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Archive for the ‘IDEAS’ Category

BY JULIAN RAXWORTHY

BEDIT_LAMjul16_BookUG

From the July 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

In my seminar on contemporary theories of landscape architecture at the University of Cape Town, I recently asked students, during the week allocated to discussing landscape urbanism, to choose a project from Africa that could be called “landscape urbanist.” One student chose the renovation of the Luanda waterfront in Angola. This project is an upgrade that could just as easily be described as conventional landscape architecture or urban design practice. That landscape urbanism seemed to just be landscape architecture to my students suggests how generic the term has become when considered in relation to implementation: It could be just about anything. Landscape urbanism is a vibe.

Landscape urbanism is an evocative term that has exercised great influence over academic design discourse in landscape architecture but has remained ambiguous in practical terms. One of its key propagandists, Charles Waldheim, Honorary ASLA, a professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, has attempted to provide a “general theory” for it in his new book Landscape as Urbanism, which, while engagingly going some of the way toward doing so, leaves the persistent question of “OK, but so what?” remaining.

Talking about landscape urbanism is more like (more…)

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This month, we have a few big stories that take you back a ways before bringing you back to the present. After decades of re-do schemes in Pershing Square in Los Angeles, and a tense year of competition that just ended with yet another redesign by Agence TER and SALT Landscape Architects announced as the long-awaited winners, we will see what becomes of the new design, and all the things a design needs to back it up, like services and programming. In New York’s barren Battery Park City in the 1980s, a  small, subtle, and safe harbor came to life as a work of art, rather than a park, by Susan Child, FASLA; Stanton Eckstut; and Mary Miss, and it continues to mature and season handsomely. In the Netherlands, Room for the River, a nationwide project has been reworking the country’s four major rivers in anticipation of greater floods in the future for more than 20 years. Finally, in the small town of Bruton, near London, is the artist’s heaven of Hauser & Wirth Somerset, with maximal garden designs by Piet Oudolf.

In the departments: the building momentum of separated bike lanes means safer routes for cyclists, in Streets; and three landscape architecture student journals create a window into the design culture of their universities, in Education. And, as ever, don’t miss our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for June can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 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.

Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating June articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Better Luck This Time,” Agence Ter with SALT Landscape Architects; “Still Here,” Lexi Van Valkenburgh; “There’s Room,” Your Captain Luchtfotografie/www.luchtfotografie.com; “So Happy Together,” Heather Edwards, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth; “Cycle Away,” Jennifer Toole/Toole Design Group; “Class Consciousness,” Michelle Hook.

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BY BRIAN BARTH

Virtual Reality is making a leap:

Virtual Reality is making a leap. Will landscape architects be ready?

From the December 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Early next year, Oculus—a company recently purchased by Facebook from its founder Palmer Luckey for $2.3 billion—is expected to release Rift, the first mass-produced virtual reality headset. With a price tag around $300 to $400, the Oculus Rift will allow video gaming enthusiasts to slay each other in an immersive, true-to-scale, viscerally realistic three-dimensional world—a world where gamers on any continent can join each other inside their goggles.

Gaming junkies are far from the only crowd salivating for access to the technology. The software industry is falling over itself to produce new web and media applications for the Oculus Rift, ranging from immersive 3-D movies (think IMAX inside a pair of ski goggles) to tutorials on how to properly dissect a human cadaver to combat simulations for the military. At its core, virtual reality (VR) is an advanced way to experience a 3-D model of anything a designer can come up with; naturally, architects, engineers, and landscape architects are also standing in line for a chance to plug their designs into the new technology.

Computer engineers have been chasing the idea of VR since (more…)

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

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Credit: Clementine Inhye Jang, Student ASLA; Michelle Shofet, Student ASLA; and Jia Joy Hu, Student ASLA.

ASLA 2015 Analysis and Planning Student Honor Award winner “Airborne” by Clementine Inhye Jang, Student ASLA, Michelle Shofet, Student ASLA, and Jia Joy Hu, Student ASLA, in the October 2015 issue, features the investigation of designing easement networks through aerial seed transmission.

