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Posts Tagged ‘Barbara Wilks’

Early on in the development of St. Patrick’s Island Park just beyond downtown Calgary, community members told its designers at W Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Civitas that they wanted a park that was both wild and accessible, a place to play and learn. This short video by Civitas offers commentary from Barbara Wilks, FASLA, and Mark Johnson, FASLA, and gives viewers a first-person view of what this naturalistic sense of experimentation looks and feels like, with requisite drone shots and GoPro-enabled immersion. Designed to flood, and surrounded on all sides by the Bow River, the park has permeable borders that let in the water and city life beyond.

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BY BRIAN BARTH

A flood-friendly park re-creates a resilient landscape in Calgary’s Bow River.

FROM THE JANUARY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In the summer of 2013, catastrophic flooding in southern Alberta killed five people and forced 100,000 to evacuate. With $6 billion in property damage, it was one of the costliest natural disasters in Canadian history. The swollen Bow River, which flows from glacial headwaters in the Rockies to Calgary, left much of the city’s urban core underwater. The inundated area included St. Patrick’s Island, one of several islands in the downtown stretch of the river, where Barbara Wilks, FASLA, and Mark Johnson, FASLA, had just kicked off construction on a new 31-acre park. A new pedestrian bridge to the island, which was partially built at the time, suffered significant damage. But for the park itself, Wilks and Johnson—the founders of W Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Civitas, respectively—say the floodwaters provided positive reinforcement of their design.

This was not the initial reaction, however, of the folks at the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), their client.

“Our client called and said, ‘Oh, God, you have to get up here; we’re going to have to change the design,’” said Johnson as he, Wilks, and I strolled across the bridge to the completed park on a clear spring day.

“The whole island flooded!’” Wilks recalled members of the CMLC team saying in an urgent and distressed call. “We said, ‘It’s going to be fine; there’s nothing to change. We designed it to flood—this is what’s supposed to happen.’” (more…)

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

FOREGROUND

Theater Revival (Preservation)
Updating Robert Royston’s beloved Quarry Amphitheater in Santa Cruz, California, meant adding
a few modern conveniences the landscape architect never imagined.

FEATURES

Head for the Hill
Ski slope design has grown from early beginnings in cozy alpine towns to the main attraction of new megadevelopments in China, thanks in part to the mountain resort planners of Ecosign.

No Plan Is an Island
When Barbara Wilks, FASLA, and Mark Johnson, FASLA, and their respective firms teamed up to redesign a care-worn island in the heart of Calgary, they let the Bow River make the big moves.

All this plus the regular Now and Goods columns. The full table of contents for January can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 250 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 January articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Head for the Hill,” Jessica Bridger; “No Plan Is an Island,” W Architecture and Landscape Architecture; “Theater Revival,” Kyle Jeffers. 

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