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Archive for the ‘THE CLIENT’ Category

BY JARED BREY

Gulf State Park in Alabama is one of the largest public projects to be funded through the Deepwater Horizon settlement. Many more are coming.

FROM THE JANUARY 2022 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

The Lodge at Gulf State Park is built directly into the dunes, so when you walk from the parking lot into the spacious lobby, you’re looking straight through the glass back wall of the hotel, across a stretch of white-sand beach, and out into the seemingly endless Gulf of Mexico.

For Alabama, whose precious few miles of beaches all but carry the state’s tourism economy, this was the essential goal of the Gulf State Park Enhancement Project: A view of the sea for visitors and, says Matt Leavell, the director of design and planning at the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, “an experience of being in the dunes.”

But being in the dunes can mean a lot of things. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan swept across the dunes and destroyed the original lodge, which was built in the 1970s. In 2010, tar balls washed onto the beach as oil gushed from an underwater well operated by BP after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers. The night before the ribbon-cutting at the new lodge in 2018, as dune-grass plantings were still taking hold, strong winds blew about two feet of sand into an area between the lobby and the restaurant, and crews scrambled to shovel it away before the governor arrived at 8:00 a.m.

“There is something really unique about designing in a dynamic dunescape,” says Kate Tooke, ASLA, a principal at Sasaki, which did the landscape architecture work for the lodge while completing a master plan for enhancements throughout the state park. “Every other landscape you design in, you can sort of assume that the landscape is going to stay mostly where it is. But a dunescape is constantly changing. Dunes are growing, they’re shifting, wetlands are forming, and swales are forming in different places, and that’s part of a healthy dunescape, to have that growth and change over time.” (more…)

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BY KIM O’CONNELL

A new pocket park in Baltimore helps to ignite a neighborhood revitalization.

FROM THE JANUARY 2022 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

On a corner in Baltimore surrounded by vacant lots and boarded-up buildings, Gold Street Park is easy to miss. Built on a former coal yard in the neighborhood of Druid Heights, the pocket park features a winding brick path that leads to a circular gathering space with a starburst mural at its center. Steps along one edge can be used as seating or a de facto stage, and the simple planting scheme includes a few rose bushes and serviceberry trees.

Druid Heights is a historic African American community that once had a thriving social scene, where the jazz great Cab Calloway sang “Hi De Ho Man” in clubs, and where well-to-do Black families raised their kids. In the late 1960s, the uprisings that followed the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination led to a period of urban disinvestment from which the community is still working to recover. A local nonprofit, the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, is taking a holistic approach to revitalization through real estate development, food and career assistance, and incentives and paths to homeownership.

Among the barriers facing Druid Heights is a lack of green space: Tree canopy coverage in the community is 14 percent, just half of the city’s average. To remedy this, the community partnered with Byoung-Suk Kweon, ASLA, an associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Maryland, on a green community master plan that includes the development of both pocket parks and larger green corridors and connections. (more…)

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BY JOANN GRECO

Bayer Landscape Architecture brings the Darwin Martin House landscape back into full bloom.

FROM THE DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Darwin and Isabelle Martin were getting tired of waiting. “We want a garden,” Darwin wrote to their architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, late in 1903. “We do not want the whole thing a lawn.” And so, the following fall, the restless couple went ahead and ordered quantities of shrubs and vines. Shortly after the rugosa rose and clematis, and the wisteria and snowberry, arrived, Darwin wrote to Wright again: “We have coaxed so long for the planting plan (and we have been assured we would have it before needed) that we gave up expecting it,” he chided. “[A]nd as the shrubs were drying up, we planted them Saturday and enclose this photograph showing how they were planted.”

Martin, a high-ranking executive with the Larkin Soap Company, had begun buying lots in the tony Buffalo, New York, neighborhood of Parkside in the late 1880s. When he decided to build a new home for his family in 1902, he settled on a particularly large corner site, which Wright—with whom he had been discussing a possible commission to design Larkin’s new downtown headquarters—championed. Martin soon accumulated some adjacent property and in 1903 engaged the master architect to design a residential compound on the now approximately 1.5-acre lot. By 1909, the property included not only the main 15,000-square-foot home, but a house for Delta and George Barton (Darwin Martin’s sister and her husband) as well as several outbuildings and structures.

A planting plan eventually arrived too, and the Martins enjoyed their Wright-designed landscape for three decades until the family abandoned the property soon after Darwin Martin’s death in 1935.

By the time Mark H. Bayer, ASLA, visited the site in 2014, though, that landscape had been reduced to little more than the lawn that the Martins had so desperately wanted to avoid. Perfunctory rows of annuals and bulbs edged its swaths of green turf, and only a handful of original trees and ornamental vines remained. “I thought, wow, this is a great blank slate,” recalls Bayer, who is the principal of Bayer Landscape Architecture in Honeoye Falls, New York. (more…)

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BY KATHARINE LOGAN

FROM THE AUGUST 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Across the Yukon River from Dawson City, up around 64 degrees latitude, the Top of the World Highway wends its way over 65 miles of unglaciated landscape to the border with Alaska. Unlike the Yukon Territory’s typical highways, which track the river valleys, Top of the World runs along a ridgeline. For hundreds of miles in all directions, travelers look out over forested valleys, subalpine meadows, distant mountain ranges, and spectacular vistas that comprise the traditional lands of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people.

