Archive for the ‘RESEARCH’ Category

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It’s time to celebrate! The September issue of LAM rolls out the 2016 ASLA Awards, with more than 80 pages of Student and Professional Award winners, plus this year’s Landmark Award, given to the Michigan Avenue Streetscape project in Chicago. Out of 271 submitted projects to the Student Awards, 22 winners were chosen, and 29 Professional Awards were selected from 457 submissions. All this plus our regular Land Matters, Now, and Goods columns.

You can read the full table of contents for September 2016 or pick up a free digital issue of the September LAM here and share it with your clients, colleagues, and friends. 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 September articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: Landmark Award, Charlie Simokaitis; Professional Communications, Charles Birnbaum, FASLA, and Barrett Doherty; Professional Analysis and Planning, Ramboll with Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl; Professional Residential Design, D. A. Horchner/Design Workshop, Inc.; Professional General Design, Tom Arban.

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The 1940s discovery in China of the dawn redwood, a living fossil, remains in shadows cast by war, political upheaval, and scholarly intrigue.

From the January 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

On a clear August day in 2002, Ma Jinshuang, a botanist, struck gold. At the bottom of a cabinet in a dark, moist, long-abandoned herbarium in Nanjing, perched unprotected on top of the conifer specimens, lay a barely intact cluster of twigs and needles. A rotting heap of nature, to most eyes.

But Ma had spent years finding the pile—the lone survivor of a lost series of specimens that, in 1940s China, led to the botanical find of a century: a living fossil we now call Metasequoia glyptostroboides, or dawn redwood.

Its discovery captivated the world, especially the American public, and made possible the myriad (more…)

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LAM rings in the new year with 300 Ivy in San Francisco by Fletcher Studio, winner of a 2015 ASLA Professional Honor Award in Residential Design; the Fayetteville 2030: Food City Scenario, developed by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, which aims to bring food security to local residents; Buhl Community Park, by Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, which reimagines a historic square in the center of Pittsburgh; and a look at national park “extremes” across the United States helps to kick off the centenary year of the National Park Service.

In Interview, Gwen McGinn’s research probes the little-known world of urban tree root growth, and won a 2015 ASLA Student Award in Research; and in Office, three types of landscape architecture firms describe what they look for in new employees. And don’t miss our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. 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 200 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 January articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Peak Condo,” Bruce Damonte; “The Next Meal,” University of Arkansas Community Design Center; “Ephemera, Here to Stay,” Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA; “The Mostest American Treasures,” http://www.shutterstock.com/Doug Meek; “A World Underground,” Gwendolyn Dora McGinn, Associate ASLA; “Got the Job,” Richard Johnson.

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Researchers will be paid an honorarium of $2500 if their work is accepted forthe LATIS series.  Credit: ASLA

Researchers will be paid an honorarium of $2,500 if their work is accepted for the LATIS series. Credit: ASLA.

Solid peer-reviewed research in new landscape practice areas is highly valuable and not always easy to find, and that’s why LATIS (Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series) is such a terrific resource.

LATIS papers provide practicing landscape architects with peer-reviewed technical information about new and evolving practices and products and offer an economical way to earn the professional development hours (PDH) needed to meet state licensure requirements. This work is important to the growth of the field, and the production and distribution of this new research is supported by the ASLA Fund with $2,500 honoraria for accepted papers and free access to LATIS papers for ASLA members (a $50 fee applies for nonmembers). The papers are accompanied by a 10- to 15-question test you give yourself, through which practitioners can earn LA CES approved PDH for an additional fee.

If you are pioneering a new practice area or are successfully using an innovative technique, publicizing your work through LATIS will help increase the fluency in new and developing topics within landscape architecture. Authors of all papers are carefully selected by ASLA, and all papers are subject to a blind review process. ASLA is now accepting proposals for the 2015–2016 LATIS cycle, and accepted LATIS authors will be offered honoraria of $2,500 for their work.

If you’re interested, email Shawn Balon, ASLA, the Professional Practice Manager, at sbalon@asla.org for additional information. Responses to the LATIS Call for Abstracts must be received by COB on Friday, August 14, 2015, to be considered for the 2015–2016 LATIS publications.

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Under the Elevated launch event at Pier i.

Under the Elevated launch event at the Pier i Café.

Aside from the surviving section of the hulking Miller Highway viaduct looming overhead, Thomas Balsley’s masterfully designed Riverside Park South is a serene place with tall, wavy grasses and meandering pathways. The viaduct, however, bisects the park, casting shadows and blocking views. The din from the traffic overhead can make it difficult to hear people talking on parts on the park’s distinctive curved pier that juts out into the Hudson River.

Such was the case last week, when officials from the nonprofit Design Trust for Public Space and the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) had to shout to make themselves heard as they announced the publication of a new 128-page book called Under the Elevated: Reclaiming Space, Connecting Communities. The product of a two-year study, the book looks at ways to transform the often dark and dirty spaces beneath the 700 miles of bridges, elevated subway lines, and highways that run throughout the five boroughs of the city. According to the book’s introduction, the amount of space available for redesigning is nearly four times the size of Central Park.

With the publication of Under the Elevated, the Design Trust is seeking to inspire civic efforts throughout the city similar to the one it helped catalyze with its pivotal 2001 study for the High Line. “Not every neighborhood needs a High Line,” Design Trust Executive Director Susan Chin said. “However, the need to alleviate the negative impact from the presence of elevated lines is even greater in the outer boroughs.” (more…)

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PPN_Environmental Justice_Icon

Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) are great resources for members of ASLA. The 20 networks represent the diversity of topics important to the practice of landscape architecture, and each provides the opportunity to share information with other members connected to that particular network. The concerns of the newest network, Environmental Justice, have recently been much on the minds of practitioners and educators alike in new and evolving ways, reflecting design professionals’ desire to help right current social injustices that are knowingly, and unknowingly, inflicted upon others. And it is a topic that some practitioners feel should be more integrated in today’s practice.

