Feeds:
Posts
Comments

THE RIGHT PATH

BY NEIL BUDZINSKI AND MATTHEW GIRARD

A forensic approach found the best decomposed granite solution for Kenyon College.

A forensic approach found the best decomposed granite solution for Kenyon College.

From the November 2016 Issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine 

Decomposed granite pavement (DG) is a textured and responsive paving material used on paths and plazas. Yet the quiet appearance of DG masks material and construction complexities that shape the outcome of the built work and belie what may appear to be a simple installation. In 2010, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), where we are senior associates, was hired to prepare a master plan for Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Over several years of our working with Kenyon to renovate its historic Middle Path, the challenges of this material were revealed and met through a program of design-phase mock-ups, manufacturer’s product development, and innovations in installation methods. We have learned several lessons regarding the product and the methods that change the way we specify and oversee the installation of this seemingly simple material.

Kenyon’s landscape is organized around Middle Path, a 3,600-foot-long walk made from a local river stone. The material of Middle Path, cherished for its color, texture, looseness, and sound, Continue Reading »

LAMCAST: 1,954 MILES

 

The artist Josh Begley’s Best of Luck with the Wall video turns the 1,954-mile continent-spanning journey across the United States–Mexico border into a seven-minute tone poem. The border mostly exists in our lives as a contested political abstraction. But it’s an actual place, and even as the video races across the landscape (stitched together from 200,000 satellite images), viewers can see towns nestled up against the demarcation, agricultural fields in neat rows and wide circles, and hundreds of miles of the Rio Grande River, all set to a spare, jangling score. The politics of the day has brought the border into everyone’s living room, but a concise portrait of what the border actually is will still remain a cursory and ephemeral thing.

KEEPING UP JONES

BY JANE MARGOLIES

An iconic Robert Moses-designed park on Long Island gets a resilient rethinking.

From the November 2016 Issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine 

 

I’m standing on the boardwalk at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, New York, with Faye Harwell, FASLA, a codirector of Rhodeside & Harwell. Our backs to the Atlantic, we look out over a flat expanse that used to be covered by shuffleboard, ping-pong, and tennis courts. Now it’s a mountain of broken-up concrete. By next summer, this will be a rolling naturalistic setting, dotted with a rock-climbing wall, zip line, splash pool, and, yes, a couple of shuffleboard courts, too. It will be the most visible of the many changes taking place at Jones Beach in a $65 million project undertaken by the state’s Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and guided by a report from Harwell’s firm.

Changes are needed. Built by the urban planning czar Robert Moses in 1929 as part of an unprecedented network of parkways and public parks, Jones Beach once was a six-and-a-half-mile-long marvel along the south shore of Long Island. Moses had used dredged sand to connect several small barrier islands, on which he and the landscape architect Clarence Coombs laid out the park Continue Reading »

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This month’s LAM is like no other, as we focus all our attention in the feature section to one spectacular project: Barangaroo Reserve in Sydney, designed by PWP Landscape Architecture with Johnson Pilton Walker of Sydney. The 14-acre headland park, which fans out before Sydney’s central business district, is part of a 54-acre urban project within the lines of what had been a colossal shipping terminal. It involves practically everything that is so risky, wonderful, and artful in landscape architecture today—not least the shaping of a new stepped stone foreshore, built from gigantic slabs of sandstone hewn right from the site. It includes lush gardens along sinuous paths that trace along a dramatic slope up from the water. And the new parkland connects intimately with central Sydney. Even for a dean of the profession like Peter Walker, the chief designer, it is a once-in-a-career project.

