Posts tagged with "Landscape Architecture":

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“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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Lawndale, California’s newest park playfully recreates the city’s natural, historic landscape

In Lawndale, California, Rudolph Park host a myriad of paths of which feature a range of interactive spaces and landscape elements interspersed on the way. Not long ago, however, the 1.5-acre lot contributed little to the city and the state's South Bay area, which was deemed "park poor" due to its lack of pedestrian access to such park. Two non-profit organizations From Lot to Spot (FLTS) and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) worked with Laguna Beach, CA and Pasadena, CA-based landscape architecture firm EPTDESIGN to rejuvenation Rudolph Park. Upon its re-opening, Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles described it as "the crown jewel of the city." The Architect's Newspaper spoke to the firm to discuss their approach and reasoning behind their design decisions.

The Architect's Newspaper: What informed the development of the “intellectual” and unstructured play experiences created for children’s areas? Why was this focused on?

EPTDESIGN: The park’s program was developed through community workshops led by FLTS and TPL. Program elements included green space, an amphitheater, a climbing wall, natural play, a restroom, a walking loop, fitness equipment, play for all ages, a picnic area, and a gently rolling lawn. EPTDESIGN developed a concept narrative to tie the program elements together. A narrative based on the site’s natural history grew from the public’s stated desire to have a “natural” space, and as a way to distinguish the park from others in the general area...that centered on a singularly themed play structure.

Could you explain the thought process behind the various topographical elements that feature throughout? 

Lawndale sits where the coastal dunes once met the inland prairie, a land characterized by [a] unique topography of dunes and vernal pools. The park seeks to reintroduce the neighborhood to the dunes and prairie that once formed their landscape and to the ecosystems of the hills that frame the region. The park is divided into three zones: The Dunes, Prairie, and Hills. As a result, this playful topographic design allows the visitor to traverse high and low spots. [It] also highlights the site's low-impact stormwater strategy. To enter the site, one crosses over a vegetated swale and infiltration basin where all stormwater is collected.

With regards to the climbing wall, how does the form and arrangement link to the overall scheme? What material is this and how was the wall constructed?

The concept narrative espoused playful topography as a way to tie the design to the site’s natural history, but the grading was also a very useful design tool to promote safety. The climbing wall and restroom were both grant-funding-contingent program elements that posed site security challenges. Both are large vertical elements that could obstruct sightlines from the street. Through the use of creative grading, the restroom was built into a constructed hillside. The climbing wall was oriented perpendicular to the street, sharing the same earthwork as the restroom structure, thus eliminating hiding spots. Behind and above the restroom and climbing wall, the finish grade slopes away gently, allowing unobstructed sightlines to the back of the park while creating a universally accessible route from the lowest spot in the park up to the highest.

The 50-foot-long climbing wall is an innovative feature, and an expression of horizontal strata, which involved extensive collaboration between the landscape architect, civil and structural engineers, architect, artist, and contractors. The climbing face is built from precast concrete modules that are anchored to a structural retaining wall. To keep cost down, there are only four different modules. Through the use of 3D modeling, the modules were laid out to create a varied and unexpected yet climbable texture while...avoiding the tacked-on look of off-the-shelf climbing wall handholds and integrating artwork.

I would also ask the same thing about the tiles. Are they featured throughout the park or just those pictured?

The tile work was done by artist Frank Bauer. EPTDESIGN worked with Bauer on the subject matter and locations. There are multiple pieces, and they are displayed in each of the three zones. Within the Dunes zone, ceramics were placed in a water runnel, and feature three-dimensional pieces for kids to discover. In the Prairie, tile work can be found in the entry plaza. And in the Hills zone, ceramic flower mosaics were placed in the climbing wall niches. All are intended to be “touched” and not just for visual display.

