Search results for "W Architecture and Landscape Architecture"

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Bubbly Bots

Robots blow bubble walls and algorithms make miniature landscapes in “Automatic Architectures”
https://vimeo.com/273390191 Presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Automatic Architecture examines the space of automation and algorithms in architecture through two projects, Wall and Space. The projects were realized as part of a workshop led by Riccardo Blumer at the Academy of Architecture at the University of Italian Switzerland in Mendrisio, Switzerland with support from U.S. non-profit MADWORKSHOP. Automatic Architecture presents two different collaborative projects. Walls is a series of roboticized bars pulling planes of soap bubbles, stretching them to their physical limits until they lost their form. “It contemplates a space in which tangible walls can be there one minute and gone the next,” as Blumer says in a video produced on the project by PLANESITE. The 11 rods that stretch out the panels of the wall begin together but invariably fall out of sync with one another as they attempt to create a complete, continuous wall. Defined by its ephemerality, Wall generates a space that “simultaneously does and doesn’t exist.” Walls is a collaboration between Lorela Arapi, Stefano Clerici, and Andrea Cappellaro. Space presents a grid of automated blocks that rise and fall in a constantly shifting pattern determined by an algorithmic model that can run without repeating a form for 250 years, suggesting that architecture is itself constantly in flux and highlighting the tension between order and expression. Space was created by Georgios Voutsis.
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Open Space is the Place

Lawrence Halprin’s L.A. projects star in landscape architecture symposium this weekend
The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) will be holding a day-long symposium on November 4 at the Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles in conjunction with the opening of The Landscape Architecture of Lawrence Halprin, a photographic exhibition based on Halprin’s body of work. As its name implies, the symposium—titled Landscape as Catalyst: Lawrence Halprin’s Legacy and Los Angeleswill focus on the seminal landscape architect’s lesser-known Los Angeles–based projects. The symposium will “examine the influences and accomplishments” of Halprin’s Los Angeles work and will be held as part of a series of national public events organized by TCLF honoring Halprin’s local and national legacy. The Architect’s Newspaper's West Editor Antonio Pacheco will be moderating a panel discussion at the event titled Focus on SoCal: Maguire Gardens, the Open Space Sequence, and Plaza Las Fuentes. The panel discussion will delve into key works from Halprin’s Los Angeles–area legacy. Speakers on the panel include Robert Maguire III, the Los Angeles developer who commissioned several of Halprin’s L.A.–based projects; Merry Norris of Merry Norris Contemporary Art who led the art and sculpture programs for these projects; Douglas A. Campbell of Campbell & Campbell landscape architects; and Patrick Reynolds, Parks Manager and City Landscape Architect for the City of Culver City. Campbell served as the associate landscape architect for the Grand-Hope Park and Maguire Gardens. Los Angeles Open Space Sequence Halprin’s work in Downtown Los Angeles is typified by the so-called Los Angeles Open Space Network, which was an outgrowth of a 1980 proposal by developer Maguire Partners for “A Grand Avenue,” a linear spine of parks and civic spaces that would be both “people-oriented and activity-generating,” according to the TCLF website. The 11-acre plan was never fully realized but helped to lay the foundation for a collection of four public open spaces along Hope Street that work in tandem to further the urban and social life of the downtown area. Included in this sequence are Crocker Court (now Wells Fargo Court) at the base of SOM-designed, 54-story Crocker Tower complex from 1983; the Bunker Hill Steps at the base of the Pei, Cobb, Freed, & Partners' 73-story Library Tower from 1989; Library Square (now Maguire Gardens) surrounding the Bertram Goodhue–designed Los Angeles Central Library from 1926; and Grand Hope Park surrounding the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) from 1993. The sequence of spaces was designed to stitch Bunker Hill's postmodern towers together with a forthcoming apartment and condominium district to the south known as South Park. The public open spaces—designed alongside other skyscraper and plaza complexes in the area—were meant to create a series of leisure and recreational nodes throughout the district and came to fruition hand-in-hand with postmodern-style architectural projects designed by nationally-recognized firms. The open space projects represent landmark works of Halprin’s late career that utilize water features, dynamic and carefully-staged processions, and symbolic planting and architectural configurations to shape the perception of open space in L.A.’s downtown area. Much like Freeway Park in Seattle, the entire sequence was designed as an interconnected trail of plazas, forecourts, and parks that offer a variety of leisure spaces while also navigating the 100-foot difference in elevation between the top of Bunker Hill and the FIDM campus. The difference here is that by the early 1990s, Halprin was engaged full-tilt with multiple facets of the postmodern style—softening austere, mirrored corporate abstraction at the Crocker Court end of the sequence while repurposing historical symbols and elements in the Bunker Hill Steps and Grand-Hope Park projects. Plaza Las Fuentes Plaza Las Fuentes in nearby Pasadena, on the other hand, was built in 1984 as part of a new mixed-use development for the satellite city’s downtown core. The plaza accompanied an eight-story office tower and 12-story hotel and shopping complex—also developed by Maguire Partners—designed by architects Moore Ruble Yudell. The plaza features Moorish Revival arcades, decorative tile walls designed by the artist Joyce Kozloff, and is populated with sculptures created by Michael Lucero. The park’s geometric fountains guide occupants through the plaza’s stepped site, incorporating sculptures, fountains, and plantings throughout. For more information on and tickets to the Landscape as Catalyst: Lawrence Halprin’s Legacy and Los Angeles symposium, see TCLF’s website.
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New Environment

