OUR LEGACY
 
For 60 years, we have been creating enduring landscapes that are embraced by their communities far into the future.
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Where We Came From

 
The practice began 60 years ago as Carol R. Johnson & Associates, one of the first women owned landscape architectural practices in the country.  We began as a practice dedicated to the art and craft of landscape architecture with an unrelenting insistence upon quality in design and construction.

Over the past six decades, our practice has evolved and transformed, in both our size and reach, but also in name: Carol R. Johnson Associates, CRJA, and CRJA – IBI Group.  Today we continue as IBI Placemaking.

While our name has changed; our history, our people and our dedication to the practice of landscape architecture remain the same.
 
 

1959 - 1970

Early Years
 
Carol Johnson began her practice in 1959, with the encouragement of colleagues from The Architects Collaborative, where she had worked the previous year, and taking advantage of projects offered her through contacts she had made as a student at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and at Wellesley College.

Between 1959 and 1970, Carol operated her practice initially out of her apartment in Cambridge and then out of a small office on Mount Auburn Street in Harvard Square. As the practice expanded, she moved to larger offices and hired additional employees. In 1970, the firm changed its name from Carol R. Johnson, Landscape Architect, to Carol R. Johnson & Associates to reflect the growing importance of the employees to the practice. In September of 1975, the firm was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Carol R. Johnson & Associates, Inc. During these years, the firm did significant work at the U.S. Pavilion for Expo ’67 in Montreal, Canada.

Over the ensuing years, CRJA, as it became known, grew to become one of the larger landscape architecture firms in the United States, serving a national and international clientele.
 
 

1970-1980’s

 
During the decades of the 1970’s and 1980’s, the firm focused on transforming urban spaces, campuses, industrial sites, and waterfronts into celebrated parks and public spaces. Projects reinforced the hallmarks upon which the practice was founded in 1959, by emphasizing traditional values of dedicated public service, and an unrelenting insistence upon quality in landscape design and construction.

The 1970’s saw the completion of the first of many community-based planning projects for CRJA: the North Common in Lowell, MA. The project was an outgrowth of Lyndon Johnson’s Model Cities Program and began a long tradition within the firm of engaging the community in the design process. The Mystic River Reservation in Medford and Somerville, MA, begun in the late 1970’s and completed in the early 80’s, was an early example of the firm’s ability to meld its interest in history (in this case Charles Elliot’s approach to scenic and natural resource values) with state-of-the-art environmental sciences. A separate land reclamation and restoration effort at a former power plant site on Lake Cayuga in upstate New York helped to restore the site to a natural meadow landscape, which would subsequently go through the normal process of becoming forest again.

The 1980's saw the commencement and completion of many of the firm’s most important public waterfront reclamation and open space projects, including the Old Harbor Park along Dorchester Bay in Boston, MA, completed in 1986; the John F. Kennedy Memorial Park, which unites the Charles River Reservation with nearby Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA, completed in 1987; the Lechmere Canal Park in East Cambridge, MA, an important urban revitalization effort in the City, the first phase of which was completed in 1983; and, significantly, the John Marshall Park along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., completed in 1983.

In tandem with its work on park and waterfront revitalization projects, the firm continued to expand its footprint with design and planning on college and university campuses in the Northeast, undertaking landscape master planning, site design, and restoration efforts at Wellesley College, Williams College, Harvard University and Boston University.
 
 

1990's

PUBLIC REAM HERE & ABROAD
 
During this decade the firm focused a great deal of energy on Boston’s urban, public realm. It took on the role of Lead Landscape Architect for Boston’s Big Dig project. The 10-year effort required as many as 16 full-time staff during peak stages of the project and triggered significant growth within the firm.

This decade also included design of the Harborwalk and Park associated with the Moakley Courthouse, resulting in the first major public open space in Boston’s Seaport District.  The 90’s involved the design of a great number of public schools in the Boston region, and saw the start of the firm’s cemetery planning and design practice, featuring construction of the massive Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, MA.

In the mid 90’s, international design and planning work commenced with projects in Taiwan, Korea and Bermuda. Of the international work, Shae-Tze Island in Taipei and LG Chemical Research Park in Korea were most notable
 
 

2000 - 2011

EXPANDING OUR REACH
 
In August of 2001, CRJA purchased and renovated a former molasses warehouse in Boston’s financial district.  During this decade the firm was led by seven partners, Carol as Chairman Emeritus and Harry Fuller as the firm’s President and Managing Partner.

The firm was working extensively in the Middle East during this time.  Four major projects gave impetus to this growth; Shams Island Central Park, Abu Dhabi, UAE; The American University in Cairo Master Plan and New Campus design, Cairo, Egypt; Marasy Waterfront Residential Complex, Abu Dhabi, UAE; and the Marabet Equestrian Community Master Plan outside Cairo. These and a series of other projects in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Dubai prompted the establishment of a studio in Abu Dhabi from 2007-2011.

In 2005, the firm expanded with a new studio in Knoxville, TN, responding to expanding growth in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast U.S.
 
 

2011 - 2019

CRJA-IBI GROUP CONTINUING AS IBI PLACEMAKING
 
In 2011, CRJA was acquired by the IBI Group of Firms, complimenting their key areas of expertise; Urban Design, Building Facilities, Transportation and Intelligent Systems.  Founded in 1974 and headquartered in Toronto, IBI Group has grown over the years both organically and through strategic acquisitions.

The firm has offices located across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. During these years, the Boston and Knoxville offices have served as a center for excellence in landscape architecture and planning. The acquisition has allowed us to leverage existing relationships and also form new ones within the larger IBI family, enabling us to better serve clients.
 
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