Spotlight: RHAA Celebrates the National Park Service Centennial

Welcome back from Spring Break! We hope you were able to experience your education of Landscape Architecture outside of the classroom and in one of the AMAZING National Parks located in California. 2016 marks 100 years after the National Park Service was created by Woodrow Wilson. Frederick Law Olmsted laid the foundations for the management of national parks through his vision for Yosemite in 1865, and his son, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. was instrumental in the drafting of the Organic Act.

San Francisco-based Landscape Architecture firm RHAA continues this good service through their work on almost fifty projects in ten different national parks.  Take a closer look at these projects and consider where your own visions of the landscape can take us in the next 100 years!

Presidio of San Francisco 
San Francisco, CA

Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey is the landscape architect for a multi-disciplinary team providing planning and design services to the National Park Service for the planning, design, and treatment of historic structures and landscapes related to the conversion of the Presidio of San Francisco from an active military base to a national park.  The projects required designs that balance preservation of the Presidio’s cultural landscape with the needs of proposed new uses and regulations such as accessibility.  Specific projects have involved conversion of historic housing for use as overnight accommodations for visitors.  The Presidio is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  This work continues Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey’s involvement with the GGNRA from the initial planning at the park’s inception to this major addition.


Golden Gate National Recreation Area
San Francisco, CA

Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey created a multidisciplinary study of the San Francisco Waterfront and Alcatraz Island which led to a plan for the first major federal recreation area in an urban setting. The plan was based on a two-volume data baseline and analysis, and involved developing diagram alternatives, and environmentally assessing the alternatives, formulating policies and guidelines, followed by area programming and schematic plans. RHAA considered citizens input at each stage of the process through more than 150 local workshops and public forums, written suggestions, petitions and questionnaires.

golden gate

Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey was hired to lead a multidisciplinary team for a challenging site restoration at Glacier Point, one of the top attractions at Yosemite National Park. The area near Glacier Point, which includes the former site of a hotel, has become degraded and barren under the pressures of 400,000 visitors during its five-month season. RHAA took the challenge to redesign the site and facilities to handle the large number of visitors and restore native vegetation, providing a proper setting for the spectacular vistas. A new view terrace and amphitheater provide viewing opportunities, informal seating and a place for interpretive programs. The design goal of the project was to meld the visitor facilities and the spectacular site in a way that is harmonious and has a timeless quality.


Yosemite Institute provides outdoor-science based environmental education in Yosemite National Park to thousands of students and teachers every year.  The Institute is building a new Environmental Education Campus in the park, creating a living-teaching role model of sustainability where students not only hear about living “green” but experience it firsthand.  Drawing inspiration from the surrounding natural ecosystems, the goal is to create a campus that reflects a healthy interdependence between the natural environment and human activities.  The new facilities will integrate the latest sustainable building and energy concepts with the site’s inherent attributes to provide an interactive model of sustainability that engages program participants directly.  RHAA is tasked to analyze potential sites, provide site layout alternatives, create construction documents, and help implement the project during the construction phase.


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