OJB Landscape Architecture's Current and Upcoming Projects
OJB Landscape Architecture is a collective landscape architecture and urban planning practice recognized for creating spaces that explore the boundaries between architecture and landscape, the built environment, and the natural world. The firm’s mission is grounded in the belief that parks, greenways, and public spaces are an essential human right and foster positive social change. OJB is a pioneer in design that brings people into meaningful contact with the natural world to improve human health and wellness, and the firm continues to lead the national discussion on this issue in every aspect of its work.
OJB has transformed cities throughout North America by rethinking the aesthetic and economic underpinning for public spaces. Working collaboratively with its clients, OJB has created models for improving communities and fostering connections between individuals, restoring the health of the natural environment, inspiring creativity, and establishing public-private partnerships to ensure projects’ long-term economic viability. While OJB’s inventive work long predated the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm’s focus on the relationship between human health and landscape has taken on new urgency for how we understand and use public space into the future.
OJB’s work includes campuses and workplaces, streetscapes and roofscapes, dense urban environments and pastoral sites, with each project bringing landscape into the human realm in new ways. Some of the themes underpinning OJB’s recently completed, current, and upcoming projects are:
- The Evolving Workplace OJB is transforming workplaces by integrating natural spaces that support creativity, productivity, health, and wellness. As the global workforce returns to the office, these projects that predated the pandemic have proved to be prescient. Select projects in this category: Pathline Park in Sunnyvale, California; Warner Brothers Second Century in Burbank, California; and Ford Motor Company’s campus in Dearborn, Michigan.
- New Models for Urban Infrastructure In response to current and future needs, OJB is working with cities across the country to reimagine the intersection of the urban and natural landscape. Select projects in this category: Pittsburgh International Airport Terminal Modernization in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and UCSD, North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood in La Jolla, California.
- Reimagining the Public Realm OJB’s park projects continue to underscore the importance of the public realm and access to nature in advancing equity and justice, health and wellness, and urban connectivity. Select projects in this category include: Downtown Cary Park in Cary, North Carolina; The RiverFront in Omaha, Nebraska; and Westchase Parks in Houston, Texas.
OJB was founded by James Burnett, FASLA in 1989 in Houston, Texas and is led today by Burnett and his partners in offices across the United States. In recognition of its work in challenging conventional boundaries in landscape architecture, the firm received the 2020 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. OJB has received more than one hundred significant national and international awards, including three ULI Urban Open Space Awards, a global competition of the best public spaces. OJB was awarded The Landscape Architecture Firm Award in 2015, the highest honor that the American Society of Landscape Architects bestows on a landscape architecture firm. James Burnett was awarded the Design Medal by the ASLA in 2016, its highest individual honor for exceptional work produced at a sustained level.
To see project descriptions with images, please see a PDF linked here.
CURRENT AND UPCOMING PROJECTS
Aggie Park at Texas A&M University – Groundbreaking Summer 2021, Completion Summer 2022
College Station, Texas
Integration of existing stadium with the natural environment, flood prevention, public space and access
Aggie Park is part of the trend of rethinking access to large-scale sporting event areas and stadiums, and creating designated spaces for the public to gather. This 20-acre site is an iconic meeting point at the heart of Texas A&M’s main campus for use during stadium events and throughout the year. The project will create an upgraded open greenspace for large scale events such as Aggie Ring Day, as well as game-day tailgates. The redevelopment will bring the Aggie network and guests together for celebration, relaxation, and inspiration. Aggie Park will feature new additions such as an outdoor amphitheater, event lawn, new events facility, and terraced lakes to enhance open space entertainment. The lakes will create a much-needed breeze in the heat of Texas summers in addition to acting as a flood prevention system during high amounts of rainfall defying the sloped landscape. A two-story 79,000-square-foot alumni center, designed by Lake|Flato Architects, will complete the south side of the campus.
