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Archive for the ‘SAN FRANCISCO’ Category

BY ALEX ULAM

India Basin Shoreline Park. Image courtesy of GGN.

Early this month, the nonprofit Trust for Public Land and officials from the city of San Francisco announced that San Francisco is the first city in the country to have a park within a 10-minute walk, or a half mile, of every resident.

“Most city residents won’t walk more than 10 minutes to get to shopping, transit, or parks, so close-to-home access to parks is vital for public health, clean environments, and thriving, equitable communities,” said Adrian Benepe, Honorary ASLA, the Trust for Public Land’s urban parks director, in a news release. “This is an enormous achievement, based on years of dedicated and thoughtful work and planning.”

To build a more equitable park system, San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department formed partnerships with nonprofits such as the Trust for Public Land   (more…)

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BY LYDIA LEE

San Francisco’s Exploratorium discovers its outdoor spaces.

FROM THE APRIL 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

One of the most popular exhibits at San Francisco’s Exploratorium is an immersive experience of the city’s iconic fog. When you walk along the 150-foot-long Fog Bridge by the artist Fujiko Nakaya, you disappear into a white mist generated by 800 tiny nozzles. “When everything is fogged up around you, it’s a wonderful ‘noticing’ tool,” says Tom Rockwell, the Exploratorium’s director of exhibits and media studio. “You notice the change in temperature, the air currents, the light.”

It’s fitting that the Exploratorium, one of the original hands-on museums, encourages visitors to engage directly with the wild. The foundation for its outdoor exhibits is a series of broad decks around the waterfront museum—more than an acre of hardscape—designed by the San Francisco firm GLS Landscape | Architecture. Notably, most of the outdoor areas are accessible by the public and don’t require a ticket for admission. They fulfill a state mandate for public waterfront access, but they are also an important part of the museum’s mission to connect with a much wider community beyond its paying attendees. The spaces are testing grounds for outdoor installations (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

Where has all the sediment gone? Image courtesy of Landscape Metrics and the Dredge Research Collaborative.

Where has all the sediment gone? Image courtesy of Landscape Metrics and the Dredge Research Collaborative.

From the December 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Thanks to a severe shortage of sediment, the tidal marshes of the San Francisco Bay are disappearing, taking with them a vital ecosystem and an important defense against sea-level rise. In response, in June 2016, voters approved a parcel tax that will generate $500 million over the next 20 years for wetland restoration. And yet the sediment hasn’t vanished; it’s a prisoner of the state’s highly altered hydrologic system. “There’s this incredible resource that’s just sitting behind this constellation of dams,” says Landscape Metrics principal Matthew Seibert.

This summer, as a part of DredgeFest California, Seibert worked with the Dredge Research Collaborative and workshop participants to visualize this “hidden sediment reserve.” Based on data published in the journal Water Resources Research in 2009, the team created an interactive map showing where—and when—California’s sediment was diverted, as well as the cost of removing that sediment, which far exceeds the expected $500 million in tax revenue. Seibert is optimistic, however, especially as the economics of climate change become increasingly apparent: “The Baylands have an amazing capacity for flood mitigation that I don’t feel is quantified economically yet, or valued as it should be.”

For an interactive version of this map, visit landscapemetrics.com/dredge.

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BY ZACH MORTICE

The finished and installed concrete cistern. Image courtesy of Concreteworks.

The finished and installed concrete cistern. Image courtesy of Concreteworks.

Hired to design the atrium courtyard of a San Francisco spec office building that features a canted glass roof that channels rainwater, David Meyer of Meyer + Silberberg Land Architects got a few simple instructions from the building’s architects at Pfau Long Architecture—the most interesting of which was to “do something with the water” that the roof would corral into a cascading stream, dripping into the atrium.

But that simple request kicked off a high-wire adventure that saw a three-ton concrete rainwater cistern installed in the courtyard, pushing concrete fabricators to their limits.

Meyer turned to the specialty concrete fabrication firm Concreteworks to manufacture the cistern at 270 Brannan, built by developers SKS. Meyer’s most important request? The cistern had to be one continuous piece. After delays from the general contractor, Meyer says, (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

An abandoned island is the Venice Lagoon. Local Code by Nicholas de Monchaux, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016.

An abandoned island in the Venice lagoon. Local Code by Nicholas de Monchaux, published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.

In his new book, Local Code: 3,659 Proposals About Data, Design, and the Nature of Cities, the University of California, Berkeley architecture and urban design professor Nicholas de Monchaux develops new tools for the mass customization of underused and vacant urban lots, highlighting the limits of inflexible systems thinking. His book charts a way forward with an eye on past failures, and new possibilities founded in corrective measures that have proved to work.

American cities’ first encounters with data, he writes, happened after World War II. That’s when protocomputing power, developed by the military and Cold War consultancies such as the RAND Corporation, merged with tabula rasa modernist urban planning. These binary solutions to complex built environments (remembered most vividly as Robert Moses-style urban renewal that tore down anything old and dirty) became what de Monchaux calls (more…)

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BY JOHN KING, HONORARY ASLA

BEDIT_LAMfeb16_Sweetwater

A community for adults with autism shows the power of an understated landscape.

From the February 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

If Sweetwater Spectrum in Sonoma, California, had been one of her typical Bay Area projects—the visitor center of a winery, perhaps—Nancy Roche might have chosen a different aesthetic in selecting the five trees that will form a statuesque line between the lawn and the communal porch within the cluster of four spacious four-bedroom houses designed by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects. She might have gone with ornamental pear or a particularly vivid maple, something that in the autumn would shed its leaves with fiery drama.

But Sweetwater isn’t a typical project, or a typical residential enclave. It’s perhaps the nation’s first housing complex designed specifically for adults with autism living largely on their own, a population that is served best by surroundings that offer predictability and simplicity rather than potentially disruptive stimulation. So when it came time to order the high-visibility quintet, intended to form a linear canopy 40 feet high, the tree she selected was a different deciduous variety, zelkova, a relative of the American elm.

“I chose them because I like them, but also because the fall color is a more subtle rusty red,” says Nancy, who with her husband, Dave Roche, ASLA, leads Roche + Roche Landscape Architecture, a four-person firm based three miles away. “It’s more sophisticated than a (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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