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FOREGROUND

Pained Plaza (Planning)
Three public spaces from midcentury Philadelphia have been earmarked for reinvention. Two have succeeded, but one, a space for public expression, remains in limbo.

FEATURES

Black Landscapes Matter
In the introduction to his new book (edited with Grace Mitchell Tada), the 2019 MacArthur Fellow and founder of Hood Design Studio in Oakland, California, argues for the power and visibility of landscapes designed and shaped by Black people.

The Dark Side of Light
Sensitive lighting design is one of the hidden assets of thriving public places, but designers worry that their work is increasingly being used to watch rather than illuminate.

The full table of contents for December 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 December articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Pained Plaza,” Sahar Coston-Hardy, Affiliate ASLA; “Black Landscapes Matter,” Hood Design Studio; “The Dark Side of Light,” Elizabeth Felicella.

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BY ZACH MORTICE

John Whitaker’s Dark Matter project posits a memorial landscape that is a forum for collective action and protest. Image courtesy John Whitaker, Student ASLA.

An ASLA Student Award-winning project challenges outdated death practices.

 

One of the most startling projects submitted for the 2020 ASLA Student Awards was Dark Matter—a proposal that uses landscape as a transmission medium for the ecological values of the deceased. With arresting images and a somewhat unconventional project type, Dark Matter dazzled the jury, which bestowed the Award of Excellence in General Design on the project last spring. John Whitaker, Student ASLA, an MLA candidate at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, designed a proposal that created a memorial landscape that grows over time to unify human remains with nonhuman ecologies, promoting biological and cultural diversity and offering mourners “the continuation of a relationship that would endure over time with both their loved one and the larger site,” Whitaker says. (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.

The LivingRoom: A Freeware Learning Garden Focused on Health, Food, and Nutrition Education, by Simon Powney, Tripp Dunn, Huang Zhaoheng, Ben Gunter, Jacob Felkins, Cody Eades, Walter Hogue, Matthew Stanton, Clint Kiser, Logan Sullivan, Nada Aziz, Natalie Bowers, Brandon Burton, Oriey Glenn, and Jane Kent; Mississippi State University, Student Collaboration Honor Award.

“The inspiration for the color and bold graphic style used in the Galloway Elementary School LivingRoom Garden came from an existing mural at the school that speaks to local food production and programmatic discussions with education researchers. The style uses a simple palette of primary colors and geometric shapes to represent local food selections. The arrangement is based on a few ideas about how elementary age children can use the garden. First, there is a series of spaces that can be used to identify destinations. ‘Meet on the big watermelon’ or ‘Let’s go sit in the tomato and talk about this.’ Second, [there’s] the need for structure so multiple groups could use it at the same time. ‘Let’s walk on the “peas” path so we don’t get in the way of the class on the “carrots” path.’ Third, the ‘peas’ end in an ordering grid that allows teachers to instruct children to order things they find in the garden by size, color, texture, shape, etc. and have discussions about the differences.”

—Simon Powney, Student ASLA

 

Teaching children about how food is grown is a worthy endeavor. But school administrators are daunted by the funding requirements and maintenance of a school garden. A team of landscape architecture, architecture, and graphic design students created a prototype for a learning garden that is affordable and practical. Instead of small-scale farming, the student team described the design as focused on “aligning teachers’ needs with food, health, and nutrition education goals.” The resulting semicircular planter, made with off-the-shelf components for less than $1,500, incorporates a trellis, seating, and an irrigation system. Working with an educator, the team also created a garden curriculum that is organized around the themes of time, color, math, biology, and seasons, allowing the lessons to be incorporated easily into the regular school curriculum.

—Lydia Lee

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BY ZACH MORTICE

A presentation to the elders of the Red Water Pond Road Community, part of the University of New Mexico Indigenous Design and Planning program. Photo by Catherine Page Harris.

Faculty at landscape architecture programs are asking what an anti-racist landscape architecture pedagogy looks like.

 

Newly appointed this summer, Sara Zewde is the first tenure-tracked Black woman landscape architecture professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and one of only 19 Black landscape architecture professors at accredited programs in the United States. And now that her first semester teaching at her alma mater is under way, she’s witnessing a few more firsts.

Discussions of diversity and structural racism at design schools had always focused on quantitative measures, such as the number of nonwhite faculty and students, but now the conversation is shifting to what’s being taught, and that’s new for Zewde. “I have never seen this kind of conversation around the actual curriculum, and that’s what excites me,” she says. (more…)

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FOREGROUND

The Scripted Surface (Tech)
For a complex paving pattern that was less of a chore to design, DAVID RUBIN Land Collective embraced
parametric modeling.

