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LET’S BEAT IT

BY BRIAN BARTH / PHOTOGRAPHY BY JULIE DERMANSKY

In Southern Louisiana, Evans + Lighter Landscape Architecture is helping the people of Isle de Jean Charles move away from a disappearing coast.

Every year LAM honors two articles that stand out in the realm of landscape architecture with the Bradford Williams Medal—one that has appeared in LAM, and one from outside the magazine. After a nomination and selection process by the LAM Editorial Advisory Committee, this year’s 2017 Bradford Williams Medal LAM winner is Brian Barth for his article “Let’s Beat It,” below, which appeared in the October 2016 issue.

Wenceslaus Billiot often spies dolphins leaping in the bay behind his house in Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana. Just shy of his 90th birthday, he remembers his backyard as a vast, forested wetland when he raised his family here as a young man. In dry weather, the land was firm enough for his kids to walk to the store in the nearby hamlet of Chauvin. This June day the water is calm—a fisherman’s paradise—but hurricane season is another story. Billiot, a World War II veteran, former tugboat captain, and boat builder, says every year the water comes higher.

He lives in a dwindling community of the Biloxi–Chitimacha–Choctaw tribe, and like most of the 27 families who remain, Billiot and his wife, Denecia, are making plans to move inland. “But I don’t want to go,” he says in a Cajun accent.

He has no choice. Isle de Jean Charles, once 22,000 acres, has lost 98 percent of its land area since 1955, and state officials warn that Continue Reading »

Olana, the estate and landscape designed by Frederic Church–America’s foremost landscape painter of the 19th century–might be the painter’s deepest and richest creative act.

This hillside on the banks of the Hudson River in Upstate New York was a work of art that became Church’s own studio for painting the landscapes that made him a national celebrity—a mutually reinforcing circle that tied this land to his fantastical, but finely grained, depictions of it. “I can make more and better landscapes in this way than by tampering with canvas and paint in the studio,” Church wrote of his stewardship of Olana.

As detailed in this summary of what led Church to the Hudson Valley and what kept him there, Church’s landscape accentuated the stunning beauty of one of the Hudson River Valley’s most dramatic sites. To accompany the Persian-themed house he built for his family starting in 1872, Church planted trees to frame views, added a system of carriage roads to ferry visitors from one to another, and installed a lake that echoed the shape of the river. For his house, he mixed colors he would use to paint its rooms on his own palette.

A new plan for Olana by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects won a 2017 ASLA Professional Award for Analysis and Planning for its sensitive approach to encouraging greater public engagement and its deep research into the site’s soil, hydrology, land use, and topography. The jury praised the plan for allowing the estate’s essential beauty to shine through, free of overwrought design and unnecessary flourishes.

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.”

–CHRIS MCGEE, LAM ART DIRECTOR

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.

CRITICAL LIFTING

BY SARAH COWLES

At Washington University, students document and memorialize a landscape in flux.

FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

The crane whined, the cable tightened, the tree swayed, and the crowd murmured. But Tree B5, an 80-year-old, 85-foot-tall, 15-ton Quercus palustris, did not budge from its place in the Brookings allée. Earlier, a crew used high-pressure hydro-excavation tools and a giant vacuum to daylight the oak’s filigree of roots, and arborists jumared up with four cable slings to steady the crown. The audience in front of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis was transfixed by this massive marionette, anticipating the moment the formidable machine might pluck it like a weed. After the failure of the initial tug, the crew phoned the crane supervisor to ply more tension, and yet some grounding force would not let go. B5 was defiantly planted.

Choreographing this potent—and at times absurdly moving—tree-removal ceremony was Jesse Vogler, Affiliate ASLA, a 21st-century Fitzcarraldo and an assistant professor of landscape architecture at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. Vogler and his team of students thought this act of landscape demolition Continue Reading »

The Ecologies of Resource Management: Water as a Development Tool in Rural India

 

Thursday, September 7, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.
ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture
636 Eye Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

 

Alpa Nawre, ASLA, assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Florida and the founder of Alpa Nawre Design, in conversation with Bradford McKee, Editor, Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Professor Nawre’s design and research have focused on the crucial role that water landscapes play in the cultural life of Indian society. Just as water sustains communities, its scarcity can severely distress them, particularly their most vulnerable members. In this talk, Nawre will discuss the ways in which water and resource management, viewed from a landscape perspective, can feed into development efforts and become a more potent agent of social change.

