Lauring Construction and Ryan Associates Celebrate BSA Accessible Design Award for The Court: A Garden Within Reach at Tower Hill Botanic Garden

February 6, 2020
Posted in

February 06, 2020

Universally accessible garden allows people of all ages and abilities to engage directly with plants

WORCESTER, Mass. – Lauring Construction, a third-generation general contracting and construction management firm, and Ryan Associates, a Waltham-based Landscape Architecture and Planning firm, announced today that their project for Tower Hill Botanic Garden was recognized with a 2019 William D. Smith Memorial Award for Accessible Design from the Boston Society of Architects (BSA). The Court: A Garden Within Reach was awarded a citation at the BSA Awards Gala on January 23, 2020, during a ceremony at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Located in Boylston, Mass., Tower Hill Botanic Garden, is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting plants and people. Its mission is to inspire the use and appreciation of horticulture to improve lives, enrich communities, and strengthen commitment to the natural world. The Tower Hill property of 171 acres includes 17 gardens, an historic apple orchard, a restaurant, gift shop, conservatories, library, and art galleries, as well as year-round programs for all ages.

Designed by landscape architects Ryan Associates, The Court: A Garden Within Reach is an 11,000 SF universally accessible garden where people of all ages and abilities can engage directly with the botanical experience. The Garden provides a myriad of opportunities for direct physical interaction with plants through the use of custom designed planters. Lauring Construction erected a serpentine fieldstone wall to form a raised planting bed and seating for the garden. A custom steel planter allows visitors to garden from a standing position and another planter with a gridded planting surface is designed specifically for visitors with visual impairments.

“Lauring Construction and Ryan Associates were true partners in the design and construction of The Court: A Garden Within Reach, taking great care that our new space was accessible and welcome to everyone,” said Grace Elton, CEO at Tower Hill. “The design achieves the often-elusive feat of creating a garden that is as universally beautiful as it is accessible. We look forward to sharing it with our visitors for years to come.”

The sensorial experiences of sound, movement and touch are enhanced through the use of water. Lauring Construction installed a tiered fountain which provides an auditory backdrop while a circular water-table invites touch. Small bronze sculptures evoke a New England pond ecosystem. Thirteen plasma-cut weathering steel screens form a ceremonial entrance to the garden. A collaboration between Ryan Associates, sculptor, illustrator, and local fabricator, these decorative screens, provide protection from the winds that routinely buffet the hilltop location.

The project was funded through private donations – led by Robert Courtemanche, for whom the space is named – and with financial support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

About Lauring Construction

Since 1948, Lauring Construction has provided general contracting and construction management services to a diverse range of clients across Worcester County. Family owned and operated, every project has a member of the ownership team as its project manager. A commitment to quality and craftmanship has resulted in many repeat clients. To learn more, please visit or follow @LauringConstCo on Twitter.

About Ryan Associates

Founded in 1998, Ryan Associates provides a full range of Landscape Architecture and Planning services. We are a team of highly skilled professionals working to realize our client’s goals while recognizing the complex challenges inherent to existing sites. We engage in a wide variety of projects including residential, corporate, institutional and mixed-use development, master planning, public open space, and ecological planning. Ryan Associates is frequently invited to partner with other firms based on our strong technical expertise in design, construction and horticulture.

Media Contact

Susan Shelby, FSMPS, CPSM
Rhino PR for Lauring Construction


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