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SOFT POWER IN MOSCOW

BY STEPHEN ZACKS

An expansive park at the foot of the Kremlin helped drive a series of revolutionary improvements to the Russian capital.

FROM THE APRIL 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE. 

At Zaryadye Park in central Moscow, a procession of Eurasian birch trees, grasses, and shrubs winds downhill from a glass-encrusted outdoor amphitheater that tops the new Philharmonic Hall, framing photogenic views of the candy-colored cupolas of Saint Basil’s Cathedral. The park’s verdant terrain folds onto the rooftops of five scalloped pavilions that shelter a botanical display, an educational center, a food court, and a screening room that plays an immersive 3-D film on Russian history. The park, which covers 32 acres, stretches to the edge of Red Square, and even adds 11 square feet to the square that was uncovered during excavation. The pavilions, with their vegetated roofs, and most of the park’s terrain sit atop a 430-car underground parking garage. To keep the whole landscape in place, a geocell soil-stabilization system rests on top, anchoring granite pavers on pedestrian pathways that stretch onto an arching, boomerang-shaped overlook that cantilevers and hovers over the Moskva River. Here visitors of all ages and groups compulsively photograph themselves against the backdrop of the Kremlin and the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, one of the Stalinist high-rises that define Moscow’s skyline.

Zaryadye Park is an entertaining landscape intended as a spectacular place, a special attraction, and a free public space—a term that Russian architects agree had almost no precedent in the language before a series of convergences brought the park into being. Continue Reading »

BY ZACH MORTICE

The Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates plan uses a series of intensely programmed pavilions at the park’s urban edge. Image courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

Update 4/10/2018: The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy has chosen Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates’ plan as the competition winner. 

At 22 acres on a prime Detroit River site southwest of downtown, the future West Riverfront Park could become the city’s new civic front yard.

A design competition hosted by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy has collected a short list of plans to fill this need, with work by GGN, James Corner Field Operations, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), and Hood Studio making the cut. The winner will be determined by jury later this month. Several of these plans deal with the site’s relative surrounding vacancy and lack of connection to active, urban uses by building up dense layers of programming, but differ on whether the park is to be a regional centerpiece or one notable amenity along the Detroit RiverWalk’s miles-long string of them.

West Riverfront Park is part of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s larger plan to rejuvenate 5.5 miles of the Detroit Riverfront. East of downtown Detroit, 3.5 miles of the RiverWalk is already complete, featuring entertainment and event spaces, sculpture gardens, cultural venues, parks, and hotels. At the confluence of downtown, Corktown, and Mexicantown, the West Riverfront Park sits near some of the city’s most dramatically resurgent (and stable) neighborhoods. But the park site has been largely barren for decades. Previously, a hulking warehouse for the Detroit Free Press dominated the site. It was privately owned and closed off to the public for about Continue Reading »

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It’s the beginning of April, which mean’s LAM’s World Landscape Architecture Month issue is here! You’ll find these stories inside:

FOREGROUND

Maintenance Matters (Office)
Maintenance is all about relationships. And money.


Slope Style (Materials)

Pointers and pitfalls for planting trees on steep grades.

Royal Treatment (Gardens)

The art of bonsai is easier to see in Rhodeside & Harwell’s new pavilion at the
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum.

FEATURES

Ethic and Aesthetic
The acequia—a centuries-old irrigation technology—is ideal for stormwater management
at a New Mexico house.

Scale Factor
SWA combines beauty and security at Mexico’s University of Monterrey.

Parisian Accents
Three new parks anchor regeneration projects near the city’s periphery.

Out of Time
The past and the present merge in a new language for commemorating slavery at
Valongo Wharf, the largest slave port in the Americas.

THE BACK

Soft Power in Moscow
Public spaces devoid of politics are a new idea in Moscow. You could even call them revolutionary.

