New England Design Hall of Fame 2016: Anne Lacouture PennimanText by Lisa H. Speidel
On Thursday, November 10 New England Home and the design community will be celebrating the 2016 inductees into the New England Design Hall of Fame. Join us in congratulating Anne Loucuture Penniman honored for landscape architecture.
Designing beautiful landscapes is both art and science. Fortunately, Anne Lacouture Penniman is highly skilled at creating spaces that look lovely and perform perfectly. Penniman comes to her craft armed with impeccable training, first from Yale, where as an undergrad she pursued history and American culture, and later from the University of Virginia, where she studied landscape architecture within the broader context of architecture and urban planning.
In the twenty-five years since founding her eponymous firm, Penniman has built an award-winning practice doing everything from high-end residential and estate work, to parks, non-profits, and small commercial work.
For each project, whether a grand estate or a small urban garden, there is much to consider. “Our approach is multi-dimensional,” she says. “It’s not just about the sun and the shade; it’s about the soils, the vegetation, the lost plant communities that were there before development.”
The practical is key: ensuring that there is space for parking or that the vegetable garden has good drainage. And so is the existing architecture. “I’m very much about the context,” Penniman says. While her technical prowess sets her work apart, there’s also something less tangible at play. She calls it honoring the genius loci, the spirit of the space. “Here I am in someone’s yard—I’m drawing out what is good, discovering it, enhancing it,” she says.
This notion goes hand in hand with her dedication to infusing her sites with materials that are local and sustainable. “I’m so interested in nature and nature’s processes and sustainable practices,” she says. “Nature has a therapeutic, healing force, and that’s what drives my work.”
And Penniman’s clients are the lucky beneficiaries, as she seamlessly bridges the gap between people and nature, form and function.
View a stunning landscape that Penniman designed for an historic home coastal Rhode Island home here.
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