Local Office Landscape & Urban Design, LLC, was founded in 2006 by Harvard Graduate School of Design classmates Jennifer Bolstad and Walter Meyer. Operating between infrastructure, urbanism, and ecology, the firm has garnered accolades from across the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, public policy, science and art. The partners have been engaged as speakers and visiting critics at Columbia University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Parsons New School, Pratt Institute, City College of New York, the University of Florida, Florida International University, and the University of Puerto Rico.
The firm’s recent built work includes the Parque del Litoral, in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, the largest urban park ever constructed in the country. At 2.5 km long, this beachfront park served as the site of the 2010 Central American Games. Local Office’s innovative approach to the site design won the project a distinguished honor award from the American Institute of Architects in Puerto Rico. Along with Ponce architect Javier Bonnin, Local Office created a natural water filtration membrane of dunes and wetlands. Situated at the edge of the city between the mountains and the sea, the entire park functions as a living stormwater treatment facility, restoring the decaying coral reef in the Caribbean Sea by ameliorating the city’s water pollution.
In September 2010, the firm’s partners were recognized for their ‘leadership and innovation in the green economy’ by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington DC. The New York State Council of the Arts awarded a 2009 Individual Projects in Architecture research grant to Local Office for their work in developing a modular, mobile and immediately-deployable solution to New York City’s combined sewer overflow pollution. In 2008, Local Office received a Merit Award from the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for the project “Garden between City and Sea,” a realization of the principles of sustainable coastal landscape architecture at a very small scale.
The firms’ partners were both raised on farms – Walter on a tree farm in tropical South Florida and Jennifer on an organic cattle farm in temperate Wisconsin. Their lifelong interest in natural systems and plant communities fosters an intuitive sense of how to intervene sustainably in the living landscape.