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BY TOM STOELKER

Green-Wood Cemetery embraces change and looks to bring degraded landscapes back to life.

FROM THE JUNE 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

There’s a turn at a road in Green-Wood, the 478-acre cemetery in Brooklyn, where tall blond grass reaches up to meet age-old headstones. The effect could seem like a windswept meadow, but for those whose loved ones are interred at Green-Wood, it may look like overgrown weeds. While there is a growing public awareness of lawns as environmentally problematic, generations of Americans continue to pay good money to rest beneath a bed of green in perpetuity. If you couple the love of grass with the fact that more Americans are choosing cremation over burial, the dilemmas facing the burial industry, and Green-Wood in particular, become apparent.

Green-Wood is an arboretum with more than 8,000 trees of nearly 750 unique species and is one of the largest green spaces in New York City, but it’s also a business that sells real estate in one of the most competitive markets in the world.

Patterned after Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, originally home to the Lenape people, and the site of the Battle of Long Island in 1776, Green-Wood’s initial 200 acres were established on glacial moraines that formed Brooklyn’s highest point. In 1838, Henry Evelyn Pierrepont engaged David Bates Douglass, a West Point engineering professor and retired Army major, to lay out the drives, lakes, and paths of the cemetery. By September 5, 1840, local citizens John and Sarah Hanna were the first to be laid to rest. Today the Hannas are joined by more than 570,000 others, including Boss Tweed, Leonard Bernstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Louis Comfort Tiffany, whose glasswork graces more than a few mausolea. (more…)

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FOREGROUND

Talking Points (Planning)
The WELL Community Standard is touted as the new sustainability checklist, but is it just landscape architecture in new clothes? Reed Hilderbrand tries it out at a Florida megaproject, Water Street Tampa.

Let the Graveyard Grow (Maintenance)
In Brooklyn, New York, Green-Wood Cemetery’s parklike setting and open lawns have become a pandemic destination. Behind the placid view, the horticultural staff races to stay ahead of climate change.

FEATURES

Soldier Stories
Three new veterans memorials break from the visual language of war to make a place for those who served and lived. Butzer Architects and Urbanism, Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, and DAVID RUBIN Land Collective each found an approach that ties the past to the present.

Back to Basics
When Waterfront Toronto announced that the Google offshoot Sidewalk Labs would be designing an urban techtopia on a prime 12-acre site, brows were raised. Now the project is canceled—a casualty of public resistance and pandemic funding—and the city looks to what’s next.

The full table of contents for June 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 June articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Soldier Stories,” Sahar Coston-Hardy, Affiliate ASLA; “Back to Basics,” Picture Plane for Heatherwick Studio for Sidewalk Labs; “Talking Points,” Reed Hilderbrand; “Let the Graveyard Grow,” Green-Wood/Art Presson.

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BY ZACH MORTICE

John Whitaker’s Dark Matter project posits a memorial landscape that is a forum for collective action and protest. Image courtesy John Whitaker, Student ASLA.

An ASLA Student Award-winning project challenges outdated death practices.

 

One of the most startling projects submitted for the 2020 ASLA Student Awards was Dark Matter—a proposal that uses landscape as a transmission medium for the ecological values of the deceased. With arresting images and a somewhat unconventional project type, Dark Matter dazzled the jury, which bestowed the Award of Excellence in General Design on the project last spring. John Whitaker, Student ASLA, an MLA candidate at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, designed a proposal that created a memorial landscape that grows over time to unify human remains with nonhuman ecologies, promoting biological and cultural diversity and offering mourners “the continuation of a relationship that would endure over time with both their loved one and the larger site,” Whitaker says. (more…)

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BY LYDIA LEE

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

FROM THE AUGUST 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

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). Memorial stones are set into a nearby wall. The area, which is designated for green burials, is the first cemetery to earn certification under the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES). As such, the cemetery was the subject of an ASLA webinar earlier this year, available for purchase (1.0 PDH (LA CES/HSW)/1.0 GBCI SITES-Specific CE).

To date, approximately 50 landscapes have been certified through the SITES program, which was developed jointly by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden. But Nature’s Sanctuary is the first burial ground. “The model here is assisted ecological succession, where the maintenance for the site will be carried out by nature,” says Adam Supplee, ASLA, until recently a principal at Alta Planning + Design who worked on the design. “It’s more sustainable than running a lawn mower over a grave for eternity.” (more…)

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As part of an ongoing effort to make content more accessible, LAM will be making select stories available to readers in Spanish. For a full list of translated articles, please click here.

Click above for a full PDF of the translated text, with English text available below.

BY JENNIFER REUT

FROM THE JANUARY 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) has many flagship programs, but none has quite the resonance and public impact of Landslide. Since 2003, the campaign has brilliantly avoided compassion fatigue by connecting at-risk sites around a single idea or figure, a strategy that enrolls the public in the notion of cultural landscapes without lecturing. Threats to the selected landscapes and features can come through development, lack of visibility or awareness, or inappropriate usage, and making these places visible encourages the public to support and advocate for them.

This year, the campaign, titled Grounds for Democracy, is organized around civil rights. TCLF includes “sites associated with civil and human rights, women’s suffrage, the labor movement, and others.” Joining other historic and advocacy groups in highlighting the 50-year anniversary of 1968, TCLF asks the public to consider the ways landscapes absorb and reflect our imperfect and sometimes violent relationships with our most cherished values.

Landscape Architecture Magazine is the media partner for the Cultural Landscape Foundation’s Landslide 2018: Grounds for Democracy. For a complete description of each theme and project, go to www.tclf.org. (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

Nashville has a plan to preserve Fort Negley Park—one that many hope deals with its violent past.

FROM THE MAY 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Fort Negley Park, a 55-acre swath of open space two miles south of downtown Nashville, Tennessee, is most famous as the site of a prominent stone masonry fortification built during the Civil War after Union soldiers seized the city. Built out of earth and dry-stacked limestone, Fort Negley is said to be the largest inland fort constructed during the war. It helped the North retain control of Nashville and eventually win the war.

The structure itself, however, was built by nearly 3,000 African American men and women, who were “impressed” against their will—rounded up on the street or pulled out of church services, some of them as young as 13 years old. A quarter of them died, either from injury or mistreatment. They were buried near the fort, (more…)

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September’s LAM focuses on three issues in the world of education, including the questions surrounding the development of online landscape architecture degrees, the inclusion of concerns about social equity for the future of the profession, and the debate over the conversion of five-year BLA programs to four. And a rather grand renovation of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, campus by PFS Studio shows how the designers inject a modern attitude into a basic Beaux-Arts plan.

In this month’s departments, the city of Austin undertakes some creative master planning of four municipal cemeteries to combine history with a revenue source for future maintenance; Future Green Studio in Brooklyn is  designing with weeds; and two water-focused landscape designs involving Atelier Dreiseitl stress the need for an understanding of local ecology. And don’t miss our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for September can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 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 September articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Learning Curves,” Hover Collective; “Graveyard Shift,” McDoux Preservation; “In the Weeds,” Tod Seelie; “Keep it Up,” Atelier Dreiseitl.

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