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Archive for the ‘MATERIALS’ Category

BY HANIYA RAE

Trial and error yields a fluid sculpture for a public park.

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In early 2020, the artist and landscape architect Falon Mihalic, ASLA, of Falon Land Studio was chosen to create Meander, a public art piece for Houston’s historic Market Square Park. The concrete and resin sculpture was to replace a beloved (but weathered) sculpture with something more modern and abstract, while also offering a place to sit for both adults and children and some additional light at night.

“Market Square Park is not a huge space, and it’s bound by things that I didn’t want to disturb,” says Mihalic, who is also the current chair of LAM’s Editorial Advisory Committee. “A previous iteration of Meander stretched into the paving, but they’re historic Freedmen’s Town pavers. So, we knocked out some planting beds to keep the historic elements intact.” (more…)

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As part of an ongoing effort to make content more accessible, LAM will be making select stories available to readers in Spanish.

BY KATHARINE LOGAN

FROM THE JANUARY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Sourberry, red willow, redbud, sedge: These are some of the plants native to the meadows and creek sides of Mariposa County, at the mouth of California’s Yosemite Valley, where for thousands of years the women of the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation have woven them into baskets—for gathering food, for cradling infants high and safe while the women work, and for receiving babies as they’re born.

Most recently, Miwuk basketry is the focus of a public art installation helping to inform Sacramento-based Atlas Lab’s development of a Creative Placemaking Master Plan for Mariposa County. As a demonstration project to invite community input while broadening perceptions of the possibilities for public art, the temporary installation is located beside a footbridge crossing Mariposa Creek, where once-plentiful native plants are now struggling in a landscape transformed by settlement. “The strength we have as landscape architects is to reveal these hidden histories,” says Atlas Lab’s founder and principal Kimberly Garza, ASLA. (more…)

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BY JESSICA CANFIELD, ASLA

Parametric modeling aids the design for a complex paving pattern at a corporate campus.

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

When stepping off the city sidewalk and into the site of the Cummins headquarters building in Indianapolis, there’s an immediate sense of arrival into a distinct landscape. David A. Rubin, FASLA, the principal and lead designer at DAVID RUBIN Land Collective, says that the site is an expression of choice, with amenities for collaboration and contemplation, “allowing people the capacity to choose where to be most creative.” This could be in a cluster in the amphitheater, in movable seating, at an isolated bench, or around the long, Wi-Fi-enabled community table, dubbed the “High-Tech Harvest Table” by the design team.

Located in downtown Indianapolis, the Cummins DBU (shorthand for Cummins Inc.’s Distribution Business Unit headquarters) site spans a full city block. Along the site’s western edge is the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a citywide bike and pedestrian path. Sweeps of vegetation planted atop elongated berms extend inward from here to guide circulation and, as Rubin describes it, to create a sense that the landscape was intentionally carved back to reveal the underlying hardscape. The main path, which zigzags east–west to connect the building entry and parking garage, widens at the heart of the site to become the central plaza. This multifunctional gathering space is framed by amphitheater seating and can accommodate performances and special events. Just adjacent is a communal work space, the Social Hub, where employees can bring their laptops and connect to power and Wi-Fi. A more secluded area, the Dell, offers benches for quieter work. These distinct subspaces are threaded together by a continuous two-toned paving pattern, creating a unified surface and visual identity for the site.

The eye-catching paving pattern, comprising alternating bands of light and dark concrete pavers, echoes the calibrated facade of the new Deborah Berke Partners building and is emblematic of a checkered flag, in reference to the Cummins diesel engine enterprise. The design team first explored concepts for the paving pattern through sketches and a 3-D model. According to Land Collective’s project manager, Henry Moll III, Affiliate ASLA, “Early studies included larger concepts of fading patterns and pixilation,” but ultimately they went with the more geometric and focused pattern. After selecting the two-toned scheme, the team turned to Grasshopper to further explore and refine the pattern’s scale and color distribution.

Grasshopper, which is now included in Rhino 6, is a visual scripting tool used for parametric modeling. In parametric modeling, design outcomes are created through the application of scripts, which establish and define relationships between components within given constraints. In a design workflow, a script can be used for ideation or for accomplishing a specific task. Moll describes Grasshopper as ideal for working with repetitive elements, because you can automate complex goals, which lends itself well to developing patterns. (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.

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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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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