After barely a decade, Chatham University’s landscape architecture program gets the ax.
The decision, announced in a posting on the web page for Chatham University’s Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program, was rather sudden: “As of June 2014, Landscape Architecture degree programs at Chatham have been closed.” David Wilson, Associate ASLA, a 2014 graduate of the MLA program and a past ASLA student president, says there had been rumors the closure would happen, so it wasn’t a total surprise, though the speed with which a decision was made “did come as a bit of a shock.”
The MLA program at Chatham, located in the heart of Pittsburgh, is relatively new, having first been accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) in 2007. Many people considered it fitting, even inevitable, to have a landscape architecture program at a school that headlines its environmental ethos and that, when it was the Pennsylvania College for Women, had counted Rachel Carson, the environmentalist and author of Silent Spring, among its graduates.
Chatham had long offered a master’s degree in landscape studies, and in 2000, members of ASLA’s Pennsylvania–Delaware Chapter began talking to administrators of Chatham College (the school achieved university status in 2007) to see whether they would be interested in hosting a landscape architecture program, recalls Lisa Kunst Vavro, ASLA, the current trustee for the chapter. The program won approval in 2003; Michael Leigh, who was faculty at the landscape studies program at the time, worked with the college to develop the program. Shortly afterward, in January 2004, Kunst Vavro became the acting director and won accreditation in 2007 after three years of what she describes as “blood, sweat, and tears.”
Continue Reading »
Posted in EDUCATION, LAM MAGAZINE, SCHOOLS, STUDENTS, UNIVERSITY, VIEWS | Tagged accreditation, ASLA, Bill Campbell, Chatham University, Eden Hall, Falk School of Sustainability, LAAB, landscape studies, Lisa Kunst Vavro, Master of Landscape Architecture, MLA, Pennsylvania, Peter Walker, Pittsburgh, Safei-Eldin Hamed, Sustainability, Thelma Lazo-Flores | 1 Comment »
Find the LAM staff out and about in March and April:
LABash 2015, San Luis Obispo, CA
2015 CELA Conference, Manhattan, KS
The Harvard–Lincoln Institute Journalists Forum on Land and the Built Environment, Cambridge, MA
Ohio Chapter ASLA Annual Meeting, Columbus, OH
Greater & Greener 2015: Innovative Parks, Vibrant Cities, San Francisco, CA
2015 Society of Architectural Historians Annual Conference, Chicago, IL
You can also find Landscape Architecture Magazine this spring at the following shows:
Hearth Patio and Barbecue Expo, Nashville, TN
Architectural Digest Home Design Show, New York, NY
Outdoor Design and Build Show, Dubai, UAE
Coverings, Orlando, FL
And as always, at more than 400 Barnes & Noble stores.
Posted in LAM MAGAZINE, PEOPLE | Tagged 2015 Society of Architectural Historians Annual Conference, Architectural Digest, Cambridge, Chicago, Columbus, Coverings, Dubai, Greater & Greener 2015, Hearth Patio and Barbecue Expo, LABash, New York, Ohio Chapter ASLA Annual Meeting, On the Road with LAM, Orlando, Outdoor Design and Build Show, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, The Lincoln Institute | Leave a Comment »
Americans throw away more than 146 billion coffee cups every year, says Alex Henige, a senior in the landscape architecture program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. That number may seem low, but with no end in sight to the nation’s coffee addiction, Henige has a plan to take it down even lower—and plant trees in the process.
For his senior project, which Henige has turned into a Kickstarter campaign, he is developing “The World’s First Plantable Coffee Cup,” which turns a beverage container into a seed packet. The plantable coffee cups, made with fibers from local recycling centers, are embedded with an assortment of California native seeds. In his scheme, their first lives as cups would end one of three ways: The cups could be soaked in water for five minutes and planted in the ground; they could be collected in a special container for use at nearby reforestation sites; or they could be thrown away and would biodegrade within six months or so.
Henige was part of the team that won the 2014 ASLA Student Award of Excellence in Community Service for work on the Ratang Bana AIDS Orphanage Playscape in South Africa. On that trip, he saw the potential for a dual-purpose product. “They don’t have proper disposal techniques over there,” he says, “so what if we had a product that can benefit the communities by dissolving the waste?”
