Posts Tagged ‘Eucalyptus’

ON BRAZIL’S BEHALF

BY CATHERINE SEAVITT NORDENSON, ASLA

Araucárias, Paraná, ca. 1884. Photo by Marc Ferrez/Gilberto Ferrez Collection/Instituto Moreira Salles.

 FROM THE OCTOBER 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Speaking out against the military dictatorship of Brazil during the late 1960s and early 1970s had definite risks. Politicians, human rights advocates, artists, and intellectuals who publicly opposed the right-wing government’s programs of hyperdevelopment did so under threat of arrest, imprisonment, torture, and death. Many fled into exile. Roberto Burle Marx, the Brazilian landscape architect (1909–1994), had been a public figure for decades when, three years after the 1964 coup, he was appointed by the dictatorship’s first president, Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, to a 24-member national cultural council. For Burle Marx, the decision to join the council was ethically freighted. He accepted with one clear objective: to save the Brazilian landscape.

In a new book, Depositions: Roberto Burle Marx and Public Landscapes Under Dictatorship (University of Texas Press, 2018), Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, ASLA, brings forth a series of 18 frankly activist speeches, or depositions, that Burle Marx delivered as a member of the council. They target, among other things, the unchecked destruction of Brazil’s forests for raw materials and agriculture. He surveyed the progression of environmental tragedy with a deep knowledge of botany and ecology, an intricate alertness to policy, and always appealing to a Brazilian pride in its national landscape patrimony.

“The way I read his depositions, Burle Marx is positioning an argument that’s against the economic development theory of the regime,” Seavitt Nordenson told me recently. “Sometimes they listen to him and sometimes they don’t. But he’s on the inside and he’s arguing passionately, because he’s been working on the cultural project of the Brazilian landscape for so long.” Seavitt Nordenson notes that in these speeches of 50 years ago, Burle Marx touches on two huge problems of today, anthropogenic impacts affecting climate and the loss of biodiversity. “They’re very clear—they’re jocular speeches, often funny, and have so much spontaneity—and he manages to communicate a serious message to an audience that has significant political power.”

This excerpt of Depositions includes a brief introduction by Seavitt Nordenson to three depositions on forests, followed by her translations of the depositions themselves.

 —Bradford McKee

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February’s issue of LAM minces no words, starting with Fred A. Bernstein, who talks with female landscape architects whose firms listed as women business enterprises, or WBE’s, can sometimes attract jobs that make them feel as if they’re on board only to fill a quota; Jerry van Eyck, ASLA, a Dutch landscape architect who transplanted himself to New York, is making his mark in North America with !melk, his firm of four years that has public space and park business projects as lively as his character; and the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s grand new building by Herzog & de Meuron and ethereal hanging gardens by Patrick Blanc become backdrops to the small yet thoughtful designs of ArquitectonicaGEO, which repurpose the neglected Miami waterfront with native plantings and innovative flood control.

In Now, Camden, New Jersey, proves that park renovations don’t always have to be expensive. In Water, Anne Raver follows up our earlier coverage of Owens Lake in California, where an official decision has now been reached on how to tamp down the toxic dust blowing off the dried lake bed. Planning takes a look at the wave of the future in ecodistricts; House Call visits a picturesque vineyard by Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture, which won a 2014 ASLA Honor Award in Residential Design; and in The Back, the long forgotten Älvsjö Flatbed, produced by James Corner a generation ago, reveals a design language ahead of its time. All this plus our regular Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for February 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 February articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “A Hand Up, A Hand Down,” Greeen/Shutterstock.com; “!melk Man, Jerry van Eyck,” Patrick Pantano; “Soft Landing,” Robin Hill/Courtesy ArquitectonicaGEO; “For A Song,” Sikora Wells Appel and Group Melvin Design; “The Dust Settlement,” Nuvis Landscape Architecture and Planning; “What Ecodistricts Need,” GBD Architects; “Among the Vines,” Matthew Millman Photography; “Everything on the Table,” Pierre Bélanger, ASLA.

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