Biennial Graphic Workshop and Big Ten Design Charrette

Destin, Floriida Rendering

Biennially, the SPDC Landscape Architecture Program hosts the Graphic Workshop and Big Ten Design Charrette. This is a fun and creative design event that allows SPDC students to work with nationally acclaimed designers to draw and write ideas for the future vision of local community- and University-based sites. It also provides an opportunity for the public to give comments and ideas as the design unfolds and allows them to learn how community planning works.

Design Competition

SPDC Students Drawing, 2013 Graphic Workshop & Design CharretteThe highlight of the Graphic Workshop and Design Charrette is the design competition in which SPDC students have the opportunity to work together in teams to develop concepts and draw ideas for a proposed site. A jury of professional landscape architects, developers and industry peers then choose the winning team and design. After the winning drawing goes through final revisions in Nieratko’s 4th year studio, it is sent to the community, politial entities and developers for consideration and/or further design by professional staff and private developers.

2015 Event Features Award-Winning Landscape Architects

2013 Graphic Workshop & Design Charrette SessionThe SPDC Landscape Architecture (LA) Program is hosting the 10th Biennial Big Ten Graphic Workshop and Design Charrette November 19–21, 2015, featuring founding partner of JJR Ann Arbor, Bill Johnson, FASLA; and founder and principal of Robert Chipman Landscape Architecture Austin, Texas, Robert Chipman, ASLA. The three-day event will be held on the campus of MSU at the combined Landscape Architecture Design Studios 304, 306 and 307 in the Human Ecology Building. Johnson and Chipman will give instruction to SPDC Landscape Architecture and Interior Design (ID) students to come up with their visions to support the design of a new project in the area.

Schedule of Events

Wednesday November 18, 2015

Artists Arrive East Lansing (Marriott Hotel or similar).

6:30 p.m.      Welcome Dinner Artists and Student Workshop Committee

Thursday November 19, 2015

Rooms: Landscape Architecture Design Studios 304 - 306 - 307

  11:00 - 11:45 a.m.                Participant Check-in & Seat Selection

  11:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.        Introductions and Welcome – Katie A. Ling, Student Chapter President

  12:00 - 3:30 p.m.                  Instruction with Artists (Bill Johnson and Bob Chipman)

    3:30 - 4:00 p.m.                  Tea and Coffee Break

    4:00 - 6:00 p.m.                  Instruction with Artists (Bill Johnson and Bob Chipman)

    6:00 – 6:30 p.m.                 Charrette Project Introduction: Design Team Assignments

    7:00 p.m.                            LA Faculty Dinner with Artists – Coral Gables Restaurant, East Lansing

    8:00 p.m.                            Social Activity for Students

Friday November 20, 2015

Rooms: Landscape Architecture Studios 304, 306 and 307HE

     8:00 – 9:00 a.m.                Bagels, Fruit and Coffee

     9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.      Instruction with Artists (Johnson and Chipman)

     12:30 – 1:30 p.m.              Lunch Break

       1:30 – 3:45 p.m.              Instruction with Artists (Johnson and Chipman)

       3:45 – 4:00 p.m.              Tea and Coffee Break

       4:00 - 6:00 p.m.               Instruction with Artists (Johnson and Chipman)

       6:00 p.m.                         Design Charrette Q & A with Clients:

       7:00 - 9:00 p.m.              Team Bonding: Dinner and Social Activity TBD

Saturday November 20, 2015

Charrette Design Day (TBA at charrette introduction)

     8:00 – 8:15 a.m.               Bagels Fruit and Coffee

     8:15 – 9:00 a.m.               Design Site Visit/Discussion with Community Leaders and Artists

     9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.       Charrette Design Production / Charrette Products Due 5:30 p.m.

