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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 TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

FROM THE JANUARY 2022 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

It’s likely a fantasy of any number of landscape architects: designing an entire neighborhood without having to consider a single car. Housing blocks separated not by wide, traffic-choked streets but by gentle, shaded paseos, or promenades. Apartments opening onto European-style courtyards. Every square foot of open space devoted to people.

Kristina Floor, FASLA, is building that dream. For the past two years, she and her team at Floor Associates, which is based in Phoenix, have been leading the site design for Culdesac Tempe, a 16-acre, 761-unit mixed-use development in Tempe, Arizona, in which private cars are prohibited. Made up of two- and three-story apartment buildings arranged around courtyards, the development has no garages, no “parking podiums”—the latest urban work-around that stashes all the parking on the first few levels of an otherwise banal development—and nothing you’d even call a street, which, as it turns out, leaves a lot of room for people space.

“What happens on so many projects, with the amount of parking you have to put in, is that most of your landscape is perimeter landscape or parking-lot landscape,” Floor says. At Culdesac, which is under construction and will open in summer 2022, Floor says they’re “designing spaces for people.” (more…)

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BY KIM O’CONNELL

A new pocket park in Baltimore helps to ignite a neighborhood revitalization.

FROM THE JANUARY 2022 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

On a corner in Baltimore surrounded by vacant lots and boarded-up buildings, Gold Street Park is easy to miss. Built on a former coal yard in the neighborhood of Druid Heights, the pocket park features a winding brick path that leads to a circular gathering space with a starburst mural at its center. Steps along one edge can be used as seating or a de facto stage, and the simple planting scheme includes a few rose bushes and serviceberry trees.

Druid Heights is a historic African American community that once had a thriving social scene, where the jazz great Cab Calloway sang “Hi De Ho Man” in clubs, and where well-to-do Black families raised their kids. In the late 1960s, the uprisings that followed the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination led to a period of urban disinvestment from which the community is still working to recover. A local nonprofit, the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, is taking a holistic approach to revitalization through real estate development, food and career assistance, and incentives and paths to homeownership.

Among the barriers facing Druid Heights is a lack of green space: Tree canopy coverage in the community is 14 percent, just half of the city’s average. To remedy this, the community partnered with Byoung-Suk Kweon, ASLA, an associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Maryland, on a green community master plan that includes the development of both pocket parks and larger green corridors and connections. (more…)

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BY JARED BREY

Pashek + MTR works with two public agencies to design a heavy-hitting stormwater park in Pittsburgh.

FROM THE DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

One bright-blue Friday afternoon in October, I was paused at a stoplight in Squirrel Hill, a residential neighborhood about five miles from downtown Pittsburgh, when I saw a young woman with a red backpack try to summit a steep slope on her bicycle. She approached the hill with good momentum and no shortage of confidence and was halfway up the block before she started losing speed. Two thirds of the way, she began to wobble. Pedaling a few more yards, she surrendered to the inevitable and finished the journey on foot.

At the bottom of the hill sat Wightman Park, recently redesigned around the very force the young woman was trying to overcome. In Pittsburgh’s Hill District, stormwater accumulates in the valleys. In 2014, the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW) began a master-planning process for the low-lying, two-acre park, with its small baseball field, half basketball court, and aging playground, through which a long-since channelized stream used to flow. In the process of collecting community input for the master plan and redesign, the landscape architects at Pittsburgh-based Pashek + MTR heard from neighbors that basement backups during storms were getting worse.

“And so we thought, ‘Oh, this would be a great place to really bump up the stormwater capacity and start to try to capture water from the surrounding streets,’” says Sara Thompson, ASLA, a principal at the firm. (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

On a living shoreline in Ontario, Canada, Seferian Design Group balances designing for erosion and endangered species.

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

On the northern shore of Lake Ontario, 25 miles outside Toronto, a quarter mile of once-eroding lakefront is a case study in resilient design for the Great Lakes. Although at first glance it may not look as green or vegetated—as alive—as other so-called living shorelines, the new shoreline was planned and built around the needs of multiple vulnerable wildlife species and offers vital refugia for still others.

