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Archive for the ‘TECH’ Category

BY DANIEL TAL, ASLA

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When it comes to new technologies, small investments can lead to big returns.

FROM THE MARCH 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

As at many small firms, five years ago, the technology in THK Associates’s office mainly consisted of hand-drawn plans, some 3-D modeling, Photoshop, and CAD. Now, the firm is incorporating drones, 3-D printing, and virtual reality into many of its projects. Thanks in large part to Jon Altschuld, ASLA, a landscape architect and project manager at the Denver-based firm, THK is an example of how small firms can integrate new technologies into practice with little overhead.

On a number of recent projects, the firm used drones to collect 3-D terrain data and turn it into high-resolution aerials. Using an application called Maps Made Easy, Altschuld can automate the flight path of the firm’s Phantom 4 drone in as little as 15 minutes. The drone snaps a series of photographs that are then uploaded to Maps Made Easy’s cloud server, (more…)

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BY BRIAN BARTH

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3-D Scanning and the holographic landscape.

FROM THE JANUARY 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE

It’s been more than a decade since Google Earth put 3-D mapping in the hands of anyone with an Internet connection. Now, armchair map geeks can fly through the skyline of virtually any city in the world to check out, say, the architecture of the Louvre or take a virtual stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries using Google Street View. The ability to cost-effectively produce such imagery on a global scale stems in part from advances in 3-D scanning, a term of art that encompasses LiDAR (light detection and ranging), drone-based photography, ground-penetrating radar, and other advanced imaging technologies.

Three-dimensional scanning has become so inexpensive and user-friendly that design firms are starting to experiment with it. Architects and engineers use it to help create as-built drawings of bridges and buildings and for “clash detection” when designing additions or renovations of historic structures. Urban planners use it as a visualization tool when modeling different development scenarios. Anything that can be 3-D scanned can be 3-D printed, and (more…)

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Many eyes are hungrily on the Arctic. The polar region is opening to resource hunters and shippers who see huge advantages in the unfortunate loss of its ice. Heavier development will inevitably find its way north, with enormous impact to ecology and indigenous societies. This month, Jessica Bridger, a LAM contributing editor, reports on the research by Leena Cho and Matthew Jull and their Arctic Design Group. Cho is an assistant professor of landscape architecture and Jull is an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Virginia. They have taken landscape and architecture students to Svalbard, about as north as the settled north gets, to study urbanization patterns and develop design responses to the environmental challenges of industry amid the receding ice and shifting permafrost—signs of much more to come.

In Catalonia, Tim Waterman views the city of Girona as the landscape architect Martí Franch has connected it—humanely, narratively—through removal of vegetation that opens up views and creates connections. It’s as much an act of radical maintenance as it is design. And in El Paso, Mark Hough, FASLA, considers the University of Texas campus newly designed by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects of Austin. It regenerates the desert site (with its Bhutanese architecture) with the vigor you would expect from Christine Ten Eyck, FASLA. In the Back section, Anne Whiston Spirn, FASLA, writes on the work of the artists Helen and Newton Harrison and its suggestive flow into landscape architecture. And in Books, Julia Czerniak reviews The Course of Landscape Architecture by Christophe Girot.

In Now, read about postcoal scenarios for Utah and new moves in Scandinavian urbanism. The Office section asks firms about their collaboration software setups. In Water, Sasaki has helped Cedar Rapids, Iowa, get ready for its next big flood. In Tech, we have the intriguing potential of 3-D scanning for landscapes. And in Goods this month, we have fences—but only nice, almost come-hither fences. 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 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 January articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Permafrost Urbanists,” Jessica Bridger; “It’s About Time,” Estudi Martí Franch; “Desert Bloom,” Adam Barbe, ASLA; “Second Chances,” Sasaki; “Infinite Mapping,” Tommy Jordan; “Sharing Is Wearing,” Norris Design; “The Art of Inquiry, Manifestation, and Enactment,” Piet Janmaat

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Look at that cover. It’s a Millicent Harvey photograph of the Clark Art Institute, a design by Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture. The project that took more than a decade. You can tell. In any case, Jennifer Reut tells us. Also this month, Anne Raver reports on a campaign to save farms in the Hudson River Valley, which supply many lives in New York City with fresh food. In Boston, Elizabeth Padjen surveys the Lawn on D, a provisional park by Sasaki that has become a sensation. And don’t miss our Now, Interview, Tech, and Goods columns.

You can read the full table of contents for December 2016 or pick up a free digital issue of the December 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 December articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “A Foodshed Moment,” Frederick Charles; “Call and Response,” Millicent Harvey; “Playdate on D Street,” Sahar Coston-Hardy; “Angles Entangled,” Benjamin Benschneider; “Living on Air,” Courtesy Brandon Cornejo, Student ASLA; “Expanded Horizons,” Sky High Creative Media for Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects; “Soul to Souls,” Jeremy Bittermann.

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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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Iconic projects and designers are in the spotlight in July’s issue of LAM. Eight years after opening, the Rose Kennedy Greenway—housed over a sunken highway in the middle of downtown Boston—has become a treasured spot for tourists and locals alike. The new Mosholu driving range in the Bronx, designed by Ken Smith Workshop, sits atop one of New York’s largest public works project, the Croton Water Filtration Plant. Anthony Acciavatti, the author of the new book Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River, discusses the history and influence of India’s sacred river. And plans, drawings, and paintings by the famed Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx are celebrated for their artistic value at the Jewish Museum in New York.

In the departments, Interview brings together two authors to discuss their books on wild landscape design, then computational logic and coding pave new avenues for landscape architectural practice in Tech. And don’t miss our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for July 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 July articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “The Big Sprig,” Sahar Coston-Hardy; “Driving Concern,” Alex S. MacLean/Landslides Aerial Photography; “A Course in Change,” Anthony Acciavatti; “Where Roberto Burle Marx Belongs,” © Tyba; “Wild Times,” Charles Steck; “Follow the Script,” Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab/Bradley Cantrell, ASLA; Justine Holzman, Associate ASLA; Leif Estrada.

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BY BRIAN BARTH

Virtual Reality is making a leap:

Virtual Reality is making a leap. Will landscape architects be ready?

From the December 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Early next year, Oculus—a company recently purchased by Facebook from its founder Palmer Luckey for $2.3 billion—is expected to release Rift, the first mass-produced virtual reality headset. With a price tag around $300 to $400, the Oculus Rift will allow video gaming enthusiasts to slay each other in an immersive, true-to-scale, viscerally realistic three-dimensional world—a world where gamers on any continent can join each other inside their goggles.

Gaming junkies are far from the only crowd salivating for access to the technology. The software industry is falling over itself to produce new web and media applications for the Oculus Rift, ranging from immersive 3-D movies (think IMAX inside a pair of ski goggles) to tutorials on how to properly dissect a human cadaver to combat simulations for the military. At its core, virtual reality (VR) is an advanced way to experience a 3-D model of anything a designer can come up with; naturally, architects, engineers, and landscape architects are also standing in line for a chance to plug their designs into the new technology.

Computer engineers have been chasing the idea of VR since (more…)

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