Three Questions with David W. Young, DWY Landscape Architects

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Three Questions with David W. Young, DWY Landscape Architects

Three Questions with David W. Young, DWY Landscape Architects

 

Having made Sarasota his home for more than 20 years, award-winning landscape architect David Young has a deep appreciation of its Modernist heritage. He founded DWY Landscape Architects in 1999 and his passion for Modernism informs the firm’s work. A first-time participant in TCLF’s Garden Dialogues program, on March 28 Young will be sharing two of his favorite Sarasota projects, Three Oaks Residence and Aquadisia. TCLF’s Garden Dialogues program provides unique opportunities for small groups to experience some of today’s most beautiful gardens created by some of the most accomplished designers currently in practice. To provide a preview, TCLF recently spoke with him about his work: 

Photo of Aquadasia
Aquadisia, photo by SRQ360

What makes a good client? Our best clients realize the value that good design has on their daily lives and the ability good design has to raise the human spirit. A good client does not have to be wealthy, although that does not hurt, but rather someone who has an interest in improving their surrounding environment.

Who/what are your design inspirations? I am often inspired by the architecture of a project—I find inspiration in the oddest places and sometimes from simple natural common things. Tillandsia [air plant], for example, is a plant that grows on almost anything and almost everywhere in Florida. People seldom notice it because it is so ubiquitous. We have a large tillandsia plant in our office hanging from the ceiling as a piece of sculpture, where its beauty cannot be ignored. We are currently working on an award submittal for a project that was inspired by Mexican architect Luis Barragan. His work is universally loved because he understood scale and proportion and was able to create spaces of serene beauty that connected well with the site and surrounding landscape. He also referred to himself as a landscape architect. This emphasizes the importance he placed on gardens and the significance of creating a relationship between the built and natural environment.

What sets Sarasota’s Modernist design apart from other Modernist design? Our Modernist heritage is steeped in an idea that architecture is about creating shelter from the harsh Florida climate including sun, rain, and wind (even hurricanes), but doing so with the lightest touch and expressing good form with regional materials. I am amazed at the expansive glass walls that were used, even in the 1950s and 60s, which allow for a wonderful connection to the landscape. These things are still relevant today. Our glazing systems have come a long way since then, but it’s still important for the connection to nature. 

Photo of Three Oaks ResidenceThree Oaks Residence, photo by Greg Wilson

Saturday, March 28, 10:00 to 11:30am | Sarasota
Three Oaks Residence
1.5 PDH – LA CES™

The namesakes of this Sarasota residence are three elegant live oak trees whose massive canopies diffuse the sunlight and create ideal habitat for a multitude of exotic and beautiful ferns, air plants and sub-tropicals. The overall drama of the site’s design – and its genius – is the regular juxtaposition of white stone rectilinear forms against sinuous, curvilinear plant materials, and the deft use of paving materials. Remnants of the vanishing Florida tropical hardwood hammock are augmented with Sabal palms and an understory of other native and tropical palms and herbaceous species, all interwoven beneath the large oak trees. The entry drive, privacy walls and entry planter are conceived as a singular composition whose design creates a sense of arrival while protecting the signature oaks. An enticing outdoor entertaining and dining area includes an exquisitely proportioned pool and looks out onto a nearby waterway.

Photo of Aquadasia
Aquadisia, photo by SRQ360

Saturday, March 28, 1:00 to 2:30pm | Sarasota 
Aquadisia
1.5 PDH – LA CES™

Situated on a barrier island overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, this landscape is a dazzling mix of geometric form, carefully manicured lawns and the shaggy manes of numerous bamboo trees. The landscape architects collaborated closely with the owner to create a garden that takes full advantage of the site’s location, views and climate. The site’s sequence of designed spaces carefully balances large but simple geometric shapes with a well calibrated plant palette. Entry to the house is gained via a concrete walkway that passes over a water garden and through a glass cube flanked by marble Foo Dogs. The water garden continues to a glass-enclosed lower-level where a waterwall provides the perfect backdrop for a beachside spa and fire pit. The experience of this exquisite landscape is not limited to the ground; a wooden terrace allows full view of the Gulf and a new spiral glass staircase leads to a crow’s nest overlooking the property.

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