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An undulating kinetic living sculpture flourishes at the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis

Brooklyn-based landscape architecture firm Nomad Studio has designed a "kinetic living sculpture" for the Contemporary Art Museum of Saint Louis. The installation—dubbed Green Air—is the second half of a two part exhibition at the museum; this iteration features an array of Tillandsias (an evergreen plant) hanging from slices of repurposed wood. The undulating hanging garden partially diffuses light into an open space within the Museum. According to a press release, Green Air was "conceived as a living, kinetic sculpture nested within the courtyard of the Contemporary Art Museum of Saint Louis." The work is a reaction to Nomad's previous installation, Green Varnish, which was an equally curvaceous landscape form that rose up from the ground at an angle. Dismantled last fall, the green fabric was made up of thousands of succulents that "symbolically covered all the inconvenient facts of our lifestyle." (Green Varnish won last year's Best of Design Award in the Temporary Installation category.) In fact, Nomad said the space was "modeled as the inverse of Green Varnish, both in form and intention," as it switched from an anchored solid to a free-hanging fluid volume. By doing so, the studio aimed to create a "continuity and dialogue between the two pieces and the people who experience them" as well as conjure up "urgent reflection upon the contrast between the dynamic and static in natural and man-made systems."
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Landscape architect Bradley Cantrell on “cyborg ecologies” and new ways to look at nature

In a basement laboratory at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Bradley Cantrell flips a switch, and a river begins to flow. On a table surveilled by movable sensors and a Microsoft Kinect, pulses of water carry bits of colored sand down a model riverbed.

As an associate professor of Landscape Architectural Technology and director of the GSD’s Master in Landscape Architecture Program, Cantrell runs experiments like these to better understand the natural elements that make up his profession’s palette. But by using computational methods to analyze and even redesign nature, he’s also breaking new ground in the field. Cantrell’s work blurs the lines among environmental engineering, landscape architecture, and artificial intelligence. He sat down with The Architect's Newspaper contributor Chris Bentley in April.

The Architect’s Newspaper: Your work has been described as “computational landscape architecture.” How would you define it?

Bradley Cantrell: I like the term “responsive technologies.” I use a slightly more provocative term sometimes and talk about “cyborg ecologies” or “cyborg landscapes.” It’s really that there isn’t this differentiation between natural systems and human constructed systems. Our technologies actually augment and, yes, change these, but we should celebrate that synthesis as opposed to setting up a duality. We think about nature as being bound in this one place, humans being bound in another. My take is that we should celebrate the connections between those two. It’s not my goal to put computation into everything. But my work uses computation to set up this set of interconnected relationships in a more advanced way.

You talk about embedding sensors and computational technology into the physical landscape, so the landscape reacts to its users in a kind of conversation—what are some of the possibilities of that?

We have this fluid modeling table, but we’re not really modeling a known landscape like the Mississippi Delta. What we’re really doing is using the dynamic nature of that fluid flow and looking at the way the sediment behaves within that. And we’re trying to then use ways of sensing the surface morphology so we can get a digital model of that surface. We can also get spot elevations so we understand how high places are; we can understand how fast water is moving. But then using that data, trying to imagine what are the interactions with that data in real time. We could begin to calculate the actual power of the river to build land or erase land. We could use it to stabilize certain portions, allow other portions to be more in flux.

But the idea there is that by using computation we could take on multiple goals. So it could be about building land, but also that land ebbs and flows because there’s another cycle of a bird species or something like that. Right now we’re taking a very naive approach and just saying, “What are the possibilities of how we can manipulate the system?” And then ideally beginning to layer complexity into that. Right now, when we want to change a river system, we dredge or build a levee to hold water over here and make it dry over there. So it’s a much more traditional construction method, and this one speaks to this kind of real-time interaction with the landscape.

That feedback is one that I think is really important. It speaks to the flora and fauna, too. There’s the idea of resistances among all of these different actors, that there is a form of evolution. And that leads to more resilience within that system because in some ways we’re not depending on a single moment that holds everything together.

You want to let natural systems run their full range of behaviors, but it’s risky to engineer unpredictability into our landscapes. What’s the right amount of uncertainty?

This is a really big question that I don’t have an answer to. But I think it’s a really interesting one. If you think of the way we’ve manufactured something like the Mississippi River, the current state of it has all been put into place for human beings. It’s about navigation up and down the river; it’s about protecting human settlements. And then there’s a whole series of effects from that that alter the surrounding ecosystem. But we then build other things to remediate those effects. My take would be that the relationship could just be more advanced between all of those systems. Sure, there’s going to always be these issues that pop up. But ideally the way things are being managed can propagate those changes back out to the system.

