Archive for the ‘PRACTICE’ Category

BY AIDAN ACKERMAN, ASLA

The collaborative power of information-driven modeling software.

FROM THE JUNE 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE. 

 

It’s a familiar scene in landscape architecture offices of all sizes: Around a conference table, a debate arises about the benefits and drawbacks of adopting a Building Information Modeling (BIM) work flow. The advantages of BIM adoption are rarely as obvious as the drawbacks. The popular architecture-centric Autodesk Revit software lacks functional landscape modeling tools, though it has a library of building objects such as floors, windows, doors, and roofs. Vectorworks, a more landscape-focused BIM software, does not exchange files directly with Revit, an obstacle that impedes digital collaboration with architects. Regardless of the software being used, the up-front costs of adopting BIM, such as software and training expenses, can quickly eat up profits. Yet despite these challenges, landscape architects are beginning to include BIM in their digital toolboxes. A recent survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Digital Technology Professional Practice Network, with Benjamin George, ASLA, of Utah State University and Peter Summerlin, ASLA, of Mississippi State University, found that 21.8 percent of the 480 ASLA members who responded said their firm currently uses Revit, and 30.6 percent were interested in adopting a BIM work flow. Of those currently using Revit, 12.39 percent use the software daily, and 11.06 percent said it is extremely important to their work flow.

The “B” in BIM stands not for an architectural building but for the process of building something, an acronym that hints at BIM’s strengths in capturing the construction feasibility of a design project. BIM models contain information such as material assemblies, structural details, and quantities, all coordinated in a single file that can also be used to generate plans, sections, perspectives, and detail drawings. BIM is a popular and established work flow for architects: In a 2018 survey of more than 2,000 architecture firms, the American Institute of Architects found that 45 percent of architecture firms use BIM for billable projects, an increase from 40 percent in 2015. The largest area of growth in BIM adoption is among firms with fewer than 10 employees, which increased to 34 percent in 2017 from 28 percent in 2015. The report also shows that 71 percent of architecture project revenue comes from BIM projects, with no major differences across firm sizes or areas of specialization. With greater numbers of architects adopting BIM, landscape architects have begun to forge their own path toward this complex technology.

The main draw of using BIM for landscape architects lies not in its modeling prowess, but rather in the ways it enables communication among designers. Landscape architects who work with architects typically encounter frustration when it comes time to (more…)

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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. For a full list of translated articles, please click here.

BY BRIAN BARTH

FROM THE MAY 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE. 

 

In many respects, we’ve entered a golden era of landscape architecture. The profession’s profile appears to be on the rise, as environmental crises become more urgent and unavoidable and landscape architects increasingly take on lead roles in major projects. Interest in stormwater management, habitat restoration, and the public realm has expanded dramatically in recent decades, driving demand for landscape architecture services. The industry took a hit during the Great Recession, but since 2012, the American Society of Landscape Architects’ quarterly survey of firms (which tracks billable hours, inquiries for new work, and hiring trends) has found consistently robust growth.

One would expect new recruits to flock to the profession as a result. But this is not the case.

The number of people working in the field of landscape architecture peaked at around 45,000 in 2006, then nose-dived to about 30,000 in 2013. The postrecession boost in demand for services, though welcome, did not translate into warm bodies at the office. By 2016, the most recent year for which Bureau of Labor Statistics data is available, landscape architecture employment had dropped below 25,000.

Student enrollment in landscape architecture programs has followed a similar trend, (more…)

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FOREGROUND

What Makes Us Us (Interview)
Julian Raxworthy talks about the proletarian roots of his new book, Overgrown.

Hog-Tied (Waste)
A few landscape architects have begun to focus on the huge ecological hazards
of animal waste from agriculture operations.

Linked In (Habitat)
A Seattle neighborhood is the starting point of the artist Sarah Bergmann’s
realization of a living network called Pollinator Pathways.

FEATURES

MLA ROI
Although the landscape architecture profession is poised to grow, master’s degree programs are struggling to gain enrollments. One major reason is the cost and eventual payoff of pursuing a degree.

Refuge Found
Outside Denver, Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge, a Design Workshop project that received the 2018 ASLA Landmark Award, continues to rebuild a high-prairie ecosystem scorched by weapons and chemical production.

Twice Bitten
Two flash floods in three years gutted the historic heart of Ellicott City, Maryland. Mahan Rykiel Associates is working to help the town figure out how to meet a future of extreme weather.

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

Credits: “Refuge Found,” D. A. Horchner/Design Workshop; “Twice Bitten,” Josh Ganzermiller Photography; “Hog-Tied,” Waterkeeper Alliance; “Linked In,” © David E. Perry; “What Makes Us Us,” Julian Raxworthy. 

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BY BRADFORD MCKEE

FROM THE APRIL 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE 

 

I signed the Women’s Landscape Equality (re)Solution, which appears in full on page 143, as soon as it came out last fall. In some way, it was a redress of the times much earlier in my career when I’d failed to observe the very first commitment the (re)Solution asks everyone to make: “We condemn inequality wherever we see it.” I saw inequality right in front of me at a job I used to have, more than once, and did nothing.

The boss in this case went through staff the way some of us go through facial tissues, so we were frequently interviewing new candidates for jobs. After an interview, in private, the conversation would become discomfiting when the candidate, however qualified, had been a woman of childbearing age. “Did you see that ring on her finger?” the boss once asked me after an interview. “You know what comes next.” (more…)

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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. For a full list of translated articles, please click here.

