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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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BY KIM O’CONNELL

LandDesign tries a new approach to bringing kids into landscape architecture.

FROM THE JUNE 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Although they don’t depict the likes of a Mike Trout or Max Scherzer, a new series of “baseball cards” may get children jazzed about careers in landscape architecture. Developed by the multidisciplinary firm LandDesign, the cards each show one of the firm’s designers on the front and a short Q and A about their work on the back, along with a signature project.

The cards are just one element in the firm’s new Studio Toolkit, which includes a collection of physical tools and project guidance to give kids hands-on design experience long before they enter a university classroom. The idea was rooted in the racial justice dialogues that followed the murder of George Floyd last year. “We wanted to do more than just put out a statement; we wanted to take action,” says the designer Rita Schiller, a member of the tool kit team. “There’s a lack of diversity within the profession. We talked about how we could impact that and start to change what the industry looked like for the future.” (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

A new pedestrian path is a small act of repair for Tulsa’s Black Wall Street.

FROM THE JUNE 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Tucked inside President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan is $20 billion earmarked for communities torn apart by freeway construction and urban renewal. According to the Biden administration, the federal funds will be used to help reconnect these typically minority, often Black, communities and address decades of disinvestment and environmental racism.

Cities around the country might soon be looking to Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood neighborhood for ways to do so. Located just north of downtown Tulsa, Greenwood is home to what was known as Black Wall Street and is the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, in which 35 city blocks of Greenwood were burned and hundreds of Black men, women, and children were killed. (The event was narrativized in the HBO adaptation of Watchmen.) Greenwood was rebuilt by the families and business owners who survived, only for sections of it to be razed again to make way for what is now Interstate 244. (more…)

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BY LYDIA LEE

FROM THE MAY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE 

 

As landscape architects push the profession to become more equitable, some landscape architects and planners say it’s time to replace the industry-standard term “master plan.” The term not only has racial overtones, but more significantly signals a top-down approach that is antithetical to the profession today, they say.

In the United States, “master” was the term for slaveholder in the slave codes enacted by states starting in the mid-1600s. Because of its associations with slavery, various professions have been moving away from using “master” in its various forms, and the Black Lives Matter movement has accelerated these initiatives. For example, the tech industry has been trying to eliminate references to “master and slave” software routines, a common parlance for relationships between elements. Last summer, several real estate associations announced they were using “primary bedroom” in lieu of “master bedroom” in listings. As far back as 2014, activists in Philadelphia urged the city to drop the term “master plan” because “master” was an insulting term to the Black community. (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

A projector and some creative programming make a way for landscape architecture students to connect safely.

FROM THE MAY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

More than a year into remote learning, Zoom has proven itself to be an adequate stopgap for basic instruction in university classrooms. Many design students even have benefited from the platform’s ability to collapse distance, making it possible to engage with students, guest lecturers, and critics from anywhere. Where Zoom is woefully insufficient, says Roberto Rovira, ASLA, the chair of the landscape architecture department at the Florida International University (FIU) School of Architecture (SOA), is in enabling the kinds of side conversations and ambient observations that are so much a part of the studio experience. “Those incidental conversations, the peripheral awareness of how someone is solving something, [are] why we have studio environments in the first place,” he says. (more…)

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