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JUST ADD WATER

BY ZACH MORTICE

A Tilly-designed project in Denver. Photo by Kody Kohlman.

For a flat fee, some photos, and a few weeks, Tilly will design your home’s landscape.

 

Tilly, the online residential landscape design service started in 2019, picked a good time to launch.

Founded by four women who had been friends since high school, including a Cornell landscape architecture graduate who has practiced for more than 15 years, Tilly came from an idea that sprung up during a vacation on Long Island. The women (Alexis Sutton, Sarah Finazzo, Heather Hoeppner, and Blythe Yost, ASLA) gathered their families and talked about their gardens, peppering Yost (the landscape architect and now Tilly’s CEO) with “a zillion questions about plants and landscape design, then lamenting that they couldn’t get comfortable hiring a traditional landscape architect,” Yost says. Fairly quickly, a question came into view: “How do we offer landscape design to more people who wouldn’t necessarily hire a traditional landscape architect?” she says. Continue Reading »

ON THE SAFE SIDE

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

BY LESLIE WREN, ASLA

FROM THE JULY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Annette Wilkus, FASLA, remembers a meeting of the Teardrop Park construction management team in the early 2000s. The clients, Battery Park City Authority and Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, had inquired how their maintenance staff would safely tend the plantings of Rocky Slope, a tall and steep boulder embankment south of the Ice-Water Wall, a weeping rock formation representing the natural geology of the New York area. Wilkus, a landscape architect then with Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects (MNLA), was serving as the landscape architecture inspector, a subconsultant to the construction manager, and immediately recognized that maintenance of this feature would not be safe without a design intervention. She and Laura Solano, FASLA, a partner at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the project’s landscape architect, collaborated with a structural engineer to deliver an inventive solution: a series of hurricane ties in subsurface concrete anchors, invisible to recreational park users but accessible to park staff, for safely rappelling up and down the slope using a harness.

That experience was eye-opening for Wilkus: “Designs now are so incredibly complicated, much more than they ever used to be. And owners fall in love with the design because there are always very pretty pictures, but they never think about how something is going to be maintained.” Teardrop Park’s clients demonstrated both foresight and concern for the maintenance staff and showed Wilkus why landscape architects needed to be more informed in that approach to practice. In 2005, she launched her own firm, SiteWorks, to specialize in life-cycle consulting for the planning, design, construction, and management of high-performance landscapes. And from the beginning, Wilkus established the firm’s fundamental approach with the motto “safety first.” Continue Reading »

SMALL FIRM, BIG LEAP

BY AIDAN ACKERMAN, ASLA

The pros and cons of adopting BIM have oversized impacts on smaller firms.

FROM THE JULY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Small landscape architecture firms face a unique set of challenges when deciding whether to adopt Building Information Modeling, also known as BIM.

In this article, we define small firms as those with fewer than 10 employees, including sole practitioners. Each firm we interviewed falls into this category. For a small firm, the decision about whether to adopt BIM is fraught with questions about cost, loss of productive work time, employee training, and even impacts to the firm’s design culture. Few examples of successful BIM implementation in small firms have been documented, contributing to a fear that some of those firms are being left behind as the technology advances. Yet BIM adoption in small design firms is not as uncommon as it may seem. A 2018 survey by ASLA’s Digital Technology Professional Practice Network surveyed 480 ASLA members on their digital technology usage. Of the 27.3 percent of respondents who identified information modeling or BIM as important to their work, more than half were from firms of 10 or fewer employees. Of the 19.8 percent of survey respondents who identified information modeling or BIM as something they were interested in pursuing, more than half were again from firms of 10 or fewer employees. Continue Reading »

BY SUSAN COHEN, FASLA

FROM THE JULY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

As a schoolgirl in Germany in the late 1930s, Cornelia Hahn was told to slow down—a Jewish girl must not win the school track meet. In 1938, after a harrowing escape from the Nazis—to England by train with her mother and sister—Cornelia made a point of never, ever slowing down.

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, who decided at age 11 that she would be a landscape architect, became one of the most renowned and admired practitioners of our time, building a distinguished, influential, and generous-spirited career that lasted almost eight decades. She died in Vancouver, British Columbia, her adopted city, on May 22, 2021, just a few weeks short of her 100th birthday. Until her final week, she spoke by telephone about the progress (and lack of progress) of her most recent project. Continue Reading »

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

Photo by Gerhard Kassner.

 

From “Mine, Ours” by Michael Dumiak in the July 2021 issue, about how a region of eastern Germany is crafting a chain of lakes and recreation landscapes from the scars of surface coal mining.

“Night mine.”

–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.

REVIVE AND REBOOT

BY LYDIA LEE

A new design for San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Plaza may succeed where others have fallen short.

FROM THE JULY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In the 1970s, Harvey Milk turned San Francisco into a symbol of hope for LGBTQ+ people everywhere. One of the first openly gay politicians in the United States, Milk was assassinated in 1978. Since then, the city has been without a substantive memorial to one of its most iconic figures. After a four-year effort to redesign a tiny memorial plaza next to a transit stop failed to gain traction, the San Francisco office of SWA has restarted the process by surveying the community about the kind of memorial it wants. “We had to back up and ask these fundamental questions about how to memorialize Harvey,” says SWA’s Daniel Cunningham, the project manager and design lead. Continue Reading »

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Foreground

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, 1921–2021 (In Memoriam)
Remembering the life and career of the celebrated landscape architect.

On the Safe Side (Maintenance)
A landscape laborer is far more likely to get hurt on the job than a landscape architect. Some firms are starting to take a harder look at their role in reducing worker risk.

Features

Small Firm, Big Leap
BIM training and software costs are a significant debit for small design firms. As principals weigh the pros and cons of adoption, the competitive cost of not being “in the model” is part of the equation.

Mine, Ours
As Western nations look to a postcoal future, the Lausitz region of Germany eyes turning its defunct mining pits into lakes and its industrial scrapes into tourist attractions. For now,
the contradictions are delightfully instructive.

The full table of contents for July 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 July articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Mine, Ours,” Michael Dumiak; “Small Firm, Big Leap,” http://www.shutterstock.com/Italy3d; “Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, 1921–2021,” Kiku Hawkes Photography; “On the Safe Side,” SiteWorks.