Archive for October, 2012

The Istituto Nazionale di Architettura is asking young designers (entrants must be under 40 years old at the time of submission) to share their “intelligent, ecological, and productive” ideas for parkways and railways in a design competition called Green Boulevards: Parkways for the Third Millennium. The goals for these designs are extremely ambitious: The roads should be “networks for distributed generation of green energy, providing economy and employment,” according to the competition brief. Two winners will get 5,000 euros each, and along with the first four runners-up will be invited to participate in study groups working on an interregional master plan for Italy. If you want to participate, you must register online by 10:00 a.m. November 5. Submissions will be accepted through November 15.

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Courtesy Getty Images via PBS

The silence in these elections around climate change is rather stunning–until you consider the context. For the context (i.e., voters worried about jobs and the economy), check out the pre-election edition of Frontline by John Hockenberry that aired on PBS October 23 about the current state of the climate-change conversation in Washington. It tracks the thinning of the climate debate since the 2008 election, when Barack Obama and John McCain “agreed that climate change was a critical issue demanding urgent attention.” Part of the program describes the work of a reporter, Coral Davenport, who covers energy and environment for National Journal. Davenport, at one point, attempted to survey Republicans in Congress with three simple questions on climate change (Republicans, she says, because almost no Democrats will flat-out deny its existence). “Normally lawmakers love to answer questions,” she says, but when she tried to ask members for their views in person, “they literally ran into elevators.” (An online interview with Davenport by Azmat Khan is here. Links to Davenport’s work can be found here.) Legislators who say they believe in climate change risk being crushed by candidates backed by skeptics’ money. Ask former Rep. Bob Inglis (S.C.), a Republican climate-change believer, whom Arthur Allen interviewed for LAM in November 2011–he appears in the Frontline report.  Also on the program: A rundown of the efforts this year by the North Carolina legislature to chill debate about climate change. One geologist near the center of that drama, Stanley Riggs, of East Carolina University, points to the surf and says, “That ocean will dictate what happens. The ocean is gonna win.”

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LAM/Laineypaige/Wikimedia Commons

John Paulson, a hedge fund manager nicknamed “the sultan of subprime,” made billions betting that people would default on their mortgages in 2007. Yesterday, he and his family’s foundation pledged $100 million to help ensure New York’s Central Park stays on firm financial footing. The gift to the Central Park Conservancy “is believed to be the largest gift ever given to a public park,” writes Lisa Foderaro in the New York Times. And yet in some ways, it may also be the most humble: nothing in the park will be named after Paulson.

This is particularly refreshing considering another story that has made news in recent weeks. Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, which was designed by Louis Kahn nearly four decades ago, opened today amidst considerable controversy. At the focal point of the four-acre park, right near the bust of Roosevelt himself, there will be an inscription honoring Vera and Samuel Rubin, care of their son, Reed Rubin, and the Reed Foundation, which gave $2.9 million toward the $53 million project.

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Courtesy Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, Inc.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) presented their Green Roof and Wall Awards of Excellence at a ceremony in Chicago on Friday. Among the winners was this quilt-like green roof at the Chicago Botanic Garden by Oehme, van Sweden & Associates. The roof, which is being used for research purposes, has 300 different plant taxa in varying depths of soil. GRHC has images of all the award winners on their website, along with details on the design of each roof.

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Six short films about water conservation screened in Beverly Hills, California, this week as part of the 5th annual Intelligent Use of Water Film Competition. The top prize went to Isla Urbana, a documentary film by Greg Harriott about a nonprofit in Mexico City that is working with people who have poor access to water to harvest rainwater from their rooftops. (You can watch the video above). The audience choice award went to “The Wash,” a racy public service announcement by Carla Dauden aimed at homeowners who wash their cars in their driveways. The competition was sponsored by the Rain Bird Corporation, which provides irrigation products and services. (Watch “The Wash” after the jump.)


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Courtesy MVVA and Thomas Phifer & Partners

When Austinites want to spend time by the water, Lady Bird Lake, stocked with fish and ringed by pedestrian trails, is a popular choice. Not so for Waller Creek, which wanders through downtown Austin before it empties into Lady Bird Lake—the waterway is partially channelized, eroded, and polluted. But there are plans for it that will give locals a chance to love Waller Creek as much as the lake it feeds.

An international design competition hosted by the Waller Creek Conservancy asked designers for their visions for the lower 1.5 miles of the riparian watershed, and they just announced the team of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., and Thomas Phifer & Partners as the winners. The team’s design is a chain of parks in five connected districts:  The Lattice (at left), The Grove, The Narrows, The Refuge, and The Confluence.

CultureMap Austin reports that the Waller Creek Conservancy hasn’t gotten a chance since the announcement to meet with the winning team and discuss finances and timing, so more information will be coming soon.


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Forms + Surfaces became our first Advertising Hall of Fame inductee.

Each year at ASLA’s Annual Meeting and EXPO, I have the pleasure of presenting the Landscape Architecture Magazine Advertising Awards, aka the Lammys, organized by our publisher, Ann Looper, Honorary ASLA. These awards began in 2008 to recognize excellence in graphics, messages, and persuasiveness among our advertisers. The winners are selected by a jury of landscape architects who specify products frequently and would be part of the advertisers’ likely target audience–the jury members represent various parts of the country and types of practices. This year, the jury members were Lewis E. Aqüi, ASLA, of Bell + Aqui Landscape Architecture in Miami; John S. Loomis, ASLA, of SWA Group in Sausalito, California; Jennifer Brooks, ASLA, of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects in New York City; Keith P. LeBlanc, FASLA, of Keith LeBlanc Landscape Architecture in Boston; Emmeline E. Morris, ASLA, of the Jaeger Company in Athens, Georgia; and Mario Nievera, ASLA, of Nievera Williams Design, Inc., in Palm Beach, Florida.

It’s a big job! The jury reviewed more than 300 ads that ran a full page or larger in LAM since October 2011. In each category, they pick three winners. The winners for Best Graphic Quality were FermobUSA, Acker-Stone, and Landscape Forms. The winners for Best Message were FLEX-Drain, Diamond Spas, and Ironsmith. The winners for Most Persuasive Ad were Spohn Ranch, Situ Urban Elements, and Zinco USA.

Two special awards were also given. The Advertisement of the Year Award goes to the ad that ranked highest in all three categories: Maglin Site Furniture took home that award.

And this year, a new honor, the Advertising Hall of Fame, debuted to recognize advertisers whose ads consistently excel year to year. Our first Hall of Fame inductee is Forms + Surfaces.

Congratulations to all the winners! And a special thanks to our jury for their time and effort in making another great round of awards possible.

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