Long before Top of the World was graded and graveled and designated a territorial highway, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in walked this path on seasonal journeys between the river and the mountains—hunting caribou, harvesting berries and wild rhubarb, gathering for celebrations, telling stories. When gold prospectors began arriving in the late 1890s, the leader of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Chief Isaac, growing concerned for the heritage of his people, entrusted their songs, dances, and gänhäk (dancing stick, a symbol of their culture) to a related branch of the larger Hän nation. Top of the World is the route along which this treasure was taken into the mountains for safekeeping.

More than 3,400 miles to the southeast, the traditional lands of the Saugeen First Nation form part of Ontario’s Mixedwood Plains Ecozone, once temperate deciduous forest, and now the most populous and commercially and industrially productive region in Canada. A three-hour drive from Toronto, at the base of the Bruce Peninsula (where a popular national park protects the region’s last unbroken stand of forest), the Saugeen River flows into the eastern edge of Lake Huron. Upstream of the river mouth, in a 100-acre park on Saugeen First Nation’s reserve, a stone amphitheater and 20 acres of terraced gardens overlook the wide river valley. Built in the 1970s with nearly a million tons of locally quarried limestone, the project, known as the Creator’s Garden, was created as a place to foster understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. As a setting for gatherings, ceremonies, music, and theater, the site welcomes thousands of visitors a year. But over the decades, it has fallen into disrepair.

These two landscape interventions—Top of the World and the Creator’s Garden—at different scales and in different bioregions, are each the subject of recent, landscape architect–guided master plans. Through both their substance and processes, these plans illustrate the potential for the profession to help heal the injustice and strife that stem from the colonial history of North America. (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

A Tilly-designed project in Denver. Photo by Kody Kohlman.

For a flat fee, some photos, and a few weeks, Tilly will design your home’s landscape.

 

Tilly, the online residential landscape design service started in 2019, picked a good time to launch.

Founded by four women who had been friends since high school, including a Cornell landscape architecture graduate who has practiced for more than 15 years, Tilly came from an idea that sprung up during a vacation on Long Island. The women (Alexis Sutton, Sarah Finazzo, Heather Hoeppner, and Blythe Yost, ASLA) gathered their families and talked about their gardens, peppering Yost (the landscape architect and now Tilly’s CEO) with “a zillion questions about plants and landscape design, then lamenting that they couldn’t get comfortable hiring a traditional landscape architect,” Yost says. Fairly quickly, a question came into view: “How do we offer landscape design to more people who wouldn’t necessarily hire a traditional landscape architect?” she says. (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.

BY LESLIE WREN, ASLA

FROM THE JULY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Annette Wilkus, FASLA, remembers a meeting of the Teardrop Park construction management team in the early 2000s. The clients, Battery Park City Authority and Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, had inquired how their maintenance staff would safely tend the plantings of Rocky Slope, a tall and steep boulder embankment south of the Ice-Water Wall, a weeping rock formation representing the natural geology of the New York area. Wilkus, a landscape architect then with Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects (MNLA), was serving as the landscape architecture inspector, a subconsultant to the construction manager, and immediately recognized that maintenance of this feature would not be safe without a design intervention. She and Laura Solano, FASLA, a partner at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the project’s landscape architect, collaborated with a structural engineer to deliver an inventive solution: a series of hurricane ties in subsurface concrete anchors, invisible to recreational park users but accessible to park staff, for safely rappelling up and down the slope using a harness.

That experience was eye-opening for Wilkus: “Designs now are so incredibly complicated, much more than they ever used to be. And owners fall in love with the design because there are always very pretty pictures, but they never think about how something is going to be maintained.” Teardrop Park’s clients demonstrated both foresight and concern for the maintenance staff and showed Wilkus why landscape architects needed to be more informed in that approach to practice. In 2005, she launched her own firm, SiteWorks, to specialize in life-cycle consulting for the planning, design, construction, and management of high-performance landscapes. And from the beginning, Wilkus established the firm’s fundamental approach with the motto “safety first.” (more…)

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BY KARL KRAUSE

Designers and advocates reckon with the uneasy history of safety in environmental design.

FROM THE MAY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In 1285, King Edward of England issued the Statute of Winchester—a sweeping reform of law enforcement to curb rising crime across the country. To address highway robbery, the statute required a change to the environment: All landowners had to remove “bushes where one could hide with evil intent” within 200 feet of country roads—an early attempt to codify environmental design to improve safety that became the standard practice in English law enforcement for centuries.

The use of environmental design to address safety continues today with Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, more commonly known as CPTED (pronounced “sep-ted”). Along with calls for police reform and defunding, amplified in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, design activists such as the New Orleans-based Colloqate Design have demanded abolition of CPTED tactics that “criminalize Blackness under the guise of safety” and fail to address the underlying causes of crime. So how has CPTED, meant to replace traditional policing with community policing, come to be seen as oppressive? (more…)

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