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Stone masonry work in progress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Credit: By USCapitol [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Construction has been brisk across most of the country the past year, but material costs are not bad and are expected to hold steady this year, if not drop a bit more, given falling fuel prices and weakness in China and elsewhere. But the construction labor market is tightening; construction wages will likely need to go up, and some areas may see labor shortages. All this info comes in an excellent roundup on the shape of the current construction economy over at Equipment Today. Rod Dickens called on economists from the Associated Builders and Contractors, the National Association of Home Builders, the Portland Cement Association, the Associated General Contractors of America, and IHS Global Insight. Take the forecasts as you will, but the remarks on the current status of the market are as informed as any report card you’ll likely find. The full rundown is here.

The things our art director, Chris McGee, hated to leave out of the current issue of LAM.

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From “Desert Lights” by Katarina Katsma, ASLA, in the January 2016 issue, featuring artist Bruce Munro’s Sonoran Light installation at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix.

“Tendrils of light come alive, chasing the sunset in the distance.”

—Chris McGee, LAM Art Director

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.

By Øyvind Holmstad [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

By Øyvind Holmstad [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Find the LAM staff out and about in February:

February 8

Fall Design Excellence Exhibition Jury, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

You can also find Landscape Architecture Magazine this winter at the following shows:

January 19–21

International Builders’ Show, Las Vegas

And as always, at more than 400 Barnes & Noble stores.

GOT THE JOB

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Three firms talk about who they’ll hire next and why.

From the January 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

A recent uptick in hiring has new grads and emerging professionals looking ahead. We asked principals of three different firms who are hiring what they’re looking for in a candidate.

Rhodeside & Harwell (Alexandria, Virginia)

What kind of role are you hiring for? What level of experience are you seeking?

Elliot Rhodeside, FASLA: Since we have a mature office with strong leaders who will lead the firm after the founders retire, we have been focusing on hiring Continue Reading »

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LAM rings in the new year with 300 Ivy in San Francisco by Fletcher Studio, winner of a 2015 ASLA Professional Honor Award in Residential Design; the Fayetteville 2030: Food City Scenario, developed by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, which aims to bring food security to local residents; Buhl Community Park, by Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, which reimagines a historic square in the center of Pittsburgh; and a look at national park “extremes” across the United States helps to kick off the centenary year of the National Park Service.

In Interview, Gwen McGinn’s research probes the little-known world of urban tree root growth, and won a 2015 ASLA Student Award in Research; and in Office, three types of landscape architecture firms describe what they look for in new employees. And don’t miss our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for January 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 January articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Peak Condo,” Bruce Damonte; “The Next Meal,” University of Arkansas Community Design Center; “Ephemera, Here to Stay,” Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA; “The Mostest American Treasures,” http://www.shutterstock.com/Doug Meek; “A World Underground,” Gwendolyn Dora McGinn, Associate ASLA; “Got the Job,” Richard Johnson.

PARDON HIS PROGRESS

BY FRED A. BERNSTEIN

xxx

Daniel Biederman sweats all the details in a crusade to make parks that work.

From the December 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Daniel Biederman’s desire to improve America’s parks has him patrolling green spaces from Santa Monica to Boston, issuing complaints about everything from a messy bicycle rack weld (“it looks like Play-Doh”) to the quantity of caution tape around an out-of-order bathroom (“people will think it’s a crime scene”). When he is in Manhattan, in his office overlooking Bryant Park, he tries to speak with each of his employees daily—he describes it as essential to their professional development. (“I have to build them up so they can interact with clients.”) But, as in the business of renovating parks, building up often involves tearing down. During a weekly meeting of his business improvement district minions, Biederman browbeat one employee over how he approached newspaper circulation executives (who, he explained, “are former truck drivers, with IQs of 97”); corrected the grammar of another; and ordered his social media team never to tell him a mention of one of his parks had “gone viral,” which he dismissed as a cliché. Instead, he told the team, “Give me real data.”

Asked about his tough leadership style, Biederman later said, “I can’t have kindergarten.”

He also can’t achieve Continue Reading »

LAMCAST: PLANT LIFE CYCLES

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Compiling satellite data from the past few years, NASA recently put together a visual detailing the average biosphere cycle of the Earth. Waves of dark green wash between the northern and southern hemispheres and highlight a greater density in plant growth during summer months, leaving in their wake beige tones on land and dark blues in the water, representative of winter when plants become dormant or die off. These fluctuations show the trade in seasons between the north and south. For more information, visit NASA.

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