It’s not about taking all the levees down. It’s about how we’re interacting and changing the way the flow occurs in one spot, but we aggregate that off of a thousand points and suddenly the whole river system behaves slightly differently. Can we hold the river in place for a certain amount of time with some certainty? And then can we open that up and allow the river to take on a new course?

When you use terms like “cyborg coast” and “synthetic ecologies,” it sounds like you’re the Dr. Frankenstein of landscape architecture. But building responsive landscapes does not mean replacing natural systems with technology, right? What’s the ideal balance between reengineering nature and conserving it?

I think a lot of people have issues with the idea that we’re actually extending even more control over the landscape. 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. I would say that you do run the possibility of basically manufacturing everything. As our technologies have gotten more advanced, what we’ve seen is really having more and more control over deeper and deeper levels of biological life. Commercial agriculture is a good example of how we’ve extended that control in a way. But one of the issues there is that it all hinges on basically one variable, and that’s productivity. When everything is hinged on that, then we get a very homogenous situation across commercial agriculture. And that’s where 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.

Where do digital representations of the environment still come up short? Is it impossible to model a natural system without oversimplifying it?

I think there’s a kind of clarity in terms of the actual changes we’re making. It’s very difficult for me to say that when I perform this operation, it propagates up through the system in this way. It’s not all about us having better models and better simulations. Part of that is about having a clear understanding of what we’re modeling and the relationships in those models. I think that part is one that’s somewhat missing. Some of these get ironed out just by convincing someone in a small plot of land that this might be an interesting idea and going out and starting to test it.

Even an art project that takes the sediment diversion and uses it as a way to kind of print or paint the landscape—that isn’t all about exactly how the ecological system performs—may sound silly, but it’s a step in that direction. Then people start to see the potential. Building the system and letting people see how it operates is an important step—even if it’s art first.

What’s the next step in actually implementing these ideas?

All the work now is in the lab. I try to make the work a bit more robust by actually working with civil engineers, computer scientists, and ecologists to make sure that they understand that this work exists, because those conversations are the ones that become the most interesting. When an ecologist says, “I never really thought of the idea that you would create basically a robot that would create an ecological system that was outside of human construction.” Suddenly there’s a new place where, is that wilderness? Is that commercial agriculture? Is that design, when you’ve made a robot that thinks for itself and is actually changing the world around us? If we haven’t really manufactured it and it’s a place that we don’t actually understand how it completely works, because it’s this other thing making it, it’s almost wilderness on one hand. The genesis is human construction, but the actual actions are computational logics.

We’ve tried our hardest throughout time to make sure we’re not part of nature. In some ways we’re realizing that there is no separation. We’re actually remanufacturing the Earth similar to any other species that has the same capabilities we might have. That’s something for us to come to grips with. When we do, we suddenly have a new responsibility in the world. It’s not about us doing something and nature responding. What we’re doing is possibly just wrong. It’s not about responding. It’s that we need to be the ones that rethink our processes.

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West 8 designs landscape to revitalize a previously abandoned island in Saint Petersburg

The global landscape architecture and urban planning firm, West 8, is designing a masterplan for New Holland Island, an island in the center of Saint Petersburg, Russia. The first phase is set to open this August 2016. The triangular artificial island dates back to the early 1700s when the city created two canals. The island originally served as a naval port, naval testing ground, and also hosted a naval radio station. Much of the original historic buildings were abandoned after the 1915 Russian Revolution. In 2000, city officials gained control of the island, opening it to the public for a public art exhibit. (One leading artist was the Philadelphia-based Roxane Permar.) In 2010, Saint Petersburg officials gave New Holland Development redevelopment rights to the island. In 2011, the IRIS Foundation started hosting a summer program on the island to help activate non-historic spaces, bringing in gallery-organized temporary exhibitions. The West 8 masterplan covers 2.2 hectares (that's a little over 5.4 acres) and features over 200 mature trees (a linden-flanked alley, willows, oaks, among others) as well as a central green and an herb garden. In winter, the central green will hold an ice skating rink. Other parts of the design opening this summer include a children's playground shaped like the hull of the ship Petr and Pavel, and locally-designed temporary pavilions (a stage, gallery, and visitor's center) by architects Sergey Bukin and Lyubov Leontieva. Three restored historic buildings that were once a naval prison, a blacksmith's building, and a naval officers house will also open by the end of this year, converted into a variety of programs—shops, a bookstore, cafes, exercise studios, a children's creative makerspace, and more. The second, third, and fourth phases are expected to open in 2019, 2021, and 2025. These subsequent renovations will finish the historic warehouse renovations and add just over 3.7 acres of landscaping near Labor Square and Kryukov Canal. The Saint Petersburg Investment Committee and the Council for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage approved the West 8 plan in 2014. (Originally WORKac won an earlier competition in 2011 to design the site and create a cultural center, but their proposal was abandoned in 2013 in favor of a more landscape-centric focus, spurred by the success of the New Holland Island summer programs.)
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A Snøhetta-designed landscape takes shape around the MAX Lab IV particle accelerator