Bradley Cantrell chosen as Chair of Landscape Architecture at UVA School of Architecture
The University of Virginia has announced the appointment of Bradley Cantrell as the new Chair of Landscape Architecture at the School of Architecture. Cantrell is currently an associate professor of Landscape Architectural Technology at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) and director of their Master in Landscape Architecture Program. The Architect’s Newspaper met with Cantrell in April of last year to discuss his groundbreaking work in the fields of landscape architecture, ecological analysis, technology, and artificial intelligence. In that interview, Cantrell describes his work as "cyborg ecologies" that focus on blurring the lines between natural and man-made systems. “I think a lot of people have issues with the idea that we’re actually extending even more control over the landscape,” said Cantrell. “I think there is a fear of that we’re constantly in discussion about how we relinquish control. I think it’s an open question.” He believes that the integration of technology and nature should be seen as a powerful and positive synthesis and something to be celebrated, as opposed to an “us versus them” duality between man and nature. Cantrell discusses the power of technology that is not only designed to serve mankind, but can also be used to serve the natural environment. In our interview, he explained: “I think this idea that there are competing goals and that humanity might not always be at the center of all of those goals—that takes somewhat of an enlightened viewpoint, but it also is one that is necessary for us to have.” Cantrell will step into his new role at the University of Virginia on June 25, 2017.
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It's Plane to Seam

Explore landscape architecture and fashion design together at this new GSD exhibit
The exhibition Designing Planes and Seams is now open at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The exhibit is co-curated by Harold Koda, fashion scholar and former curator-in-chief of the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Ken Smith, acclaimed landscape architect. Designing Planes and Seams aims to explore the parallels between two seemingly disparate design fields—landscape and fashion—to prove that they may not be as unrelated as they first appear. “In the design arts, invention, innovation, and the discovery of new insights and methods of working often happen through cross-disciplinary investigation,” said Anita Berrizbeitia, professor of landscape architecture and chair of the GSD’s Department of Landscape Architecture, in a press release. In this cross-disciplinary exhibition, the curators propose that the two fields share a similar objective: creating structure for an organic body, revealing the designer’s intellectual process, and allowing for cultural expression. “In both clothing and landscape design, for example, seams join different material conditions, gradients, or directions of flow. When considered comparatively, interpretive frameworks emerge that broaden our imagination and yield new possibilities in the conceptualization of landscapes,” Berrizbeitia added. The exhibition includes six dress forms curated by Koda and two from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, all paired with corresponding landscape architecture projects. The exhibit reveals each piece’s design process and the parallels shared by both disciplines, such as conceptual and tectonic responses to physical constraints. Select student projects from Smith’s Fall 2016 GSD studio “Inherent Vice,” which explored similar conditions of seams, junctures, materials, and form, specifically relating to landscape and urbanization, are also on view alongside the dress forms. The exhibition Designing Planes and Seams is on display until March 26. A reception featuring the curators, Koda, Smith, and Berrizbeitia, will be held on Friday, February 24, at 12:00 p.m. More information can be found at here.
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Paso Robles

2016 Best of Design Award in Landscape > Private: Modern Vineyard by Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you.

