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GREEN MACHINE

BY EMILY SCHLICKMAN

A native plant nursery roves the streets of Northern California.

FROM THE DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

On a sunny September morning, a black box truck rolled into a suburban California neighborhood playing a catchy jingle of insect sounds. The truck stopped and, within minutes, transformed into a verdant plant nursery: The rear door rolled up and its sides folded out, revealing a pop-up shop bursting with native ferns and forbs, saplings and starts. With the addition of decomposed granite, yellow loungers, and recycled crates, a curbside neighborhood hub emerged. Over the course of the day, the quiet residential street came alive with dog walkers, bicyclists, and neighbors interested in buying plants and learning about native vegetation. Continue Reading »

SWINGS AND SWALES

BY JARED BREY

Pashek + MTR works with two public agencies to design a heavy-hitting stormwater park in Pittsburgh.

FROM THE DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

One bright-blue Friday afternoon in October, I was paused at a stoplight in Squirrel Hill, a residential neighborhood about five miles from downtown Pittsburgh, when I saw a young woman with a red backpack try to summit a steep slope on her bicycle. She approached the hill with good momentum and no shortage of confidence and was halfway up the block before she started losing speed. Two thirds of the way, she began to wobble. Pedaling a few more yards, she surrendered to the inevitable and finished the journey on foot.

At the bottom of the hill sat Wightman Park, recently redesigned around the very force the young woman was trying to overcome. In Pittsburgh’s Hill District, stormwater accumulates in the valleys. In 2014, the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW) began a master-planning process for the low-lying, two-acre park, with its small baseball field, half basketball court, and aging playground, through which a long-since channelized stream used to flow. In the process of collecting community input for the master plan and redesign, the landscape architects at Pittsburgh-based Pashek + MTR heard from neighbors that basement backups during storms were getting worse.

“And so we thought, ‘Oh, this would be a great place to really bump up the stormwater capacity and start to try to capture water from the surrounding streets,’” says Sara Thompson, ASLA, a principal at the firm. Continue Reading »

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FOREGROUND

The Stranger Territory (Minds)
Julie Bargmann, the inaugural winner of the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander
International Landscape Architecture Prize, flourishes in the dirt.

The Wright Way (House Call)
Was Frank Lloyd Wright a landscape designer? For Bayer Landscape Architecture, the firm that restored the garden at the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, New York, the answer lies somewhere
between the archives and the modern house museum.

FEATURES

Right of Center
It’s been a fishing jetty, a railroad pier, a contested site of segregation, even an inverted structure that called to mind a cake left out in the rain. But after six tries and 130 years, St. Petersburg, Florida’s dazzling new pier and park, by a team including W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Ken Smith Workshop, and Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers, might be a keeper.

The full table of contents for December can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 250 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 posting December articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Right of Center,” Rich Montalbano/RiMO Photo, LLC; “The Stranger Territory,” Barrett Doherty, ASLA, courtesy the Cultural Landscape Foundation; “The Wright Way,” Bayer Landscape Architecture.

HIGH PROFILE

BY HANIYA RAE

The reinvention of an irrigation canal east of Denver shows off the region’s diversity.

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Stretching 71 miles from south of Denver into Aurora, Colorado, the High Line Canal is a constructed feat of the late 19th century. Originally hand-dug to supply irrigation to local farmers, the canal is now in the midst of transformation from a historical relic to a burgeoning greenway.

Plans for the High Line Canal’s transformation, with input from Sasaki, Agency Landscape + Planning, and Livable Cities Studio, call for clearly designating five zones of the canal based on their ecology while also linking the zones with a unified design and wayfinding system. The plan also stresses the need for accessibility and basic amenities so that all communities along the canal can enjoy it. A newly formed nonprofit, the High Line Canal Conservancy, will oversee the implementation of the plan and promote the benefits for all who live near the canal.

