All posts by LAM Staff

Windbloom Maps the Breeze

Falon Mihalic’s sculpture charts the atmospheric forces that bind us.

By Zach Mortice

Plan view of sculpture on triangular site.
The color palette used in Windbloom was determined by the average wind direction for the entire year. Image by Falon Land Studio.

Windbloom, a 12-foot-high sculpture and pavilion under construction near Houston by the artist and landscape architect Falon Mihalic, will give physical form to ephemeral weather processes—specifically, which way the wind blows. The site-specific piece will map the direction of local wind, and its biomorphic qualities will reflect the vitality and energy of the Gulf Coast skies it surveys. Continue reading Windbloom Maps the Breeze

Book Review: Gone Feral

A review of Natura Urbana: Ecological Constellations in Urban Space by Matthew Gandy.

By Anjulie Rao

Cover of the book Natura Urbana, showing a wild plant on an urban lot.

There are more than 30,000 vacant lots in the city of Chicago—remnants of urban renewal’s disastrous execution and disinvestment. Where buildings once stood, acres of new life have emerged. Many of those empty lots have become overgrown—small prairies where remnants of building foundations peek out from plots of seeding grasses; thick, tender lamb’s-quarter; and purple flowering chicory. The lots are home to rats, skunks, raccoons, and the occasional possum. Chicago, like many postindustrial cities, grapples with how to develop these spaces, calling them wastelands. Continue reading Book Review: Gone Feral

Designed Transition

Cheryl Barton winds down after decades as CEO, and her office becomes part of SCAPE.

By Bradford McKee

photo of Kate Orff
Kate Orff, FASLA, the founder of SCAPE, saw a strategic expansion to the West Coast. Photo by Lena Shkoda, courtesy SCAPE.

If there were good, recent books on passing a design firm’s ownership from founders to successors (there aren’t), it sounds as if Cheryl Barton, FASLA, and Kate Orff, FASLA, would have had little use for them. In March, the San Francisco-based Office of Cheryl Barton, Barton’s firm since 1995, became the West Coast office of SCAPE Landscape Architecture, the firm Orff founded in New York in 2004. Continue reading Designed Transition

Back to the Garden

The beat goes on at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Upstate New York, the site of the legendary 1969 Woodstock music festival.

By Jane Margolies

A massive crowd surrounds a soundstage.
In August 1969, attendees of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair blanket Max Yasgur’s alfalfa field in Bethel, New York. Photo © Barry Z. Levine.

The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which occupies more than 1,600 rolling acres in the Upstate New York town of Bethel, was abuzz on a recent afternoon. The comedian Bill Burr was scheduled to perform in two days’ time, and white party tents for the sale of cocktails were set up around the open-air amphitheater where he would be entertaining the crowd. Mowers roved over lawns bordered by blue spruce trees. Tickets were on sale for up to $359 for the best seats. Continue reading Back to the Garden

The Team on Tops

By any count, Presidio Tunnel Tops had an unusual number of women in construction and project leadership. They say there are good reasons for that.

By Anne C Godfrey

Three women sitting on the ground at the park.
The Meadows, sitting directly on top of the Highway 101 tunnels, is a place to gather and enjoy the views. Photo by Rachel Styer.

An unexpected amount of rain fell on the Presidio Tunnel Tops construction site this past October. The rain was a mixed blessing; though welcomed by parched San Francisco Bay Area residents, it had damaged parts of the job site. Kerry Huang, ASLA, a senior associate at James Corner Field Operations (JCFO), the project’s design partner and landscape architect, said that layers of soil and plants were torn out of one of the embankments, despite the recent installation of erosion control blankets. Huang is a construction manager for Tunnel Tops, one of an unusual number of women who are project managers on this high-profile project. Continue reading The Team on Tops

A Bumpy Reentry

Women landscape architects are finding the road from part-time to full-time work full of potholes.

By Jared Brey

Barbara Peterson, ASLA, is a night owl. During the 16 years she worked as a part-time landscape architect, she typically spent the hours of 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. sending emails, working on designs, and stamping plans. When her son, Eric, got a little older, she would pack a lunch and leave it in the fridge for him to take on his way to the bus in the morning. She spent much of her day carting him back and forth to sporting events and skateparks. Continue reading A Bumpy Reentry

Weed Whackers

For habitat restoration and invasives control on sensitive sites, goats are a natural.

By Katharine Logan

Three hundred goats help Caltrans restore habitat at the foot of Big Sur. Photo by Katherine Brown.

How often does it happen that when a landscape maintenance crew starts mowing brush or clearing weeds, office workers leave their desks and head outside to watch, grandparents make an outing of it with their grandkids, neighbors sit out on their front porches where they can see, or people driving down a highway stop to find out more? If you said “never,” you don’t know goats. Continue reading Weed Whackers