Westchase Parks (Woodchase – September 2021; Wilcrest – Spring 2022)
Public space for underserved community, community programming, urban planning, children’s spaces
The Trust for Public Land ranks Houston's Westchase District as one of the most park-poor areas of the city. The city of Houston purchased the park sites five years ago, and OJB has been working with the Westchase District to design and develop two new parks that will serve the local community with recreational and social spaces. Woodchase Park is a two-acre parcel designed to be a gathering place for residents and a space for community programming. It connects to an existing running trail, Westchase Trail, and will include a children’s play area, activity lawn, pavilion, botanical garden, community garden, dog park, and restrooms. Wilcrest Park, a 3.5-acre parcel adjacent to the District’s Library Loop Trail, will feature an activity lawn, performance pavilion, and botanical garden and will host festivals, farmers markets, and other programming. The completed project will create a playful, welcoming, and restorative destination for West Houston while serving the needs of the local community.
The Grand – Phase 1 Completion Fall 2021, Full Completion Winter 2022
Los Angeles, California
Urban planning, revitalized downtown core, public space
Located at the epicenter of Grand Avenue’s cultural corridor, The Grand is a phased replanning of a central parcel in Los Angeles’ downtown core. The mixed-use project is outward facing, with its landscaped plazas and public spaces refocused on pedestrian enjoyment. The layering of public space throughout the 1,500,000 square feet of commercial, retail, cultural, and residential uses makes for a new core focused on outdoor enjoyment. Retail space is anchored by chef-driven restaurants, shops, a movie theater complex, and an Equinox Hotel, together with residential development. The architectural design elements of the district, designed by architect Frank Gehry, include a pair of staggered towers, which are contrasted with a vibrant streetscape and plaza that provide a wide variety of art, music, and outdoor offerings for the public. The Grand is an essential part of the larger urban composition that includes the adjacent Disney Concert Hall and nearby arts and cultural institutions and returns the downtown to shared public space for the future.
Santa Clara – Groundbreaking Spring 2020, Phase 1 Completion Spring 2023
Santa Clara, California
Evolving workplace, mixed-use hybrid model, urban planning
OJB is designing new solutions for changing workplace demands and evolving development principles in the Related’s Santa Clara City Center project. A partnership between the city of Santa Clara and Related Companies, the 240-acre mixed-use destination adjacent to Levi’s Stadium is a new hybrid model based on liveable, walkable, cyclable, sustainable, and healthy principles. The master plan establishes sitewide guiding principles for open space and the public realm. This LEED-certified, multi-phased community incorporates mixed-use, retail offerings, entertainment venues, hotels, office space, and residential units at an urban scale to establish a new neighborhood for the Santa Clara and Silicon Valley region. This includes streetscape, a central park, office and hospitality spaces, and two neighborhood parks that line the site’s edge.
Downtown Cary Park – Groundbreaking Summer 2021, Completion Spring 2023
Cary, North Carolina
Environmental restoration, water reclamation, public and children’s spaces, integration of the arts
This seven-acre park provides critical public infrastructure for both the Town of Cary and the larger region of the Research Triangle. It is a key element in the downtown revitalization of Cary, and will also serve the community with a farmers market, a dog park, an elevated bridge, and performance spaces. Extensive children’s play areas are balanced with quieter spaces for exploration and respite. Organized around a central great lawn, the landscape follows the natural contours of the rolling site. Extreme grade change across the site provides an opportunity for a functional/educational stormwater wetland shaded by groves of existing trees. The design elements work together to protect native ecologies and also allow people to discover the natural beauty of the landscape. Showcasing the extraordinary natural beauty native to North Carolina and the Piedmont, this downtown park balances active programming with a unique botanical experience. Shade gardens, perennial gardens, wetland and aquatic plantings, pollinator gardens, native meadows, and many more plant communities will be on display throughout the seasons.