     6:00 – 7:00 p.m.               Jury of Charrette Products/Student Pizza Dinner/Studio Clean-up

     7:00 p.m.                          Charrette Awards

     8:00 p.m.                          Workshop/Charrette Closing Event: Big Ten Football MSU vs OSU

About James Richards

James Richards at 2013 Graphic Workshop and Big Ten Design CharretteJames Richards’ work crosses many creative boundaries. He is a national award-winning designer, writer and illustrator whose work has creatively spanned town planning, urban design and landscape architecture for 30 years on projects in 16 states. He is a Co-Founder and Principal of TOWNSCAPE Inc., and has led successful design initiatives for walkable downtowns, new town centers, transit-oriented developments, urban villages, corporate campuses, greenway networks, freeway corridors and heritage regions. As a concept designer, he is a spark plug for creative interdisciplinary teams, where his rapidly sketched ideas shape long range planning frameworks, developing project designs, computer animations and ultimately the built environment. In this role he has enjoyed creative collaborations with numerous national design firms.

Prior to 1994, Jim was a design principal and studio director for the national environmental planning and design firm of Johnson, Johnson and Roy Inc. (JJR), where he directed the planning and design of many the firm’s award-winning projects, including the Austin Town Lake Comprehensive Plan, the corporate headquarters campuses for Exxon Corporation and The JCPenney Company, and the LBJ Heartland Tourism Plan.

Jim is a member of American Society of Landscape Architects’ Council of Fellows, one of the highest honors bestowed by ASLA, for the significant contributions he has made to the profession and the public through his works, design leadership and service. He is the 2008 recipient of ASLA’s Bradford Williams Medal for his writings on urban placemaking and visual thinking. He has served on the professional advisory boards and as visiting lecturer and jury critic at numerous universities, and has designed and taught coursework at the graduate level. His projects and teaching are enriched by extensive travel, having studied and photographed cities and projects in 27 countries throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

Jim is a founding member of the North Texas Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute, the American Planning Association, and the American Society of Landscape Architects, whose Texas Chapter awarded him its highest honor, the Distinguished Member Award, in 2001.

About Robert Chipman

Robert Chipman at 2013 Graphic Workshop and Big Ten Design CharretteBob Chipman, ASLA, has been involved in creative projects ranging from landscape architecture to furniture design for 30 years or so, always drawing by hand. He is dedicated to location sketching, as well as to the use of pen-interactive displays. Chipman has developed innovative, user friendly techniques for digital tablet sketching that creatively address a wide range of landscape architectural applications. He is an alumnus of the MSU Landscape Architecture Program and is an Alumni Advisory Board Member. Chipman is based in Austin, Texas.



2013 Winning Team and Design

2013 1st Place Design Competition TeamFrom Left: Sophomore Dexin Chen, First Year Alum Jessica Wendlandt, Freshman Hanhao Yuan, SPDC Senior Specialist Paul Nieratko, Senior Bridget Safferman, Senior Maudie Smith, Landscape Architect Bob Chipman, Landscape Architect James Richards and Sophomore Tierra Nelson  (not pictured)




Past Design Projects*

  • 2013: East Lansing Park District, including Abbot Road entrance to the MSU Campus
  • 2011: Old Morrill Hall Building site renovation to Morrill Plaza
  • 2009: Working Master Plan for the Woldumar Nature Center
  • 2007: Grand River waterfront at Cooley Gardens and Michigan Women’s Historical Society
  • 2005: Community Dream, Lansing Catholic Central and Lansing Eastern High School’s joint athletic fields
  • 2003: Grand River waterfront at the Lansing Board of Water and Light’s Ottawa Street Power Station
  • 2002: Courtyard for Lansing Eastern High School
  • 2001: Original City Center II, Albert Avenue, East Lansing
  • 1999: Commercial District Walkway and pedestrianization of MAC Avenue, East Lansing
  • 1997: Village of Dimondale, MI, dam and community park along the Grand River

*It should be noted that the winning designs from prior competitions were submitted to and reviewed for consideration by the communities, political entities and developers, but not all of them made it to the construction phase.


Questions about this event should be directed to Paul Nieratko, LA Senior Specialist and Design Studio Instructor at SPDC,  at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).