“This has a mesmerizing perspective with a mysterious quality that presents more questions than answers.”

—Chris McGee, LAM Art Director

Pick up a free digital issue of the October LAM here and share it with your clients, colleagues, and friends. As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 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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MeettheEditors

Hopeful candidates pitch their projects and ideas to editors at the 2014 Meet the Editors in Denver.

The ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO can be a great way to catch up with current trends in the profession and those much-needed Professional Development Hours. But it can also be an opportunity to share with the Landscape Architecture Magazine team that much-beloved project you’ve been working on all year. Editors from LAM, The Dirt, and Topos will be on hand at the 2015 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Chicago, Saturday and Sunday, November 7–8, for Meet the Editors, a time block of 15-minute sign-up sessions with your choice of editor to pitch story ideas or that project you’ve worked so hard on.

New to Meet the Editors this year is Christopher McGee, Art Director for LAM, who will be available to provide feedback on photography portfolios. Spots are limited and fill quickly, so be sure to snag a session before they’re gone. While we love to hear about new products and advertisements, Meet the Editors is meant for practitioners and professionals only. However, if you’ve got that hot new product you’re sure landscape architects will love, be sure to contact our Goods columnist, Lisa Speckhardt, at lspeckhardt@asla.org.

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Mia Scharphie delivers a dose of start-up energy to people and projects.

From the August 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

The merging of soul and role is a laudable idea—it refers, very broadly, to the ability to bring a set of personal, mission-driven values to your professional life—but it’s hard to integrate into full-time practice. For most designers, it means working on public projects with a community engagement component, or collaborating on one-off social impact design projects, or cordoning off pro bono work into a separate part of their business. Mia Scharphie wants to shake that up a bit.

Scharphie runs two consulting businesses—Proactive Practices, a research collaborative with Gilad Meron and Nick McClintock, and Build Yourself+, a workshop series. At first glance, they seem unrelated, but when you talk to her, you begin to see the kind of connections that are at the core of Scharphie’s work. Drawing on her training in landscape architecture (she began her career at the firm Public Architecture in San Francisco), which Scharphie says is “supercore” to spatializing community projects, she also brings in current thinking from the world of entrepreneurship, citing Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, Tara Mohr’s Playing Big, and Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup as touchstones and agents for social change that shape both Proactive Practices and Build Yourself+.

Build Yourself+ is a six-week course aimed specifically at women working in the design fields, investing women designers with the skills to articulate issues and obstacles to their own success and then get past them. Scharphie says designers, and women designers in particular, can be hobbled by the total work ethic of design. “The strange irony of design is that we do these renderings of super-happy people in our parks walking with infinite numbers of dogs and strollers,” yet the design culture of work-all-hours doesn’t permit any of this. “There’s a disconnect between what we try to imagine for people and what our social lives are like.” It’s a workshop approach that frankly acknowledges that the personal is deeply embedded in the professional, and it builds on the current cultural conversations about gender equity and cross-cultural communications in the workplace.

(more…)

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BY LAUREN MANDEL, ASLA

Molly Meyer is capitalizing on a surge in demand.

Molly Meyer is capitalizing on a surge in demand.

From the July 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Molly Meyer, a Stanford University-trained biogeochemist and the CEO of Omni Ecosystems and Rooftop Green Works in Chicago, is part of the green roof industry’s emerging generation of innovators. Meyer’s approach to green roof design emphasizes affordability and simplicity, with the goal of maximizing biodiversity. Through her sister companies, Meyer sells and installs a specially designed green roof tray system that supports unusually diverse plant species in shallow growing medium, most notably in veneer meadows. Meyer recently cofounded a third company, the Roof Crop, which began cultivating its first rooftop farm in April.

You’re from Indianapolis, which is a fairly large city. What drew you into soil science?

I loved playing outdoors as a kid. By the time I got to college I was looking for opportunities to do schoolwork outdoors. There were a lot of classes and research opportunities [for which] I could work outside and travel for by doing (more…)

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