Io | Design | Collaborative

Urban Design + Landscape Architecture

Portfolio
  • Trackline Trails Master Plan

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    The Ogden Business Exchange is an outdoor-recreation lifestyle business and industrial park on the site of the former Ogden Union Stockyards.  Io previously completed the Master Plan for the entire development.  In this phase of the project we worked with the Ogden Trails Network and a mountain bike trail design specialist, Cimarron Chacon, to master plan the open space located along the development’s northern edge, on the banks of the Weber River, incorporating the site’s former sheep loading ramps (stairs) and stamped concrete loading dock.   The Master Plan for Trackline Park includes approximately 1.5 miles of intermediate dirt single-track trails, with several areas for optional advanced features.  The layout is designed to be spectator friendly, with features positioned to take advantage of existing views for dramatic photos of riding action.   The park also includes a bouldering park, amphitheater, and pedestrian trails connecting throughout.  The design is unique in that it integrates historic loading ramps (stairs) along a stamped concrete platform, remnants of the site’s historic use for livestock.

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    Trackline Trails Master Plan
    historic motion organic
  • Montessori Playground

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    Io designed the proposed playground for the new Providence Montessori Academy in South Ogden, Utah.  In keeping with the spirit and philosophy of Montessori style learning, the playground incorporates natural play features including a dry-stream bed with a small running water feature, along with native and pollinator friendly vegetation, and recycled log playground equipment.  The playground is centered around and outdoor gathering space, including small amphitheater and seating area featuring natural log benches and tables, adjacent to an enclosed toddler play space.  The design takes advantage of natural grade-change across the site and includes embankment climbing features and slides.  Traditional playground elements including a sport court, fitness trail, and open lawn area are also part of the design.

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    Montessori Playground
    art motion
  • Butterfly Garden

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    Butterfly Garden
    organic
  • Ogden Plaza

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    Ogden Plaza
    urban
  • The Meadows Art Plaza

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    The Steppe at the Meadows, is a pedestrian plaza adjacent to the Ogden River Parkway.  The bio-inspired design draws inspiration from the succession of plant communities from grassland to shrub land to forest.  Io created a bold horizontal rhythm using a concrete paving pattern that morphs from the ground plane into raised planters and benches.  The overall effect makes the narrow space feel wider, while offering visual interest and seating opportunities.  Other amenities include shade canopies, street trees, and a fire pit.

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    The Meadows Art Plaza
    urban
  • Fitts Park

    FITTS PARK MASTER PLAN

    Io’s master plan for Fitts Park focuses on stream bank restoration for Millcreek and two smaller tributary canals that flow through the site; as well as trail development within the park and connection to the broader Mill Creek Trail system. The plan was the result of a coordinated effort with the City of South Salt Lake, and included extensive public input. The design also calls for an expansion of playground and recreation spaces, including a sand and nature-play area adjacent to a small creek, and treehouse and rope bridge across the water.

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    FITTS PARK MASTER PLAN
    Fitts Park
    organic
  • Community Tapestry

    This central space features a railroad roundhouse inspired pergola, the articulation is inspired by the mid-century formalism of the adjacent library building.

    Io’s winning entry in the reVIVE design competition, weaves a dynamic narrative of history, culture, and ecology. Inspired by a historic diagram of the Ogden rail yard, the design creates a sinuous circulation network connecting varied programmatic elements while maintaining large swaths of green-space. Introduced topography creates a sense of spatial progression, and adds more functionality (play, sledding, and viewing). The bold use of color celebrates Ogden’s cultural diversity, outdoor recreation industry, and arts community. Details like the use of railroad ties as seating, and roundhouse inspired pergola recall the city’s railroad past. Fluid bands of native plant communities complement the existing urban forest adding ecological functionality, a distinct sense of place, and important culture-nature connections.

    The competition was hosted by the American Institute of Architects, Utah Chapter in conjunction with the Young Architect’s Forum.  Community partners included Ogden City, the Weber County Library, and the Ogden Rotary Club.

