By Helen Walthier

Supporting Application for Tejido Fellowship, 2007-2008

I am particularly interested in the role of landscape architecture within a broad context and in large scale settings. My goal is to create campus, resort, and other large scale master plans in national and international settings. I believe the unique training and insights of Landscape Architects are critical at the global scale. Design solutions are increasingly complex and must be ecologically responsible, culturally sensitive, and economically sustainable to succeed. I intend to create spaces which support people emotionally and economically, and which facilitate an increased awareness of their environment. On a practical level success requires we understand and work with the cultural and governmental influences which directly impact the design process. I expect my past experiences with legal, political, and community issues to provide insight for my work with other professionals toward integrated solutions to the complex issues in these projects. 

 My Masters Report is to prepare a Master Plan for an 1100 hectare Environmental Estate on the outer island of Palawan, the Philippines. I pursued this project in order to prepare for international work of this type. The Estate is located on the Sulu Sea, near the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan.  It was designated by the Philippine government for study, preservation, and education about ecological issues. Palawan is a National Geographic ecological “Hot Spot” of the world. The site has protected Mangrove forests, wetlands, a large river, experimental farms, rain forest, and protected coral beds. Study here will impact ecological knowledge throughout the world. Cultural history includes its use as an experimental “Prison without Bars” for many years, and earlier colonial occupation. An abandoned colonial church and several historical markers will be preserved.

 Three distinct site functions were defined: an Environmental Study and Education Center; a Sustainable Tourism Center; and Preservation/Conservation areas. These areas will be integrated in function and design, and incorporate ecological and cultural sensitivity throughout. Economically the site must contribute to the success of the Palawan people, and provide meaningful work without harming local culture or social structure. I spent two weeks in Palawan studying the physical, cultural, environmental and social influences on my design. Successful integration of these multiple influences offers a unique opportunity to solve design and planning challenges. My solutions may provide insight for other projects which seek to balance ecological study, visitor usage, and preservation on one site.

 I am collaborating with the Mayor, government officials, and local professionals to assess the site and determine its needs and constraints. The Tejido Ordering System provides a foundation for analysis, as well as criteria for evaluation of the success or failure of design solutions. The Ordering System is woven throughout the project. It is expected that the final Master Plan will be used for financial development, and as a framework for staged growth. 

I am honored to design this project and hope to make significant contributions to the field of Landscape Architecture. I believe in the value of what we produce. Thank you for considering my application for a Tejido Fellowship.




Helen Walthier