LRSLAstudio forges new paths in university settings


The award-winning team at LRSLAstudio (fomerly Lager Raabe Skafte Landscape Architects) was founded by Anita Lager and the late Peta Raabe in 1991. Together with principals Karen Skafte and Julie Bush, the firm is now made up of eight design professionals. Using CAD software to create beautiful, sustainable spaces, LRSLAstudio has transformed dozens of playgrounds, campus sites, and many other public and private spaces of various sizes in and around Philadelphia.

One of the firm’s notable projects is The University of Pennsylvania’s Woodland Walk. In 2006, the university enlisted LRSLAstudio to propose a solution for the 3700 block of Woodland Walk that would replace crumbling pavement and reduce storm water runoff from the site. The design included granite curbing, permeable brick paving, an ornamental fence, and shrub and perennial planting. While excavating the walk, the contractor discovered that under many layers of asphalt, some fill, and even a sidewalk, lay the old city roadbed that had been covered in the 1960s. This discovery led to the need to make detailing changes in a short period of time in order to maintain the construction schedule.

The site plan for the Woodland Walk project.

Landscape architect Emma Johnson used design software to carefully document the project. “We prepare both construction and design sketches, which can include details, sections, elevations, plans, or perspectives, using the Vectorworks application,” she explains. “Vectorworks software was a good tool for us on this project. The fact that we could easily and quickly issue construction sketches—revisions to the original drawings—to the contractor was important.”

The firm also relied on the Vectorworks program to save time throughout the design process. Johnson streamlined interactions with the engineer on the Woodland Walk project by collaborating through software. “It was great that we could send them a DWG file and export it so that the line weights would come in correctly. It saved them a lot of time and there was less going back and forth and making sure everything read correctly.”

Woodland Walk looking west.

To read more about the work of LRSLAstudio, please visit the Case Studies section of our website.