Will is a landscape architect and the founding principal of GROUND CONTROL in Philadelphia. Over the course of his career, he has led the design and construction of award winning urban parks, corporate headquarters, academic landscapes, and mixed-use projects throughout the world. He has received recognition for his work by the Urban Land Institute, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the American Institute of Architects. His work has been published in Landscape Architecture Magazine, Architectural Record, and a variety of online publications.
Will’s passion and consensus-building approach to design fosters collaboration, creating distinctive landscapes that are firmly grounded in a sense of place.
His inventiveness has yielded ecologically intelligent and socially purposeful places including the recently completed Cummins Green* in Indianapolis, Pennovation Works* in Philadelphia, the Master Plan for the Alexandria Waterfront* in Virginia, and Mill River Park and Greenway* in Stamford, CT which recently won a ‘Great American Places’ Award by the American Planning Association and a Design Honor Award by the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2015.
Prior to forming GROUND CONTROL, Will was an Associate at OLIN, an internationally acclaimed landscape architecture studio. His recent work includes the design for The Hills at Vallco* in collaboration with Rafael Viñoly Architects. The project re-envisions a 50-acre abandoned mall into a mixed use town center including a 30-acre rooftop park that will be the world’s largest green roof upon completion. His other recent work includes the National Desert Storm War Memorial* in Washington DC, and the renovation of the Alderman Library* at the University of Virginia in collaboration with HBRA Architects.
Will earned a Bachelors of Landscape Architecture at Virginia Tech. During his studies, he received several awards, including the ASLA Honor Award and the Stanley Abbott Award for his master plan for the Lower Hill District in Pittsburgh entitled 'Pittsburgh's Fourth River: A Confluence of Cultures'.
GROUND CONTROL is an innovative landscape architecture and urban design practice, based in Philadelphia. Founded by Will Belcher, the mission of the practice is to invent innovative design solutions for landscapes of all scales and typologies firmly rooted in place.
We firmly believe in creating ecologically intelligent and socially purposeful spaces with an undeniable sense of place.
GROUND CONTROL seeks an integrated synthesis of landscape, infrastructure, ecology, architecture, transportation, economic development and city life. This is achieved through a creative, collaborative approach, working closely with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists and artists, as well as public agencies, project stakeholders and communities.
GROUND CONTROL’s creative expertise is reflected in a diverse range of high-profile, complex project types, from the master plans for sectors of cities to intimate garden spaces; the design of large, new public parks to housing and mixed-use private developments. On each project, GROUND CONTROL strives to respond to the unique circumstances of each project and craft landscapes of lasting distinction, developing approaches that exceed the goals, aspirations and the needs of clients. We are committed to designs that are specific and unique, to contemporary solutions that work.
We Create Memorable Places.
Our landscapes invite serendipitous encounters, generate community, and promote high levels of engagement. Our placemaking and open space strategies in complex settings serve wide-ranging community interests. Our collaborations have resulted in successful plans for a wide range of socially and ecologically purposeful places. Our team thrives on listening carefully to stakeholders and thinking critically through and inclusive design process which yields culturally richer projects.
We Resuscitate Ecologies.
Our design process relies on listening to the land. GROUND CONTROL has designed restorative landscapes on post-industrial and brownfield sites in urban areas and rural natural areas. We understand the complexity of ecological systems and the infrastructural requirements to successfully restore natural systems. Recent work includes a restoration of a 5-acre urban meadow at Pennovation Works* and the Master Plan for the Mill River Park and Greenway*, which won a Design Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2015 and the Great Public Spaces Award by the APA in 2018.
We Build Resilient Urbanisms.
GROUND CONTROL is recognized for our design of distinguished, iconic urban spaces including the recently completed Cummins Green* in Indianapolis. We love cities. We celebrate their complexities, contradictions, and constraints. We believe in their continued evolution and enjoy collaboratively shaping the way they look and function. We enjoy working with communities to make their places better.
We Embrace Complexity.
Complexity encourages innovation. Our design process relies on technology to do the heavy lifting which allows us to focus on design. Our experience on large complicated projects has allowed us to develop workflows to solve complex design issues. These projects include The Hills at Vallco*, a 50-acre mixed use town center with a 30-acre community park above will be the world’s largest green roof upon completion.
We Create Immersive Spaces.
We believe landscapes have the power to improve everyday life. The creation of effortlessly comfortable outdoor spaces is seminal to our practice. Landscapes are intended to be immersive and tactile while durable. We value multi-functional, flexible and environmentally sensitive design solutions. Our landscapes have the potential to be catalysts for human interaction, recreation and community. In all of our work, we carefully assess the distinguishing spatial characteristics of a site, its connections to surrounding areas, local traditions and history, the natural environment, and social and cultural conditions.
We Draw Outside the Lines.
Our most successful projects positively impact the communities and spaces that surround them. We believe landscape plays a critical role in shaping a positive experience of place and that a strong sense of place helps enhance everyday experience, healthy communities, and quality of life, which are at the heart of a livable city. We often look beyond the edges of the project to understand the ecological and social value of the site and often bring value to the larger context.
* Work Completed Prior to Ground Control