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K-State Today

March 6, 2014

Denver landscape architect Michael Bouchard to present colloquium March 7

Submitted by Thom Jackson

The landscape architecture/regional & community planning department will host Michael Bouchard through its colloquium series. Bouchard, senior landscape architect for the parks and recreation department in Denver, will present "How to Get Ahead in Landscape Architecture: Urban Ecology, Project Management and the Public Realm" at 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 7, in 106C Seaton Hall.

Talk summary: Few landscape architecture students graduate with dreams of becoming a project manager, but they should.

Occupying the space where ecology and infrastructure collide, the South Platte River Vision Implementation Plan is an ambitious project to reimagine and regenerate the river running through the heart of Denver. The inherent complexity of realizing this vision, of creating the conditions for such a hybrid urban ecology to emerge, requires a skill set unique to the profession of landscape architecture. It is not a design problem in the conventional sense; rather, it is the challenge of managing a series of intricate, interdisciplinary processes, all of which must converge at the right times in specific ways to keep the project moving forward. This is the role of the project manager.

Bouchard has spent his career pursuing complex, interdisciplinary urban projects. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, he spent eight years in the trenches as a landscape construction foreman, building commercial, civic and institutional projects across Colorado. He studied the intersection of ecology and infrastructure along the urban waterways of the Front Range while earning a master's degree in landscape architecture at University of Colorado, Denver. He worked in the private sector at EDAW/AECOM for 10 years on a series of increasingly complex public realm projects, including the 16th Street Mall technical assessment, I-225 FastTracks Light Rail corridor as stations task manager and as the public realm manager for Denver's Union Station. In 2013, Bouchard moved to the public sector, jumping at the chance to manage the South Platte River Vision Plan for the city and county of Denver.

He received the American Society of Landscape Architecture Student National Merit Award and the Jane Silverton Ries Award for Land Stewardship, as well as numerous local and national project awards. He has lectured and been a guest critic at Kansas State University, Colorado State and the University of Colorado, Denver.