NC Landscape Architect Dick Bell Publishes First Book

The Bridge Builders explores the evolution of a master designer.

January 3, 2011 (ATLANTIC BEACH, NC) – From growing up on North Carolina’s Outer Banks during the Great Depression and World War II, to watching as his immigrant father designed and built the first “Lost Colony” amphitheater, to a series of adventures that began when he won the coveted Prix de Rome in 1951, landscape architect Richard C. “Dick” Bell explores his evolution as a designer in his first book, The Bridge Builders.

Dick Bell is the Southern landscape architect who created such seminal landmarks as the North Carolina State University “Brickyard,” the City of Raleigh’s beloved Pullen Park, and the Meredith College Amphitheater in Raleigh, among 2000 other projects he has completed in his long career – projects that left a profound imprint on his profession and his state. Through The Bridge Builders, he explores the people, places, and educational experiences that made him the man and the designer he came to be.

Published by Vantage Press, The Bridge Builders begins with his paternal grandparents’ immigration from England to Canada in the early years of the 20th century, before his father hastened their relocation to North Carolina. As a young boy in the sea and sand of Manteo, NC, and as a son and grandson of avid gardeners, Bell developed an intense love of nature and conservation that would define his illustrious career. As the youngest recipient of the Prix de Rome, his travel abroad would forever influence how he designed outdoor spaces for human enjoyment.

The book concludes just as Bell is starting what would become one of his master works and a living laboratory for landscape architecture, the former Water Garden in Raleigh – the “Taliesin” of North Carolina.

Midwest Book Review says: “The Bridge Builders is a memoir from Richard Bell as he reflects on being an American who came to love art and architecture in Europe and did well in helping establish important work that earned him a place as town hero in Raleigh. The Bridge Builders is intriguing and thoughtful for those looking for a read that bridges art and architecture.”

The book includes a collection of photos from Bell’s life and travels along with original sketches and watercolors he made during his years at the American Academy in Rome.
Bell is planning to publish another book or white paper in the future that will include case studies of his major projects.

Click HERE to learn more about The Bridge Builders.

The order a copy of the book ($16.95), call by phone 24-hours a day: 877-736-5403, option 5; or fax an order to 212-736-2273.

Dick Bell in Pullen Park © f8 Photo Studios

About the author:

A multi-award-winning landscape architect, Richard C. Bell was educated at the North Carolina State University School of Design (now College of Design), graduating in 1950 as part of Dean Henry Kamphoefner’s first class. He apprenticed under Simonds & Simonds of Pittsburgh, PA, and Frederick B. Stresau of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He received the Prix de Rome at age 21, which allowed him to travel and study in Europe for two years. He founded his first firm in Raleigh, NC, in 1955, introducing the practice of landscape architecture as a registered profession to the state. (He was the first person elected to the registration board.) He has been a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects since 1954 and was elected to Fellowship in 1980. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. He was the first recipient of the ASLA NC’s Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement and inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2008. He now lives in Atlantic Beach, NC, where he continues to work on select projects.

NC Landscape Architect’s Work Featured In National Press

Dick Bell photographed in Pullen Park, one of the many landmark projects he created in Raleigh. (photo by f8 Photo Studios)

Dick Bell, FASLA, is back in the news


November 8, 20101 (ATLANTIC BEACH, NC) – Master landscape architect Richard C. “Dick” Bell, FASLA, was honored recently to have one of his favorite projects included in Landscape Architect magazine’s Centennial Issue and to have his career praised in Architects + Artisans, an online magazine dedicated to “thoughtful design for a sustainable world.”


A resident of Atlantic Beach, NC, now, Bell was in Raleigh visiting his daughter recently when he picked up a copy of Landscape Architect’s October edition and discovered his drawing for the NC State University Student Plaza, also known as “The Brickyard,” in the section on Design. Landscape Architecture is the official publication of the American Society of Landscape Architects.


“I had no idea,” he said. “I was truly surprised and honored.”


The Design section spotlights landscape architecture projects that embraced modernist design, rather than European-inspired formalism or classicism. Three blocks long and one block wide, The Brickyard’s flowing, curvilinear design exemplifies the modern aesthetic in landscape architecture and has become an iconic gathering place for NC State students, faculty and visitors since it was competed in 1970.


Concurrent with the appearance of his design in Landscape Architecture, Architects + posted an article entitled “A Life In Landscape Architecture” on October 26.

"The Brickyard" at NC State University


“New Yorkers may claim Frederick Law Olmsted as their own, and Virginians might cling to the gardens that Charles Gillette once molded and shaped, but North Carolinians today can embrace their own living icon of the landscape architecture profession,” wrote A+A editor Mike Welton with staff writer Cheryl Wilder about Bell and his career, which began in the 1950s and continues today.


In the A+A article, Bell names The Brickyard as one of his favorite projects among over 2000 projects he has completed. A+A also notes:


“When [Bell] was inducted into the 2008 Raleigh Hall of Fame, the non-profit group noted that he’s driven by a single professional mission: ‘To leave a little beauty behind wherever I go.’ Over a long and successful career, that’s the very least he’s achieved.”