Warner Brothers Second Century – Groundbreaking 2020, Phase 1 completion Spring 2023
Evolving workplace, urban planning, mixed-use
Also known as the Second Century Project, this new project at Burbank Studios, a legacy Hollywood studio center and home of the former NBC studios, will house the Warner Bros. headquarters’ expansion. Two floating buildings designed by Gehry Partners include 800,000 square feet of office space, bringing thousands of new employees to the site. The lush landscape and roof terraces designed by OJB offer respite from the studio lots and neighboring highway. The site is easily accessible by vehicle and bicycle, and pedestrian paths circulate throughout to connect the office buildings with outdoor amenities and the studio lots. Topographical softscape elements and regionally appropriate planting palette inspired by San Gabriel and the Hollywood Hills help mitigate the 20-foot grade change across the site and allow for vegetated low points to capture stormwater runoff. Courtyards and roof terraces surround the offices, integrating the indoor work environment with the outdoors and providing an inviting entry experience to the headquarters. Social spaces, work pods, flexible event areas, kiosks, a garden walk, and cafe are woven throughout the landscape.
Omaha Parks (The Riverfront) – Gene Leahy Mall – Spring 2022; Lewis & Clark Landing – Spring 2023; Heartland of America –Spring 2024
Riverfront reconnection, site remediation, public spaces, urban planning, integration of the arts, community programming
Returning public access to the riverfront in Omaha is a core element of a master plan for 200-acres along the Missouri River. The ambitious three-phase public open space plan eliminates a number of access and environmental barriers to the riverfront and revitalizes the surrounding environment. The complex site conditions range from densely wooded habitat to a hard urban concrete edge with existing railroad lines, flood walls, riprap, and a large lead superfund site that has been remediated with a concrete cap. The program includes three distinct park areas with a 3500-foot linear promenade along the river, a marina, a beach area, nature center, performance pavilion, event lawns, nature walks, observation tower, an urban farm, play areas, dog parks, soccer fields, sculpture park, and many other smaller activity areas. The scope of work also includes detailed programming and maintenance plans for the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority to ensure successful long-term operations and revenue generation.
Pittsburgh International Airport Modernization, Full reopening 2025
New model for transportation hubs, sustainable native planting
One of the first U.S. airports to plan for access to the outdoors on the airside of terminal circulation, this revitalization of the Pittsburgh International Airport provides a new model for travel hubs. The design promotes a cohesive and efficient passenger experience while providing a direct connection to nature and access to amenities rarely found in airport settings. The new arrival to the airport begins with a carefully planted forecourt and reconfigured vehicular drop off. Organic forest-like tree arrangements and natural exposed rock striations typically found within the Appalachian basin, along with native flora, rolling topography, and water systems, reference the diverse ecology of the region. A new headhouse, with an undulating roofscape punctuated with skylights, invites passengers into the terminal. A distinct feature of the plan is the location of landscaped terraces and outdoor courtyards that accommodate expanded retail and F&B spaces, with flexible open outdoor areas to support a wide range of events and activities. Concessions that service and open out to functional outdoor spaces are unique in American airports. Even through the cold months in Pittsburgh, visitors will be able to enjoy unobstructed views of the natural surroundings.
RECENTLY COMPLETED PROJECTS
Pathline Park – Phase 1 Complete Spring 2021
Evolving workplace, urban remediation, health and wellness
Pathline Park is a five-phase tech industry commercial development in the heart of Silicon Valley, comprised of 1.3 million square feet of office space divided between 12 buildings across 42 acres. OJB has designed a landscape with a varied and dynamic set of communal spaces situated among existing 100-foot-tall redwood trees. The assemblage of tree canopy and native grasses and perennials encourage people to gather, work, and relax beyond the confines of the buildings. In a nod to Silicon Valley’s agricultural heritage, the project includes dozens of 110-year-old locally sourced mission olive trees. The park serves as a sanctuary from office life, and from the ever-present traffic and congestion of the South Bay. The meandering path line, dotted with lush, native planting, encourages connections between landscape and buildings, and unifies the campus with its coastal canyon character.
