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Mt Cuba Center
Back to News Press Release – November 18, 2016

Press Release

Master Planning Begins at Mt. Cuba Center

Hockessin, DE (Nov. 18, 2016) – Mt. Cuba Center announced today the design team partners to lead long range master planning of its landscape and facilities. Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects will lead the design process to develop a long-term plan for Mt. Cuba Center. The nearly 600 acre property includes 20 acres of naturalistic and formal gardens, a research garden focused on horticultural trials of native plants, greenhouse and nursery facilities, a former estate mansion, tenant houses, outbuildings, and over 500 acres of natural areas managed to promote ecosystem health and function. The firm Beyer Blinder Belle will provide architectural services. Recent Nelson Byrd Woltz projects include Hudson Yards in Manhattan, Bok Tower Gardens, and Devonian Botanic Garden in Edmonton. Recent projects of Beyer Blinder Belle include the Longwood Gardens Main Fountain Garden Restoration and Jones Beach State Park Master Planning.


Nelson Byrd Woltz, Beyer Blinder Belle and Mt. Cuba Center staff

The master planning is in progress and is expected to conclude in February of 2018. The plan will focus on enhancing Mt. Cuba Center’s ability to accommodate growing education and research programs, facilitating increasing attendance, improving guest circulation and accessibility, and incorporating natural areas into the guest experience. Master planning will also look to enhance the ecological function of the landscape, consider sustainability enhancements including on-site energy generation, and preserve the scenic character of the gardens and grounds.

“Nelson Byrd Woltz has deep experience harmonizing highly functional ecosystems with inspirational guest experiences,” said Jeff Downing, Mt. Cuba Center’s Executive Director.

“Their sophisticated approach to integrating natural and designed landscapes stood out to us because Mt. Cuba Center’s ambition is to inspire people through direct engagement with the natural world.”

“Beyer Blinder Belle is known for restoring, revitalizing and reusing historic buildings and sites. Their expertise will ensure that Mt. Cuba Center makes the most of our existing facilities, minimizing the need for new construction,” Downing said.

“With this master planning team we are well-positioned to maintain and enhance Mt. Cuba’s unique character while finding contemporary solutions to our emerging needs,” said Travis Beck, ASLA, Director of Horticulture at Mt. Cuba Center.


Chloe Hawkins from Nelson Byrd Woltz

Mt. Cuba Center was established by Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland, who purchased property near the historic village of Mount Cuba in 1935 to build their home. Over the years, the Copelands developed naturalistic gardens featuring what would become a renowned collection of the region’s native plants. The Copelands envisioned that their gardens might someday inspire appreciation of nature and motivate conservation action.

 “The Copelands were innovators,” Downing said.  “Mt. Cuba Center aspires to carry forward our heritage of visionary conservation.  We are excited to work with the exceptional people at Nelson Byrd Woltz and Beyer Blinder Belle to envision that future.”

For more information about Mt. Cuba Center’s master planning process, please contact Travis Beck, ASLA, Director of Horticulture at Mt. Cuba Center:


About Nelson Byrd Woltz

Founded in 1985, Nelson Byrd Woltz (NBW) is a 40-person landscape architecture firm with offices in Charlottesville Virginia and New York City. Committed to education and conservation, the firm has been involved in a broad array of public and private projects including botanic gardens and zoos, arboreta, public parks, private gardens and estates, academic institutions, corporate campuses, and town planning. The firm actively seeks this diversity of project scales and types to cultivate the creativity of the professional staff. The firm’s work has garnered over 95 national and international awards and has been widely published. The work of the firm has been featured in numerous publications including Fast Company and the New York Times and is the subject of a monograph published by Princeton Architectural Press.