This synchrotron radiation laboratory—basically a fancy term for a type of particle accelerator—dubbed MAX IV is set to open outside of Lund, Sweden this summer. (If you want to get more technical, synchrotron radiation involves charged particles releasing electromagnetic energy when they’re forced to move fast along a curved path. Objects in space can naturally emit synchrotron radiation, too.) Designed by Swedish-based architecture firm Fojab, with landscape design by Norway- and U.S.-based Snøhetta, the lab will hold two storage rings. They're curved to allow charged particles to move close to the speed of light. The landscape design and larger ring—approximately 1732 feet in circumference—will open this summer. (We can’t help but point out that the lab bears a resemblance to the under-construction Apple 2 campus.) In designing the landscape for the sloping 45 acre site, Snøhetta looked to the surrounding area (which is mostly agricultural) and the planned accelerator's curves. Their design features waves of grass meadows forming mini-valleys oriented. Snøhetta focused on four key needs: minimize ground vibrations, include storm water management, define plant selection and maintenance, and reuse excavated land. “A cut and fill strategy was needed to keep the existing masses on site as it secures the option of reversing to agricultural use when the synchrotron no longer will be on the site,” said Snøhetta in a release. “By uploading the digital 3D-model directly into the GPS-controlled bulldozers, we were able to relocate the masses to their final position in one operation.” Their design will include local grasses and feature two ponds (wet and dry) for storing storm water on site. Sheep will help maintain the meadows and the valleys will help with storm water management. Construction is wrapping up on the MAX IV Lab. (Ground breaking was in 2010.) The lab is part of Lund University and also operated by the Swedish Research Council and will replace the three previous synchrotron labs at the University—MAX I, II, and III. Funding for the project is coming in part from Lund University, the Swedish Ministry of Education and Research, and the Swedish Research Council. There are many synchrotron radiation facilities around the world. The largest one is the famous CERN Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland with a 17-mile circumference.
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The stories of Harriet Pattison, landscape architect and companion of Louis Kahn

We know much about Louis Kahn. The Estonian-born (tsarist Russian at the time) American architect based in Philadelphia built his career on monumental buildings that often used exposed reinforced concrete. We know about his life and relationships, explored in his son Nathaniel Kahn's 2003 documentary, My Architect. But what of Nathaniel’s mother, Harriet Pattison, who was a colleague, friend, and romantic companion of Kahn later in his life until his sudden death? “Louis Kahn had a complex relationship with Harriet Pattison, Nathaniel's mother. He would arrive, announced only by a last-minute phone call, at her house once a week,” wrote The Guardian back in 2004, when Nathaniel Kahn’s movie was first released in the UK. “He would play with his son on the lawn, stay for lunch and dinner, and drink a chilled martini or two. Then Harriet would drive him into town and drop him at the end of a darkened street, with Nathaniel wrapped under a blanket, watching as his father vanished into the night, back to his wife.” We previously knew Harriet Pattison through bits and pieces. A landscape architect, she worked with Kahn in his office on numerous projects. One was the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park before Kahn's death in 1974. The project fell away until it was revived in 2009 and finished in 2012. (The park sits on the southern tip of the slender Roosevelt Island surrounded by the East River with the lower Manhattan skyline rising to the west and Queens and Brooklyn to the east.) She also helmed another major project with Kahn: the landscape design at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. But now an oral history project sheds more light on Harriet Pattison’s life and work. As part of an ongoing oral history series on landscape architects, the D.C. based nonprofit the Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) is releasing a 93-minute oral history tonight (April 19) on Harriet Pattison. In 32 wide-ranging clips, Pattison reveals how she approached her work, life, and Kahn. The series (which you can find here) begins with her growing up in Chicago, through her opening of a private practice, to her major works like the Hershey Company Headquarters. “Harriet Pattison has been overshadowed by Louis Kahn and shares the responsibility, but not the credit, for the creation of two Modernist icons” said Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF’s president & CEO in a statement. “The goal of this Pioneers Oral history series is to make Pattison’s unique and inspiring story and design legacy visible and valued.” Birnbaum  interviewed Pattison at UPenn’s architecture archives in Philadelphia last June. The Pattison oral history project unveiling coincides with an exhibit opening on Pattison’s work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Harriet Pattison: Gardens & Landscapes.
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Plans for D.C.’s Pershing Park mired in debate over protection and progress

