Tag Archives: By Z. Mortice

Watershed Moments

A puzzle-like model of the Mississippi River Basin helps to reveal connections.

By Zach Mortice 

An installation for Exhibit Columbus by Derek Hoeferlin, Affiliate ASLA, exaggerates the vertical dimensions of the Mississippi watershed. Image courtesy Derek Hoeferlin, Affiliate ASLA, and Nate Stanfield.

 

This month, on the riverside terrace of a former pump house in Columbus, Indiana, an exaggerated topographic model of the Mississippi watershed will be installed. It is a hardier object than models meant for conference rooms or museum galleries. Continue reading Watershed Moments

Leave it Better

In the face of likely climate retreat, student design studios explore ways to improve Nantucket’s coastal resilience.

By Zach Mortice

Inhabiting Instabilities posits vast pierscapes that reach out into the ocean. Image courtesy Gena Morgis and Caleb Negash.

On Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts, half of the 10 highest-ever tides arrived in 2018 alone, and flooding is a constant worry that imperils the tourist economy and historic buildings. “But that has not slowed down the real estate market,” says Cecil Barron Jensen, the executive director of the local nonprofit ReMain Nantucket. Continue reading Leave it Better

The Shape of Things to Come

Martin Rickles Studio riffs on Ruth Shellhorn to design a ready-made ADU landscape.

By Zach Mortice

A graphic collage inspired by Ruth Shellhorn. Image courtesy of Martin Rickles Studio..

Carley Rickles came to a realization that’s unfamiliar to most landscape architects when she was beginning the landscape plan for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). There was, strictly speaking, no site. Continue reading The Shape of Things to Come

LAMCAST: Women of Color as Design Education Leaders

 

This spring, ASLA convened women of color leaders in architecture and landscape architecture education to discuss networks of mentorship, camaraderie, and solidarity. “Hear their Voices: Inspiring Stories from Women Leaders in Design Education” was moderated by Samantha Solano, ASLA, an assistant professor of landscape architecture and regional planning at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The lively, candid discussion included the following leaders in design education:

Diane Jones Allen, FASLA, director and professor of landscape architecture, University of Texas at Arlington

Maria Bellalta, ASLA, dean and faculty, School of Landscape Architecture, Boston Architectural College

Hazel R. Edwards, professor and chair, College of Engineering and Architecture, Howard University

Vini Nathan, dean and McWhorter endowed chair, College of Architecture, Design, and Construction, Auburn University

After a round of introductions, Solano directed the conversation with sharp, thoughtful questions. Much of the conversation focused on how women can support themselves and each other, navigating male and white-led organizations. Bellalta urged that women carefully consider options on whether to push ahead or to sit back and listen, weighing strategic, deliberative planning against action when trying to navigate around or through what she called “tall people with big voices.” Jones Allen says that leadership has forced her to overcome the desire to always be liked, a deeply entrenched aspect of gender-specific socialization that is more fraught for Black women. “Sometimes, as the director, or the chair, or the dean, you have to make the decision, and sometimes people aren’t going to like you,” she says.  Nathan, meanwhile, suggests pushing at these boundaries to ensure growth, to “follow a little bit of your fear.”

All of this guidance is a part of the omnipresent but seldom publicly acknowledged “inner work” women are forced to focus on in addition to their institutional responsibilities, Solano says. But the discussion also made it clear that the work of diversifying the ranks of design education and design itself isn’t just for women. Beyond the mental and emotional preparation women undergo to exist and thrive in male-dominated spaces, the panel also concentrated on benefits and working conditions that should be fundamental for everyone, but often affect women first, including more flexible working conditions and stronger partnerships between schools and firms. Nathan says that simply hiring more women is not enough. Organizations need to make sure women are placed in positions that control budgets. “Money is what translates into power,” she says, “and power is what translates into influence and impact.”

The panel webinar was hosted by the ASLA Committee on Education. For more information, please visit ASLA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Webinars page, which is available on ASLA’s DEI hub.

Salt Soaker

In Chicago, a synthetic growing medium will provide a healthy buffer between contaminated soils and riparian plant life.

By Zach Mortice 

The Morton Salt site will feature a riparian ecosystem grown in a synthetic medium. Image courtesy Lamar Johnson Collaborative.

For nearly 100 years, the Morton Salt facility on the North Side of Chicago, with its massive rain slicker and umbrella sign, has been an iconic presence along the industrial corridor that traced the North Branch of the Chicago River. Continue reading Salt Soaker