“The canal is natural, connected, and continuous, and it’s not one thing from beginning to end,” says Gina Ford, FASLA, the principal landscape architect at Agency Landscape + Planning. “It’s not a system that was made for people. The High Line Canal Conservancy needs to do a lot of work to adapt it for people. And that’s a lot of what I think really came in the vision and framework plans.” Continue Reading »

WHEN STARS ALIGN

As part of an ongoing effort to make content more accessible, LAM will be making select stories available to readers in Spanish.

BY JARED BREY

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

How many things can a river do? The people of the Tennessee Valley have not finished asking.

For 10,000 years the Tennessee River has both sustained human civilizations and attended their demise. One of the biggest rivers in the United States, the Tennessee is also among the most biodiverse, with some 230 species of fish and 100 species of freshwater mussels. In the 18th century, Cherokee, Creek, and Chickasaw tribes flourished in East Tennessee. Later the river was used to expel Indigenous people from the land along the Trail of Tears after the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Its bridges were burned during the Civil War, its soils stripped of nutrients, its banks eroded. After the federal government created the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in the 1930s, the river was asked to do ever more: to stop flooding, first and foremost; to generate electricity for thousands of unlit rural miles; to navigate boats and barges along its U-shaped course; to produce nitrates for war munitions and fertilizer for its depleted soils; to host landscapes of leisure and recreation; to make one of the country’s poorest regions prosper.

Now the Tennessee River is asked to be a park from its source to its mouth. Continue Reading »

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

Photo by Timothy A. Schuler.

From “The Bridge Builder” by Timothy Schuler in the November 2021 issue, about fourth-generation Arkansas Delta native Martin Smith, whose vision of an outdoor recreation-led reinvigoration of the delta is becoming a career-defining capstone.

“Family roots.”

–CHRIS MCGEE, LAM ART DIRECTOR

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 250 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.

HOME BREWED

BY BRIAN BARTH

The beer flows freely alongside Asheville’s renewed French Broad River.

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

On a cool Friday morning back in the spring, I stood on a small pedestrian bridge overlooking a tiny stream that feeds into the French Broad River in Asheville, North Carolina. Native species including cardinal flower, joe-pye weed, trumpet creeper, rhododendron, witch hazel, serviceberry, and river birch cloaked the crystal-clear streamlet, which meandered down a series of stone-lined pools in the ravine below. Less than a decade ago, the water meandered around rusted car bodies, tires, and slabs of concrete that had been tossed there over the years, part of an old, unpermitted landfill that oozed with heavy metals and hydrocarbon pollution. At my side were Paul Mills, ASLA, and David Tuch, who designed the landscape that has brought the place back to life.

As if on cue, a groundhog appeared from a burrow under a boulder they specified. “Snake!” Mills exclaimed a few minutes later, pointing to a serpentine line squiggling through one of the pools. As he and Tuch debated the species, a second, smaller serpent squiggled by after what I presumed was its mother. “It’s a family!” I shouted.

On the flat ground above this BBC wildlife special are intoxicating gardens of native plants surrounding a boozy business: the East Coast headquarters of the New Belgium Brewing Company. Mills’s firm, Russell + Mills Studios, is based in Fort Collins, Colorado, the brewery-laden city where New Belgium was established in 1991. Looking to expand a couple of decades later, the company decided on the Appalachian city of Asheville, which has the second-highest number of breweries per capita in the United States and has been deemed the nation’s “best beer city” by seriouseats.com. (Fort Collins has merely the 11th most breweries per capita.) Russell + Mills, the rare landscape architecture firm with a reputation for designing brewery grounds—they’ve worked on a dozen to date—was hired as the lead designer for the brownfield site. Tuch’s Asheville-based firm, Equinox Environmental, collaborated on plant selection and the design of stormwater management features.

The ravine bisects the 18-acre property—a 400,000-barrel-per-year brewery lies on one side; New Belgium’s Liquid Center, a tasting room and event space, on the other—which opened to the public in 2016. It lies less than a mile from downtown Asheville in the city’s River Arts District, a place of artisans’ studios and riverside parks that have replaced the industrial landscape that once enveloped the French Broad, a long-polluted water body that borders the brewery on one side. New Belgium’s $175 million investment represents a major step toward a riverfront reclamation that has been decades in the making. Continue Reading »