INTRODUCTION BY STEVEN SPEARS, FASLA

FROM THE APRIL 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Regardless of your political perspective, we can probably all agree that 2016 was an interesting year for the nation. Since then, we have seen women participating in civic action and protest in unprecedented numbers. The midterm election of 2018 resulted in a wave of firsts: a historic number of women, LGBTQ leaders, and women of color breaking onto the national scene in politics not just as candidates but as victors.

A similar shift is happening in the practice of landscape architecture. In 2016 and 2017, four women—Gina Ford, FASLA; Cinda Gilliland, ASLA; Rebecca Leonard, ASLA; and Jamie Maslyn Larson, ASLA—all prominent, talented landscape architects and planners, broke away from their leading roles in award-winning firms to lead or start new practices. In October 2018, they held a panel discussion at the ASLA Annual Meeting on the challenges and opportunities of female leadership in the profession. At the same time, they jointly published a statement on change.org called the Women’s Landscape Equality (re)Solution. The statement outlines actions for creating a completely equitable professional environment for women in landscape architecture. (more…)

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Sunset Triangle Plaza in Los Angeles, by Rios Clementi Hale Studios. Photo by Jim Simmons.

Welcome to spring! For World Landscape Architecture Month, the April issue of LAM is FREE! We’ve taken this month to go back a decade and mark the start of a movement, the Pop-Up Decade, which, who knows, could become the pop-up century. Remember 2009? Everyone was blue. There was no work—or money. But designers and their clients picked up something potent begun by the firm Rebar (now Gehl) in San Francisco with the creation of Park(ing) Day: quick, cheap, usually temporary projects to wet the public’s feet with ideas about civic spaces, try them out, see how they respond. Many of those projects went away; many more turned into something lasting. It was an idea that suited the bad old days of the early teens, but it also has continued to translate well to more prosperous times, as our feature stories show you here.

In the Back is a piece every person in the profession should read, a conversation among four successful women designers on why they left powerful jobs in high-profile firms to chart their own ways ahead. It covers what is often a lot of unspoken ground—unspoken because many women don’t dare air their concerns at work, and because men in the workplace can be rather obtuse at times.

Please share the issue far and wide with colleagues, clients, and friends.

FOREGROUND

A Floodplain Forest (Water)
This setback levee project will give a river room to meander and help protect Hamilton City, California, from flooding.

Open Book (Planning)
A new stormwater management manual for multifamily residences aids resilience in
Lexington, Kentucky.

FEATURES

Get It Done
The Great Recession helped launch a wave of quick, low-cost projects to suit budgets
of the era. It’s still going strong.

Make It Pop
Some popped up and popped back down. Some stuck around or led to bigger things.
An album from a decade of pop-up.

Power Play
The nonprofit KaBOOM! has perfected a seemingly guerrilla approach to making playgrounds where kids lack them.

THE BACK

The Big Time. The Bigger Time.
A conversation among the women behind the Women’s Landscape Equality (re)Solution.

An Antidote to Excess (Books)
A review of Doing Almost Nothing: The Landscapes of Georges Descombes, by Marc Treib.

A Planetary Proposal (Backstory)
A sprawling corridor park could connect Earth’s most biodiverse places.

All this plus the regular Now and Goods columns. The full table of contents for April can be found here.

The digital edition of the April LAM is FREE, and you can access it here and share it with your clients, colleagues, and friends. You can also buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. Single digital issues are available for only $5.25 at Zinio or you can 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), for more updates on #WLAM and the April issue.

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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. For a full list of translated articles, please click here.

BY BRIAN BARTH

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is all the rage in academia these days. STEM degrees confer significant prestige in a high-tech world, and STEM education is funded to the tune of billions of dollars by the federal government. Privileges afforded to STEM students include eligibility for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which excludes non-STEM students. Minority students are incented to pursue STEM degrees by grants available to those who attend historically black colleges and universities and Latinx-serving institutions.

STEM is also deeply enmeshed in immigration policy. Out of concern that the flow of native-born STEM graduates falls short of labor market demand, the United States offers foreign graduate students in STEM fields an extension on their F-1 student visas to encourage them to remain in the country as high-skilled workers—a boon to the students, but also to firms that are seeking to retain top global talent in a country increasingly bent on tightening its borders. F-1 visa students in any field of study are eligible for 12 months of “optional practical training” (OPT), a form of temporary work authorization that may be used for jobs or internships related to their field. But in 2008, an additional 17 months was offered solely to students in STEM fields; in 2016, the OPT visa extension grew to 24 months, for a total of three years of work authorization.

The three-year OPT visa extension is no small trinket for foreign students who are eyeing U.S. degree programs. The ability to stay in the country after graduation greatly enhances their job prospects, which in turn enhances their long-term immigration prospects: The H-1B visa that typically comes with a job in an American firm is a well-worn path to a green card and, eventually, citizenship. Because STEM figures so heavily in career choices and funding streams, professions of every stripe clamor to get in its tent. But the door is heavily guarded.

The list of federally designated STEM fields is maintained not by the Department of Education but by the Department of Homeland Security—specifically by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement division, better known as ICE. (more…)

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