Archive for May, 2012

The TKF Foundation in Annapolis, Maryland, has a mission to support open, sacred spaces—”Every neighborhood needs a Walden Pond in their backyard,” says its web site—and it has $4 million in grants to give to designers and their teams who are planning the right kinds of projects.

The foundation defines an open space as a safe, accessible, inclusive outdoor area, and a sacred place as somewhere that invites wholeness and healing. The Open Spaces Sacred Places National Awards Program has two phases, a planning grant phase (now complete) and an open call for proposals, which is going on now. The trick for landscape architects is you’ll need to assemble a cross-disciplinary team: In addition to conceptualizing, planning, designing, and implementing the space, you’ll need colleagues on board who can conduct research studies and communicate scientific findings.

Don’t worry if you missed the planning grants—teams who secured planning grants are not given any advantage in the National Awards review process. It is probably a good idea, though, to check out the teams who won those grants.

Hurry—you can ask questions between now and June 15, then TKF is accepting submittals from June 15 through June 29 at 3:00 p.m.

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The Vollmer Garden

Celebrated landscape architect and plantsman Wolfgang Oehme died last December. But, as they have for more than two decades, a small group of friends and admirers came together to celebrate his birthday last weekend, with a weeding party at the Old Courthouse in Towson, Maryland. The garden at the courthouse, and its large massings of chest-high perennials, were designed by Oehme in concert with Avery Harden, then a landscape architect at the Baltimore County Parks Department. Carol Oppenheimer, Affiliate ASLA, Oehme’s partner in WOCO Organic Gardens, says Oehme would often use guerrilla tactics to edit the plantings. “There were a lot of azaleas in the beginning,” she says. “Wolfgang told me he would go there on Christmas Day, when it was completely deserted, to remove the azaleas and replace them with ‘his’ plants.”

After about two hours of weeding, pruning, and planting, the group paused for cake and strawberries, and Oppenheimer said a few words. Then she took everybody on a tour of two other landscapes Oehme designed. (more…)

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Courtesy Peconic Land Trust

Garden lovers might want to check out the Parrish Art Museum’s two-day Landscape Pleasures event on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, in Southampton, New York. The first day will feature speakers including Eric Groft, ASLA, of Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, and Doug Reed, FASLA, of Reed Hilderbrand. The second day will offer ticket holders a chance to tour some private gardens in the area as well as Bridge Gardens, pictured, in Bridgehampton, New York.

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Courtesy Carl Stahl

Yesterday, amid the crowds at LIGHTFAIR International 2012 in Las Vegas, I tried to take a photo of X-LED Mesh. I was not successful. Every time I tried, fascinated passersby walked right up to examine and touch the dancing light display. The photo on the left is from their brochure, but still photos can’t capture the effect of the lights in motion. If you’re in town, check it out today, along with the 500-plus other exhibitors featuring every kind of lighting you’ve heard of and some you probably haven’t.

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From the May 2012 issue of LAM:

Sarah Stierch

Park design, regulation, and the Occupy protests.

By Lydia DePillis

As the Occupy movement mushroomed around the country
last October, most aspiring activists didn’t agonize over
which patch of grass or concrete to take over in solidarity with those who were camping out on Wall Street.

For many, the answer was obvious. Most cities have traditional protest spaces, like a central downtown square or the grounds in front of city hall such as Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, California. In Washington, D.C., as in New York, protesters camped out at sites with symbolic importance. The choice of D.C.’s Freedom Plaza was a reference to Cairo’s Tahrir Square—which means liberation square in Arabic—ground zero of the Arab Spring. And McPherson Square, another Occupy campsite, is on K Street, which is lined with lobbying firms.

Decisions about where to protest were often accidental. Occupy Wall Street had initially planned to take over the space around the bull statue in front of One Chase Manhattan Plaza but failed to secure a permit, so police fenced off the space before the group could move in. Protesters settled on nearby Zuccotti Park, which, because it was a privately owned public space, did not require the large group of protesters to obtain a permit. Occupy Atlanta took over Woodruff Park because a sympathetic group, the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, happened to have a permit for the space on the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. (more…)

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From the May 2012 issue of LAM:

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Ten ways the new ADA regulations will affect landscape architects.

By Daniel Jost, ASLA

A major upgrade to the fine points of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has gone into effect, and landscape architects will have to take note of the many changes that will affect their work. March 15 was the compliance deadline for revised standards of the ADA that were issued by the U.S. Department of Justice in September 2010. The new standards include a number of changes that will significantly affect the design of landscapes and public spaces and, in the process, make many more types of activities available to people with disabilities. (more…)

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The idea of bringing back urban manufacturing is terribly undersold as a way to revitalize cities. Sounds too dirty, or something. Branden Klayko at the Architects Newspaper has a report on a terrific studio that the architect Deborah Berke just wrapped up at Yale involving the creation of a new bourbon distillery in Louisville’s downtown.

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