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Archive for the ‘PEOPLE’ Category

BY KEVAN WILLIAMS

Maura Rockcastle, ASLA, of TEN x TEN Landscape Architecture in Minneapolis. Credit: Brandon Stengel/www.farmkidstudios.com.

FROM THE MARCH 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE. 

What does it really take to launch your own design firm? Writer Kevan Williams spent a long time answering this question for “Start Your Engines”—about a year and half all told. With so much reporting, what got left out was nearly as interesting as what made it in. We sent out questionnaires to about two dozen firms and got some very provocative (and moving) responses back. Though we could only use an extract in the print version, there’s always room for more online.

Deb Myers, ASLA, Principal

Deborah Myers Landscape Architecture, Boston
Est. 2015
Urban Development, Mixed Use, Institutional, and Public Parks

Deborah Myers, ASLA. Photo by Jake Michener.

How long had you been working professionally when you decided to launch your firm?

I had been working for 18 years at both small and large multidisciplinary firms.

What was the deciding factor?

What drove me to start my firm was a strong belief that I could create a business that allows people to grow professionally, meet the needs of clients, and execute projects to the highest standards.

Finding a healthy life–work balance was a strong underlying goal.

DMLA’s culture is rooted in the understanding that people are able to do their best work when they have the time and (more…)

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Sasaki Principal Gina Ford’s prescriptions for landscape architecture’s future are a succinct set of progressive values: diversity, equity, and collaboration. At her Landscape Architecture Foundation presentation titled “Into an Era of Landscape Humanism,” the designer of the Chicago Riverwalk outlines how landscape architects have to reflect the diversity of the growing populations they serve in order to meet clients’ needs, design in ways that address historic gaps in access to restorative landscapes, and collaborate across professional boundaries to knit together holistic and healthy environments. It’s a definition of landscape design that begins with human needs and social realities, and lets landscape architects’ unique and critical talents flow into the world from there.

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Launching a design firm is not for the faint of heart. In building a landscape architecture business, mobile tech and shared work spaces have changed the game, but some things remain the same—long hours and total dedication are a given. Kevan Williams talked to more than a dozen young firms about what it takes to take the leap in a postrecession world and what keeps principals up at night. If big demands take time away from design, they also deliver independence and professional growth. Principals talk candidly about finding balance, building on experience, and focusing on a few key elements among other backstage insights.

Steve Durrant, FASLA, is a bike evangelist, and that makes him a bike lane evangelist, too. Fred Bernstein profiles Durrant and his firm, Alta Planning + Design, about the current state of our bicycle infrastructure. Chicago’s Riverwalk is a triumph of patience and public landscape design. The work, by Sasaki, is an insertion into the long-used but somehow underutilized spaces along the channelized Chicago River that runs right through the heart of the city’s iconic Loop.

In the Foreground, Timothy Schuler looks at the emerging questions about aesthetics and renewable energy. Can we—and should we—make wind and solar farms look better and relate more meaningfully to the places where they are increasingly part of the economy? Allyn West looks at the opportunity that drought and tree die-off made in Houston’s urban forest in Ecology. Now has student-creature design collaborations, a park design that enlarged after a social media takeover, and a Baltimore firm using a development requirement in an innovative way to provide a community benefit. The full table of contents for March can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 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 ungating March articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Start Your Engines,” Brandon Stengel/http://www.farmkidstudios.com; “Walking the Walk,” Christian Phillips Photography; “Pedal Harder,” Michael Hanson; “The Upside of a Die-Off,” Design Workshop, Inc. and Reed Hilderbrand; “The Art of Infrastructure,” Robert Sullivan.

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BY ZACH MORTICE

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Susan Chin of the Design Trust for Public Space pushes to open new layers of cities.

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

In 2002, the Design Trust for Public Space published Reclaiming the High Line, a critical voice of support that helped jump-start the growing momentum to preserve that rusting hulk of a rail bed in Lower Manhattan. Now a city- and pedestrian-scaled outdoor art walk and landscape, the High Line is likely the most influential urban infrastructure renovation of the past 30 years. In another 30 years, it will probably still be.

But what if the High Line weren’t a spectacular one-off that left cities from coast to coast scrambling to replicate it? What if what the High Line is, and how it came about, could be codified and planned as easily as train track rails or the concrete columns hoisting up miles of elevated freeway?

The Design Trust thinks it could be. For the past several years, the organization has been researching ways to improve the public space in, around, and especially beneath actively used elevated transit infrastructure. Its report, (more…)

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By Zach Mortice

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The Rockwell Gardens public housing project in Chicago, demolished in 2006. Photo by Paul Goyette.

The founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) started off with a bang. The small but influential cadre of advocates for walkable and traditional-looking urbanism began meeting in 1993—the first big gathering was held at the historic Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, with its “enormous entablature,” as the historian Vincent Scully noted in his opening remarks. The CNU’s beginnings dovetailed with the passage of a piece of legislation that enshrined the group’s approach to city building as federal policy: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOPE VI program. After decades of crumbling, dysfunctional government-built-and-managed public housing projects, housing would instead be at least partially constructed and controlled by private developers and management companies. They would build lower-density, “mixed-income” communities of row houses and garden apartments. By the numbers, the lower density was made easier because Congress, in 1995, ended what had long been the “one-for-one” replacement rule for any public housing to be demolished. Housing vouchers, to be used to pay private landlords (who are not required to accept them), were considered sufficient for tenants not accepted into newly built units. At any rate, the policy change posed no obstacle to architects and planners.

But the 2016 election of Donald Trump was a tidal wave that washes over every corner of government—public housing design guidelines and funding policy included. HUD and the New Urbanists’ HOPE VI legacy is, pending a likely confirmation, in the hands of Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and GOP presidential primary candidate, who is neither an expert nor even a novice (more…)

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Five Borough Farm: Measure Your Goodness isn’t so much a primer on New York City urban farming, but a plan to codify all the things urban farming can do. An initiative by the Design Trust for Public Space (covered in the November 2014 issue of LAM), Five Borough Farm advocates for a citywide urban agriculture policy and plan that can help urban farmers make the case for why what they do is important.  It’s a data collection tool kit developed hand in hand with urban farmers that offers simple best practice checklists that take the cheery notions of regeneration seen in urban farming and turn them into quantifiable data: food grown, education programming offered, food waste diverted.

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BY ELIZABETH S. PADJEN, PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAHAR COSTON-HARDY

Surprising things happen when a big public agency decides to do something scrappy.

Surprising things happen when a big public agency decides to do something scrappy.

From the December 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine

With the advent of adult coloring books, you had to know that adult playgrounds wouldn’t be far behind.

The project that pretty much defines the type is Boston’s Lawn on D, the winner of a 2015 ASLA Professional Honor Award. Its presence in the city seems fitting, as Boston already serves as a comprehensive field guide to public open space, (more…)

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