Archive for the ‘WORKSTATION’ Category


Software and technology trends in landscape architecture.



In 1982 a new tool landed on the desks of engineers that would revolutionize the construction and design industries. That tool, eventually known as AutoCAD, ushered computer-aided design into the field with the goal of increased accuracy and efficiency. In the decades since, a variety of software programs have become embedded in nearly every step of the design process, from site inventory and analysis to final project deliverables and beyond. Software has evolved from tools to represent design to those actually affecting design ideas. It’s more than just software, as emerging technology such as drones, virtual reality (VR), and 3-D printers have found their way into offices. Whereas it was once adequate to master only AutoCAD, Photoshop, and SketchUp, many firms are now expected to collaborate and communicate using technology beyond this “big three.”

As firms wrestle with their software decisions and changing collaboration needs, knowledge of technology trends across the industry can be a valuable tool. With this in mind, ASLA’s Digital Technology Professional Practice Network (DTPPN) teamed with professors from Utah State University and Mississippi State University to document and assess current developments in the profession. The survey was sent to a third of ASLA’s members and garnered 482 responses, 72 percent of whom were full members of ASLA, and 17 percent associate members. When compared to surveys from previous years, the findings paint a picture of a profession in the midst of a watershed moment in how technology is used. While the big three are still staples, there are now many alternatives and add-ons to augment and expand the design workflow. (more…)

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Filmed over 18 months by Jim Richards Productions of Reston, Virginia, this time-lapse look into the construction of ASLA’s new home begins with a few swings of the sledgehammer by ASLA executive committee members and staff. Builders Coakley & Williams Construction installed green walls, opened up the roof for a three-story atrium, and dug into the earth to bury a stormwater collection cistern. The design by Gensler, with a lower-level garden by landscape architects Oehme, van Sweden, sets the Center for Landscape Architecture up to act as a leader in workplace design and ecological stewardship for decades to come.

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WORKSTATION: Morpholio Trace 2.0

You can use Morpholio Trace 2.0 to quickly sketch design ideas over photos, like this one of downtown Bloomington, Indiana. Credit: Lohren Deeg.

From the May 2014 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

The design process will always feature pen and trace—at least to some extent. But there’s an assortment of apps coming on the market to try to dethrone the old tools designers use for ideation. Morpholio Trace 2.0, developed for the iPad, is currently your best bet for quick sketching and layering with its breadth of capabilities geared to designers. As project schedules tighten aggressively and clients’ delivery expectations keep rising, Trace 2.0 offers dependable ways to improve efficiency, clarity, and communication throughout the design process. You can use it to dash off a concept, illustrate an image, or add markups to drawings, and then show anyone the latest version of your work.

The Trace 2.0 app comes from the Morpholio Project, which began in 2011 as the brainchild of five designers and academics concerned with how technology, devices, and social media are shaping the creative process. Their thinking is that designers should share their knowledge to help guide the evolution of the digital experience, given that there will be something like 75 billion mobile Internet connections worldwide by 2020, according to a 2013 report by Morgan Stanley. (more…)

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In the May issue, we  focus for the first time on lighting and landscape with the work of dynamic lighting designers in collaboration with landscape architects. We look at projects by M. Paul Friedberg with MCLA, Ken Smith and SHoP with Tillotson Design Associates, PWP and Michael Arad with Fisher Marantz Stone, WRT and L’Observatoire International, and OLIN with Tillett Lighting Design. There’s also a how-to on Morpholio Trace 2.0 in Workstation, and new research on sin-free lawn grasses. Marcel Wilson talks about his young practice, Bionic. And a graphic designer takes us through the vanishing world of urban typescapes. All this plus our regular features in Species, Books, and Goods. This month’s ASLA CES is on Soils for Landscape Architecture Projects.

You can read the full table of contents for May here. As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 bookstores, including many university and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also purchase single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio that can be read on your desktop or mobile device. 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 on the LAM blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating some May pieces as the month rolls out.

Credits: 9-11: Courtesy Fisher Marantz Stone; SteelStacks: Emile Dubuisson for l’Observatoire International; East River: John Muggenborg/www.johnmuggenborg.com; Syracuse: Steven Satori, Syracuse University; Yards Park: David Galen; Dam: MKSK; Morpholio Trace: Lohren Deeg, ASLA; Turf: Suzanne O’Connell; Owls: Courtesy travelwayoflife/wikimedia commons; 50K Trees: Sarah Moos, Associate ASLA.

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Maybe you’ve noticed things have been a bit more lively here at the  Landscape Architecture Magazine blog of late, and you’d be right. In addition to cranking up our posting to twice a week (!), we’ve been thinking a bit about what we might do to expand our audience and create more of a community of landscape-minded readers.  There are many changes afoot that will be rolled out in 2014, but we’d like your help with some low-hanging fruit, namely our blog roll.

Yes, the blog roll is a venerated tradition in the webs, but often it just becomes a mutual linkfest that highlights the same five well-known news aggregators over and over. We’d like to do something more substantial, and we’d like your help, friendly reader.

Our current blog roll (over on the right—->>) is pretty good, but some of our favorites aren’t posting so much anymore and our sense is that there are a lot more landscape-oriented blogs out there than there were a year ago when we first made the list. That’s where we’d like your help.

So tell us your favorite landscape blogs in the comments below.  We’re interested in original content, rather than aggregators, and we’re curious about anything that shapes landscape, from agriculture to climate to infrastructure to policy to design theory to design tech.  

Here are some we’ve been reading lately–

Rust Wire. Always a fave. News and urban grit from the rust belt.

BakkenBlog. North Dakota oil and gas.

Big Picture Agriculture. Perspectives on ag policy, food, science.

The Prairie Ecologist. Notes on prairie ecology, restoration, and management.

Small Streets Blog. Life at a plausible scale.

Gizmodo. New life under Geoff Manaugh of bldgblog, but you knew that.

Garden Rant. Various garden-related posts with a strong point of view.

99% Invisible. Blog to accompany the excellent design-oriented podcast.

What are you reading and liking? Suggest blogs in the comments or on Twitter @LandArchMag.

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Looks like Google SketchUp will soon be just SketchUp again. Google is selling the 3-D modeling software company to Trimble, known for its engineering and construction management software. Daniel Tal, a frequent contributor to LAM and author of Google SketchUp for Site Design, says he’s received e-mails from various SketchUp employees and “they’re all pretty happy about this.”

“Thankfully,” Tal says, “they did not kill it like previous Google products lost to the trash heap.”

It seems there may actually be big plans for combining the strengths of the two companies and creating more integrated software. “Users will be able to collect data, design, model, and collaborate on one platform,” says the press release from Trimble. SketchUp’s blog is also talking up the move, saying: “We’ll be better able to focus on our core communities.”

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Want to show off your rendering skills? Nemetschek Vectorworks and MAXON Computer GmbH are sponsoring the 2012 Inspired Visions Global Rendering Competition, which is open to both students and professionals. To qualify, models must be created in Vectorworks and rendered using Renderworks or CINEMA 4D.  Awards are offered in a number of different categories, and the winners will each receive $2,500.

If you are interested in competing, but don’t have the most recent version of Vectorworks with Renderworks, you can request a free 30-day trial of the software here, or, if you are a student, here.  A free 42-day trial of CINEMA 4D is also available. For more information about the competition, you can visit its web site. All entries must be submitted by August 16, 2012.

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