Posts Tagged ‘Cool Spaces!’

Shauna Gillies-Smith talks to  Cool Spaces host Stephen Chung about the Nelson Atkins Museum's landscape. Photo: Shauna Gillies-Smith

Shauna Gillies-Smith talks to Cool Spaces!  host Stephen Chung about the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s landscape. Photo: Shauna Gillies-Smith

The landscape architect Shauna Gillies-Smith has worked on only a handful of episodes of Cool Spaces! The Best New Architecture, a new PBS series focused on new architecture, but she’s not worried that landscape architecture is getting the short shift. The show’s host, Stephen Chung, was a classmate of Gillies-Smith at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and she says she is confident that he is sufficiently “interested in the allied disciplines.” The show, now premiering in local television markets, is organized around different typologies—the first few episodes have themes such as “Performance Spaces,” “Libraries,” or “Healing Spaces”—and focuses on three major new projects per episode. Although landscape architecture is not yet a featured theme, Gillies-Smith has been on screen or behind the scenes for some of the projects, and she’s a big believer in exposing the nondesign audience to design. “It’s as much an advocacy project as a beautiful interesting project about design” she says.

Gillies-Smith, who is the founding principal of ground  in Boston, is one of a team of experts whom Chung may interview on screen; the team may also include an engineer, a lighting designer, or an acoustician, depending on the project. Each expert talks about a different aspect of the project and tries to make it comprehensible to the general audience. “So, for example, I spoke on two different projects,” Gillies-Smith says. “One was the Nelson-Atkins Museum, and in that project it comes down to something very, very simple: the idea that the land was constructed.” Gillies-Smith walks the viewer through the way the landscape was shaped to accommodate a Dan Kiley garden next to the museum’s Stephen Holl addition: “The addition has a very strongly sculpted landscape that is primarily creating space so the building can poke out of the ground like a series of lanterns. A very simple idea, that the landscape was built around the buildings,”  she told us.

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