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Archive for the ‘GREEN ROOFS’ Category

BY LAUREN MANDEL, ASSOCIATE ASLA

Ryerson University's green roof transformation.

Ryerson University’s green roof transformation.

From the August 2014 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

In downtown Chicago, the city’s convention center, McCormick Place, dominates the landscape with 27 acres of rooftop. The facility’s West Building has more than three acres of thin, or extensive, green roof, which was installed in 2007 to meet city requirements. In recent years, a lack of maintenance has caused the roof’s Sedum species to decline, which gave employees of SAVOR, the in-house food service provider at McCormick Place, an idea that these highly visible vegetated planes could be used for a more productive purpose. The result is the McCormick Place Rooftop Farm.

Green roof infrastructure has matured to the point that the intended use for some older roofs may no longer be relevant. In Chicago, New York, and Toronto, there are projects to turn some of these roofs into fields of food. In the past decade, cities with progressive stormwater management policies have incentivized or even required green roofs on new construction, creating a veneer of vegetation across many urban skylines. But as with any landscape, the project matures and the needs of the users change.

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For the cover story of LAM’s August issue, Jennifer Reut, an associate editor at the magazine, goes on safari in Louisiana with the Dredge Research Collaborative, a loosely joined group of designers and one journalist spellbound by the huge, hidden power of dredging waterways for shipping or flood control, and all of its odd side effects. It began as almost a science fiction-type pursuit, though one member of the collaborative, Tim Maly, explains, “As we began to research the present of dredge, our wild ideas were routinely falling short of reality.”  Also in this month’s features, Jonathan Lerner surveys the outsized ambitions of Joe Brown, FASLA, who just retired from AECOM, the multinational design firm to which he welded the fortunes of the beloved landscape architecture firm EDAW in an acquisition nine years ago—to applause that was scarcely universal. And on the riverfront of Newark, Jane Margolies explores the degrading past and the brighter future of an old industrial site turned into Riverfront Park, with a boardwalk done in sizzling orange, by Lee Weintraub, FASLA.

In Foreground, we have the refashioning of certain large green roofs into farms; the balancing of goodness and financial prudence required to make social-impact design viable; and the layered dynamics of marine spatial planning as practiced by Charlene LeBleu, FASLA, at Auburn University. In Species, Constance Casey writes about the respectable labors of the mole—even if it can be a gardener’s scourge. In the Back, landscape architects in Denver suggest their personal favorite spots to visit during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in November. And of course, there’s more in our regular Books and Goods columns.

You can read the full table of contents for August here. As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.

Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating some August pieces as the month rolls out.

Credits: Concrete Mattresses—Jennifer Reut; Orange Boardwalk—Colin Cooke Studio; Joe Brown—Kyle Jeffers; Rooftop Gardening—Chicago Botanic Garden; The Women’s Opportunity Center—Bruce Engel, Sharon Davis Design; Marine Spatial Planning—Charlene LeBleu, FASLA; Mole—www.shutterstock.com/Marcin Pawinski; 9th Street Historic Park—Kyle Huninghake; Marché aux poulets—Camille Sitte, circa 1885.

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A monthly roundup of the news, dispatches, and marginalia that caught our eye.

This month’s issue of the Queue lauds the re-emergence of smart print magazines for landscape architecture,  admires a new restorative space behind bars, questions how friendly “bee-friendly” plants really are, and considers a trip to Reno…again.

 

CATCHING UP WITH…

 

FIELD STUDIES

    • Magazines are the new black! First there was Reframe, and now there’s LA+, a new print publication from PennDesign that wants to bridge the gap between trade magazines and academic journals. The aim of the publication is to provide content that is more than just “designers talking to other designers.”
    • Navigating the (policy) waters: Two recent reports from the Natural Resources Defense Council offer road maps for cities to “integrate comprehensive urban water efficiency strategies into state revolving funds and Clean Water Act compliance.”

 

OUT AND ABOUT

 

 

DISTRACT ME FROM MY DEADLINE DEPT.

