All posts by zachmortice

Watershed Moments

A puzzle-like model of the Mississippi River Basin helps to reveal connections.

By Zach Mortice 

An installation for Exhibit Columbus by Derek Hoeferlin, Affiliate ASLA, exaggerates the vertical dimensions of the Mississippi watershed. Image courtesy Derek Hoeferlin, Affiliate ASLA, and Nate Stanfield.


This month, on the riverside terrace of a former pump house in Columbus, Indiana, an exaggerated topographic model of the Mississippi watershed will be installed. It is a hardier object than models meant for conference rooms or museum galleries. Continue reading Watershed Moments

Leave it Better

In the face of likely climate retreat, student design studios explore ways to improve Nantucket’s coastal resilience.

By Zach Mortice

Inhabiting Instabilities posits vast pierscapes that reach out into the ocean. Image courtesy Gena Morgis and Caleb Negash.

On Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts, half of the 10 highest-ever tides arrived in 2018 alone, and flooding is a constant worry that imperils the tourist economy and historic buildings. “But that has not slowed down the real estate market,” says Cecil Barron Jensen, the executive director of the local nonprofit ReMain Nantucket. Continue reading Leave it Better

The Shape of Things to Come

Martin Rickles Studio riffs on Ruth Shellhorn to design a ready-made ADU landscape.

By Zach Mortice

A graphic collage inspired by Ruth Shellhorn. Image courtesy of Martin Rickles Studio..

Carley Rickles came to a realization that’s unfamiliar to most landscape architects when she was beginning the landscape plan for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). There was, strictly speaking, no site. Continue reading The Shape of Things to Come

Salt Soaker

In Chicago, a synthetic growing medium will provide a healthy buffer between contaminated soils and riparian plant life.

By Zach Mortice 

The Morton Salt site will feature a riparian ecosystem grown in a synthetic medium. Image courtesy Lamar Johnson Collaborative.

For nearly 100 years, the Morton Salt facility on the North Side of Chicago, with its massive rain slicker and umbrella sign, has been an iconic presence along the industrial corridor that traced the North Branch of the Chicago River. Continue reading Salt Soaker

Plants Aren’t Neutral

An online exhibit hosted by the New York Botanical Garden decodes plants’ relationships to Black people.

By Zach Mortice 

An illustration of Edmond Albius, by Antoine Roussin, 1863. Image courtesy of Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.

Of the five plants featured in the New York Botanical Garden’s online exhibition Black Botany: The Nature of Black Experience, some are cash crops typically associated with Black people and slavery, such as cotton and rice. Others highlight relationships that are less well-known. Continue reading Plants Aren’t Neutral