    Juror accolades included:

    “Their organic design utilizing space in free-flowing zones shows a respect of the block’s occupants as does the wonderfully structured seating area. I was impressed with their concern for the environment and showed that throughout their design.”

    -Hikmet Loe

    “Robust is one word that describes this proposal. From plantings that would expand habitat for birds and provide a visually rich and varied landscape, and a host of activities that promote health, relaxation, challenges and sensitive attention to the seniors living and socializing in and near the park brought this proposal to the front of the line. With references to the railroads that underpin much of Ogden’s story, energetic murals that reflect values, culture and aspirations, it was clear that the designer’s listened intently to the criteria and community interests. Library events can easily spill into the park, and painterly approach to the overall landscape creates invites people to explore and immerse themselves in a visually rich environment which, by itself, becomes subtle and powerful activity.”

    -Stephen A. Goldsmith16.022.Lester ParkSite Plan  16.022.Lester ParkPlayground  16.022.Lester ParkNW View 16.022.Lester ParkNE View  16.022.Lester ParkMeadow

    This central space features a railroad roundhouse inspired pergola, the articulation is inspired by the mid-century formalism of the adjacent library building.
    Community Tapestry
    organic
  • Healy House

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    The Healy Home is located in the Eccles Historic District in Ogden, Utah. Originally built in 1920 by Patrick Healy, Jr., this English Country Manor is one of the most unique historic buildings anywhere in Ogden. Io worked with the current owner to create a period appropriate landscape design for the home that was also representative of the owner’s unique design sensibilities. Some other design criteria included that the design be water efficient and pollinator friendly.

    The Master Plan for the garden creates a series of outdoor rooms beginning with the front-yard. Here, a stacked stone retaining wall capitalizes on the grade of the site to create a crisp edge complete with boxwood hedge around the cottage garden. Stone steps and brick walkways compliment the English-country feel of the garden while organic bands of lavender and yellow perennials (our modern interpretation of a French parterre garden) complete the colorful and romantic setting.

    The side yard is designed by a custom ornamental iron fence, designed by Io, in an arts & crafts lotus pattern. An arched gate cheerfully entices visitors to follow the thyme and moss filled stepping stone pathway through the side yard. Here, a native scrub-oak forest envelops the south-side of the home while offering a period-appropriate buffer to the noise of the adjacent busy street.

    The rear-yard is dominated by two ancient Austrian Pines whose dense shade and constant needle litter made planting a challenge. Here, we created an intimate courtyard space featuring brick patio looking onto a beautiful art-deco bronze fountain. A shade garden, including Japanese forest grasses, kinninnick, and ajuga, creates a serene pallete.

    Future phases of the design include a larger entertainment patio and pergola and an expansive kitchen garden and English-style greenhouse.

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    Healy House
    residential
  • THE ARGYLE

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    The Argyle in Downtown Salt Lake City, is a 1960’s era apartment complex that recently underwent a complete renovation.  The owners were seeking to capture a hip, young urban audience, while capitalizing on the vintage flare of the existing building.  Io worked to create an authentic mid-century modern pool area.  Io designed the butterfly-roof cabanas, and marble-clad outdoor fireplace, along with the Vegas-inspired sputnik starburst that is visible from outside of the pool courtyard.  We completed construction documents, and design details for the construction of the cabana buildings, pool fence, hardscape paving and planter walls, as well as the landscape and irrigation.  We also worked closely with the contractor and pool builder on the design of the pool and hot tub areas.

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    THE ARGYLE
    urban
  • KIESEL AVENUE

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    Io was retained by Ogden City to help plan for and design an urban connector between Ogden’s Historic 25th Street and The Junction. Even though these districts are just one block apart, there was little visual or physical connections between them to encourage visitors (specifically pedestrians) to flow from one space into the other. The Kiesel Avenue streetscape was an opportunity to connect these two vibrant districts by creating an arts corridor, sub-district applying tactical urban design principles, and pedestrian friendly strategies.

    Our design for the Kiesel Avenue Streetscape included raising the grade of the road to create the feel of one long linear plaza space flanked by a highly visible raised crosswalk on the 25th street intersection. This allows the pedestrian and vehicular traffic surfaces to visually flow together into one long plaza space with the physical traffic separation provided by recessed planter beds interspersed throughout the design.

    Other design elements included lighted bollards, pedestrian seating and paver walkway surfaces. The entire east side of the street is occupied by a parking garage which was especially challenging because it does not offer an active use to populate the street. Instead, we proposed to turn it into an art feature by cladding the structure with perforated metal screens with a pixelated image of the Mount Ogden skyline (a view that one would have originally had from the site pre-development).

    OVERALL PLAN

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    KIESEL AVENUE
    urban
  • NEON PLAZA

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    As part of the greater Kiesel Avenue Streetscape Proposal, the design for Neon Plaza was intended to provide outdoor common space for the tenants of the adjacent historic Kiesel and Hurst buildings, presently planned for renovation. The plaza would also offer an intriguing destination between Historic 25th Street and the Junction. The site was formerly home to the historic Alhambra Theatre, a fact that informed much of the design. Neon Plaza will function as a dynamic public space and host to various art installations including digital media. The diamond paving pattern was taken directly from the former Alhambra façade, informing the shape and placement of two large polycarbonate ‘benches’. These translucent boxes will function as informal plaza seating during the day and can be projected from the inside with lights or digital media (a nod to this historic movie theatre). The benches also feature a combination fire pit and water feature. In-ground LED lighting connects the diamond pattern between the boxes. Raised corten steel planter beds accentuate the design, creating grassy pockets where visitors to the site can find shady refuge. The main plaza space is open, filled with gray concrete pavers that when viewed from above form the pixelated image of Charlie Chaplin (the star of the first movie ever shown at the Alhambra Theater. An impressive recycled timber arch demarcates the entrance to the plaza (made from barrel vaulted trusses taken from the demolition of the back portion of the adjacent Hurst building). Meanwhile, a historic neon sign that was saved from the demolition of a local market, will be recycled to flash “make” and “art” and will draw visitors down the street. The plaza also features moveable seating in the form of recycled railroad rails topped with sliding skate-decks, another opportunity for art.

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    PLAZA PLAN

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    NEON PLAZA
    urban
  • WHITE DOME

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    Io Design Collaborative worked with The Nature Conservancy to oversee the design and installation of hiking trails, wayfinding, and educational signage at the newly formed White Dome Nature Preserve in St. George, Utah. The 660-acre preserve is habitat for the endangered Dwarf Bear Poppy and the threatened Siler Pincushion Cactus.

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    WHITE DOME
    organic
  • Gateway Garden

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    Gateway Garden is a small pocket park along the S-Line Streetcar and Parley’s Trail. Its style reflects the S-Line design standards to match the furniture, lighting and paving for a harmonious design. Users often come here as they travel on the trail or train, making it a resting spot or waiting area. It also serves neighborhood needs as this is the only park in the city north of I-80.  Small recreation attractions are included to make this a park people come back to over and over.

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    Gateway Garden
    urban
  • TRACKLINE

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    Io’s Master Plan for the adaptive re-use of the Ogden Union Stockyards, transformed this once bustling industrial, turned vacant brownfield site, into a modern hub for outdoor recreation manufacturing.  In addition to documenting the site’s expansive livestock pens, loading chutes, art-deco watering troughs, and patterned concrete; Io created a development plan that worked to preserve and highlight some of the most unique elements of the site (including a series of concrete loading ramps pictured above).  This included capitalizing on the site’s adjacency to the Weber River parkway., by turning the development inside out, creating an open space loop and pedestrian/bike promenade overlooking the river that all of the new industrial buildings will face out onto.   The planned network of open space includes a bike path and trail system, stream-bank restoration, preservation and interpretation of historic elements, and a network of bioswales with native vegetation.

    Ogden Business Exchange

    Ogden Business Exchange

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    TRACKLINE
    organic
  • Considine Residence

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    This urban infill project in the Avenues district of Salt Lake City, was designed by Architect Steve Simmons.. Io worked with the Architect to extend the design vision into the landscape with architectonic grade changes, steel retaining walls, and green walls. We utilized the small site and grade changes to create outdoor rooms. A lawn ramp plays off the strong angle of the roof of the building and provides a unique transition between spaces. Carpets of thyme and structural looking grasses further compliment the architecture of the home.

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    Considine Residence
    residential
  • Oasis Pavilion

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    The Oasis Community garden is a 1.75-Acre urban & food oasis, in the heart of central Ogden. In 2012 we teamed with architect Steve Simmons to design an education pavilion that included demonstration kitchen, greenhouse, rainwater harvesting and covered gathering space for 100 people. The design has been featured in the Drylands Design exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art in Los Angeles; and locally in the Edible Wasatch Magazine.

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    Oasis Pavilion
    organic
  • Central Park

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    Io worked closely with the City of South Salt Lake on the design and implementation of Central Park. Our work began with a comprehensive master plan for the site, and included phased construction documents including civil and electrical engineering. The city has been pleased with our work, and offered the following testimonial about the project:

    “Central Park is a testament to Io’s vision and hard work. Over the last 5 years, an abandoned 9 acre school site has been converted to a community center, boxing gym, Head Start preschool and commercial kitchen, and city park with basketball, pickleball, multi-use fields and a central event lawn. The park and center are so busy and popular, we are now exploring how to move our Recreation Department there. It is a success beyond our wildest dreams.” – Sharen Hauri, Urban Design Director, SSL

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    Central Park
    organic
  • Solitude Development

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    Io collaborated on this master plan for a residential development near Solitude Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  We worked with Architect Steve Simmons who created a modern building typology to fit the wooded hillside of the site. Io performed an initial site analysis, including a slope analysis that would ultimately drive the layout of the proposed development. Our master plan for the development of the site fits roads and buildings into the topography while maximizing solar orientation of the buildings and views from the proposed homes.

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    Solitude Development
    organic
  • Gibson Residence

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    This pioneer era farm house in Salt Lake City is now home to a small family that wanted their landscape brought up to date to fit their lifestyle, while still respecting the homes historic character. The design of the front yard weaves history, native plantings, vegetable gardens, and updated house colors into a functional design that simultaneously increases the homes curb appeal. The back yard is an entertaining space with a modified patio that encourages flow from indoor to outdoor rooms. A pergola wraps the yard and terminates at a fire pit with a built in seat wall for intimate gatherings. The back-yard also encourages nature play for the family’s small children. A weeping mulberry is a perfect hideout, and lawn space is ideal for rolling around with the family dog.

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    Gibson Residence
    residential
  • McGhee Residence

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    This Pleasant View home enjoys a large south-facing lot with amazing vistas.  The owners wanted to capitalize on the natural site topography and aspect to create a pool and entertainment space, that was in keeping with their aesthetic preferences.  Io designed a sinuous landscape that literally flows down the hillside.  Sweeping curves and natural stone create a natural grotto effect, allowing for both prospect and refuge.

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    McGhee Residence
    residential
  • Hutchinson Residence

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    As part of the design for this 2009 parade of homes home, this integrated entry feature offered an innovative alternative to a traditional staircase. This series of stone terraces sympathetic to the arts and crafts style of the home while working to blue the boundaries between the architecture and the landscape. An integral water feature adds to the entry and interest in the space.

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    Hutchinson Residence
    residential
  • E.O. Wattis House

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    Edmund Orson Wattis, Jr. (1855-1834), was the founder of the Utah Construction Company, which organized a consortium of six companies that built the Hoover Dam.  His 1914 Prairie Style home was designed by prominent Utah architect Eber F. Piers.  Io Design Collaborative prepared a master plan and construction documents for the landscape surrounding this unique gem in Ogden’s Eccles Historic District.  The design included prairie style landscape structures and plantings to define outdoor rooms.  Woody plants with spreading canopies emphasize the long, low lines of the house, while mixed perennial beds in the spirit of Gertrude Jekyll unify the house and garden.