Landscape > Private: Modern Vineyard by Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

Architect: Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture  Location: Paso Robles, CA

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture selected a subdued color palette accentuated with Mediterranean grasses and timeworn olive trees to define this 72-acre vineyard in the Paso Robles wine region. In order to create a poetic exchange among the landscape, architecture, and surrounding environment, the firm softened the structure’s modern aesthetic with grasses that mirror the native vegetation as it fluctuates through the seasons, creating a strong sense of connection with the region.

Landscape Contractor D’Alfonso’s Native Landscapes

Architect Ferguson-Ettinger Architects, Inc. Structural Engineer Craig Dobbs Isokern Fireplaces Earthcore Doors LaCantina Doors

Honorable Mention, Landscape > Private: Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative

Landscape Architecture: site design group, ltd. Location: Chicago, IL

Located on the South Side of Chicago, Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative is a unique development of 36 rehabilitated units that serve as mixed-income housing for artists, arts professionals, and those with a creative impulse, designed to foster community collaboration around the arts.

Honorable Mention, Landscape > Private: Gateway Plaza Landscape

Architect: Forum Studio Location: Richmond, VA

Positioned as a portal to downtown, this urban plaza weaves art, design elements, ample seating, and greenery through the site to catalyze a new urban vitality and serve as a model for sustainability.

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Solid Landing

A new must-read book explores the divides within landscape architecture and urban design

Questions of environment, ecology, and climate have never more intensely occupied the cultural zeitgeist. According to editors Christophe Girot and Dora Imhof of the ETH Zurich, as scarcity, ruin, and a siege mentality drove the functionalism that dominated architecture of the post-war period, the profession of landscape architecture is still in the midst of responding to a decades-long environmental crisis, and has produced similarly functionalist design. They suggest (as Elizabeth Meyer has for years in her Sustaining Beauty writings) that recent landscape architectural production is too highly conditioned by analytics, abstracted from site, and producing works that don’t rise above functionalist responses to an environment in peril. 

Thinking the Contemporary Landscape, a 17-essay collection, attempts to set up a discourse between opposing ideologies, such as science and memory, power and territory, fact and myth, in order to present an all-encompassing theory of contemporary landscape practice. While this endeavor ultimately frays, revealing the unlikelihood (or frankly, undesirability) of such unification, the book itself is a must-read for landscape architects and urbanists. The editors wittingly construct a discourse about a schism in modes of practice, a reaction perhaps to the dominance in recent years of landscape urbanism and its hybrids. Despite the foregrounding of an environment in peril, they react to scientific positivism by advocating for a return to aesthetics, poetics, myth, and meaning. The current volume suggests other new identities. If we are to believe Charles Waldheim, landscape architect equals urbanist. Waldheim and James Corner in particular are intent on fomenting this shift in perception; beseeching practitioners to take control of urban design territory (presumably, before the architects and urban planners beat them to it).

Girot’s essay laments the modes of visualization epitomized by the “layer-cake” approach of Ian McHarg, author of the 1969 Design with Nature. He suggests that years of design with 2-D maps and collage have effectively broken down landscape thinking into abstract, and ultimately, meaningless, layers. Girot argues that the results of this diagrammatic thinking have stripped design of character, of local connections, and ultimately, of meaning. 

As a counterpoint, Corner argues for the preeminence of the plan, composite layers, and collage, suggesting they have the capacity to become “engendering machines” of “rich and unpredictable interactions,” a method that comes from ecology itself. Corner plays both ends of the spectrum, at once advocating for performance and form. In a mediated (and ultimately modest) position, Corner’s conception of “format” is hardly memorable. In the context of design reviews as long as six years ago, Corner declared that the University of Pennsylvania was about form and aesthetics, and Harvard was about performance. This dissonance of Corner’s recent commentary with his earlier writings manifests as some subconscious and uncoordinated id-war, a shift away from the working landscape and toward the “pictorial impulse” he earlier reviled (in New Operations and the Eidetic Landscape).

Recalling David Gissen’s Subnatures, Vittoria Di Palma’s intriguing discussion of aesthetics engages the wasteland as site of primal disgust and ultimately, subversive aesthetics. She revisits the picturesque and its power to give “a new prominence to aversive landscape,” (a topic explored by Robert Smithson in 1973’s Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape), an apt aesthetic history to sample when theorizing the entropy, asymmetry, and gnarliness of the Anthropocene.