Adored by some who consider it a neatly sculpted Modern landscape worthy of protection, and loathed by others who see it as an alienating 1980s byproduct that perpetually falls short in its public duties, Pershing Park conjures up some polarizing perspectives. Located in Northwest D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue, the park's condition is shopworn, but its redevelopment continues to divide opinions. Home to the WWI General John Pershing memorial (a protected monument) Pershing Park was designed in 1981 by landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg. At the time it was a tranquil environment, a welcome contrast to the hectic urban surrounding. Its layout is ordered, and clean lines run through the park, maintaining a harmonious and symmetrical relationship with the water and greenery—at least, that was what was meant to be. Once upon a time, the park promised to be a place to ice-skate in the winter and relax in the summer. The fountain and ice-skating framework however, have been defunct for years. The water's serenity and sense of calm is easily disrupted when upkeep is ignored as litter fills the pool and steps become dirty. Paving slabs are riddled with cracks and are uneven, the slick lines now lost. It's no coincidence that that idyllic images shown on the American Society of Landscape Architects's website (via The Cultural Landscape Foundation, TCLF) are clearly dated (though the date of the photographs is unknown). Now, the World War I Memorial Centennial Commission is eager for change. A competition which the commission ran in 2015 resulted in architect Joseph Weishaar, landscape architect Phoebe McCormick Lickwar and sculptor Sabin Howard winning with their proposal: The Weight of Sacrifice. The design does away with the water. A problematic feature, seen as a catalyst to the park's downfall, it is replaced by a lawn that is partially surrounded by 10-foot-high walls that hug the perimeter, using bas-reliefs to inform visitors about WWI.
  The aim is to provide more space to relax, but it also sees a change in the park's role, becoming a place for historical education too. Costs are estimated at $38 million by the commission who has currently raised $6 million in their bid to bring about change. Change however, may not come so easily. On the other side, those who fight for the parks protection are attempting to place the park on the National Register of Historic Places. If successful, any changes, regardless of money raised, would be significantly curtailed. It's not hard to see both sides of the argument. On one hand, to maintain the current style and layout of the park pays respect to the WWI General John Pershing memorial of which it was designed to do. On that note, any change would disrupt the relationship between the park and the memorial. Conversely, the space's decline surely implies that it is unsuccessful, so much so that none bother to maintain it. For this to be fixed, more need to be welcomed in and more space is needed to facilitate this. Joe Weishaar argues that the dropped water feature is a “blind spot” and is hence ignored. Sculptor Sabin Howard envisions an “uplifting story of transformation, showing how noble the human race can be.” While the campaign for change gathers steam, the fight for protection does have some weight in the form of Charles Birnbaum, president and CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)  and Darwina Neal, former president of ASLA among others. Here, Birnbaum argues for “making some changes, but keeping the signature and character-defining features intact.” From a withdrawn perspective, one cries out for collaboration between the two parties. Jared Green of The Dirt points out: "Whatever the outcome, one long-term question is: can this park be well-maintained moving forward? If not, we may be back to where we are now 30 years in the future."
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Five installation winners announced for this year’s prestigious International Garden Festival

