Tag Archives: By L. Lee

Unbuilt to Last

An Oakland, California, waterfront redevelopment plan hit a few bumps before Einwiller Kuehl took it apart.

By Lydia Lee / Photography by Eric Einwiller

Part of the old warehouse has been repurposed into a super-deep porch.

On a bright Saturday afternoon in mid-October, a party was going on at Township Commons, one of the newest parks in the San Francisco Bay Area. Actually, four events were going on simultaneously across the Oakland, California, park’s four and a half acres, overlooking the glittering waters of the bay: Behind the large hill at the western end, with a view of San Francisco in the distance, a small family gathered around a folding table; at the other end by the café/market, people dressed in sober attire were attending a private catered event; on the main deck, five couples were taking a salsa class; and next to the hill, a handful of roller skaters in bright outfits were practicing some groovy moves. Continue reading Unbuilt to Last

Taken Away

A new memorial marks the site where 8,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned in the San Francisco Bay area.

By Lydia Lee

The flowering cherry is a Japanese cultural icon that symbolizes resilience. Renderings courtesy RHAA.

Eighty years ago, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 120,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast were forced out of their homes and into prison camps for the three-year duration of the war. In the San Francisco Bay Area, they reported to the euphemistically named Tanforan Assembly Center, a hastily converted racetrack just south of San Francisco. Continue reading Taken Away

A Place for Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk was an openly gay political force at a time when they were in short supply. Can the plaza to honor him succeed where others have fallen short?

By Lydia Lee 

In the 1970s, Harvey Milk turned San Francisco into a symbol of hope for LGBTQ+ people everywhere. One of the first openly gay politicians in the United States, Milk was assassinated in 1978. Since then, the city has been without a substantive memorial to one of its most iconic figures. Continue reading A Place for Harvey Milk

The Plus Side

When designers need to calculate the environmental cost of projects, a new tech tool crunches the numbers.

By Lydia Lee

Once the data is input, the app calculates the number of years for the project to become carbon positive. Image courtesy CMG Landscape Architecture/Climate Positive Design.

For the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge project in Washington, D.C., landscape architects at AECOM made sure that the bridge’s adjacent 80-acre waterfront park would provide many environmental benefits: bioswales and rain gardens for treating stormwater, pollinator meadows, and extensive tree cover to reduce the urban heat island effect. Continue reading The Plus Side

Theater Revival

Robert Royston’s 1967 Quarry Amphitheater has been carefully rebuilt in all its modernist glory.

By Lydia Lee

An early aerial view, showing the craggy topography, and the original amphitheater in 1972. Courtesy University of California, Santa Cruz, Special Collections.

Like the classical theaters of Greek and Roman antiquity, Quarry Amphitheater at the University of California, Santa Cruz is an open-air venue with tiered seating. But what would the Greeks and Romans have made of the irregular rows, with their off-kilter angles? Continue reading Theater Revival

Natural Resting Place

The world’s first SITES-certified cemetery is designed as a successional forest.

By Lydia Lee 

To create a native meadow and burial ground from the former dump, the soil down to four feet was screened for debris and then amended with compost. Image courtesy Alta Planning + Design.

In the summer, the 400 grave sites in a section of West Laurel Hill Cemetery outside Philadelphia that is known as Nature’s Sanctuary are marked only by a meadow blazing with native scarlet bee balm (Monarda didyma). Continue reading Natural Resting Place