Other contributors reject the editors’ prompt of aesthetics altogether. Notably, Kongjian Yu, a practitioner of ecological design in China, argues powerfully for landschaft or the working landscape, suggesting that “the quality and beauty of the landscape has been detached from the notion of a holistic land system for living and survival, and has now become high art landscape design exclusively for the pleasure of the urban elite.” In a similar vein, Saskia Sassen’s critique eviscerates the blunt hand of capitalism that is currently playing out in the form of global land acquisition.

Rather than a clear way forward, the diversity of this volume evidences a fraught world in need of urban design leadership, solutions for the anxious environment of climate change, and rethinking the future of landscape’s territory and meaning in the 21st century.

Thinking The Contemporary Landscape Christophe Girot, Dora Imhof, Princeton Architectural Press, $45

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Australian National Landscape Architecture Awards

From penguin watching to healing gardens, see the best Australian landscape architecture from 2016
The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) has presented this year's National Landscape Architecture Awards. The winners span an eclectic mix of typologies ranging from penguin viewing platforms to waterfall trails and healing gardens. The AILA chose 40 state-level finalists from ten categories: Civic Landscape; Parks and Open Space; Infrastructure; Cultural Heritage; Land Conservation; Tourism; Urban Design; Research, Policy and Communication; Communities; Gardens and International. "The winners range in focus and theme, but all have appreciated the merit of urban green spaces and sustainably minded infrastructure to promote health, social and economic prosperity for urban and regional communities," the AILA said in a press release. AILA National Civic Landscape Award of Excellence Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Brisbane Conrad Gargett Landscape architecture firm Conrad Gargett were duly rewarded for their inclusion of a "Healing Garden" at the Brisbane hospital. With the design based around the concept of a living tree, 11 gardens—primarily used for therapy and recreation—can be found on the rooftops. 23,000 plants can also be found on the building's green extensive roof.
AILA International Award of Excellence Nanjing Tangshan Geopark Museum Hassell According to the AILA, the project is an "experiential and immersive gateway and forecourt" for the Nanjing Tangshan Geopark Museum, which was designed by Parisian architect Odile Decq. Multidisciplinary firm Hassell integrated a network of pathways and gardens into a 15-hectare park that includes a 300 million-year-old Paleozoic quarry.
AILA National Award for Parks and Open Space McCulloch Avenue Boardwalk Site Office Completed on a "modest" budget, the McCulloch Avenue Boardwalk sets travellers within the diverse topography and landscape of the site. "What could have been a simple boardwalk through a dune has become an experiential journey that rewards the user with a sense of pride and enjoyment," said the AILA. "No longer will be the destination be the focus."
AILA National Parks and Open Space Award of Excellence MacKenzie Falls Gorge Trail Hansen Partnership Creating new routes through Grampians National Park, urban design, planning, and landscape architecture firm Hansen Partnership were able to cast MacKenzie Falls Gorge (one of Australia's largest waterfalls) in a new light. Bolted steel bridges and mesh pathways are able to endure flooding and fires (but can't protect you from spiders).
AILA National Gardens Award of Excellence Forest Edge Garden Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture approached this project with the view to blend the garden into the terrain. The result was a subtle and elegant series of interventions that kept the existing landscape in harmony with the dwelling through careful design, plant species selection, and water management.
AILA National Tourism Award of Excellence Penguin Plus Viewing Area Tract Consultants with Wood Marsh Architecture On Phillip Island, tourists can catch glimpses of penguins both inside and outside this curvaceous, topographic timber structure by planning and design firm Tract Consultants with Wood Marsh Architecture. "The work is beautifully detailed and provides a replicable prototype for the development of other components of this fragile landscape into the future," said the AILA.
AILA National Award for Communities Get Sunflowered OUTR Research Lab, RMIT University Get Sunflowered saw new life come to the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, Australia. Community events include cleaning, planting, weeding, watering, and "harvesting"—all accompanied by local live music, food, and entertainment. The AILA praised Get Sunflowered for making use of a forgotten place which has been subject to a population and economic shift.
AILA National Award for Civic Landscape Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park (GASP!) Stage 2 McGregor Coxall Multidisciplinary firm McGregor Coxall's work the second stage of the Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park pays extensive tribute and homage to the dramatic landscape of Wilkinson’s Point. The "build it and they will come" approach has paid dividends and is, according to the AILA, a well-used civic and cultural space. "It has captured the imagination of locals and visitors as well as being recognized nationally and abroad."
AILA National Award for Infrastructure Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project Stage 2 Turf Design Studio and Environmental Partnership Juggling numerous constraints, Turf Design Studio and Environmental Partnership educate visitors to Sydney Park on environmental issues and the value of inner city green space. Integrating ecology, play, stakeholder management, engineering and sustainable water management requirements within an existing and well-loved inner city park is a difficult brief in any context," the AILA said. "The project beautifully expresses the forms, shapes, context, ecology and management of water, while also focussing on people, place, habitat and ecology."
AILA National Award for Land Conservation Shipwreck Coast Master Plan McGregor Coxall Shipwreck Coast in South Victoria is a popular tourist destination on the Australian southeast coast. Tourists, however, are the issue at hand with their presence threatening the site they flock to. Tackling this challenge, McGregor Coxall (in their 4th mention in the full list of 40) tie in habitat preservation with investment opportunities while maintaining and amplifying the sight-seeing experience–something which is a must for the economic prosperity of the area.
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ZUS Bolt

