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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

National echoes underscore the power of a memorial to the victims of a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

FROM THE APRIL 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Since at least the 1870s, Tucson’s El Presidio Plaza, located between the Pima County Superior Court and Tucson City Hall, has been a place of gathering, commemoration, and civic participation. Numerous monuments and memorials—to the original presidio, to veterans of World War II, to John F. Kennedy—dot the mostly paved plaza. The latest, and largest, memorial is titled The Embrace, and it commemorates the mass shooting on January 8, 2011, in which then-Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot and six people, including a federal judge, were killed.

Designed by the Los Angeles-based architecture and landscape firm Chee Salette with the visual artist Rebeca Méndez, the memorial uses the language of landscape to create spaces of reflection while also preserving the historic civic axis between the courthouse and city hall. It consists of a mirrored pair of angular reflecting pools protected by rising berms that feature bands of Mt. Moriah stone and native Sonoran plantings. In the spaces created by the berms, which extend toward one another like open arms, curved steel walls tell the story of the shooting through symbols rather than a traditional narrative. From a distance, the tapered landforms frame the entrance to the courthouse. “It’s like a collar, framing the face,” says Tina Chee, ASLA, who runs the firm with her husband, Marc Salette. (more…)

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FOREGROUND       

Carol R. Johnson, 1929–2020 (In Memoriam)
In an interview from 2010, one of the first women to be awarded the ASLA Medal looked back on
her trailblazing career.

Keep the Commons (Preservation)
Historically Black Colleges and Universities have seen their distinctive campus designs erode with
time and change. A new grant program will help them navigate the future.

Words Lost and Found (Planning)
When the Great Lakes Ojibwe tribes realized western planning for climate change didn’t
reflect their worldview, they remade it. Now natural resource planners are catching up.

FEATURES

 The Best Medicine
The Stanford medical campus in Northern California underwent a dazzling 12-year, $2 billion transformation. Details that take advantage of sight lines and the senses yield a landscape that’s also state of the art.

Shop Shape
A yearlong pandemic and skyrocketing online shopping have gutted retail streets. Five landscape architecture firms sketch out how to remake them as livelier, more equitable destinations.

The digital edition of the April LAM is FREE, and you can access it here and share it with your clients, colleagues, and friends. You can also buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 250 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. Single digital issues are available for only $5.25 at Zinio or you can order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.

Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag) for more updates on #ASLAawards and the September issue.

Credits: “Carol R. Johnson, 1929–2020,” IBI Group, formerly Carol R. Johnson Associates; “Keep the Commons,” Broadmoor via Wikimedia Commons (CC by-SA 4.0); “Words Lost and Found,” Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission/College of Menominee Nation; “Shop Shape,” Elizabeth Kennedy Landscape Architect, PLLC (photograph), LAM (image manipulation); “The Best Medicine,” Patrik Argast. 

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BY ZACH MORTICE

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

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

 

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. The warehousing and packaging facility closed in 2015, and within a few years, the company announced an ambitious adaptive reuse plan for the site, turning it into a mixed-use campus featuring a concert venue and office spaces. (The sign will stay.) It will also be home to Morton’s R&D facility, relocating from Chicago’s suburbs, where the company will research water softener salt, pool salt, deicing salt, and salt solutions for other industrial applications.

The project’s innovation will extend to the outdoors: The landscape of the campus will include a synthetic growing medium developed by Omni Ecosystems. According to the company, it’s the first site in Chicago that’s been approved for the use of special stormwater soils designed to mitigate runoff and stormwater from combined sewer overflows. Working with the Chicago Plan Commission and the Department of Buildings, Omni Ecosystems will use 60,000 cubic feet of Omni Infinity Media, largely composed of an ultra-light, kiln-dried mineral similar to volcanic rock. This medium will allow a rich wetland and riparian ecosystem to thrive on top of a degraded and polluted site that’s been capped with concrete and asphalt.

The Omni Infinity Media is mostly air—it has 78 percent void space, compared to standard topsoil, which has 25 percent. “It’s quite literally and physically a sponge,” says Michael Skowlund, ASLA, the director of landscape architecture at Omni Ecosystems. (more…)

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BY ALEX BOZIKOVIC

Support grows for a proposal to convert Toronto’s University Avenue into a park.

FROM THE MARCH 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

The center of Toronto, a city of almost three million, is becoming increasingly crowded. So how can the city answer the need for public space? By remaking streets. A scheme by the landscape architects PUBLIC WORK proposes converting half of Toronto’s University Avenue into a linear park, and the idea has gained momentum.

In November, two not-for-profit organizations, Evergreen and the Michael Young Family Foundation, unveiled the proposal, called University Park, to the public. Adam Nicklin, a cofounder and principal at PUBLIC WORK, says the design knits together a system of existing green spaces into a cohesive whole. “It’s a chance to reimagine a great street which doesn’t perform its highest civic function,” he says, and create “a 90-acre system of parks right in the heart of the city.” (more…)

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The things our art director, Chris McGee, hated to leave out of the current issue of LAM.

Photo by Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA.

From “From the Outside In” in the February 2021 issue by Brian Barth, about how one of the nation’s most progressive affordable housing policies in San Francisco is creating landscapes that embrace low-income neighbors.

“Courtyard play.”

–CHRIS MCGEE, LAM ART DIRECTOR

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 250 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.

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BY ZACH MORTICE

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

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

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. In 1839, the city’s initial run of surveyed and platted blocks was auctioned off beneath what became known as the Auction Oaks. Recently revitalized by Design Workshop, the square is a broad public green and plaza outlined by native plantings and groves of trees, some of which are nearly 600 years old.

Matt Macioge, the director of operations for the Downtown Austin Alliance, which operates the park, wanted to protect this valuable place. He has a background in design and construction, so he could anticipate the typical array of maintenance issues, but with an added layer of complexity. “The plants within [these landscapes] are dynamic. They’re growing, they’re dying, they’re pollinating, they have seasonal changes and cycles,” he says. “You really need to be able to live and breathe with the plants with your operations manual.” Macioge says he wanted “world-class standards,” a maintenance regimen that would react and adapt to changes in both programming and ecology. (more…)

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The things our art director, Chris McGee, hated to leave out of the current issue of LAM.

Photo by Robb Williamson, AECOM.

From “Give ’em the Slip” by Clare Jacobson in the February 2021 issue, about AECOM’s transformation of a former shipyard to a recreational waterfront in a park-hungry San Francisco neighborhood.

“Bay access.”

–CHRIS MCGEE, LAM ART DIRECTOR

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 250 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.

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