Archive for the ‘PRACTICE’ Category

LIVE AND LEARN

BY MIMI ZEIGER

Algorithms are bringing new kinds of evidence and predictive powers to the shaping of landscapes.

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Tree. Person. Bike. Person. Person. Tree. Anya Domlesky, ASLA, an associate at SWA in Sausalito, California, rattles off how she and the firm’s innovation lab team train a computer to recognize the flora and fauna in an urban plaza.

The effort is part of the firm’s mission to apply emergent technologies to landscape architecture. In pursuing the applied use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the research and innovation lab XL: Experiments in Landscape and Urbanism follows a small but growing number of researchers and practitioners interested in the ways the enigmatic yet ubiquitous culture of algorithms might be deployed in the field.

Examples of AI and machine learning are all around us, from the voice recognition software in your iPhone to the predictive software that drives recommendations for Netflix binges. While the financial and health care industries have quickly adopted AI, and use in construction and agriculture is steadily growing, conversations within landscape architecture as to how such tools translate to the design, management, and conservation of landscapes are still on the periphery for the field. This marginality may be because despite their everyday use, mainstream understandings of AI are clouded by clichés—think self-actualized computers or anthropomorphic robots. In a recent essay on Medium, Molly Wright Steenson, the author of Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape (The MIT Press, 2017), argued that we need new clichés. “Our pop culture visions of AI are not helping us. In fact, they’re hurting us. They’re decades out of date,” she writes. “[W]e keep using the old clichés in order to talk about emerging technologies today. They make it harder for us to understand AI—what it is, what it isn’t, and what impact it will have on our lives.”

So then, what is a new vision—a vision of AI for landscape? (more…)

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

Photo by Gabriella Marks.

From “The Huntress” in the February 2019 issue by Timothy A. Schuler, about Christie Green, ASLA, a landscape designer with a penchant for bow hunting and restorative ecologies.

“Elk’s jaw in detail.”

–CHRIS MCGEE, LAM ART DIRECTOR

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.

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It’s the first of February, which means the latest issue of LAM is here! You’ll find these stories inside:

FOREGROUND

Changes Ferguson Can See (Planning)
In Ferguson, Missouri, the Great Streets plan for West Florissant Avenue is revived,
this time with more community participation.

Life Insurance for Plants (Materials)
Who’s responsible when a plant fails?

FEATURES

ICEd Out
The U.S. government does not classify landscape architecture as a STEM topic. That is bad news for foreign students seeking visas to study here—and for the profession.

Live and Learn
Artificial intelligence may well revolutionize landscape architecture. At least
that’s what the robots tell us.

The Huntress
Hunting her meat, growing her vegetables, and designing for meaning: Christie Green, ASLA, has chosen the wild life.

All this plus the regular Now and Goods columns. The full table of contents for February 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 posting February articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “The Huntress,” Gabriella Marks; “Live and Learn,” XL Lab/SWA Group; “Changes Ferguson Can See,” SWT Design; “Life Insurance for Plants,” Cristina Cordero, ASLA, SiteWorks.

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BY ZACH MORTICE

The lago at Roberto Burle Marx’s Sítio, which he composed by eye from truckloads of species collected during his botanical expeditions. Image courtesy Julian Raxworthy.

It’s time for landscape architects to re-embrace what makes them fundamentally different.

 

Since its inception, it’s been hard to find much agreement in landscape architecture over the profession’s purpose and how it should work. For some contemporary designers, landscape architecture, in theory if a bit less in practice, is most visible when ecological systems are designed and deployed to remediate the earth, water, air, and biomes, often at an infrastructural scale. And yet, a profession wholly obsessed with infrastructure would to seem to miss the trees for the forest.

