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Archive for the ‘LAM MAGAZINE’ Category

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March’s issue of LAM looks at the cultural and environmental consequences of sand mining in Wisconsin to supply the fracking industry; Lola Sheppard and Mason White’s influential research-driven practice, Lateral Office, in Toronto; and three new play spaces in Oregon designed by GreenWorks and Mayer/Reed that embrace nature-based play.

In this month’s departments, Chatham University in Pittsburgh closes its landscape architecture programSiteWorks has kids help turn New York City schoolyards into community parks; the winners of a 2014 ASLA Student Award of Excellence balance landscape and architecture in a home for a wounded veteran; Joni L. Janecki, ASLA, creates a drought-tough landscape for the Packard Foundation’s new headquarters near Palo Alto, California; Jane Wolff’s illustrated flashcards make the San Francisco Bay legible in Bay Lexicon; and we have numbers, however small, on landscape design’s growing impact on the economy. All this plus our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for March can be found 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 March articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Many Sand Counties,” Lonniewishart.com; “Eyes Northward,” Ashley Capp; “Go Wild, Oregon Child,” Courtesy GreenWorks, PC; “Chatham Shuts the Door,” © Chatham University 2015; “DIY, Kiddo,” The Trust for Public Land; “The Drought Will Tell,” Jeremy Bittermann; “Team Effort,” Thomas J. Manuccia; “Bay Q&A,” Jane Wolff.

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The two University of Chicago proposed sites for the Barack Obama Presidential Library and x. Credit: University of Chicago.

The two University of Chicago proposed sites for the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum.

From the March 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, has said he will move “heaven and earth” to bring the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum to his city. As has become apparent in a rather tacky local drama, Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff for President Obama, is not going to let Frederick Law Olmsted get in his way, either.

The Barack H. Obama Foundation is expected to announce this month its choice of location for the library from among five proposed sites in three cities: Chicago, Honolulu, and New York. In Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago has offered to host the library on a 23-acre vacant site the city owns on the West Side. Emanuel has said the library can have the land if the site is chosen. Meanwhile, on the South Side, the University of Chicago is offering either of two sites for the library: 21 acres of Washington Park or 20 acres of Jackson Park. The parks are joined, and are Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s only parks in the Midwest. Washington Park has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2004.

Isn’t it big of the University of Chicago to plate up some historic public parkland it doesn’t even own for the president? But it turns out that the ownership question is no worry. Emanuel has promised to hand over whichever chunk of the Olmsted parks the Obama foundation wants. He made that decision after the foundation’s doubts about the South Side proposal became known over the ownership issue. And Emanuel is not experiencing any friction from the Chicago Parks District’s Board of Commissioners, the members of which are his political appointees. They voted unanimously to hand over the land to the foundation if the University of Chicago’s bid were to succeed. (Though it was sort of cute, and perhaps pointless in the larger scheme, that the board’s president, Bryan Traubert, recused himself from the vote because he is married to Penny Pritzker, Obama’s secretary of commerce. Where is there not a conflict of interest in this scenario?)

The idea of taking the parkland to build the Obama library has plenty of support on the South Side, where the Obama family lived before the presidency. Throughout the city, a Chicago Tribune poll in early February found, 62 percent of voters favor the idea, though the poll question mentioned neither Olmsted nor that dozens and dozens of acres of publicly owned vacant land lie near the proposed park site for the library. So you get a response that to the idea’s supporters sounds like the desired tyranny of the majority, under which most anything wrong can be considered righteous.

The opposition to the idea has been fierce but surprisingly isolated among die-hard parks advocates such as the Friends of the Parks group in Chicago and, nationally, the Cultural Landscape Foundation. If any parkland, let alone Olmsted and Vaux territory, can be seized so easily for rank political reasons, then those of us who consider parks sacrosanct have far bigger worries than just these 20 or so acres.

Washington Park, one of two sites being offered by the University of Chicago for the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum. Credit:

Washington Park, one of three possible sites for the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum in Chicago.

Credit: Map, University of Chicago; Washington Park, Photo © Lucas Blair, courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

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BY FRED A. BERNSTEIN

Set-asides for women-owned firms are a paradox.  some can move you ahead. others are just a headache.

Set-asides for women-owned firms are a paradox. Some can move you ahead. Others are just a headache. Credit: Greeen/shutterstock.com

From the February 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Andrea Cochran, FASLA, the San Francisco-based landscape architect, has received the Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Award, the ASLA Design Medal, and many other honors. But despite her prominence, she says, she still sees sexism affecting the profession. “It’s not overt, but it’s there,” says Cochran, explaining that it is precisely her success that makes her aware of the problem. “If you asked me when I was in my 20s if I had ever experienced sexism, I would have laughed at you,” she says. “But then you get to a certain point in your career and you realize there is a glass ceiling.” In her experience, “It’s still hard to get certain types of jobs, some of the bigger jobs, if you’re a woman.”

So Cochran supports programs that require prime contractors on public projects to award a percentage of the work to “women business enterprises,” or WBEs. “If being a WBE helps me get a job, that’s fine,” says Cochran, her voice rising, “because there are lots of other jobs I would have gotten if I were a guy.”

(more…)

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TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY PIERRE BÉLANGER, ASLA

Recovering and Reprojecting James Corner's Lost Map.

Recovering and Reprojecting James Corner’s Lost Map.

