ASLA just announced their 2009 awards. After perusing the selections I picked out a couple I felt had understated qualities.
Macallen Building | South Boston | MA
Landworks Studio, Inc., Boston, MA | client: Pappas Properties, Inc.
Situated between South Boston and an expansive field of infrastructure, and addressing the Boston skyline, the Macallen Building and landscape form an icon of sustainable development for the city. The project establishes a sense of place centered on a shared ethos of ecological responsibility and smart urban living. Within each tier of Macallen's tripartite landscape, this social and ecological imperative emerges according to its situation and program. The Macallen Building won LEED Gold in 2008.
Stone Edge Farm | Sonoma | CA
Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, San Francisco, CA
This project, designed as a retreat for the client, is composed of elegantly balanced and linked elements within a serene, uncluttered landscape. A carefully sited trilogy of structures — celestial observatory, spa, stone pyramid — are grounded by linear forms, including a reflecting pool, raised lap pool, and bars of olive trees. The composition floats within meadows of drought-tolerant grasses, connecting the site to the larger Sonoma Valley landscape.