The Australian landscape architect Julian Raxworthy posits a way forward in his new book, Overgrown: Practices Between Landscape Architecture and Gardening, published by The MIT Press. Landscape architects, he notes, have retreated from the defining element of their corner of the spatial world: the development and management of planting design. Plants, he argues, are defined by their growth over time and the maintenance used to train them. Gardeners (whose ranks Raxworthy once populated) haven’t lost track of this fact. Growth is landscape architecture’s fundamental currency. From there, he launches into a populist call to tear down the blue collar/white collar divide between gardeners and landscape architects. Raxworthy (who is headed to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after living in Cape Town, South Africa, for five years, teaching at the University of Cape Town) seems to admire messiness and rebellion against the bespoke and delicate. That preference is not surprising if you chat him up about his days as a music writer in the 1980s in Sydney, attending shows by Public Enemy and Dead Kennedys. Of one of his case study projects (created by a designer who never studied landscape architecture), he writes: “As a gardener rather than a landscape architect, the only plans Korte produced for the project were to satisfy the authorities. All other decisions arose organically through spending four years on site with a gang of four young German laborers who had returned from Brazil and smoked marijuana constantly. He looked back on this way of working with some nostalgia, saying that this time on site was the height of his career.” (more…)

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It’s the first of November, which means the latest issue of LAM is here! You’ll find these stories inside:

FOREGROUND

Lighting from the Inside Out (Lighting)
With the rising popularity of outdoor living comes a shining new crop of luminaires.

The Last Ash Standing (Plants)
The emerald ash borer beetle isn’t too fond of boring into the blue ash. If scientists can find out why, they may be able to save more trees.

Timing Is Everything (Construction)
Landscape installation should be driven by weather and nature, not financial models—but climate change is making best planting times unpredictable.

FEATURES

The River Beneath the River
After decades of neglect, the Anacostia River— Washington, D.C.’s lesser-known waterway—is poised at the edge of a hard-won environmental recovery. But where will it flow from there?

Upstream D.C.
Upland from Washington, D.C.’s two rivers, the city is planning major investments
in rain-soaking infrastructure.

Found in Translation
In Seattle, MIG | SvR and Turenscape’s Hing Hay Park provides a place to gather—with a
lively nod toward the Asian Pacific American experience.

All this plus the regular Now and Goods columns. 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 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 posting November articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Found in Translation,” Miranda Estes Photography; “The River Beneath the River,” Krista Schlyer; “Upstream DC,” Rhodeside & Harwell; “The Last Ash Standing,” Christopher Asaro, Virginia Department of Forestry, Bugwood.org; “Lighting from the Inside Out,” Courtesy Rondo; “Timing Is Everything,” Siteworks. 

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It’s the first of October, which means the latest issue of LAM is here! You’ll find these stories inside:

FOREGROUND

All Over the Place (Almost) [Travels]
Where the projects are (and aren’t) that appeared in the magazine in the past year.

Brand New (Office)
Rebranding your practice—large or small—involves more than just changing your name.

Fuller Blast (Water)
The redesigned fountains at Longwood Gardens reinvent a crumbling
relic with cutting-edge infrastructure.

Concrete Crops (Food)
In Philadelphia’s Center City, Thomas Paine Plaza takes on new life as a mini-farm.

Step by Step by Step (Planning)
Everybody takes the stairs in Pittsburgh.

FEATURES

Where the Water Was
Anne Whiston Spirn, FASLA, has made West Philadelphia—
and the water that flows beneath it—a life’s work.

Hydro Power
MKSK makes public space out of river infill in Columbus, Ohio,
drawing a whole new generation downtown.

Science to Design
Biohabitats’s mission is nothing less than healing the Earth.

Lower Here, Higher There
The Belgian landscape designer Erik Dhont creates modern gardens inspired
by the minds of the Old Masters.

All this plus the regular Now and Goods columns. The full table of contents for October 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 posting October articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Hydro Power,” MKSK; “Science to Design,” Stuart Pearl Photography; “Lower Here, Higher There,” Jean-Pierre Gabriel; “Where the Water Was,” Sahar Coston-Hardy, Affiliate ASLA; “Step by Step by Step,” Merritt Chase; “Fuller Blast,” Jaime Perez; “Concrete Crops,” Viridian Landscape Studio; “Brand New,” Gensler/Ryan Gobuty.

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