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Archive for the ‘ASLA’ Category

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.

An ASLA Student Award-winning project challenges outdated death practices.

 

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. With arresting images and a somewhat unconventional project type, Dark Matter dazzled the jury, which bestowed the Award of Excellence in General Design on the project last spring. John Whitaker, Student ASLA, an MLA candidate at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, designed a proposal that created a memorial landscape that grows over time to unify human remains with nonhuman ecologies, promoting biological and cultural diversity and offering mourners “the continuation of a relationship that would endure over time with both their loved one and the larger site,” Whitaker says. (more…)

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This fall, LAM will be highlighting professional and student winners from the 2020 ASLA Awards by asking designers to dive deep into one image from their winning project.

The LivingRoom: A Freeware Learning Garden Focused on Health, Food, and Nutrition Education, by Simon Powney, Tripp Dunn, Huang Zhaoheng, Ben Gunter, Jacob Felkins, Cody Eades, Walter Hogue, Matthew Stanton, Clint Kiser, Logan Sullivan, Nada Aziz, Natalie Bowers, Brandon Burton, Oriey Glenn, and Jane Kent; Mississippi State University, Student Collaboration Honor Award.

“The inspiration for the color and bold graphic style used in the Galloway Elementary School LivingRoom Garden came from an existing mural at the school that speaks to local food production and programmatic discussions with education researchers. The style uses a simple palette of primary colors and geometric shapes to represent local food selections. The arrangement is based on a few ideas about how elementary age children can use the garden. First, there is a series of spaces that can be used to identify destinations. ‘Meet on the big watermelon’ or ‘Let’s go sit in the tomato and talk about this.’ Second, [there’s] the need for structure so multiple groups could use it at the same time. ‘Let’s walk on the “peas” path so we don’t get in the way of the class on the “carrots” path.’ Third, the ‘peas’ end in an ordering grid that allows teachers to instruct children to order things they find in the garden by size, color, texture, shape, etc. and have discussions about the differences.”

—Simon Powney, Student ASLA

 

Teaching children about how food is grown is a worthy endeavor. But school administrators are daunted by the funding requirements and maintenance of a school garden. A team of landscape architecture, architecture, and graphic design students created a prototype for a learning garden that is affordable and practical. Instead of small-scale farming, the student team described the design as focused on “aligning teachers’ needs with food, health, and nutrition education goals.” The resulting semicircular planter, made with off-the-shelf components for less than $1,500, incorporates a trellis, seating, and an irrigation system. Working with an educator, the team also created a garden curriculum that is organized around the themes of time, color, math, biology, and seasons, allowing the lessons to be incorporated easily into the regular school curriculum.

—Lydia Lee

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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.

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

 

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.

Discussions of diversity and structural racism at design schools had always focused on quantitative measures, such as the number of nonwhite faculty and students, but now the conversation is shifting to what’s being taught, and that’s new for Zewde. “I have never seen this kind of conversation around the actual curriculum, and that’s what excites me,” she says. (more…)

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This fall, LAM will be highlighting professional and student winners from the 2020 ASLA Awards by asking designers to dive deep into one image from their winning project.

Jia: Bringing Landscape Architecture to Webtoons, by July Aung, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Student Communications Award of Excellence.

“Webtoons are a story and illustration-driven medium that makes information easily digestible and relatable, creating engaging content for younger audiences that have grown up in a fast-paced culture. Typical landscape architecture publications tend to have long, informative narratives that are often hard or take time to understand without a background in the subject. The webtoon format allows for graphics that clearly illustrate and summarize these concepts throughout an immersive story. Additionally, webtoons are designed for smartphones and are often distributed for free online, delivering messages and information to a global audience regardless of background and situation.

“When designing for the smartphone, the most important step is to limit the quantity of narration and dialogue so that it doesn’t overwhelm the screen and become hard to read. The illustrations and graphic design are the focus, while the words serve as the clarification, thus acting as the connecting thread between the panels. As with film, the pacing and flow of the illustrations and narration define the mood, time, and changes in location, which directly influences the reader’s feelings. For example, fast pacing exudes strong emotions such as anger and excitement, while slow pacing is mellow, sentimental, and relaxed. Hence, providing the wrong pacing and chapter design takes the reader out of the story or overwhelms them with too much information.”

—July Aung, Student ASLA

 

This unusual project delivers the story and values of landscape architecture into a new realm. Webtoons are vertical, linear cartoons meant to be read on smartphones—a graphic novel in text message format. The platform is favored by audiences who are younger or outside landscape architecture’s typical horizons, and the graphic quality allows for visually rich narratives that can unfurl the profession’s many trajectories. The story of Jia is that of a small, family restaurant whose owner confronts a resource crisis as he searches for a missing ingredient, and through navigating it, learns to live differently on the land. The central conflict of resource exhaustion is expressed through the story of the family’s coming to terms with waste and regeneration and learning to live and work in a more sustainable way. Jia animates and activates many central values and tenets of landscape architecture, and through the webtoon format, offers an exceptional opportunity for engaging wider audiences.

—Haniya Rae

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This fall, LAM will be highlighting professional and student winners from the 2020 ASLA Awards by asking designers to dive deep into one image from their winning project.

Peat/Land: Strategies for Restoration, Design, and Planning of North Carolina Peatlands, by Madalyn Baldwin, North Carolina State University, Student Analysis and Planning Honor Award.