 

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Shauna Gillies-Smith talks to  Cool Spaces host Stephen Chung about the Nelson Atkins Museum's landscape. Photo: Shauna Gillies-Smith

Shauna Gillies-Smith talks to Cool Spaces!  host Stephen Chung about the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s landscape. Photo: Shauna Gillies-Smith

The landscape architect Shauna Gillies-Smith has worked on only a handful of episodes of Cool Spaces! The Best New Architecture, a new PBS series focused on new architecture, but she’s not worried that landscape architecture is getting the short shift. The show’s host, Stephen Chung, was a classmate of Gillies-Smith at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and she says she is confident that he is sufficiently “interested in the allied disciplines.” The show, now premiering in local television markets, is organized around different typologies—the first few episodes have themes such as “Performance Spaces,” “Libraries,” or “Healing Spaces”—and focuses on three major new projects per episode. Although landscape architecture is not yet a featured theme, Gillies-Smith has been on screen or behind the scenes for some of the projects, and she’s a big believer in exposing the nondesign audience to design. “It’s as much an advocacy project as a beautiful interesting project about design” she says.

Gillies-Smith, who is the founding principal of ground  in Boston, is one of a team of experts whom Chung may interview on screen; the team may also include an engineer, a lighting designer, or an acoustician, depending on the project. Each expert talks about a different aspect of the project and tries to make it comprehensible to the general audience. “So, for example, I spoke on two different projects,” Gillies-Smith says. “One was the Nelson-Atkins Museum, and in that project it comes down to something very, very simple: the idea that the land was constructed.” Gillies-Smith walks the viewer through the way the landscape was shaped to accommodate a Dan Kiley garden next to the museum’s Stephen Holl addition: “The addition has a very strongly sculpted landscape that is primarily creating space so the building can poke out of the ground like a series of lanterns. A very simple idea, that the landscape was built around the buildings,”  she told us.

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A European honeybee (Apis mellifera) cared for by Urban Apiaries, in Philadelphia. The hives live on the roof of the SHARE Food Program in North Philly. Photo by Lauren Mandel.

A European honeybee (Apis mellifera) cared for by Urban Apiaries, in Philadelphia. The hives live on the roof of the SHARE Food Program in North Philly. Photo by Lauren Mandel.

Lauren Mandel is one of rooftop agriculture’s more ardent cheerleaders, but also one of its most helpful handicappers. Her new book, Eat Up: The Inside Scoop on Rooftop Agriculture, is a complete guide to making rooftop agriculture work at various scales, and she’s not afraid to let people know about the challenges as well as benefits. We talked with Mandel about what’s going on in rooftop ag today and how farms are showing up in the most unlikely places.

You have a landscape architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania and you’re now working for Roofmeadow, a firm that’s known for roof gardens. How did you get from A to B?
I’ve always been interested in green roofs and rooftop agriculture, and when I went to Penn, my objective was to get really solid training in landscape architecture with the idea that I would eventually work in a slightly different industry but with a landscape architecture lens. Learning how to think like a landscape architect has been instrumental in my ability to design at multiple scales, and understand how all the parties and priorities relate to one and another. So there’s been a lot of things I’ve learned from landscape architecture that I’ve been able to apply to green design and rooftop agriculture.

I had worked for a few years in landscape architecture firms in Philadelphia and Seattle, and then again while I was in graduate school. During my last semester of graduate school, I wrote the first draft of my book; my advisors were landscape architect Karen M’Closkey, urban planner Domenic Vitiello, economist Anita Mukherjee, and Charlie Miller, the founder of Roofmeadow. I thought it was important to have these advisors because it was a very multidisciplinary subject.

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A WALK THROUGH VIA VERDE

You may have seen our feature article on Via Verde, a housing development in the South Bronx, in our November issue. The writer Alex Ulam took the videographer Doug Forbes out to walk the site with the project’s landscape architect, Lee Weintraub, FASLA, and captured the tour.

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GREEN ROOFS ON TOP

Courtesy Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, Inc.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) presented their Green Roof and Wall Awards of Excellence at a ceremony in Chicago on Friday. Among the winners was this quilt-like green roof at the Chicago Botanic Garden by Oehme, van Sweden & Associates. The roof, which is being used for research purposes, has 300 different plant taxa in varying depths of soil. GRHC has images of all the award winners on their website, along with details on the design of each roof.

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