OUR VISION + MISSION
We design for people and habitats. We design to catalyze and inspire just futures.
We co-create compassionate, immersive, and resilient spaces that confront the issues of our time.
We acknowledge that land is an expression of power and believe that it can be redistributed through the design process.
We integrate natural systems and climate resilience across all scales.
We practice with curiosity and open-ended design methods.
We embrace love, joy and gratitude as foundational to collaboration.
We approach design as optimists to catalyze positive change in communities.
We respect place by spending time and building deep relationships with sites.
We leverage our medium and position to uplift voices of the new majority.
We commit to empathetic listening as a means to just outcomes.
We celebrate landscape as a verb and a cultural medium.
We elevate truth in our practice through storytelling.
TEN x TEN was founded in 2015 by Maura Rockcastle and Ross Altheimer as a mission-driven landscape architecture and urbanism practice with the ambition of confronting issues of our time. It has grown into a transdisciplinary team of 18, grounded by shared curiosity and passion for experimentation and agency. We collaborate with visionary clients and teams to co-create immersive, resilient landscapes that adapt to social, economic, and environmental transformation. Capitalizing on creative alliances between fields, we operate comfortably within a shifting set of disciplinary boundaries. We listen, communicate, and trust, cultivating a design process full of community and laughter.
Our work pays careful attention to craft, beauty, and temporality inherent in any landscape. Merging art and science, our process challenges norms of the landscape architecture profession. We ask: What do we see? How can we document, investigate and experiment to build relationships and deepen our ways of knowing? How can we apply various modes of seeing and making to discover the magic latent in a site? Our studies document change: mold, decay, growth, competition, failure and resilience. We explore spaces, materials, and ecologies at all scales, and elevate the everyday human experience through a deep respect for the authenticity of people, culture, and ecology.
TEN x TEN has contributed to regional and national design dialogues through lecturing, teaching, interviews, essays, and features in publications including Landscape Architecture Magazine, Dwell Magazine, and Architectural Digest. Our work has been recognized with over a dozen design awards including a 2020 AN Best of Design Award and two 2021 National ASLA Awards. Current clients/collaborators include: The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Gallaudet University, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the City of St.Paul and the Minnesota Zoo.
Photo Credit: Iwan Baan
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is the world’s largest and longest-running organization focused entirely on gorilla conservation. Despite dramatic growth in their programs, they still operate out of rented facilities that were not built for their unique needs. Thanks to a generous lead gift from The Ellen Fund, the Fossey Fund was able to advance their vision for a purpose-built, permanent headquarters in Rwanda. The mission of the new campus is to inspire and educate the next generation of conservationists in Africa and beyond.
Sitting adjacent to Volcanoes National Park, where the gorillas live, this multi-acre research facility with laboratories, community spaces, classrooms, science library, interactive exhibit and conservation gallery, and on-site residences for visiting students and scientists are connected through an immersive reforested landscape. The campus is a living laboratory that will embody the Fossey Fund’s mission to limit its impact on the environment through the use of local materials, rainwater harvesting, green roofs, the planting of over 250,000 native plant species and a constructed wetland to treat wastewater.
Interpretive trails tell the story of critical gorilla habitat, creating interactive opportunities for visitors to engage with a day-in-the-life of a gorilla and increase local access to experience the gorilla habitat. An outdoor amphitheater in the heart of campus provides a space for large gatherings, lectures, and celebration.
Landscapes are collections of constantly changing entities. From the release of a cottonwood seed to the shove of a kayak or a torrential downpour, landscapes are active grounds for both human and non-human movement. Their materials and forms grow, shift, and alter moment to moment, season to season, century to century. As designers of landscapes, we are constantly seeking ways to immerse ourselves in its dynamism to better understand it, to build a relationship with us, and to practice discovery as a generative act.
Liminal Wetness is a body of work created for an exhibition (in collaboration with Karen Lutsky) that highlights TEN x TEN’s site exploration methods for the Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles Landscape Plan. These lakes are the two northernmost lakes in the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park, the most visited park in the state of Minnesota. The exhibition showcased a diversity of methods and media positioned to explore and reconsider this edge, which has been heavily manipulated over time. We invited viewers to engage with our creative process as we decoded, situated, and revealed a multitude of layers and forces (time, light, temperature, texture, water, mud, vegetation, and movement) at play in this landscape.
Our practice tests, questions and responds to the magic latent in each site. We develop methods of exploration and representation that allow us to find the unexpected and amplify the possibilities of a site.
Nested within the armature of a 1,300-foot-long historic steel mill along Pittsburgh’s Monongahela River, two new buildings sit in the shadows of trusses clad with solar panels. The multi-phased adaptive reuse project sits within a 170-acre brownfield site that is being transformed into a highly sustainable, high-tech innovation district. An event plaza, stormwater channel, gardens that display disturbance-adapted vegetation, and public gathering spaces define a reimagined public realm that celebrates industrial legacy.
Phase A and B highlight a range of sustainable measures to meet the goal of achieving LEED-NC v4 gold certification and near net zero energy usage. Key site sustainability strategies include material reuse, stormwater management facilities and disturbance-adapted planting gardens focused on carbon sequestration and resilience over time.
Through a careful process of inventorying, salvaging, editing, and innovation, the design team rejected erasure to create new elements from remnants of the past. Early site investigations inventoried the textures, materiality, and character of the post-industrial site through rubbings and clay impressions. These studies informed joinery details, material selections and finishes across the various furniture and hardscape elements within the new landscape.
Photo Credit: Morgan Sheff Photography
In 2013, the last two-story member of the original Rondo neighborhood family of buildings succumbed to the wrecking ball. It was preceded in destruction by more than 80 siblings throughout Rondo as a result of Interstate 94’s construction. As keeper of Rondo’s legacy, Rondo Avenue, Inc. (RAI) championed a plan that re-purposed the vacant lot as a commemorative plaza. The goal was to preserve community memory and provide a multi-layered park that could catalyze community gathering and remembering of the violent deconstruction of St. Paul’s historic African American neighborhood, Rondo.
Like many of the properties lost to the construction of the freeway, the pocket park is the size of a typical St. Paul residential lot (5,662 SF). The plaza was conceived as an outdoor community room with a series of curated spaces for people to gather, reflect, play, perform and learn. The program is manifested through a series of interconnected interpretive spaces each telling the story of Rondo’s past, present and future. The team was composed of architects, artists and clients that are descendants of Rondo residents. The design team translated a modest budget into a meaningful and functional place recalling both residential and infrastructural landscapes through materials and assemblies.
Photo Credit: Gaffer Photography
The Tri-Faith Commons is a 35-acre campus in Omaha, Nebraska that is home to the Tri-Faith Initiative (TFI). TFI consists of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faith groups who have established a faith-based campus together practicing respect, acceptance, and trust. The site was also home to Omaha’s only Jewish golf course, Ironwood Country Club. The design team worked closely with the faith groups and stakeholders, facilitating visioning workshops to ground the campus planning in the organizational mission of all institutions. The team spent significant time on site recording video and sound using it as the basis of the site inventory methods.
The Tri-Faith Commons design is rooted in shared Abrahamic values such as the sacred role of water, belief in God, role of prayer, worship, and fellowship. These values and shared/differing identities are drawn together and shared through a series of large and small-scaled moves in the Campus. The secondary walks, faith-based gardens, range of gathering spaces and plantings are grounded in ambitions of stewardship, ecological restoration, and water health. The signature feature is Abraham’s Bridge which facilitates the inward and outward connection of the site to Hell Creek and the broader community.