MRWM Landscape Architects has been around a long time – forty-four years to be exact. Over that time our name has gone through eight different iterations, from Baker H. Morrow Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, to Morrow and Company, Ltd., to Morrow Reardon Wilkinson Miller Landscape Architects, and finally to MRWM Landscape Architects.
We’re often referred to simply as MRW, or Morrow’s, or Baker’s. Anyone who has answered the phone in our office knows that Morrow Reardon Wilkinson Miller is a mouthful and MRWM isn’t much easier. Everyone from our collaborators to our clients have trouble getting our name right. Recently, an architect that we work with decided that he wanted to get the letters of our name right every time and so he developed a mnemonic: MR. WilliaM. And it works!
It works so well, in fact, that we’ve decided to adopt Mr. William as the playful mascot of our new blog and declare him a crow.
Crows display many of the qualities we value at MRWM, such as being adept problem solvers with excellent communication skills. Crows are highly adaptable, yet misunderstood birds (more on that later) who have devised highly innovative ways of surviving in urban environments. Urban crows require only 10% of the nesting territory that crows living in the wilderness do and can tolerate range overlap. These are pretty progressive ideas, some that we all could learn from.
But you might ask, “How is a crow misunderstood, and what does that have to do with MRWM and landscape architecture?" I’ll tell you. Crows are often portrayed as rowdy pests, or even as ominous, when in fact they are social, family-oriented birds who eat more agricultural insect pests than they do crops. So much for scarecrows.
As for us, a common question I get asked after I’ve told someone I’m a landscape architect is, “What should I do about my roses?” That’s a little like asking an architect how to repair a hole in your wall. Like walls for buildings, plants are elements we use to define and shape outdoor spaces. Though we do know what conditions roses work well in, unless we have them in our own gardens, most of us don’t know why the leaves got black spots on them last summer.
Pecos River Ranch
Landscape architects don’t work exclusively with plants. Plants are only one of the many tools we have in our repertoire of strategies for making our landscapes functional and memorable. More than just plants, we work with public safety, health and wellness, universal accessibility, ecosystems, sustainability, art, sociology, science and more. Landscape architects are so misunderstood that municipalities still hire architects and engineers to design their parks. We want to change that. Not because architects and engineers can’t design a good park, but because it’s not their job to. Landscape architects are specifically trained to design terrific city parks, and then help revitalize the same city’s Main Street, and enhance and preserve its historic civic plaza and ensure that each space connects and forms a logical network of beautifully sustainable outdoor spaces that residents and visitors can easily navigate. And thus transform a municipality into a city that people want to live in.
On a single project we may create a phasing plan for incremental development, design a complex irrigation system for a series of athletic fields, recommend a circulation plan that safely allows vehicular and pedestrian traffic to co-exist, and draw up a set of terraced gardens that capture rainwater and display masses of native flowering plants that both enchant and educate.
Martineztown Park, Albuquerque
Learn with us
So, are you ready to tell the next person you meet all about the unique qualities of crows and the impact that landscape architects have on communities and quality of life? Don’t worry, you don’t have to yet. We have more to share. Through this blog we want to tell you our thoughts about the future of the built environment and lessons learned from our extensive past experience. We will be drawing on the knowledge and talent of our eleven licensed landscape architects to bring you a wealth of thoughts, insights and inspiring images. We'll share our expertise with you and give you a look behind the scenes.
As licensed landscape architects, we believe that thoughtful planning, resilient design, careful use of resources, and concern for all people, of all ages and abilities and status, will result in projects of significance and positive consequence.
We hope you will find information here that is valuable, enlightening and engaging. And we hope you’ll share your own ideas and questions with us. Ask Mr. William. We might just write a post about it.
Further reading: Landscape Architect 101: Learn What Landscape Architects Do