In its 17th edition, the International Garden Festival has announced five new winners selected from 203 projects comprising 31 countries. This year's winners were presented at Les Jardins de Métis, Reford Gardens in Quebec, Canada. This year's winning gardens will be on display at the same location from June 23 to October 2, 2016. Visitors will be able to view the 27 contemporary gardens and engage with the interactive spaces that are the product of more than 85 landscape architects, architects, and designers. The winning gardens are: Le Caveau by architect and landscape architect Christian Poules Basel, Switzerland According to the Festival:

The growing plane is shrouded in the intimacy of Le caveau (the cave) - a four-sided room of stacked gabions full of stones. Stone that allows light to filter through its gaps and washes the room with its shadows. It is a room of reflection. It is a room for dreamers. Just as the plane levitates before us, we are held in the balance of the stone and life itself. The personification of our own imaginations suspended in time. The primitive plane symbolizes a beginning - the seed and the soil, the tilted horizon between earth and sky.

Carbone by Coache Lacaille Paysagistes: Maxime Coache, landscape architect; Victor Lacaille, landscape designer and Luc Dalla Nora, landscape architect) Nantes, France According to the Festival:

This installation evokes the cycle of production as a parallel to the carbon cycle. The garden landscaped or the landscape gardened. Regenerating the forest and sowing where we have harvested brings nature back to life. Transmit the love of landscape to those who will outlive us.  A sculpted tree trunk, partially cut into pieces helps to illustrate the primary material used to build furniture. A stump and its roots, a tree trunk cut into parts and five modules made of timber, some lightly burned on the surface. A young tree grows where the tree might have grown tall had the tree not fallen.

Cyclops by architect Craig Chapple Phoenix, Arizona According to the Festival:

Cyclops is a singular object on the landscape as well as a singular frame of the landscape. Made up of 258 8-meter long timber and 1 x 6 boards, they are held in a concentric ring by 2 steel rings suspended from the surrounding trees by stainless steel cables. Cyclops is held in a tenuous balance with the environment that provides for it. The central 1.5 m opening at the bottom of the cone is a highly-charged occupiable space for the viewer to both view the canopy in a new way but also truly feel the focus of the suspended weight as the physical latent force in the trees themselves. The viewer finds himself playing the central role of the work in rediscovering their relationship to the energy in their environment.

La Maison de Jacques by intern architects Romy Brosseau, Rosemarie Faille-Faubert and Émilie Gagné-Loranger Québec, Canada According to the Festival:

La maison de Jacques (or Jack’s House from the children’s fable Jack and the Beanstalk) is different from the one we know. You might think you have just stepped out of a children’s story. The house is a green grove that is enveloped in bloom. You enter by walking on stepping stones that traverse a ground-cover made of small. Once inside, you wander between the rows of beans of tightly winding their way up a light wooden structure. The walls divide the space into a series of small hidden gardens, singular in their proportions. These cocoons are ideal hiding places for a game of hide-and-seek. One remains a secret, inaccessible...

TiiLT by SRCW: Sean Radford, architect and Chris Wiebe, designer Winnipeg, Canada According to the Festival:

Finding roots in the formal geometries of the labyrinth and the many informal camping traditions in the Canadian landscape, TiiLT is a transformable and inhabitable place for visitors to act, or to idle, however they may be inclined. Each structure may be flipped between two orientations, responding to the position of the sun, offering alternating views and shifting pathways through the site. The toggling movement conjures a school of fish, or a flock of birds, flitting in opposite directions yet connected as a whole. The straw-like lightness of the structures and brilliant yellow skin recall a field of floral blooms, contrasting the surrounding green landscape and blue sky.