At this point, the Kickstarter prototype is for the California region, and there are still many tests to complete, such as putting the seeds through the manufacturing process to see whether they can germinate afterward. If they can, he will put the cups in consumers’ hands and monitor usage patterns. “If they’re throwing them in urban environments, then we need certain species” that wouldn’t hurt ecologically, Henige says. “If there are more people who are actually throwing them into our containers where we can collect them, then, okay, these people actually want us to use this product for reforestation.”
For more information, visit “The World’s First Plantable Coffee Cup” Kickstarter, running now until March 14.
Credit: Courtesy Alex Henige.
Posted in IDEAS, LAM BLOG, MINDS, PLANTS, REUSE, STUDENTS, UNIVERSITY | Tagged 2014 ASLA Student Awards, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, California, Kickstarter, natives, plantable coffee cup, Ratang Bana AIDS Orphanage Playscape, Reduce. Reuse. Grow!, seed paper, South Africa | 4 Comments »
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 program; SiteWorks 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.
Posted in AWARDS, EDUCATION, HOUSE CALL, LAM MAGAZINE, NEW YORK CITY, PARKS, PEOPLE, PLAYGROUNDS, PRACTICE, RECREATION, RESILIENCE, UNIVERSITY, WATER | Tagged 2014 ASLA Student Awards, Alex Ulam, Chatham University, GreenWorks, Harvest Home, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Lateral Office, Lola Sheppard, Mason White, Meyer/Reed, nature-based play, Sand Fracking, SiteWorks, Solar Decathalon, sustainable, Trust for Public Land | 1 Comment »
The two University of Chicago proposed sites for the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum.
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 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.
Posted in LAM MAGAZINE, LAND MATTERS | Tagged Barack Obama, Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum, Chicago, Frederick Law Olmsted, Rahm Emanuel, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, University of Illinois at Chicago | 1 Comment »
While many people know the fine books published by the Library of American Landscape History (LALH), the library’s excellent series of short documentaries, North America by Design, deserves attention as well. The films, coproduced with Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc. and freely available for viewing, are based on the richly illustrated scholarly histories they publish. So far, the series contains four films, all of which can be seen in full on the LALH website:
Posted in CLOSE-UP, HISTORY | Tagged Brookline, Buffalo Park System, Darrel Morrison, documentary, Fletcher Steele, Jens Jensen, Landscape Architecture, Landscape History, Library of American Landscape History, Massachusetts, Naumkeag, Olmsted | Leave a Comment »
The work of Janelle Johnson, ASLA, a senior landscape architect at OLIN, is among projects by several designers featured in Johnson and photographer Sahar Coston-Hardy’s takeover of OLIN’s Instagram feed for Black History Month.
The house photographer and videographer at OLIN, Sahar Coston-Hardy, already has a cult following after her recent appearance at the ASLA Annual Meeting in Denver, so we aren’t all that surprised that she’s working social media channels in smart and interesting ways. Coston-Hardy (@saharchphoto) and Janelle Johnson, ASLA (@janelle_rla), a senior landscape architect at OLIN, have been handed control of the firm’s Instagram feed (@olininsta) for the month of February to highlight the contributions of African Americans to the field of landscape architecture.
Olininsta post on the work of 2014 National Olmsted Scholar Sara Zewde, MLA candidate at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
Coston-Hardy and Johnson look expansively at how “contributions” might be defined by featuring the work of historical and newly emerging designers, as well as activists, scholars, and landscape architecture programs at historically black colleges and universities, among others. Johnson, whose work is seen here, has also written about ASLA’s recent Diversity Summit (“Diversity—Not Just for Plant Communities“), asking “Why hasn’t more been done to attract African American and Latino students to the world of landscape architecture?” You can see posts from Coston-Hardy and Johnson’s February Olininsta takeover, without signing up for Instagram, here: https://instagram.com/olininsta.
Posted in ART, ASLA, MINDS, PEOPLE, PHOTOGRAPHY | Tagged African American Landscape Architects, ASLA, ASLA Diversity Summit, Black History Month, Janelle Johnson, landscape architect, OLIN Landscape Architecture, OLININSTA, Sahar Coston-Hardy | Leave a Comment »