AMES, Iowa — A team of fifth-year Iowa State University landscape architecture students won the 2022 Confluence, Inc. Landscape Architecture Studio Prize awarded by the ISU Department of Landscape Architecture. A second team and an individual student won honorable mention awards in the competition.

Olivia Fletcher, from Spencer; Riley Fountain, from Forest Lake, Minnesota; Jordyn Kloss, from Badger; and Abby Schlotfeldt, from Waukee, all in their final year of the five-year bachelor of landscape architecture program, received a top prize of $4,000 ($1,000 per student) with their “YSS Recovery Campus,” a project for an emergency shelter and youth addiction-recovery center in rural Cambridge.

The studio prize was established by Confluence, Inc. — one of the largest and most-decorated landscape architecture, urban design and planning firms in the Midwest — to recognize outstanding student work, advance the landscape architecture discipline and elevate the ISU landscape architecture department’s profile across the nation.

Landscape architecture faculty nominated undergraduate and graduate students in the department to present work they completed last fall in a juried competition held virtually in February.

Jurors included Iowa State landscape architecture alumni Vaughn Rinner, FASLA, principal of Vaughn Rinner Landscape Architect in Seattle, Washington, and former president of the national American Society of Landscape Architects; and Ken Smith, FASLA, principal of Ken Smith Workshop in New York City.

YSS Recovery Campus

The winning team’s project, “YSS Recovery Campus,” was a site masterplan proposed for the new YSS youth recovery campus under development near Cambridge, which will provide emergency shelter, crisis stabilization, mental health and addiction services to area youth who need treatment and support. They developed their proposal in the fall 2021 LA 404: Advanced Landscape Architectural Design Studio taught by associate professor Julie Stevens and lecturer Chad Hunter.

Focused on home, hobbies, nature, connections, recreation and destination, the team’s project was designed to give YSS youth a sense of ownership and belonging through opportunities to grow and prepare food, experience therapeutic encounters with nature, engage in individual and group activities and exercise personal decision-making.

Their plan included a greenhouse, outdoor kitchen, herb garden, chicken coop, vegetable beds, an orchard, nature trails with a raised prairie boardwalk, a sensory garden, a large recreational field and areas for activities like rock climbing and disc golf.

The jurors noted that framing the project in terms of ownership and empowerment was a sensitive and strategic approach that demonstrated students’ understanding of their clients.

Cottonwood Creek Community

Megan Adams, from Sergeant Bluff; Riley Dockendorff, from Downer’s Grove, Illinois; and Daniela Paez, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, all fifth-year BLA students, were awarded an honorable mention prize of $1,500 ($500 per student) for their “Cottonwood Creek Community” project.

Also developed in Stevens and Hunter’s studio, their proposal featured therapeutic and biophilic design to create comforting, collaborative, compassionate and serene environments for youth in addiction recovery programs at the new YSS campus.

Focused on residence, education, recreation and conservation, this team’s plan included residential “pods” on high ground with individual backyards and views to a pond and oak savanna; an educational center with three indoor classrooms; an outdoor classroom; a greenhouse and production garden; rain gardens, a sensory garden; a prairie conservation area; and spaces for active and passive recreational opportunities like basketball, volleyball, hiking, biking and other activities.

Jurors cited the strength of the project’s ecosensibility and focus on flexibility of spaces and activities to accommodate changing populations.

Upper Harbor Terminal: Bridging the Gap

TJ Hillberry, a fourth-year BLA student from Iowa City, received an honorable mention prize of $500 for his urban waterfront renewal project along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, developed in the fall 2021 LA 402: Urban Design studio taught by associate professor Heidi Hohmann and lecturer Gary Scott.

In his “Upper Harbor Terminal: Bridging the Gap” proposal, Hillberry focused on connectivity, affordable housing and economic development. He sought to bridge the physical gap between the neighborhood and the riverfront by creating easier access across Interstate 94 and the rail line, and the less tangible gap between residents and needed services and amenities like a grocery store, health services and bike trails.

Hillberry’s plan made use of existing structures on the site, including former salt domes to house a restaurant and a museum dedicated to the area’s industrial history; affordable housing; a market, a recreational center, a pedestrian bridge, walkways, green corridors, a park with seating and plantings and a boardwalk and dock for water access.

Jurors complimented Hillberry’s understanding of urban scale and context and his focus on connecting residents not only with the river and their history but providing access to recreational and other opportunities.


Olivia Fletcher, Graduating Senior, Landscape Architecture, oaf@iastate.edu
Riley Fountain, Graduating Senior, Landscape Architecture, rileyf@iastate.edu
Jordyn Kloss, Graduating Senior, Landscape Architecture, jkloss@iastate.edu
Abby Schlotfeldt, Graduating Senior, Landscape Architecture, ajschlot@iastate.edu
Carl Rogers, Chair, Landscape Architecture, rogersc@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Communications Director, College of Design, 515-294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu