Fort Collins, Colorado



13.4 acres



Streetscape Design/ Linear Park


Design Team:

Counts Studio, Lead Designer


Fort Collins Streetscape

This urban design proposes a new type of public space through a hybrid approach to urban landscape design for the citizens of Ft. Collins. The experiential and programmatic qualities of a linear park, the circulation and social dynamics of a promenade plus the economic and catalytic potential of pedestrian malls are combined to create an innovative civic landscape typology.

International Competition Finalist

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     The engine of the design is a modular kit-of-parts inspired by the mechanics of the famous 1980’s video game Tetris created by Alexey Pajitnov and Vladimir Pokhilko. A module of 40’ is employed throughout the design to maintain spatial and visual rhythm while the borrowed “Tetris” mechanics allow for an infinite range of design possibilities. This sliding orthogonal geometry embeds the scheme with an inherent level of flexibility and references cardinal organization structure or “sectioning” of the American west created by the Land Ordinance of 1785. The design which incorporates 17 large existing canopy trees aims to capitalize on the close proximity to Colorado State University, the downtown core, and location within the Mason Street transportation spine. The design proposes that bike lanes are separated from vehicular traffic and located alongside expanded pedestrian sidewalks. This urban design move is predicated on the fact that the average person walks at 3.1 mph and bikes 10 mph (a difference of 6.9 mph) while cars weighing two tons of glass and steel are moving at 25mph (a difference of 15 mph). This conclusion suggests that bike lanes and pedestrians could be a safer, friendlier, and more natural pair when possible. This heightened concentration of movement and activity integrated into its urban context is also intended to draw people to the site and help establish a critical mass of citizens that will activate future economic development. Micro plazas occur within this matrix creating opportunities for spill-out space for adjacent building program such as café seating, impromptu and organized outdoor performances as well as contemporary spaces for temporary program such as farmers’ markets, art fairs, food trucks, semi-permanent cafes, and for seasonal events. An original mosaic of sustainable black and white granite inspired by Native American fabric design gives this exciting new urban place a distinctive visual identity and sense of place. This composition of stone is further refined by stretching the patchwork to create liner strips in perspective that compliments the grain of movement. These dramatic stone strips coupled with the 16’ long linear benches are indented to reference the millions of 16’ long steel segments needed to build the railroad that helped create Ft. Collins during the Railroad Era. The net effect emphasizes the linear character of the site, encourages proper multimodal circulation, and creates a dynamic large-scale visual rhythm understood at a range of speeds; walking, running, bicycling, hover-boarding, segwaying, bussing, traveling in a car, hot-air- balloon, or passing airplane. Sidewalks and bike lanes are framed by shifting “ecological swaths” of groves of native tre es and high-performance bioswales that clean stormwater enhance biodiversity, create natural habitat, and increase the linear feet of ecological edge by over 450%. These aerial hedgerows of native trees (limbed at 6’ to maintain views) are planted with the density one often finds in a healthy forest. This unique urban planting typology is designed to complement the large existing canopy trees and help shape the visual identity of this new urban destination. Though organized around the current existing conditions and constraints of this competition, the intent of the design involves a forward-looking strategy that can anticipate new buildings, temporary and permanent programming, and opportunities sparked by the implementation of the Active Tracks vision.
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    Christopher is a designer and educator whose work is concerned with the experiential dimension of people in outdoor urban places and the social and the ecological health of our built environment. He is the founder and Design Director of Counts Studio, an award-winning landscape design and planning office based in Brooklyn, New York. Recognized as an emerging leader in the field, Counts has planned and designed parks, plazas, gardens, and campuses in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, The Republic of Georgia, and China. His professional design work has contributed to over 30 national and international design awards and been published in such leading publications as Landscape Architecture Magazine, Metropolis, and Atlas in World Landscape Architecture.


    His recent work with Counts Studio includes Moore Square in Raleigh, NC which won a National ASLA Honor Award, the competition awarded Beijing Expo Masters Garden, a 40-acre rooftop park for Qinshan New City located outside of Hong Kong, the 337 Garden in New York City, and Heroes Green named 1 of 5 finalists for the World War 1 National Memorial Competition in Washington, DC. Prior to founding Counts Studio, Christopher was a Senior Associate at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates where he collaborated with Michael Van Valkenburgh on the design of many of the firm’s signature, award-winning urban projects including the ASLA Green Roof, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House, and the 300-acre urban design for Lower Don Lands in Toronto Canada.


    Counts is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, a two-time Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum National Design Award nominee, and has been an invited critic at Harvard University, Yale University, The University of Pennsylvania, University of Toronto, and Hong Kong University. He has lectured at numerous leading universities and professional conferences such as ASLA National Conventions, the National Building Museum, and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. His academic appointments include Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia and Stuckeman Professor in Design at the Pennsylvania State University of the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. He received his BLA from the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design and his MLA from Harvard University.



  • Project Experience & Awards +

    World War 1 Memorial Competition Finalist, Washington, DC

    Design Principal, Counts Studio, Brooklyn, New York

    2015-2016 International Competition Finalist

    Blind Competition with 359 International Entries


    Moore Square Master Plan, Raleigh, North Carolina

    Design Principal, Counts Studio, Brooklyn, New York

    2014 Rosa Barba Biennial Exhibition in Barcelona, Spain

    2014 Implementation Phase RFQ Winner

    2013 ASLA National Honor Award in Analysis and Planning

    2009 National Competition Winner


    Happy Valley Garden, Whuhan, China

    Design Principal, Counts Studio, Brooklyn, New York

    2014 First Place International Competition Winner

    Blind Competition with over 900 Entries from 30 different Countries


    Beijing International Garden Expo, Beijing, China

    Design Principal, Counts Studio, Brooklyn, New York

    2013 International Competition Winner


    Expo Georgia, Landscape Renovation Master Plan, Tbilisi, Georgia

    Design Principal, Counts Studio, Brooklyn, New York


    Qianshan New City 40-acre Rooftop Park, Zhuhai, China

    Design Principal, Counts Studio, Brooklyn, New York

    2010 International Competition Winner


    337 Garden New York, New York

    Design Principal, Counts Studio, Brooklyn, New York


    Perry Harvey Park Renovation, Tampa, Florida

    Design Principal, Counts Studio, Brooklyn, New York

    Second Place Finalist


    American Society of Landscape Architects Green Roof, Washington, D.C.

    Project Designer, Senior Associate with  MVVA, Brooklyn, New York

    2007 NYASLA Honor Award

    2010 Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Award of Excellence


    Lower Don Lands, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Project Designer, Senior Associate with  MVVA, Brooklyn, New York

    Selected as one of 16 founding projects for the Climate Positive Development Program (former U.S. President Bill Clinton's Climate Initiative and the U.S. Green Building Council)

    2011 Excellence in planning Award, Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI)

    2010 Institute of Transportation Engineers Transportation Achievement Award

    2009 BEX International Award for Best Futuristic Design

    2008 ASLA national Analysis and Planning Honor Award

    2007 Toronto Urban Design Award


    Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House, Washington, D.C.

    Design Team  Member, Senior Associate with  MVVA, Brooklyn, New York

    2002 National Competition Winner


    Bailey Plaza, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

    Project Designer, Senior Associate with  MVVA, Brooklyn, New York

    2008 Building Stone Institute Tucker Design Award


    Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, New York

    Design Team  Member, Senior Associate with  MVVA, Brooklyn, New York

    2009 Waterfront Center “Excellence on the Waterfront” Award for the 2005 Master Plan

    2009 ASLA National Analysis and Planning Honor Award

    2011 Municipal Art Society of New York Brendan Gill Prize

    2014 American Planning Association's National Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design

    2014 Municipal Art Society of New York MASterwork Prize for the Best Urban Landscape


    Teardrop Park, New York, New York

    Design Team  Member, Senior Associate with  MVVA, Brooklyn, New York

    2009 ASLA National Design Honor Award


    Corktown Common, Toronto, Ontario Canada

    Project Designer, Senior Associate with MVVA, Brooklyn, New York


    Novartis U.S. Headquarters Campus Master Plan and East Village Courtyard, East Hanover, New Jersey

    Project Designer, Senior Associate with  MVVA, Brooklyn, New York


    Hudson Park and Boulevard, New York, New York

    Project Designer, Senior Associate with  MVVA, Brooklyn, New York


    BJC Plaza with Mia Lin, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

    Project Designer, Senior Associate with  MVVA, Brooklyn, New York


    London Olympics Kayak Course and Park, London, United Kingdom

    Project Designer, Senior Associate with  MVVA, Brooklyn, New York