Architects + Artisans is located at

The Meredith College Amphitheater


For more information on Dick Bell, visit and


About Dick Bell:


A native of Manteo, NC, award-winning landscape architect Richard C. Bell is a fellow of both the American Society of Landscape Architecture and the American Academy in Rome. He was educated at the North Carolina State University School of Design, graduating as a member of its School’s first graduating class in 1950. He apprenticed under Simonds & Simonds of Pittsburgh, PA, and Frederick B. Stresau of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. At the age of 21, he was the youngest designer to receive the Prix de Rome. He founded his first firm in Raleigh, NC, in 1955, introducing the practice of landscape architecture as a registered profession to the state and was the first person elected to the registration board. He has completed over 2000 landscape architecture projects ranging from major city and highway corridors to city parks, university plazas and amphitheatres, mixed-use beachfront developments, and individual residences. A recognized leader in environmentalism and sustainable design long before the words became part of the general lexicon, he was inducted in the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2008 and continues his practice in Atlantic Beach, NC.

Dick Bell, Brian Shawcroft Headline Final “Appetite 4 Architecture” Dinner & Discussion

Dick Bell at Pullen Park in Raleigh. Bell designed the park in the 1960s. Photo © f8 Photo StudiosMay 18, 2010 (RALEIGH, NC) –Two North Carolina masters of modern design – landscape architect Dick Bell, FASLA, and architect Brian Shawcroft, AIA – will headline the final “Appetite 4 Architecture” dinner and discussion on Tuesday, June 1, at Solas restaurant on Glenwood South in Raleigh.

Appetite 4 Architecture (A4A) is sponsored by Triangle Modernist (TMH) as a way for the general public to dine with prominent members of the Triangle’s design community in an intimate, small group setting. Dinner guests are able to discuss anything they want with the designers, from their dream home or renovation project, to the designers’ work or modernist houses they’ve admired. Previous A4A dinners have featured award-winning architects and designers Frank Harmon, Dail Dixon, Will Alphin, Vinny Petrarca, Arthur Cogswell, Louis Cherry, Philip Szostak, and Ellen Cassilly.

Dick Bell, a fellow of both the American Society of Landscape Architects and the American Academy in Rome, is well known in the Capital City for the many landmark-status projects he has designed over his 55-year career. A graduate of the first class of the then-newly established School of Design at North Carolina State University, he designed Pullen Park, the NCSU’s “Brickyard” plaza and sculpture garden, the amphitheater at Meredith College, the serpentine wall and soccer field at St. Mary’s College, the Moore Square Transit block in the central business district, and the grounds for the modernist Legislative Building. His work largely introduced the practice of landscape architecture to the general public back before it was a registered profession. And his former “Water Garden” home/office complex on Highway 70 was the proving ground for generations of young landscape architects as well as the home of “Garden Gallery,” a prominent cultural center from 1960s through the 1980s.

Brian Shawcroft is synonymous with modernist residential design in the Triangle area. A graduate of the

Brian Shawcroft, AIA, one of the most prolific modernist designers in the Triangle.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, he worked with the renowned Harwell Hamilton Harris, FAIA, in Raleigh before establishing the firm Shawcroft-Taylor with architect Clay Taylor in 1971. From that point, the British transplant designed nearly the Triangle area’s entire modernist house inventory from the 1970s through the 1990s.

“These prolific gentlemen know just about everything concerning Raleigh residential architecture and the NCSU College of Design for the last 50-plus years,” said TMH founder and director George Smart. “This A4A dinner event is a rare opportunity to enjoy free-ranging discussions with two giants in their fields in an informal but upscale dining environment.”

Tickets for the Bell-Shawcroft dinner are $49 per person, which includes three courses (appetizer, entree, dessert) from a pre-selected menu, plus coffee, water, tea, tax, and gratuity. Vegetarian options will also be available. Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on Appetite 4 Architecture, or to reserve tickets for the Bell-Shawcroft dinner, go to

For more information on Triangle Modernist Houses, visit

About Triangle Modernist Houses

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is a 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 to restoring and growing modernist architecture in the Triangle. The award-winning website, now the largest educational and historical archive for modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina modernism.  TMH also hosts popular modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle’s most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these “works of art” for future generations. Visit the website at TMH also has an active community on Facebook.

Landscape Architect Dick Bell Makes 2007 Who’s Who List

Award-winning landscape architect Dick Bell, FASLA, who recently relocated to Atlantic Beach, NC, after 52 years of living and working in Raleigh, has been included in Metro Magazine’s 2007 Who’s Who list of men and women who have made significant contributions to the state’s Triangle region.

Each January, Raleigh’s Metro Magazine recognizes men and women who have ”quietly and effectively accomplished great things that help keep [the Triangle region] on top of the list in national and global achievement,” according to editor and publisher Bernie Reeves. These men and women comprise the magazine’s annual Who’s Who list, and the 2008 roster appears in the January edition now on newsstands and at

Bell, a fellow of both the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the American Academy in Rome, was cited for spending “a lifetime living up to a personal edict: ‘I want to leave a little beauty behind wherever I go.’

“Thousands of people have been touched by Dick Bell’s work,” writes Metro. “The children who play among the rolling hills and lush gardens of Raleigh’s Pullen Park, the students and faculty who stroll along NC State University’s famed ‘Brickyard’ and Student Center sculpture plaza, the crowds who gather by the little lake at Meredith College’s amphitheatre for concerts or weddings, downtown folks who enjoy the fountains, benches and green space within Moore Square Transit block – these are only a few places among nearly 2000 projects where Bell has left ‘a little beauty behind’ throughout his 52-year career.”

Bell and his wife, Mary Jo, moved permanently to the condominium they’ve owned in Tar Landing Villas in Atlantic Beach since Bell masterplanned that development over 30 years ago. He intends to continue his pursuit of “leaving a little beauty behind” on the coast, he said.

Established in 1999, the four-color monthly Metro Magazine has a circulation of 40,000 and covers the region from the Triangle to the coast. For more information, go to