All posts by zachmortice

Who’s Around Underground?

New tools give landscape designers a better view of what’s thriving and what’s just surviving in the soil.

By Zach Mortice

The microBIOMETER test uses a few simple components and a smartphone app to quickly deliver soil microbiology results. Photo by Prolific Earth Sciences.

Republic Square in Austin, Texas, is one of the city’s most historic, sensitive, and heavily trafficked public green spaces. In the heart of downtown, it’s one of the original four public squares dating back to the city’s founding. Continue reading Who’s Around Underground?

Future West Virginia

A landscape architect’s roots in Appalachia are the source for a new project from American Roundtable.

By Zach Mortice

Sprouting Farms, an 82-acre nonprofit farm and resource center in Summers County, West Virginia. Photo courtesy Merritt Chase.

Appalachia Rising begins with a simple prompt for a place that’s been exploited and maligned for much of its modern history: “We can start by listening to what the people of West Virginia are interesting in seeing in the future.” Continue reading Future West Virginia

First on the Ground

Andrew Sargeant is the first Enterprise Rose Fellow from landscape architecture.

By Zach Mortice

Andrew Sargeant’s design for a stormwater retention park that’s part of Cleveland’s Rockefeller Park. Image courtesy Andrew Sargeant, ASLA.

For the first time in its 20-year history, Enterprise Community Partners, the nonprofit housing and advocacy organization, has selected a fellow from landscape architecture for the prestigious Rose Fellowship. Continue reading First on the Ground

The Emergent Epitaph

An ASLA Student Award-winning project challenges outdated death practices.

By Zach Mortice

John Whitaker’s Dark Matter project posits a memorial landscape that is a forum for collective action and protest. Image courtesy John Whitaker, Student ASLA.

One of the most startling projects submitted for the 2020 ASLA Student Awards was Dark Matter—a proposal that uses landscape as a transmission medium for the ecological values of the deceased. Continue reading The Emergent Epitaph

Dismantling the Design Syllabus

Faculty at landscape architecture programs are asking what an anti-racist landscape architecture pedagogy looks like.

By Zach Mortice

A presentation to the elders of the Red Water Pond Road Community, part of the University of New Mexico Indigenous Design and Planning program. Photo by Catherine Page Harris.

Newly appointed this summer, Sara Zewde is the first tenure-tracked Black woman landscape architecture professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and one of only 19 Black landscape architecture professors at accredited programs in the United States. And now that her first semester teaching at her alma mater is under way, she’s witnessing a few more firsts. Continue reading Dismantling the Design Syllabus

Tinkering with a “Total Work”

At the Hirshhorn, a preservation row tests the bounds of unity between building and landscape.

By Zach Mortice

Hiroshi Sugimoto’s plan for the Hirshhorn’s Sculpture Garden. Image courtesy Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

The Hirshhorn Museum’s Sculpture Garden is a cloistered 1.5-acre art landscape just across Jefferson Drive SW from the museum. Stepped into the earth and filled with modern sculpture arranged in intimate outdoor rooms, it’s a definitive change of pace from the broad civic expanse of the National Mall, though no less significant as it’s the only Smithsonian entity with “Sculpture Garden” in its official name, per the law that established the institution. Continue reading Tinkering with a “Total Work”

Distance Earning

Landscape architecture interns are learning the ropes of the profession through the cables and wires of remote work.

By Zach Mortice


A viewshed diagram of a private residence site prepared by Surroundings Studio Intern Lily Dendy, Student ASLA, and Project Manager Abby Feldman, ASLA. Image courtesy Surroundings Studio.

Last fall, Lily Dendy, Student ASLA, an MLA student at Auburn University, was looking for internships in New Mexico. She was searching for firms that had used indigenous design strategies (such as acequia water catchment systems) on their projects, and she had also visited Santa Fe during a road trip from Alabama to New Mexico the previous year and was transfixed by the region’s natural beauty. Continue reading Distance Earning