UCSD, North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood – Complete Fall 2020
La Jolla, California
New models for higher education, evolving education spaces, urban planning
The North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood at UCSD brings together 2,000 new residential beds with dining facilities, academic facilities, retail and community support spaces, a below-grade garage, and a craft center to establish a vibrant, barrier-free destination where undergraduates and staff can live, work, learn, and play. The connective pathways and open spaces, designed by OJB, are as critical to the community as the building program. The design includes outdoor classroom spaces, event lawns, a performance area, community gardens, roof terraces, basketball courts, and two large public plazas. Additionally, the neighborhood includes bike parking for all 2,000 residents, as part of the University’s larger initiative to increase connectivity, activation, and student wellness. The project is slated for LEED Platinum certification. North Torrey Pines is home to the arts and humanities and gives a locus to both the academic and interdisciplinary collaboration that is so critical to innovation and discovery. The footprint of the project covers more than 10 acres, and the 1.6 million-square-foot project is the largest in UCSD’s history. North Torrey Pines will become the new home for Sixth College, a craft center, and retail offerings, as well as two new academic buildings: one for the Division of Social Sciences and one for the Division of Arts and Humanities.
Dominion Energy HQ – Complete Winter 2020
Evolving workplace, green infrastructure, urban planning, public space
OJB is working with Dominion Energy to create a workplace that provides access to outdoor areas with roof gardens and terraces in a phased two-tower project that will be the company’s new headquarters. Phase one is a 20-story office tower comprised of 908,000 square feet of Class A office space. A one-acre roof garden located on level three includes outdoor dining, fitness area, event lawn, fixed and flexible seating, two shade structures, and walkways passing through a botanical garden which features native and adaptive perennials providing seasonal interest through color, form, and textures. Native planting throughout the roof and streetscape was developed through discussions with local horticulturalists, and to ensure the plants could withstand Richmond’s urban conditions. The development encompasses a full block of site improvements including the surrounding streetscape, pedestrian areas, and amenity zone. The project is slated for LEED Gold certification.
Bank of America Tower – 2019
Evolving workplace, public transportation, sustainable water systems, health and wellness
This structured roof park provides outdoor space in the heart of downtown Houston. The 33-story, 750,000-square-foot Bank of America Tower is rated LEED Platinum, and reflects the desire to provide a more healthful and productive work environment. The landscape at ground level connects the site with METRORail and surrounding sites and welcomes tenants and visitors with rich planting, terraced seating, and shade trees. A 24,000-square-foot sky park sits atop the garage structure, mitigating irrigation needs with a sustainable rainwater collection system and vegetation palette. Shade structures are strategically placed throughout, creating comfortable seating areas throughout all seasons. Meandering pathways pass through ornamental grasses and fragrant perennials in planted mounds, providing movement, scent, and visual privacy. Based on sun and shadow studies, arbors and moveable furnishings are located to provide protection and encourage daily use. The rooftop is a surprising oasis in a dense urban setting.
Arjay Miller Arboretum at Ford Motor Company – 2018
Evolving workplace, green infrastructure, stormwater management, public space
OJB Landscape Architecture is working with the Ford Motor Company to create a new environmental model for spaces that expand the company’s focus on human health and wellness. As part of an analysis of the 200-acre Dearborn campus, a 15-acre portion of the existing Arjay Miller Arboretum was transformed from mowed lawn into a thriving meadow that sequesters carbon, filters stormwater, and provides a home for birds and pollinator species. The genesis of the project was to control stormwater in an area that frequently flooded. The replanned expansion of the arboretum included reforestation of the site with 280 new trees, planted in flowing groves across the site. The trees species reflect the great variety and beauty of the Midwest region. Understory planting knits together low maintenance meadow grasses and perennials, with new detention ponds to collect stormwater. Rather than seeding the entire 15 acres with one meadow mix, the design team created a quilted pattern of a dozen different seed and plug mixes to correspond to the different topographic ecological conditions of the site. The combination of trees and understory planting help the site absorb the huge influx of water events while limiting maintenance needs. A ten-foot-wide multiuse trail allows for two-way pedestrian and bicycle recreation throughout the site for use by community members and employees. The completely native and adaptive landscape also contains apiaries on site to produce honey. The project features a unique solution to water management, and at the same time reinterprets the idea of an arboretum into a more modern and accessible place to learn about native ecology and enjoy the outdoors.