Not Just Any Garden (Preservation)
A historic garden is redesigned at the White House, but not without attracting partisans on both sides.

FEATURES

Good Work
The founders of Portland, Oregon’s Knot used pandemic relief funding to sustain the firm during a work slowdown, but staff needed purpose with their paychecks. Pro bono projects with a public service bent were money in the bank.

The Divining Rod
Stephen McCarthy has turned Greenseams, a program that converts disused agricultural lands to stormwater-soaking green infrastructure, into one of Wisconsin’s most successful
open space programs.

The full table of contents for November 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 November articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Good Work,” Knot; “The Divining Rod,” Zach Mortice; “Not Just Any Garden,” Andrea Hanks/White House Photo Office; “The Scripted Surface,” DAVID RUBIN Land Collective. 

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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.

Jia: Bringing Landscape Architecture to Webtoons, by July Aung, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Student Communications Award of Excellence.

“Webtoons are a story and illustration-driven medium that makes information easily digestible and relatable, creating engaging content for younger audiences that have grown up in a fast-paced culture. Typical landscape architecture publications tend to have long, informative narratives that are often hard or take time to understand without a background in the subject. The webtoon format allows for graphics that clearly illustrate and summarize these concepts throughout an immersive story. Additionally, webtoons are designed for smartphones and are often distributed for free online, delivering messages and information to a global audience regardless of background and situation.

“When designing for the smartphone, the most important step is to limit the quantity of narration and dialogue so that it doesn’t overwhelm the screen and become hard to read. The illustrations and graphic design are the focus, while the words serve as the clarification, thus acting as the connecting thread between the panels. As with film, the pacing and flow of the illustrations and narration define the mood, time, and changes in location, which directly influences the reader’s feelings. For example, fast pacing exudes strong emotions such as anger and excitement, while slow pacing is mellow, sentimental, and relaxed. Hence, providing the wrong pacing and chapter design takes the reader out of the story or overwhelms them with too much information.”

—July Aung, Student ASLA

 

This unusual project delivers the story and values of landscape architecture into a new realm. Webtoons are vertical, linear cartoons meant to be read on smartphones—a graphic novel in text message format. The platform is favored by audiences who are younger or outside landscape architecture’s typical horizons, and the graphic quality allows for visually rich narratives that can unfurl the profession’s many trajectories. The story of Jia is that of a small, family restaurant whose owner confronts a resource crisis as he searches for a missing ingredient, and through navigating it, learns to live differently on the land. The central conflict of resource exhaustion is expressed through the story of the family’s coming to terms with waste and regeneration and learning to live and work in a more sustainable way. Jia animates and activates many central values and tenets of landscape architecture, and through the webtoon format, offers an exceptional opportunity for engaging wider audiences.

—Haniya Rae

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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.

Peat/Land: Strategies for Restoration, Design, and Planning of North Carolina Peatlands, by Madalyn Baldwin, North Carolina State University, Student Analysis and Planning Honor Award.

“Paludiculture isn’t a well-known concept, but I only wanted to dedicate one graphic to introducing and explaining it, so the aim of creating this graphic was to fit in as much information as possible while trying to keep it legible. My goals were to create a graphic narrative that provided a definition and overview of the concept, explain the existing agricultural conditions and spatial relationship to peatland as well as what is produced here, give specific examples of crops that could be produced by adopting paludiculture practices, and use icons introduced earlier in the project to reference the specific restoration strategies and steps toward implementation. Overall, I was hoping this graphic would read as an infographic for paludiculture, answering the following questions: What is it, how and where can it be implemented or adopted, and what are the benefits?

Madalyn Baldwin, Student ASLA

 

Peat—decomposed plant matter that accumulates in boggy landscapes—sequesters a large proportion of the world’s carbon compared to its relatively small percentage of coverage, yet it is often used for energy production or simply drained to convert peatland to farmland. What if peatland were viewed less as an agricultural impediment than a climate-restorative opportunity? That’s the question addressed in this study of Fair Bluff, North Carolina, which was built on drained peatland, and was subjected to heavy flooding in recent hurricanes. By relocating Fair Bluff’s downtown from its current low-elevation site to higher ground, residents would gain a central peat park that would celebrate the region’s high water table while embracing better climate resilience that aligns with the disaster recovery plan. Here, innovative strategies for monetizing carbon storage would encourage preservation and restoration of peatlands, with increased public access and education programs to build visibility and instill the value of this natural resource. Encouraging paludiculture (wetlands agriculture) would promote peatland regrowth, and the new public park would offer tangible and long-term ecological benefit to residents in the region.

—Haniya Rae

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