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

Credits: “Parisian Accents,” Atelier Jacqueline Osty & Associés; “Out of Time,” Sara Zewde; “Ethic and Aesthetic,” Kate Russell; “Scale Factor,” SWA Group/Jonnu Singleton; “Maintenance Matters,” Josef Gutierrez, ASLA; “Slope Style,” SiteWorks; “Royal Treatment,” Allen Russ Photographer; “Soft Power in Moscow,” Iwan Baan, courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

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.

BY JENNIFER REUT

FROM THE MARCH 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

To be honest, you probably won’t notice the landscape design at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) the first time you come. The newest Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C., has been a doorbuster—it had one million visitors in the first four months, and 2.5 million visitors in its first year. Timed entry tickets are snapped up three months in advance, and a maze of stanchions clutters the entryways to control the unexpected press of people. The museum’s restaurant, the Sweet Home Café, was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in the James Beard Foundation Awards. The talismanic objects in the museum’s collection include Nat Turner’s bible and Parliament-Funkadelic’s Mothership, among nearly 37,000 personal objects, photographs, and historical documents. Visitors sometimes have to wait in line just to enter the museum gift shop. There are so many reasons to go to the museum and stay there all day, you might slide right over the landscape.

And that’s partly by design. From early on, the landscape design, by Kathryn Gustafson, FASLA, and Rodrigo Abela, ASLA, of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), was meant to Continue Reading »

BY ZACH MORTICE

Image courtesy of the collection of Nicholas de Monchaux.

California is omnipresent in the world of science fiction. George Lucas filmed Star Wars: A New Hope in Death Valley, and the redwood forests of northern California sat in for the forest moon of Endor in Return of the Jedi. Perhaps the most influential sci-fi document in terms of futurist urbanism, Blade Runner, showed us the megacity Los Angeles with its rain and neon-slicked streets unmistakably reminiscent of a polyglot Chinatown. Larry Niven’s Ringworld books drew their prescription for a sun-orbiting space station—a million miles tall and 600 million miles across—from California’s own impressive history of infrastructural development.

Because of its historic reputation as the final, unspoiled end to the American Western horizon, California has always looked ahead into bracingly new futures. But as espoused by a studio to be taught at the University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design, unpacking California’s contributions to sci-fi urbanism and landscapes is also a look back.  BLDGBLOG’s Geoff Manaugh and the Berkeley architecture and urban design professor Nicholas de Monchaux will lead this Studio ONE master’s program, which will begin next school year.

“We have already terraformed one world whether we like it or not,” says de Monchaux. “We are living science fiction to some extent. We might as well acknowledge it and mine it.” Their studio asks: Continue Reading »

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

Image courtesy Rosetta S. Elkin.

From “Covered Ground” by Bradford McKee in the March 2018 issue, on Rosetta Elkin’s research into how the smallest plants can have a big impact in our landscapes.

“The big little.”

–CHRIS MCGEE, LAM ART DIRECTOR

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.

BY BRADFORD MCKEE

By Wheeler Cowperthwaite [CC BY-SA 2.0, GFDL, or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

FROM THE UPCOMING APRIL 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

When Congress passed and President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the landmark legislation had survived broad, hostile opposition from business lobbyists who claimed its cost and liability would run companies into the ground. But with monumental effort and few exceptions, the law has succeeded in opening a once-closed world of transportation, employment, government, communications, and public accommodations to people with disabilities—and everyone else lived. Nearly all commercial businesses that serve the public have had to create full access and remove obstacles to their establishments. Design professionals, not least landscape architects, have been active at the core of this revolution, turning the law’s many dimensional requirements into reality as ramps, doors, railings, driveways, slopes, stairs, and all the rest. For most people, the law is a fact of life, and a welcome one.

“It is a civil rights issue, not a code compliance issue,” said Peg Staeheli, FASLA, a principal of MIG | SvR in Seattle. “Today we find most clients ahead in thinking about inclusive design.”

There are some retrograde types, though, who haven’t learned to live with the ADA. In February, the House of Representatives approved a bill that would significantly weaken the ADA’s public accommodations provisions. The bill, H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, passed by a vote of Continue Reading »