The stretch of shoreline belongs to Appleby College, a private preparatory school in Oakville, Ontario. Its largely natural shoreline was eroding at an alarming rate, battered by increased wave action caused by historically high lake levels and severed from natural replenishment cycles by shoreline hardening projects nearby. “They’d done surveying every couple of years, and in some areas, five, six meters of shoreline were just gone,” says Brad Smith, ASLA, a senior landscape architect at Seferian Design Group in nearby Burlington, Ontario, which was hired to help address the problem after a more typical hardening plan was scrapped. “The conservation authority came back and said, ‘We want something greener, softer, more dynamic.’” (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

Floridians are rallying to restore a rare Dan Kiley landscape, starting with 800 trees.

FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

On June 17, 1988, life changed for Laurie Potier-Brown, ASLA. She was living in Tampa, Florida, and working in marketing while also pursuing an MBA. Her company’s offices were located downtown, near the new NationsBank tower, Harry Wolf’s now-iconic concrete silo of an office building. That Friday, during her lunch break, Potier-Brown ventured down to the park that had just opened in conjunction with the building. She walked under the plexiglass-bottomed canal and up into the cool, leafy garden, and as she wandered through the grove of flowering crape myrtles and listened to the “gurgling of water running in the rills,” Potier-Brown says she decided to abandon everything—her job in marketing, her MBA—and become a landscape architect.

Thirty years later, Potier-Brown is part of a group working to help restore the park that so profoundly altered her career. Today it is known as Kiley Garden after its lead designer, the renowned modernist Dan Kiley—though for those who remember it, the garden is barely recognizable. Its 800 crape myrtles are gone, as are its allées of sabal palms. The clear-bottomed canal has been removed, and the reflecting pools one once crossed have been paved over. “They’re literally parking cars where the reflecting pools were,” says Christian Leon, the director of a local nonprofit and a supporter of the garden’s restoration. “There’s an entire parking garage underneath!” (more…)

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BY MARGARET SHAKESPEARE

A designer and a sculptor deploy an arsenal of digital and industrial tools to produce ContraFuerte.

FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

The Philadelphia sculptor Miguel Horn’s latest work may not look particularly technological, but it is the product of a sophisticated design and fabrication process that many landscape architects may recognize. ContraFuerte is a new permanent outdoor installation set to be unveiled this fall. “It’s a monument to collective action,” Horn says.

The installation contains a strong element of discovery. Located in an alley in Center City, directly across 12th Street from Reading Terminal Market, the sculpture depicts two sets of male and female figures, entwined and buttressed against a small bridge as if, with superhuman force, they are keeping the bridge suspended above the roadway. To execute and install the work—which weighs 11,000 pounds and comprises more than 5,000 intricately connected aluminum pieces—Horn turned to the capabilities of design software and invited his longtime friend Chris Landau, Affiliate ASLA, a design technologist with a newly established eponymous firm, to collaborate. (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

A puzzle-like model of the Mississippi River Basin helps to reveal connections.

FROM THE AUGUST 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

This month, on the riverside terrace of a former pump house in Columbus, Indiana, an exaggerated topographic model of the Mississippi watershed will be installed. It is a hardier object than models meant for conference rooms or museum galleries. In fact, the model’s designer, Derek Hoeferlin, Affiliate ASLA, encourages visitors to pour a glass of water, or beer, over the landscape, to see how much pilsner the Ohio River can take, or how many ounces of stout it requires to overtop the Missouri River. Or, “if it’s coming from the Northwest,” Hoeferlin says, “it might be an IPA.”

Installed as part of this year’s Exhibit Columbus, a biennial celebration of the Indiana city’s trove of midcentury modern architecture, the model is split into six lobes that fit together like puzzle pieces, representing the Mississippi and its tributary watersheds. It’s an extension of a long-term effort to create an atlas of the Mississippi River Basin, in which Hoeferlin is working to map the basin at a variety of scales and examining the control measures that make the watershed a tool for commerce. The installation, dubbed Tracing Our Mississippi, also includes expository boards, and Hoeferlin plans to host public programming themed on Indigenous rights to the land and water with artists from opposite ends of the Mississippi watershed: Angie Tillges from Minnesota and Monique Verdin from Louisiana. (more…)

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