This landscape architecture firm is bringing Dutch water expertise to the U.S.

Senior editor Matt Shaw sat down with Rotterdam- and New York–based ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles) partners Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman to see what the United States can learn from the Netherlands, a country that is almost half below sea level and leads the way in water management in landscape infrastructure design.

The Architect’s Newspaper: You have a host of urban and landscape projects that are currently in the works, some of which are very large in scale. Are any of these explicitly dealing with water?

ZUS: There are five water-related projects we are working on right now. The Almere Dune is an artificial dune landscape on the original polder (a piece of low-lying land reclaimed from the sea and protected by dikes), with 3,000 houses and a mixed-use core.

We are working on the world’s largest sea lock, at IJmuiden, which means we are doing the landscape design and architecture of three control centers. A similar project we are designing is the Hoogwatergeul Veessen, a three-mile river bypass that serves as a river flood basin, with a dynamic flood-protection bridge berm. There is also the self-initiated Delta 3000 project, which is a utopia that imagines the Netherlands as a dune metropolis. We are proposing massive dunes to counter soil inclination and rising waters.

Here in the U.S., we are working together with AECOM and ORG on the execution of our winning competition entry for Rebuild by Design: New Meadowlands. It is a very exciting combination of coastal protection, green infrastructure, and public amenities.

What are some of the issues that designers and researchers are dealing with in the Netherlands today? Is climate change an important topic for designers in the Netherlands?

Yes, of course many issues are climate related, like sea-level rise, rising temperatures, and new migration patterns. We also face a more diffuse clientele, as governments are retreating and new markets and players emerge. Therefore, designers have to be more proactive to get interesting commissions.

One of the main issues is water. As half of the country is below sea level, every project has to respond to the challenges of water coming in more intensely from all sides: Sea-level rise, river floods, rain events, and groundwater.

How do you see working in the U.S. as different from working in the Netherlands? What are the differences in attitude about water and dealing with climate change?

We face many of the same issues: Climate adaptation, bureaucracy, big companies versus small offices, less and less risk-taking. In the Netherlands, there’s a long tradition of spatial planning and the culture of design, where, for decades, they were by definition incorporated into policy making. In the last few years, a corporatism is emerging, where [experimentation] is hardly possible. The good news is that, in the U.S., we feel an emerging interest in design in all fields. However, there is still a big gap between the academic world and the real world there, including governments and bureaucracy.

What do you think other countries can learn from designers in the Netherlands, in terms of designing for water and with water?

We would say to them: Take sea-level rise really seriously, and do it together. Only if all parties—governments, designers, scientists, contractors, engineers—collaborate can the challenges be faced and countered. Build with nature, meaning that we will never win against the water unless we embrace its presence and dynamics. Introduce different levels of safety, and spread risks along hard infrastructure, adaptive landscapes, and evacuation programs.

Are attitudes to waterfront development changing in the Netherlands? How do is that possible? On-site infrastructure? Off-site?

After having the top-down Delta Works (1953) for many decades, protecting the Netherlands from 10,000-year storms, our country established a rich apparatus of water boards, such as the National WaterAuthority and local governmental agencies, to think of the next big threats. The first Delta Works turned the Netherlands into one big bathtub.

In addition to sea-level rise, extreme river floods and rain events are also severe risks to the country. Therefore, Room for the River was introduced, and the new Delta Works, which directs new policies for more local adaptations. For example, Almere Dune introduces a public–private partnership for making more resilient urban districts. This means that the dunes, privately funded, are contributing to national safety. And they are also a new way to live above sea level. The IJmuiden sea lock is made for the 200-year forecast of sea-level rise, so large-scale infrastructure is made with great responsibility toward the future.

