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BY ZACH MORTICE

Jennifer Mok’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme park, set on the planet of Batuu. Image courtesy Disney 2021 Marvel.

 

Dream Big with Design meets kids where they are to help them find their place in landscape architecture.

 

Jennifer Mok doesn’t have a job like most landscape architects. “We build worlds,” she says. Mok, a landscape architecture studio executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, designs theme parks and resorts. “Our designs have to be complete; it has to be immersive. It’s putting the magic into that experience [for] the guest.”

The newest example of this design philosophy is her team’s designs for the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme park. Set on the planet of Batuu, on the far rim of the galaxy, Black Spire Outpost is a dusty haven for villainy. There are seedy bazaars, parked space freighters, and spire-like petrified trees that meld into domed structures: unmistakably alien, but also of a piece with one of the most richly realized sci-fi universes ever made.

What Mok and her team of a dozen-plus landscape designers do is both a continuation of the legacy of Ruth Shellhorn, one of Disney’s first landscape architects, and also a wild extrapolation from it. As acts of sheer invention, where the singular purpose is amazement, these places are landscape architecture at a scale that’s unforgettable, and that makes Mok an ideal participant for “Dream Big with Design: A Showcase of Landscape Architecture and Pre-K–12 Design Learning,” ASLA’s two-day session of design introduction and education for primary and secondary school students. Mok and her team at Disney will present their work as landscape design Imagineers, along with landscape designers from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Legoland theme parks, and Minecraft-related programming, on September 23rd and 24th. “If it excites students to see what landscape architecture does with Imagineering, but opens up for them a world of, ‘This is what you could do as a designer, and apply that anywhere,’ that’s what we’re hoping to do,” Mok says. (more…)

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

Photo courtesy Brook McIlroy.

From “Paths Forward” by Katharine Logan in the August 2021 issue, about how landscape architects are working closely with First Nations communities in Canada to reconcile its ruthless history of colonization.

“Indigenous medicinal plants on display.”

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

Image courtesy Cameron Gillie Photography.

From “Piece by Piece” by Dawn Reiss in the August 2021 issue, about the Ice Age National Scenic Trail’s glacial formation across Wisconsin.

“Woodland boardwalk in the Plover River segment of the Ice Age Trail.”

–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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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

FOREGROUND

Piece by Piece (Planning)
Wisconsin’s Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a glorious homage to the state’s geology and conservation history. So why is it so hard to get it finished?  

The Outside Track (Interview)
For minority students on the path to the profession, exceptional persistence and mentors are
as important as design skills.

FEATURES

Paths Forward
The Canadian landscape is shaped by histories and losses of Indigenous peoples, which the government is only beginning to confront. Landscape architects at NVision and Brook McIlroy steward two master-planning efforts meant to embody the principles of reconciliation in action.

Time Goes By
Biel, Switzerland, was once a center of Swiss time makers; today it’s a multicultural city with a new urban magnet by Fontana Landschaftsarchitektur. Schüssinsel Park entwines a constructed,
flood-controlling island with elements designed to be wild.

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

Credits: “Paths Forward,” Government of Yukon; “Time Goes By,” Switzerland Tourism; “Piece by Piece,” Cameron Gillie; “The Outside Track,” Dawson Photography.

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BY ZACH MORTICE

Nantucket Island, where impending sea-level rise hasn’t done much to slow the real estate market. Photo by Maggie Janik.

In the face of likely climate retreat, student design studios explore ways to improve Nantucket’s coastal resilience.

 

On Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts, half of the 10 highest-ever tides arrived in 2018 alone, and flooding is a constant worry that imperils the tourist economy and historic buildings. “But that has not slowed down the real estate market,” says Cecil Barron Jensen, the executive director of the local nonprofit ReMain Nantucket. It’s been a “banner, record year” for buying and selling houses, she says. The average home price in Nantucket is nearly $1.8 million, according to Zillow, up almost 10 percent over the past year.

Real estate brokers on the island, Jensen says, talk about the flooding in terms of timelines. “How long do you want to enjoy this house? You can enjoy this house for this long,” she says. Even for the rich, the good life on Nantucket is becoming a finite commodity, as the dissonance between the hearty trade in beachfront views and climate cataclysm becomes harder to ignore.

Finding ways for Nantucket to coexist with rising floodwaters is the purpose of the Envision Resilience Nantucket Challenge, an initiative by Jensen’s ReMain Nantucket to bring aboard teams of design students in a collaborative design studio to propose solutions. Overall, these propositions, on exhibition at the Nantucket Historical Association’s Thomas Macy Warehouse through December, are focused on soft edges, careful retreats, and ways to get habitats, native ecologies, and people to mix and mingle with water productively. Students from five design programs (Yale, Harvard, the University of Miami, the University of Florida, and Northeastern University) presented their work—all produced remotely—to the Nantucket community in early June. (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

A Tilly-designed project in Denver. Photo by Kody Kohlman.

For a flat fee, some photos, and a few weeks, Tilly will design your home’s landscape.

 

Tilly, the online residential landscape design service started in 2019, picked a good time to launch.

Founded by four women who had been friends since high school, including a Cornell landscape architecture graduate who has practiced for more than 15 years, Tilly came from an idea that sprung up during a vacation on Long Island. The women (Alexis Sutton, Sarah Finazzo, Heather Hoeppner, and Blythe Yost, ASLA) gathered their families and talked about their gardens, peppering Yost (the landscape architect and now Tilly’s CEO) with “a zillion questions about plants and landscape design, then lamenting that they couldn’t get comfortable hiring a traditional landscape architect,” Yost says. Fairly quickly, a question came into view: “How do we offer landscape design to more people who wouldn’t necessarily hire a traditional landscape architect?” she says. (more…)

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

Photo by Gerhard Kassner.

 

From “Mine, Ours” by Michael Dumiak in the July 2021 issue, about how a region of eastern Germany is crafting a chain of lakes and recreation landscapes from the scars of surface coal mining.

“Night mine.”

–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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