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BY ZACH MORTICE

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

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

 

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.

The sculpture garden was originally designed by the Hirshhorn Museum’s architect, Gordon Bunshaft. His initial sculpture garden was a harsh, wide expanse of hardscape and gravel when it opened in 1974, centered on a 60-foot-wide rectangular reflecting pool. In 1977 the Smithsonian enlisted Lester Collins to soften the landscape and make it more hospitable, especially during Washington, D.C.’s sweltering summers. When the new landscape opened in 1981, it was with additional lawn and shade cover recessed into the ground—a more layered experience of concrete walls that cordoned off and defined outdoor rooms for the quiet contemplation of sculpture. Collins selected trees with an intense sculptural presence (weeping willows, weeping beeches, ginkgoes, dawn redwoods) and was lauded for his progressively accessible design, nearly a decade before the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But the museum’s new plan for a revised landscape by the artist and architect Hiroshi Sugimoto is drawing the attention of landscape advocates who charge that the changes proposed will alter the relationship between the landscape and Bunshaft’s monumental ring of aggregate concrete, two elements of the museum campus that were conceived as one. With the new landscape, the Hirshhorn (the staff is quick to point out that only 15 percent of museum visitors make a visit to the sculpture garden) hopes to offer art lovers more programmatic flexibility in the garden and the chance to host larger, more performance-driven events. (more…)

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BY KIM O’CONNELL

With playgrounds off limits, Philadelphia’s Studio Ludo gets creative for low-income families.

FROM THE AUGUST 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In downtown Philadelphia, a colorful city development project is under way. The buildings are bright blue and orange, the gabled roofs patterned with triangles and chevrons. The front doors are sunflower yellow, and residents seem happy and content—at least as content as little plastic dinosaurs can be.

The project is Tube Town, a “city” made of toilet paper tubes, construction paper, markers, and glue. Tube Town is one of Studio Ludo’s new Play Packs, a resource created for families during the COVID-19 crisis, and the brainchild of the firm’s executive director, Meghan Talarowski, ASLA. In addition to providing 30 downloadable play and craft projects online—all imaginatively staged and photographed, as with the addition of the little dinos—the firm has worked with local community organizations to distribute play materials to families in need. “We thought, since we’re not doing outside projects right now, how do we bring play to families?” Talarowski says. (more…)

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BY JARED BREY

Contractors, suppliers, and growers ply the busy season amid the pandemic.

FROM THE JUNE 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

For Joseph Marando, the shutdown notice came at just the wrong moment. It was early spring, and Marando, of Frank Marando Landscape Inc., in Queens, New York, was contracted for a planting job in a New York City park. He’d been expecting the job to be canceled, as so much construction was put on pause while the coronavirus outbreak seized New York. But when indications seemed good that it would move forward, he went ahead and asked the Virginia-based nursery he was working with to dig out the oaks, cherry trees, and serviceberries he had ordered. The shutdown notice came the next day, while the truck was en route, and Marando couldn’t very well ask the driver to turn around. So he took the trees, their roots in burlap, and heeled them in at his own holding yard in College Point. Whenever the project gets the green light, he’ll have to reload the plants onto a truck and take them to the site, ballooning the costs for freight and labor.

“But this is what we’re dealing with,” Marando says. “I have no other choice.”

Around the country, stay-at-home orders and social-distancing guidelines arrived at the height of the spring construction season for landscape architects. But the implications for their projects, and for the supply chains they rely on, varied greatly by region. (more…)

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Our June issue of LAM begins—because nobody knows the end—to look at the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Amid all the dread, the vital and often unheralded work of landscape architects, now and through history, has become a staple of social survival as people confined close to home, if not inside their homes, have reflexively turned to parks and public spaces for solace. People have always done this, hit the parks for a mental and physical break, but the yearning has concentrated incalculably as the only outlet from a fear like they’ve never experienced before.

We asked landscape architects and designers to reflect freely on what the emergencies of COVID-19 mean to them professionally. Several dozen weighed in with their hopes and their skepticism, between the upheaval in work life to the undeniable roles of landscapes in a changed human condition.

Also this month, we look at the acute and early shocks to the food supply with two landscape architects, Phoebe Lickwar, ASLA, and Roxi Thoren, ASLA, whose new book, Farmscape: The Design of Productive Landscapes (Routledge), argues from historical and contemporary positions that landscape architects have a singular role to play in rethinking the design and production of agriculture, and in bringing people closer to the sources of their nourishment.

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 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.

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

Credits: “What’s Next?” Annalisa Aldana; “A Spring of Surprises,” Courtesy J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. 

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FOREGROUND

The Bricks Are Back (Materials)
A beloved theater and public plaza are reimagined for accessibility and diversity.

Worked Up (Workplace)
Working on two Indiana campus sites for a hometown company, DAVID RUBIN
Land Collective balances corporate identity with a sense of place.

FEATURES

 The Wild World of Terremoto
Terremoto is a young firm in Los Angeles betting that the future depends on redesigning practice
along with the Southern California landscape.

Fair Play
Working inside the Milwaukee Public Schools system, Pam Linn, FASLA, is rolling out an equitable model
for upgrading dozens of Milwaukee’s dreary schoolyards and playgrounds.

Hell of Fun
Montreal-based Claude Cormier + Associés hurdles design obstacles with a sly sense of humor and vibrant colors, but it only looks easy. It’s not.

In honor of World Landscape Architecture Month, the entire April digital issue is available for FREE, and you can access it here. As always, the April issue covers a wide swath of the work landscape architects do designing equitable schoolyards, playful public spaces, community-oriented corporate campuses, and unexpectedly wild gardens. Be sure to take a look at ASLA’s #WLAM2020 and #LifeGrowsHere programs and initiatives aimed at promoting the profession and how you can participate. We will continue to post new stories all month on the impacts of COVID-19 on the profession of landscape architecture here and abroad.

You can buy Landscape Architecture Magazine online. 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 website, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag) for more updates on COVID-19 impacts, #WLAM2020, and fresh journalism on the profession of landscape architecture.

Credits: “Fair Play,” Colin Boyle/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Via Imagn Content Services, LLC; “Hell of Fun,” Cyril Doisneau; “The Wild World of Terremoto,” Stephen Schauer; “The Bricks Are Back,” Meghan Montgomery/Built Work Photography; “Worked Up,” Hadley Fruits. 

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

Photo by Kyle Jeffers.

From “Theater Revival” in the January 2020 issue by Lydia Lee, about the Office of Cheryl Barton’s subtle updates to Robert Royston’s Quarry Amphitheater at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“Theater in the Round.”

–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 LYDIA LEE

Robert Royston’s 1967 Quarry Amphitheater has been carefully rebuilt in all its modernist glory.

FROM THE JANUARY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Like the classical theaters of Greek and Roman antiquity, Quarry Amphitheater at the University of California, Santa Cruz is an open-air venue with tiered seating. But what would the Greeks and Romans have made of the irregular rows, with their off-kilter angles? Even to modern eyes, the amphitheater’s erratic form comes as a surprise. Designed by the noted California landscape architect Robert Royston, the 1967 Quarry Amphitheater is as much a work of environmental art as a theater. The amphitheater had been closed for more than a decade owing to disrepair and reopened in 2017 after an $8 million rehabilitation master-planned by the Office of Cheryl Barton (OCB). Among the guiding principles, according to the OCB plan, was to improve it “without compromising the intimate, immersive, spiritual, and ‘magic’ quality of the landscape experience and the quirky spirit of the historic amphitheater design.” (more…)

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