From the February 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

(Correction appended)

Hanging vertically on the basement wall of Room L30C in Gund Hall at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) is a seemingly anonymous light box. It’s rarely looked at or recognized and has been that way for more than 10 years. It’s considered a work of art—a sculpture, according to the Harvard University Cultural Properties Database—and it’s the primary source of light for the small underground office of Trevor O’Brien, the assistant manager of building services at the school. “No one has really bothered to ask about it over the years,” O’Brien says. It’s nearly invisible, but behind its anonymity, not to mention its remarkable beauty, lies an interesting backstory.

The rectangular light box was made by James Corner, ASLA, for the 2001 conference, “Territories: Contemporary European Landscape Design,” organized by George Hargreaves, FASLA, and Dorothée Imbert, ASLA, here at the school. The light box is a design project ahead of its time. The aluminum box, 36 inches by 48 inches and 4 inches deep, is part of a proposal for the growth and expansion of Stockholm into the neighboring suburb of Älvsjö. Layered among the collage of transparencies and films of information is a caption that reads somewhat like a micromanifesto:

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February’s issue of LAM minces no words, starting with Fred A. Bernstein, who talks with female landscape architects whose firms listed as women business enterprises, or WBE’s, can sometimes attract jobs that make them feel as if they’re on board only to fill a quota; Jerry van Eyck, ASLA, a Dutch landscape architect who transplanted himself to New York, is making his mark in North America with !melk, his firm of four years that has public space and park business projects as lively as his character; and the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s grand new building by Herzog & de Meuron and ethereal hanging gardens by Patrick Blanc become backdrops to the small yet thoughtful designs of ArquitectonicaGEO, which repurpose the neglected Miami waterfront with native plantings and innovative flood control.

In Now, Camden, New Jersey, proves that park renovations don’t always have to be expensive. In Water, Anne Raver follows up our earlier coverage of Owens Lake in California, where an official decision has now been reached on how to tamp down the toxic dust blowing off the dried lake bed. Planning takes a look at the wave of the future in ecodistricts; House Call visits a picturesque vineyard by Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture, which won a 2014 ASLA Honor Award in Residential Design; and in The Back, the long forgotten Älvsjö Flatbed, produced by James Corner a generation ago, reveals a design language ahead of its time. All this plus our regular Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for February can be found 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 February articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “A Hand Up, A Hand Down,” Greeen/Shutterstock.com; “!melk Man, Jerry van Eyck,” Patrick Pantano; “Soft Landing,” Robin Hill/Courtesy ArquitectonicaGEO; “For A Song,” Sikora Wells Appel and Group Melvin Design; “The Dust Settlement,” Nuvis Landscape Architecture and Planning; “What Ecodistricts Need,” GBD Architects; “Among the Vines,” Matthew Millman Photography; “Everything on the Table,” Pierre Bélanger, ASLA.

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BY CONSTANCE CASEY

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The opposum is the only marsupial native to North America.

From the January 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Opossums, animals that can eat almost anything, are increasingly joining their fellow omnivores at the suburban garbage can buffet. Opossums are shy, shambling creatures—the opposite of aggressive—but an opossum on its nocturnal foraging rounds often elicits a scream of disgust or fear. People tend to see them as ugly and vicious because their tails are bare and their narrow snouts are full of sharp teeth.

An opossum’s tail is ratlike, bald, and scaly. But to think of them as large rats or naked-tailed squirrels is wrong. Opossums, commonly known as possums, are not rodents; they are marsupials. The fact is that they’re North America’s only pouch-bearing animals. (Marsupium is “pouch” in Latin.) The world’s most famous marsupials, kangaroos and koalas, are Australian and cute. (Possums Down Under are in a different family, the Phalangeridae, and have appealing, furry tails.)

The western hemisphere has about 100 opossum species, all in the family Didelphidae. Of these, only one, the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), lives in North America. When the land bridge linking South and North America formed three million years ago, some opossums trudged north. By the 1600s the creature that would be the Virginia opossum had traveled up to the Virginia colony. There, Captain John Smith of Jamestown observed, “an opassum hath an head like a Swine and a taile like a Rat….” (He derived the name “opassum” from an Algonquin word.) Smith correctly observed that the animal carried its young in a pouch.

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Credit: Pier55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio

Some argue the funding for the Hudson River Park could be put to better use elsewhere in the city.

From the February 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Barry Diller is a billionaire who has committed to underwriting the lion’s share of a $130 million plan for the construction of Pier 55, a 2.7-acre island of undulating parkland and performance venues that would rest atop mushroom-shaped pilings in New York City’s Hudson River Park.

The city’s power brokers have enthusiastically endorsed the proposal, which also includes a 20-year lease under which Pier55, Inc., a nonprofit Diller founded with his wife, the designer Diane von Furstenberg, would pay for the pier’s upkeep and oversee its programming. And quite possibly, the Pier 55 project would help bail out the chronically cash-strapped Hudson River Park Trust, the quasi-public entity charged with running Hudson River Park and raising funds for its maintenance.

However, at a community meeting last week in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood, which abuts Hudson River Park, many residents had a host of concerns about the Pier 55 project. They questioned its futuristic aesthetic, its environmental impacts, and its contribution to the larger public realm. They also questioned whether their input would be considered during the design process and what trade-offs the Hudson River Park Trust was making in exchange for accepting what reportedly is the single largest private donation to a public park in the city’s history.

(more…)

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