“Paludiculture isn’t a well-known concept, but I only wanted to dedicate one graphic to introducing and explaining it, so the aim of creating this graphic was to fit in as much information as possible while trying to keep it legible. My goals were to create a graphic narrative that provided a definition and overview of the concept, explain the existing agricultural conditions and spatial relationship to peatland as well as what is produced here, give specific examples of crops that could be produced by adopting paludiculture practices, and use icons introduced earlier in the project to reference the specific restoration strategies and steps toward implementation. Overall, I was hoping this graphic would read as an infographic for paludiculture, answering the following questions: What is it, how and where can it be implemented or adopted, and what are the benefits?

Madalyn Baldwin, Student ASLA

 

Peat—decomposed plant matter that accumulates in boggy landscapes—sequesters a large proportion of the world’s carbon compared to its relatively small percentage of coverage, yet it is often used for energy production or simply drained to convert peatland to farmland. What if peatland were viewed less as an agricultural impediment than a climate-restorative opportunity? That’s the question addressed in this study of Fair Bluff, North Carolina, which was built on drained peatland, and was subjected to heavy flooding in recent hurricanes. By relocating Fair Bluff’s downtown from its current low-elevation site to higher ground, residents would gain a central peat park that would celebrate the region’s high water table while embracing better climate resilience that aligns with the disaster recovery plan. Here, innovative strategies for monetizing carbon storage would encourage preservation and restoration of peatlands, with increased public access and education programs to build visibility and instill the value of this natural resource. Encouraging paludiculture (wetlands agriculture) would promote peatland regrowth, and the new public park would offer tangible and long-term ecological benefit to residents in the region.

—Haniya Rae

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This fall, LAM will be highlighting professional and student winners from the 2020 ASLA Awards by asking designers to dive deep into one image from their winning project.

Yongqing Fang Alleyways: An Urban Transformation, by Lab D+H Landscape and Urban Design, Professional Urban Design Honor Award.

Photo courtesy Arch-Exist.

“During the construction of this project, most of the original stone slabs from the alleys were stolen. A lot of construction waste, such as the demolition of the building bricks and tiles, was piled up on the site. We were thinking that the best way to preserve the historical context and bring back those old memories was to reuse those old materials. Thus, most of the details [in the photo] are made from recycled materials. In fact, except for the large piece of stone in the middle of the road, the rest was basically re-completed by recycled materials. All of our efforts are to make the new design and the old [memories] work together in a microintervention.”

—Zhongwei Li, Lab D+H Landscape and Urban Design

 

Planning for urban renewal requires careful consideration of surroundings as well as sentiment; in Guangzhou’s old town, a transformation revitalized a network of crumbling alleyways while honoring residents’ emotional attachment to a culture of street life. Phase 1 reimagined two alleyways as central points of public life by rehabilitating existing alleyways and adding larger-scale public nodes. First, several damaged or illegal structures were removed; many of those materials were reused throughout the project. Insufficient drainage and lighting were remedied with a multifunctional system that blends historic features with contemporary infrastructure. Three new public amenities—the Grand Wooden Steps, the Roof Garden, and the Water Feature Garden—provide and define new public space. During the day, the Grand Wooden Steps are used as a rest and display area, whereas at night they become seating for movie screenings. Nearby, the Water Feature Garden is set back from the main street and shaded by existing trees. The Roof Garden connects the rear of buildings and provides a semiprivate leisure area. Acting as new nodes for existing alleyways, the project unifies and modernizes the neighborhood without damaging vibrant, historic public life. “The Yongqing Fang alley project proves that choices made at the microscale have the capacity to inform much larger urban design decisions,” said the jury.

—Anjulie Rao

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This fall, LAM will be highlighting professional and student winners from the 2020 ASLA Awards by asking designers to dive deep into one image from their winning project.

The Landscape of an Agreement: The Role of Regional and Geopolitical Landscape, Agriculture, and Religion in a Future Peace Agreement Between Palestine and Israel, by shelter_expanse, Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award.

 

Image courtesy shelter_expanse.

“In our work we mostly try to investigate the relationships between people based on the land. We hope this image, in the form [of an] aerial panorama (like those of Heinrich Berann), succeeds in showing this by detailing two entangled populations making clear actions over the land, thus shaping their life and future. It is the landscape that delineates the ground for actions, the Judaean Desert at the foreground, and the Jerusalem Mountains at the back.”

“We always believe landscape can and must take a larger responsibility in society, toward greater equality and justice, with communal and spiritual aspects. But we were still surprised to find to what extent this is possible if one addresses the critical issues and sites with the right tools. In a region cultivated for thousands of years, landscape plays an enormous geopolitical role: People pray, live, and die for it. In a world torn by health and environmental crises, economic and political inequalities, we must come out into the land; leave behind the boutique work for a while. It should be based on a clear and universal set of principles.”

 —Matanya Sack, International ASLA, and Uri Reicher of shelter_expanse

 

The Palestinian–Israeli conflict in the West Bank is one of the world’s thorniest territorial disputes. The firm shelter_expanse, commissioned by Peace Now to look at the situation through the lens of landscape architecture, shows how considerations of topology, land use, and future development can inform negotiations by policy makers and analysts. The design team created a potential solution to the complex patchwork of overlapping claims based on its analysis of the region’s developed territories, agricultural lands, nature reserves, and heritage sites. Providing useful new data in the course of its research, the team created detailed maps of developed areas, turning up new communities not previously recorded. The resulting proposal is based on a vision for long-term stability and growth of a separate Palestinian nation and makes recommendations for specific land swaps between Israel and Palestine. The jury took note of the sensitive approach to the region, where “fights over ownership often neglect realities of the land itself,” and “the ability to de-settle land will hold lessons for flood-prone cities that face the prospect of retreat.”

—Lydia Lee

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