of the one-mile long bridge in active use by Union Pacific Railroad. The east and west ends of the boardwalk connect to new bicycle-pedestrian trails in downtown Memphis and West Memphis, five miles west. The entire system, known as the Main-to-Main Project and funded by a $30M TIGER grant, opened in October 2016.

Honor Award, Tennessee Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects.

Filed Under: MEMPHIS, AIRPORT, FIRMS, LASN
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