Bernheim Master Plan wins architecture award in worldwide competition

By Bernheim

American Society of Landscape Architects honors Studio Outside for its work with Bernheim on its master plan design

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is pleased to announce that landscape architecture firm, Studio Outside, has won a landscaping and planning award for its master plan vision of Bernheim’s forest and arboretum.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) bestowed Bernheim and Studio Outside with the honor award in the Analysis and Planning category for its entry entitled “ReStorying the Knobs: A Master Plan for Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.”

Bernheim Executive Director Mark Wourms said that the master plan, designed by the sustainably-focused landscape architects Studio Outside, sets a vision that “re-stories” the entire 16,000-plus acres by immersing visitors in diverse natural systems and curated horticultural experiences.

“As Bernheim nears its centennial, we wanted to strengthen the impact of Bernheim’s mission and to further our strategic plan while ensuring financial sustainability,” Wourms said. “These new programs and facilities will improve ecological systems and provide a layered landscape story for a new generation. The plan allows Bernheim to further its mission of ‘connecting people with nature’ by continuing to be a leader in land stewardship and habitat restoration, sustainable landscapes and innovative arts and educational programs.”

To choose the 2019 winners, the judges pored through 544 submissions from around the world to find “the best of landscape architecture.”

The jury wrote:

“Since 1929, the privately-owned Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest has been one of Kentucky’s most popular natural treasures. This creative master plan builds on Bernheim’s history and the original Olmsted Brothers concept, to help its 15,000 acres (now 16,000-plus) tell a fresh story that fulfills its long-standing mission of connecting people to nature.”

The award description continued: “Led by the landscape architect, an interdisciplinary team has developed a plan that includes new and repurposed facilities, expanded and reinterpreted tree collections, walking trails, and green infrastructure practices that reinforce the “story of water” that is a central message of both the forest and its relevance in a changing world.”

The proposed master plan includes new experiences, including a free play space,, event center, immersive hikes and passive recreation areas, and a Visitor Center closer to the entrance that secures Bernheim as an anchor destination on the Bourbon Trail. It also includes features that blur the line between arboretum and forest such as a plan to meander the forest and prairie edge across the historic loop road, thus adding depth of experience for cars, cyclists, and pedestrians. All of these efforts seek to further involve the visitor in both the natural landscape, as well as tell the “story of water” as it flows through Bernheim, touching the lives of plants, fauna and humans alike.

This project is still in the planning stages. A start date for implementation will be determined.

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