Archive for the ‘VIEWS’ Category

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.

Click above for a full PDF of the translated text with English text available below.



Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History occupies a formidable 1992 postmodernist structure by Graham Gund Architects. Visitors enter through a lobby that looks down into an octagonal atrium dominated by enormous dinosaur skeletons posed as if on the brink of carnage. Beyond the atrium’s glazed rear facade is a narrow concrete terrace. Then the ground behind the building pitches steeply down 45 feet to a creek. So from inside, there’s a horizontal view straight out into the tree canopy, a promise of respite from the vaguely daunting scale and sense of menace inside.

This wooded ravine, which is sort of the reason the museum exists, was neglected and inaccessible until a recent intervention by Sylvatica Studio. Now, beginning right at the atrium’s back doors and set into the terrace’s pavement, the wooden planking of an elevated walkway leads into the trees. Not far along the walkway, just visible where it turns, a 26-foot-high, latticelike but curvilinear “tree pod” beckons from the midst of branches and leaves. Its shape and color mimic the blossom of the tulip tree, a common tree in these woods. The pod is a place to stop, or sit, gently protected by its rounded tracery. But it also offers a sweeping panorama down to the creek and streamside meadow. “It’s 35 feet off the ground. We wanted people to feel slightly—not afraid—but thrilled. ‘What is this experience I’m having?’” explains Sylvatica’s founder, Susan Stainback, ASLA. (more…)

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The ski jump tower is the focal point of the site. Photo by Marco Esposito/SWA.

Deployed with a small footprint, a light touch, and ample flexibility, the Alpensia Olympic Park in PyeongChang, South Korea, which is hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics cross-country skiing, biathlon, and ski jump competitions, is the result of clever planning by landscape architects.

Originally, the Gangwondo Development Corporation (the ultimate client for the facility) and the engineering and construction company Taeyoung planned to put these three venues into two separate valleys. But SWA’s Sausalito, California, office suggested that these venues could be consolidated into one valley across a single 350-acre site instead. SWA says it’s the most compact Winter Olympics design of its type ever.

This more compact plan preserved forested hillsides and helped compress athletes and observers into a bustling hub of activity with a carefully choreographed arrival sequence. “When the venues were distributed, it became harder and harder to not carve up so much of the land, and have the sense of place still be right for spectators and worldwide TV coverage,” says Marco Esposito, a principal at SWA.

SWA’s plan puts the ski jump and stadium to the west, and the cross-country and biathlon stadiums to the east. Linked by a central plaza, these stadiums and race routes orbit each other, (more…)

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Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, a favorite of Janet Rosenberg. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, Benson Kua.


Winter landscapes earn their allure with the opposition to comfort and ease they put forth. In the wild, that might be a sense of enclosure amid the otherwise inhospitable. In a city, this could entail seeking out community and connection when it’s far from convenient to do so. The cold air, simply by existing, adds meaning to our interactions with each other and the world around us. You have to want to be out there, and to offer respect to the flora, fauna, and fellow humanity that is out there with you. So here are four landscape designers (three landscape architects and one architect) unpacking the wintertime landscapes that have (more…)

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It’s the first, which means February’s issue of LAM is here! You’ll find these stories inside:


Secrets to Share (Gardens)
Sadafumi Uchiyama, ASLA, can teach you how to
make a Japanese garden in Portland, Oregon.

Woven in Place (Details)
At Kopupaka Reserve, New Zealand, the Isthmus Group is weaving
Maori culture into stormwater infrastructure.

Solid as a Rock (Materials)
Is stone always a sustainable building material?


A Forest in the City in the Forest
Sylvatica Studio’s landscape for the Fernbank Museum of Natural History
immerses visitors in Atlanta’s old-growth Piedmont forest.

Ripple Effect
A topographically exuberant campus by Snøhetta embraces
the MAX IV synchrotron particle accelerator.

A View of the World
Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects has restored
the landscape of the painter Frederic Church’s estate.