Kathleen King, Associate ASLA, a landscape designer at Design Workshop in Denver, is a co-chair of the Environmental Justice PPN. “Landscape architects have a really important role in the sociology of places,” King says. The other co-chair is Julie Stevens, assistant professor of landscape architecture at Iowa State University. “There are a few design firms dedicated to… environmental justice, and then there’s everybody else. And I think that this is not a topic that has to be exclusive to a certain number of firms… I think everybody needs to start embracing these projects,” Stevens says.

King spoke on a panel about social justice at the 2014 ASLA Annual Meeting in Denver, along with Diane Jones Allen, ASLA; Kurt D. Culbertson, FASLA; Randolph T. Hester Jr., FASLA; and Anne Whiston Spirn, FASLA. They talked about the role of environmental justice in their careers. The response was overwhelming; students and professionals alike inundated them with requests for more information. “We’re going to figure out what this really means for landscape architecture,” King says.

Members of ASLA can join one Professional Practice Network for free, with a yearly charge of $15 added for each additional network. For more information on the new Environmental Justice and other PPNs, visit ASLA’s PPN website.

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Remnants of Spain’s early 21st century speculative urbanization pursuits. Christopher Marcinkoski, The City that Never Was.

Remnants of Spain’s early 21st century speculative urbanization pursuits. From Christopher Marcinkoski, The City That Never Was.

A few months back, we published a short appeal for more landscape architects to apply for the storied Rome Prize with the hope that the breadth of the field could be better represented. On April 23, the American Academy in Rome announced the 2015–2016 fellows, which included three new fellows in landscape architecture: Christopher Marcinkoski, Alexander Robinson, ASLA, and Thaïsa Way, ASLA.

The Rome Prize, which provides significant time, research materials, and studio space at the academy’s recently restored Villa Aurelia in Rome, has long been a coveted honor. Described as “life changing” and “transformative” by the 1997–1998 fellow Mary Margaret Jones, FASLA, it is also a way of benchmarking where and how the concerns of landscape architecture converge with currents in the arts and humanities. Along with a cohort of musicians, writers, artists, scholars, and architects, the new landscape fellows will live and work in Rome for six months to a year.

Christopher Marcinkoski is an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a former senior associate at James Corner Field Operations. His project, “Rome, Empire Building, and the City That Never Was,” expands from the research in his forthcoming book, The City That Never Was, by looking at the emergence of speculative settlement and infrastructure projects. “My project in Rome intends to use the historical lens of Roman urbanization to think about ongoing projects that are being pursued in Africa,” Marcinkoski says. Using the example of megaprojects in Spain and Ireland that were begun but then abandoned during the recession, Marcinkoski says that these kinds of projects are now appearing in places such as Angola and Morocco, built by outside entities and sometimes in exchange for access to material resources. Coming off a long book project, Marcinkoski plans to use his time for more design experimentation, rather than written critique, though he notes that these speculative projects on the African continent deserve close attention. “There’s an incongruity between what is being proposed and what is needed.”

An interactive interface for the Owens Lake Dust Control Project explores the nexus of infrastructure performance and experience. Credit: Alexander Robinson

An interface for the Owens Lake Dust Control Project explores the nexus of infrastructure performance and experience. Credit: Alexander Robinson.

Alexander Robinson’s research deals with some of the major water infrastructure projects in the western United States; his work was recently featured in After the Aqueduct. He says that working on that exhibition helped him understand what he wanted to do with the Rome prize, and his project, “A Projective Picturesque: Reconciling Pictorial with Performance in Landscape Architecture,” will bring his research in infrastructure into a conversation with often-maligned picturesque aesthetics. Robinson is interested in “recognizing that there is a rift between performance and pictorial—there’s a lot more embedded in what we see than the scenic.” The project at the American Academy in Rome will take him back to his roots as a landscape painter to reconcile those aesthetics with the use of the planimetric design tools that are the mainstay of his current position as the director of the Landscape Morphologies Lab at the University of Southern California. “How do we think about the pictorial and the visual syntax of landscape architecture in the context of landscape infrastructure and performance?” he asks.

Thaïsa Way’s project, “Drawing a History of Landscape Architecture,” sounds perfectly scholarly, but it has an unexpected twist. The project will allow Way, a landscape historian, to study the relationship between drawing and landscape from its architectural origins to its current idiom as a form of professional communication. “I’m really interested in the history of drawing. It’s what makes us as a profession, makes us different. We use drawings to think, create, and communicate in a huge range of ways. How did those ways of thinking come to be?” But there’s more: “I am going to also draw—as a historian, to really understand what it is to draw, I need to draw!” she says. To do this, Way will look at the drawings of former landscape architecture fellows—the Rome Prize for landscape architecture was established in 1915, so she’ll have a deep archive to draw from—and then bring them to the sites where they were made, immersing herself in the relationships between the subject, the site, and the hand.  Way says experiencing the act of drawing will inform the way she writes about drawing. “As a historian and a critic, I read differently because I also write, and I wanted to have that same experience,” she says.

Part of why Way is excited about starting the fellowship in Rome is because of the way her work fits together with that of Marcinkoski and Alexander. All of the Rome Prize landscape projects in some way deal with issues that are in the forefront of contemporary practice, and each new fellow has pulled back and asked how history might inform these questions more fully. But they also speak to the field in other ways, tying individual research to the concerns of the field at large. Way says: “They’re all really about the profession, not just about ourselves.”

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