$15 General Admission

Free for students with valid student ID for 2016–2017 or 2017–2018.

Doors open at 6:30. Light refreshments will be provided.

Registration is required: bit.ly/LAMLectureSeries2

1.0 PDH (LA CES/non-HSW)

For more information, go to https://www.asla.org/events.

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We figured the cover to this year’s ASLA Awards issue would be timely, but not by a measure of days. We were thinking months and years. The project by Studio Outside of its Galveston Island State Park project, which won a 2017 ASLA Professional Award for Analysis and Planning, shows the gradual progress happening these days with the design of coastal sites given the realities of climate change. As the issue arrived in the mail the past week, Hurricane Harvey swamped Galveston and wasted a huge piece of the Texas Gulf Coast. (Zach Mortice talked to Studio Outside for LAM this weekend as the storm moved in and lingered.)

Along with Studio Outside in our September Awards issue are several dozen projects that heap brainpower on the urgent landscape priorities of today. Out of the 295 projects submitted to the Student Awards, 26 winners were chosen, and 38 Professional Awards were selected from the 465 submissions. In addition, the ASLA Honors highlight the many professional contributions recognized by the society, including the winner of this year’s Landscape Architecture Firm Award, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol.

As always, the digital edition of the September 2017 Awards issue is FREE,  and you can access the free digital issue of the September LAM here and share it with your clients, colleagues, and friends. You can also buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. Single digital issues are available for only $5.25 at Zinio or you can 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.

Credits: [Professional Award images only] Storm + Sand + Sea + Strand—Barrier Island Resiliency Planning for Galveston Island State Park, Studio Outside/Google Earth; Birmingham Residence, Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA; Digital Library of Landscape Architecture History, Benjamin George, ASLA; Klyde Warren Park, Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA; Fluid Territory: A Journey into Svalbard, Norway, Kathleen John-Alder, ASLA.

BY ZACH MORTICE

Galveston Island State Park in the year 2060. Image courtesy of Studio Outside/Google Earth.

This is Part 3 of our conversation about Hurricane Harvey with the design team at Studio Outside in Dallas, which has won a 2017 ASLA Professional Award for Analysis and Planning for its work on Galveston Island State Park. Part 1 and Part 2 can be found below. Correction appended below on August 28.

Studio Outside’s resiliency plan for Galveston Island State Park earned a 2017 ASLA Professional Award for Analysis and Planning, drawing praise from the jury for its comprehensive and forward-looking anticipation of the havoc a hurricane could release. But Studio Outside’s Andrew Duggan and the design team, led by principal in charge Mike Fraze, knew they were pondering ironclad eventualities, not hypothetical disasters.

Over the weekend, the city of Galveston and Galveston Island State Park to its southwest found themselves in the path of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall on Friday night, a Category 4 storm that has prompted mass evacuations of the Houston region.

Studio Outside’s project, “Storm + Sand + Sea + Strand: Barrier Island Resiliency Planning for Galveston Island State Park,” tracks the loss of habitat and land as perpetuated by sea-level rise, encroaching development, and hurricane flooding. It prescribes soft and green natural barriers to storm surges, assisted by flexible infrastructure. As a barrier island bordered by Texas’s West Bay to the northwest and the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast, there are few places to hide from floodwaters or to absorb them, and even less given that this part of the island was partially paved over to accommodate RVs in the 1970s. On Friday and over the weekend, Duggan (based safely in Dallas) and members of the design team (Fraze and Duggan of Studio Outside, and Jennifer Dowdell and Ed Morgereth of Biohabitats) emailed LAM some thoughts on how the storm might play out for Galveston Island State Park.

****Post will be updated as the storm progresses**** Continue Reading »