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Archive for the ‘PARKS’ Category

BY JARED BREY

Gulf State Park in Alabama is one of the largest public projects to be funded through the Deepwater Horizon settlement. Many more are coming.

FROM THE JANUARY 2022 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

The Lodge at Gulf State Park is built directly into the dunes, so when you walk from the parking lot into the spacious lobby, you’re looking straight through the glass back wall of the hotel, across a stretch of white-sand beach, and out into the seemingly endless Gulf of Mexico.

For Alabama, whose precious few miles of beaches all but carry the state’s tourism economy, this was the essential goal of the Gulf State Park Enhancement Project: A view of the sea for visitors and, says Matt Leavell, the director of design and planning at the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, “an experience of being in the dunes.”

But being in the dunes can mean a lot of things. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan swept across the dunes and destroyed the original lodge, which was built in the 1970s. In 2010, tar balls washed onto the beach as oil gushed from an underwater well operated by BP after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers. The night before the ribbon-cutting at the new lodge in 2018, as dune-grass plantings were still taking hold, strong winds blew about two feet of sand into an area between the lobby and the restaurant, and crews scrambled to shovel it away before the governor arrived at 8:00 a.m.

“There is something really unique about designing in a dynamic dunescape,” says Kate Tooke, ASLA, a principal at Sasaki, which did the landscape architecture work for the lodge while completing a master plan for enhancements throughout the state park. “Every other landscape you design in, you can sort of assume that the landscape is going to stay mostly where it is. But a dunescape is constantly changing. Dunes are growing, they’re shifting, wetlands are forming, and swales are forming in different places, and that’s part of a healthy dunescape, to have that growth and change over time.” (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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FOREGROUND   

“I” Is for Information (Tech)
Focus on the building and the model can overlook the many new approaches landscape architects are taking to embedding detailed site information in BIM projects.

FEATURES     

Prairie Primetime
When Mundus Bishop was selected to modernize public access at the Plains Conservation Center, a reserve of remnant Colorado short-grass prairie, the pandemic was still two years out. Social distancing has made the center a destination for nearby Aurora residents, so the design team kept the
focus on the delicate balance between the people and the prairie.

 Roll, Tide
A decade after the Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 workers and dumped 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Coast’s fragile economy and environment have reemerged, thanks to billions of dollars in payouts and federal support. A rebuilt lodge at the region’s leading attraction, Gulf State Park, undergirded by a Sasaki master plan, has come to represent
all that money can and cannot put back.

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

Credits: “Prairie Primetime,” Scott Dressel-Martin; “Roll, Tide,” Matthew Arielly; “‘I’ Is for Information,” Lauren Schmidt, ASLA.

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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 ROBERTO J. ROVIRA, ASLA

FROM THE DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Angular and lean, the new St. Pete Pier in St. Petersburg, Florida, folds its way for 1,380 feet from land to water. Under a bright, hot sun, even 10 feet may be just a few too many.

The pier’s many shifts, crossings, and cantilevers, made possible by more than 400 concrete pylons, make the journey seem rather effortless, however. This new addition to St. Petersburg’s urban infrastructure is more of a networked arrangement of spaces than a single object, the latter a fatal flaw that compromised the previous pier and contributed to its obsolescence and eventual demolition.

Subtle transitions allow the new pier’s architecture and landscape to take turns and communicate in a cohesive language while surfaces move up and down and laterally in plan and section. The roughly 3,000 feet from the beginning of the Pier District, which begins downtown, to the Pier Head building at the end aren’t all visible at once. Instead, the trip is divided into a series of manageable segments with plenty of respite along the way. Residents and tourists of all ages move along shared walks that begin with gateway elements consisting of an elaborate pergola, an outdoor market, and mature plantings preserved from the previous pier. Visitors quickly transition from downtown speed to park speed. Free trams share a curbless space and pass by varied programs that promote buy-local culture, public art that changes dramatically at night, sculptural play areas that integrate earthwork with native plantings, and a central civic plaza whose grand expanse and water features accommodate programming large and small.

New restaurants and pavilions allow one to pause, eat, listen to live music, people watch, get close to the water, and maybe even help sample it and learn something new about the bay at a nonprofit-run ecological discovery center. The broad palette of experiences leads to the Pier Head, where fishing is allowed and where beer is served (and in demand)—even on Mondays at 11:00 a.m.—at the rooftop bar. One may, in fact, decide to never get to the Pier Head, and the experience would not be the lesser for it given all the new options. (more…)

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

Photo by Rich Montalbano/RiMO Photo, LLC.

From “Right of Center” by Roberto J. Rovira, ASLA, in the December 2021 issue, about the new St. Pete Pier in St. Petersburg, Florida, the latest iteration of seaside life and leisure that reaffirms the city’s elemental connection to the water.

“Dusk at St. Pete’s Pier.”

–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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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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FOREGROUND

The Stranger Territory (Minds)
Julie Bargmann, the inaugural winner of the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander
International Landscape Architecture Prize, flourishes in the dirt.

The Wright Way (House Call)
Was Frank Lloyd Wright a landscape designer? For Bayer Landscape Architecture, the firm that restored the garden at the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, New York, the answer lies somewhere
between the archives and the modern house museum.

FEATURES

Right of Center
It’s been a fishing jetty, a railroad pier, a contested site of segregation, even an inverted structure that called to mind a cake left out in the rain. But after six tries and 130 years, St. Petersburg, Florida’s dazzling new pier and park, by a team including W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Ken Smith Workshop, and Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers, might be a keeper.

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: “Right of Center,” Rich Montalbano/RiMO Photo, LLC; “The Stranger Territory,” Barrett Doherty, ASLA, courtesy the Cultural Landscape Foundation; “The Wright Way,” Bayer Landscape Architecture.

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