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

Credits: “Ripple Effect,” Felix Gerlach; “A View of the World,” Detail of Clouds over Olana, 1872, by Frederic Edwin Church, Oil on paper 8 11⁄16 x 12 1⁄8 inches, OL.1976.1. Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, New York, Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; “A Forest in the City in the Forest,” Timothy Hursley; “Solid as a Rock,” GGN; “Secrets to Share,” Jonathan Ley; “Woven in Place,” David St. George.

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Mixed-income housing alone can’t change public housing residents’ lives. So Gary Strang is putting the landscape to work.


Correction appended.

The first thing you notice is all the cars. The Potrero Hill housing projects occupy a strange landscape divided by Jersey barriers and concrete retaining walls that carve up the site’s topography. Endless rows of cars are parked along its curving streets and in front of 62 three- and four-story barracks-style buildings that step down the steep hill. It’s the first indication that this isolated, often forgotten section of the city is not that well connected to the thriving, upscale urbanism of San Francisco that surrounds it. “The beautiful green landscape, the Corbusian dream, just becomes parking,” says Gary Strang, FASLA, the founder of GLS Landscape | Architecture, the firm that was hired to radically reshape this place.

For Curteesha Cosby, who lives at Potrero, these parked cars are sometimes a refuge of last resort. When she’s walking her kids to school at 7:00 a.m. and hears gunfire, she hits the ground and rolls her children under them till it ends. She says she hears shooting nearly every day. She’s exhausted by Potrero. “I just want people to be happy and everyone to be safe,” she says. Her cousin was gunned down in the housing complex a few days before we spoke. Edward Hatter, the executive director of the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, a nonprofit serving the area, tells me the community is waiting for the retaliatory violence that often follows shootings.

Potrero Terrace and Annex has long been one of San Francisco’s most dysfunctional large-scale public housing developments. Residents complain of (more…)

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The things our art director, Chris McGee, hated to leave out of the current issue of LAM.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Daye.

From LAM’s special September 2017 awards issue, Facebook’s green roof in its Menlo Park, California, headquarters by CMG Landscape Architecture is (at nine acres) large enough to reset visitors’ assumptions of where the ground plane is.

“Rooftop reflection.”


You can read the full table of contents for September 2017 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.

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Drone mapping fills a missing link in site representation.


In many ways, the satellite has been instrumental for landscape architecture. As the apex of two centuries of progressively higher aerial reconnaissance, the satellite’s view reveals landscape associations and patterns that remain concealed at lower altitudes. Through these revelations, satellite imagery played a key role in the reinterpretation of cities as complex ecological systems instead of mere assemblages of buildings. Ultimately, online satellite mapping applications confirmed that the entire planet is composed of landscape. Through the convenience of GPS-equipped mobile devices, we now seamlessly integrate the satellite’s landscape into our everyday lives.

A world tuned in to the synthesizing role of landscape is undoubtedly empowering for landscape architecture. But as enlightening and convenient as the satellite’s all-encompassing gaze may be, the tyranny of distance coupled with a downward viewing angle also undermines its potency. As landscape architects are abundantly aware, the nuances and details that enrich the landscape are often camouflaged from 450 miles above Earth within shadowed, interstitial, and underneath spaces. Even with familiarization and steadily improving image resolutions, abstract planimetric forms routinely fail to resonate with an individual’s perception of his or her place in the world. The recurring popularity of more immersive angles such as the archaic bird’s-eye view is probably a reaction to this lingering apprehension.

These shortcomings are revealed at the site scale, at which a significant portion of landscape practice occurs. At this scale, the substitution of feature surveys or commissioned aerial imaging with freely available satellite-derived GIS data often lowers the quality of spatial information. GIS mapping data interpolated from much larger data sets trades site specificity for expansive coverage, and its accuracy typically has not been verified on the ground. Given that landscape architecture relies on maps in one form or another to interpret, abstract, conceptualize, and ultimately reconfigure the ground, (more…)

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