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University of Texas at Austin is transforming Speedway into a pedestrian mall through campus

The so-called Speedway in Austin, Texas, is being slowed to the pace of the pedestrian, thanks to a redesign by PWP Landscape Architecture. The road is not a racetrack as its name implies, but a street used heavily by cyclists and motorists as it cuts through the University of Texas at Austin. The project, called the "Speedway Mall," is a move by the university to improve the area and boost its usage. Construction on the mall, to be located between Jester Circle and Dean Keeton Street, will be carried out by the university starting soon on October 26 with the project set to cost $36 million. The project will convert the predominantly urban area into one that is made up of 70 percent green space, a move that will transform the space making it a social hub complete with trees, tables, study areas, and Wi-Fi access. According to the Daily Texan, Pat Clubb, the university operations vice president, stated that the scheme should free up the space for university and educational needs with outdoor learning, campus festivities, performances among other student enterprises. “[Speedway] is a wonderful asset that is not being used, and this project allows us to turn a dull, ugly — this place that students just walk past — into a true activity center,” Clubb said. “I think it will transform the student experience. It will become a place of learning, become a place of social activity. All of the things that will be possible are going to enhance the students’ experience.” “The idea is to transform it to make it safer, to make it more environmentally hospital, to make it more accessible and more usable to students,” Frederick Steiner, dean of the School of Architecture, told the Daily Texan. Steiner has confidence that the Speedway Mall, when finished in 2017, will evolve into an area that students, faculty, staff, and alumni will love about campus. “Where 30 years ago, the Main Mall was sort of the center of campus, now Speedway is sort of the center of campus and it should change to reflect that. There’s an old Joni Mitchell song about tearing up paradise and putting in a parking lot,” Steiner continued. “Well, we’re going to be tearing up parking lots and putting in paradise.”
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How landscape architects at SWA created the country’s largest Zero-Net Energy community at UC Davis

In 2011 SWA built the nation's largest planned Zero-Net Energy (ZNE) community. Working in collaboration with the University of California Davis and developer West Village Community Partnership (WVCP), the project houses over 2,000 students and 500 staff and faculty families. When UC Davis started the West Village Energy Initiative (WVEI) in cooperation with WVCP in 2003, the university initially only aimed for a 50percent reduction in energy consumption (compared to the California Energy Efficiency Building Code). However, in 2008 the initiative proposed that without losing quality and at no extra cost to the developer, West Village could become a ZNE community. A public-private partnership with the developer and UC Davis has been able make WVEI's 2008 proposal a reality. SWA master planned the 225-acre neighborhood and prepared landscape strategies for its development. Included in the housing scheme is a network of parks, storm water ponds and corridors, bicycle and pedestrian trails, a community college, and retail and recreational services. These areas incorporate on-site energy generation which are aesthetically designed and in harmony with local environmental conditions. In preparation, SWA conducted analyses at regional, site, and building/garden scales in order to maximize opportunities for passive cooling. Designers arranged buildings in loose clusters that allow breezes from the Bay Delta to filter through the site. SWA also proposed the planting of deciduous shade trees, reducing the need for air conditioning. In a bid to promote zero-energy methods of transportation, SWA integrated an extensive cycling network into the scheme making it the primary way of getting around the neighborhood. Davis is, after all, home to the first bike lane in the United States. SWA integrated drainage into the site's system of parks, sports fields, trails, and gardens. Storm water drains to the site's large northern ponds, where it is purified by native wetland planting in a series of basins. The slopes of the site's ponds incorporate native shrubs and trees, selected in cooperation with UC Davis' horticulturists, botanical garden curators, and ground and maintenance personnel, to provide a sustainable habitat for migratory birds, while also providing a visually appealing natural landscape for residents year-round. UC Davis' internal monitoring shows that the West Village ZNE community achieved an exceptional 87 percent of initial ZNE goals in its first year. In 2013, West Village received the ULI Global Award of Excellence, which honors outstanding development in both the private and public sectors, with an emphasis on responsible land use.
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Pictorial> Take a look inside Dattner’s 34th St-Hudson Yards subway station, now open to the public

On Sunday, September 13th, New York City got its first new subway station in 25 years. Located at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue, the 34th St-Hudson Yards station extended the 7 train one and a half miles to serve Manhattan's Far West Side. Dattner Architects designed the 364,000 square foot, $2.4 billion station. The new station is ten stories underground, and features the subway system's first inclined elevator. Below the canopied main entrance, designed by Toshiko Mori Architect, a multicolored mosiac mural by artist Xenobia Bailey greets passengers. MVVA designed the park surrounding the main entrance. See the gallery below for images of the new station.