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    E.O. Wattis House
    residential
  • Elkwood Estates

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    As the lead designer for this project Shalae Larsen, now a principal of Io, was responsible for the master plan for this 200-acre site. The design process involved a comprehensive site analysis including slope, aspect, vegetation, hydro, and wildlife. Through this process it was determined that the master plan would focus on preserving the site’s two riparian corridors as shared recreational open space for the community. The large lot design, combined with the concept of developable envelopes within each property helped to preserve the rural character of the area. A shared pasture system would provide ample grazing area for homeowner’s horses.

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    Elkwood Estates
    organic
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Firm Philosophy

Rooted in landscape
we weave culture, nature, place
design is our seed...
Innovative + Organic

Io Design Collaborative is a professional consulting firm specializing in Landscape Architecture, Planning, Urban Design and Historic Preservation. Our work is focused on the continuation of regional narrative; weaving history, ecology, culture and meaning together for projects that evolve from, and advance, the spirit of the intermountain west.

The name Io has its roots in Greek mythology, and is representative of both agriculture and femininity. For us it also means innovative-organic; our simultaneous integration of place-based biophilic design and innovative approach to planning processes differentiates our practice.

  • CULTURE

    We seek to ask the right questions first, working closely with stakeholders to understand their needs.

  • NATURE

    Our designs work with the nature, providing ecological services and important human-nature interaction.

  • Place

    We create places for people. Vibrant spaces where meaning evolves through experience.

Our focus

Organic | Urban | Historic | Residential
ORGANIC

Bioregional design with nature including green and open spaces, trails, parks, planting and restoration projects.

URBAN

Designing for vibrant mixed-use downtowns and urban centers, including development planning, plazas, and streetscapes.

HISTORIC

Celebrating our shared past through research, documentation, preservation, adaptive re-use, and historically sensitive design.

RESIDENTIAL

We create uniquely creative and ecologically sensitive spaces that celebrate life outdoors in the intermountain west!

Our Team

Io uses a team approach, inviting talented individuals and smaller niche firms to participate on collaborative projects. Io acts as a design broker, seeking cutting-edge projects that require unique solutions, and pairing them with the right professional talent – both in-house staff and sub consultants - to meet project needs.
Shalae A. Larsen, ASLA
Shalae A. Larsen, ASLA
Principal Landscape Architect
Shalae’s unique design perspective integrates a deep appreciation for indigenous landscapes and an understanding of the vernacular of the intermountain west. This sensitivity for contextually is a result of years of practice in Landscape Architecture and a Masters Degree in Architecture.
Greg Tarsa
Greg Tarsa
Project Manager
Io’s lead designer and project manager, Greg’s strong background in natural systems and horticulture allows him to design sustainable and sensitive landscapes that respond to environmental issues and social demands on natural resources.
Jake McIntire
Jake McIntire
Artist | Collaborator
Jake is a designer, entrepreneur, strategist, and creative problem solver working at the intersections of business, art, design, and urban theory. Jake is the founder of Union Creative Agency. He holds an MFA in Collaborative Design with an emphasis in Social Entrepreneurship and Urban Theory from the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Kristen Clifford
Kristen Clifford
Planer | Collaborator
Kristen is a professional planning consultant who’s expertise includes working as a municipal planner to preserve community character and the environment while facilitating the rapid growth and redevelopment of communities. Now she is working to create places for people to value and respect their surroundings and their community.
MARY OLIVER
MARY OLIVER
Intern
Mary’s research in sustainable water systems complemets her understanding of native plants as a design solution to saving water in the arid west. Her background in both bioregional planning and design allows her to use ecological and social principals to inform how the landscape takes shape.

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