Off-site, we witness more adaptation measures, like water squares and retention basins to deal with extreme rain events. Nowadays, many of these projects come with multiple agendas with climate adaptation also taking a social responsibility.

This article was part of our Oct. 12 issue which focused on how water is shaping today’s landscape architecture and urbanism. Communities face deluges and droughts—for some, the stakes can be survival itself, but others see opportunities for decadence. To explore these stories from around the U.S. and the world, click here.

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Clarion Call

Landscape Architecture Foundation issues New Landscape Declaration
Just months after the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s (LAF) Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future (which ran June 10 to 11 at the University of Pennsylvania), the organization has released the New Landscape Declaration—a call to action for ecological justice through environmentally conscious and sustainable design. This past summer’s conference assembled 715 attendees from across the globe, including places like China, Argentina, and Australia, and featured over 75 speakers and panelists looking to set a course for new, more redemptive application of landscape architecture. According to their website, the New Landscape Declaration seeks to “bring together related professions into new alliances to address complex social and ecological problems,” so that society may better “adapt to climate change and mitigate its root causes.” Moving forward, the organization will work to strengthen its capacity for inclusive leadership and activism, and to raise awareness of the vital contributions of architecture through research, as well as “new practices that result in design innovation and policy transformation,” according to the declaration. The renewed call to action comes on the 50th anniversary of the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Declaration of Concern, written by Ian McHarg and other landscape architects who “decried the burgeoning environmental crisis, and heralded landscape architecture as critical to help solve it,” as written on the LAF’s website.
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Well-Grounded Design

“Landscape Architecture as Necessity” conference at USC aims to “counter the onslaught of politically-correct eco-speak”
The University of Southern California (USC) School of Architecture will be holding a three-day long conference this week focused on issues of landscape urbanism. The conference, titled Landscape as Necessity, is built around the idea that the landscape architecture discipline is, as stated on the conference website, “uniquely able to synthesize ecological systems, scientific data, engineering methods, social practices, and cultural values, integrating them into the design of the built environment.” As such, the three-day symposium will feature a vast array of practitioners, researchers, artists, and luminaries who will discuss their work.   One of the conference headliners is Gerdo Aquino, CEO of Los Angeles–based SWA, designers of the revamped San Jacinto Plaza in El Paso, Texas that has been reimagined to appeal to Millennials. Another top billing is Hadley Arnold of the Arid Lands Institute, one of the many firms currently studying the Los Angeles River and planning for its redevelopment. Arnold will lead a paper presentation covering the topic of “water urbanism” with practitioner, professor, and author Anuradha Mathur of the University of Pennsylvania. Explanatory text on the conference website describes the mission of the conference as charting new territories: “The overuse and debasement of the words ‘sustainable’, ‘resilient,’ and ‘adaptable’ mean that now more than ever, real flesh and blood projects must rise to the fore and counter the onslaught of politically-correct eco-speak.” Because the conference aims to ground itself with real world projects, many practicing landscape architects will participate in discussion panels, lecture on their work, and review writings. These practitioners include Los Angeles–based Mia Lehrer of Mia Lehrer Associates, who was recently selected to design the new First and Broadway Park in Downtown Los Angeles with OMA; Elizabeth Mossop of Spackman Mossop + Michaels landscape architects, based in Sydney and New Orleans; Bradley Cantrell, a Harvard-based researcher and 2014 Rome Prize Fellow in landscape architecture; and Mark Rios of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, landscape architects for the Martin Expo Town Center in West Los Angeles. Among the many others joining will be Henri Bava Founder of Paris-based landscape architecture firm Agence Ter, recently selected as the winners of an international design competition aimed at redesigning Los Angeles’s Pershing Square. Landscape as Necessity is being organized by Assistant Professor Alison Hirsch and Professor and Director Kelly Shannon of the USC landscape architecture program. Shannon spearheaded the Mekong Delta Regional Plan 2030 and Vision 2050 plan, a multi-disciplinary, multi-year study aimed at preserving and modernizing Vietnam’s major agricultural region. In an interview earlier this month with Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Designs, Shannon described her team’s intentions behind holding the conference, saying “Ultimately, it should become clear that landscape architecture will be a major game changer in the coming decades in Los Angeles and beyond. However, there must be strong political will and a chance for paradigmatic projects to lead transformative policy.” The conference runs from Wednesday, September 21, 2016 to Saturday, September 24, 2016. To learn more, see the Landscape as Necessity website.
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Half-Pipes Come Full Circle