Don’t miss all the other great stuff in this issue! There are pieces on designing with decomposed granite at Kenyon College; a rather radical adventure by the military to try therapeutic landscape as an answer to post-traumatic stress disorder among returning battle veterans; a quest to uncover the history of “trail marker” trees on onetime Native American lands; and a review of a wonderful new book on the California designer Ruth Shellhorn. The full table of contents for November 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 ungating November articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Peter Walker’s Point,” Hamilton Lund/Barangaroo Delivery Authority; “Keeping Up Jones,” Rendering by Studio RHLA; “The Road to Evidence,” Lisa Helfert; “Searching for a Sign,” Courtesy Lakes Region Historical Society; “The Right Path,” Neil Budzinski; “Her California,” Photograph by Ruth Shellhorn, Courtesy Kelly Comras

BY ZACH MORTICE

An abandoned island is the Venice Lagoon. Local Code by Nicholas de Monchaux, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016.

An abandoned island in the Venice lagoon. Local Code by Nicholas de Monchaux, published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.

In his new book, Local Code: 3,659 Proposals About Data, Design, and the Nature of Cities, the University of California, Berkeley architecture and urban design professor Nicholas de Monchaux develops new tools for the mass customization of underused and vacant urban lots, highlighting the limits of inflexible systems thinking. His book charts a way forward with an eye on past failures, and new possibilities founded in corrective measures that have proved to work.

American cities’ first encounters with data, he writes, happened after World War II. That’s when protocomputing power, developed by the military and Cold War consultancies such as the RAND Corporation, merged with tabula rasa modernist urban planning. These binary solutions to complex built environments (remembered most vividly as Robert Moses-style urban renewal that tore down anything old and dirty) became what de Monchaux calls Continue Reading »

DIGITAL DIVIDENDS

REVIEWED BY GALE FULTON, ASLA

Landscape Architecture and Digital Technologies: Re-Conceptualising Design and Making

From the October 2016 Issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine

 

Warning: possible confirmation bias ahead.

One of the most perplexing aspects of landscape architecture education and practice that I’ve encountered is what I’ll grossly refer to here as representation. In the nearly two decades that I’ve been a student, professional, or involved in some capacity with teaching at the university level, I can think of no other domain as consistently polarizing than the critically important area of how landscape architects generate and communicate their ideas. Perhaps the most pernicious aspect of this issue is the ongoing divide between digital and analog processes—using the computer versus hand drawing. At first glance, one may likely assume this issue to simply be generational—older generations of designers were not educated in the use of the computer and so are less accepting of it than of those techniques and media with which they were trained. But, surprisingly, there seems to be a continued skepticism or distancing from advanced computational processes even by those of the postdigital generations, which is much more troubling given that these will be the future leaders of the discipline, and, as the authors of this book so effectively demonstrate, not embracing the digital in a robust way at this point significantly reduces the potential of the discipline to have the type of impact it aspires to have.

Landscape Architecture and Digital Technologies: Re-Conceptualising Design and Making, by Jillian Walliss and Heike Rahmann, both academics based in Australia, is a well-reasoned, well-written, and at times polemical book. It critiques landscape architecture’s failure to more fully embrace the potentials of digital media. It educates readers about the ways designers are using sophisticated digital processes right now in very real professional and academic projects and research. And it aspires for landscape architecture to leverage digital technology Continue Reading »

MOSS APPEAL

BY KYNA RUBIN

bedit_lamoct16_nowmossarticle


Portland scientists tap the bryophyte Orthotrichum lyellii to test urban air quality.

From the October 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine 

For decades, mosses and lichens have been used to gauge forest health, and in Europe they have been used to measure and map urban pollution across countries. But a recent study of air quality in Portland, Oregon, is said to mark the first time that U.S. scientists have used moss to collect and map fine-grained data on toxic metals in the air of a city. “This kind of high-density sampling on a large area is unique, at least in North America,” says Bruce McCune, a professor of botany and plant pathology at Oregon State University who is not associated with the study. “It allows you to make inferences and find surprises that you wouldn’t otherwise.”

Sometimes those surprises are unpleasant. Earlier this year, harnessing the bryophyte Orthotrichum lyellii to test the air quality of communities throughout Portland, Continue Reading »