Meet the German landscape architecture firm Maier that specializes in skateparks from Palestine to Peru

German landscape architecture firm Maier Landschaftsarchitektur has designed a very colorful addition to Bethlehem, a town you'd be forgiven for foremost associating with the birthplace of a certain Biblical character. Built with the support of charities Skate-Aid and SOS Children's Villages and on the latter's village grounds in the area, the skatepark aims to install feelings of "joy" and "happiness" in the troubled area.

The park is split in two, comprising two bowls, one open and the other closed. The park gains an increased lifespan thanks to its rolling landscape that protects it from damage. Currently, around 126 children reside in the SOS Children's village in east Bethlehem, an area which has been subject to political instability, prevailing violence, high unemployment, and increased poverty.

The freedom to play is an important part of any childhood and so Maier, lead by German landscape architect Ralf Maier, hopes to give the children of the village that chance. Fortunately, skating, as a recreation, has no religious or political affiliations embedded within the sport. Neither are there any allegiances with common enemies—like with the Giants and the Dodgers, for example. Subsequently it's an easier way to unify communities such as the SOS Children's Village. 

Working with Skate-Aid, SOS Children’s Villages, and Betonlandschaften (concrete landscapes) Maier has been able to install skate parks all over the world, across Germany, Africa, to Palestine and even Peru.

In Kigali, Rwanda, another skatepark was completed as recently as 2016. Here a mini-ramp, and ledges and curbs for grinding have been included to cater for all abilities. Meanwhile, an existing tree is the focal point of the space. Located in the middle of the park, it acts as a "volcano" surrounded at the base by curved concrete so skateboarders can interact with it.

In an email, Ralf Maier said that a "key aspect" was the "painting of skatepark with the logo of skate-aid. It gives the park colorful nuances and keeps a picture in your mind."

The same principle was also applied to the skatepark in Bethlehem. In this case, a group of young artists from aptART (Awareness & Prevention Through Art) complimented the skatepark with a splash of color. The vibrant hues employed on the curvaceous concrete enliven the space which would otherwise be suspect to anonymity, fading into the gray surroundings of the vicinity.

Here, the children have a place that is both visually and physically stimulating, but more importantly, have a place to call their own.

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Topopuzzle

Help this architecture firm decide what landscapes will 3D concrete puzzles they’ll create
Two years ago, Hungarian firm Planbureau successfully crowdfunded LOGIFACES, a versatile concrete puzzle that allowed users to create numerous topographical landscapes with angled triangular concrete forms. Now, the firm has set their sights on a much more intricate puzzle that they are calling LOGIPLACESAimed to enhance "creativity and logical thinking skills," the 16- or 36-piece concrete puzzle is currently going through crowdfunding. However, if as successful as its predecessor, places such as San Francisco, the Grand Canyon, the Alps and Budapest among others will be able to be purchased and constructed as scale 3D concrete model puzzles. https://vimeo.com/143098458 The firm say that inspiration came from working for the What-to-print-in-3D design competition which they went on to win, being awarded the Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer from Freedee. The printer then allowed the firm to create moulds with a 100 micron (equal to one millionth of a meter) resolution, forming the intricate contours of the Grand Canyon and winding streets of San Francisco. "We would like to see beautiful, one of a kind architectural concepts in stores more often, especially in the world of games, where it’s rare to see a toy that also reflects on contemporary design,”says Dániel Lakos, founder of Planbureau studio. As for the long-term, the firms ultimate aim is to one day create any place in the world, such as a "hometown or a company’s headquarters and its surroundings" in the format. Asking for $15,000 in funding, the firm seem pretty confident on achieving their goal stating that they want to add a new place after every $5,000 of additional funding. What that new place will be though, is up to the public to decide. An online poll has been created by the firm with Amsterdam, Porto, Rome, Carcassonne, London, Aspen, Death Valley, Madrid, and Fuji as choices. “We believe that places grow when we fill themwith experiences,” adds Lakos. “LOGIPLACES can give anyone the opportunity to take home these experiences and relive them through a meditating game that’s a brain teaser at the same time.” https://vimeo.com/110613383