Tag Archives: Featured

More Virtuous Circles

Prodded by new laws, designers join France’s emerging circular economy.

By Ilana Cohen

A detail by Wagon Landscaping shows an asphalt topcoat transformed into mulch. Photo by Yann Monel.

Architecture 2030 estimates that the embodied carbon of materials will account for 72 percent of emissions associated with new construction between now and 2030. The Sustainable SITES Initiative further underscores the importance of materials in the landscape context, as their selection accounts for up to 41 of 200 possible points in the project rating system—more than any other section. Worldwide, designers are looking for ways to create meaningful landscapes with lower carbon footprints through smart material choices. One approach is the reuse and recycling of construction materials. While such strategies are used in the United States, reuse is often rejected as expensive, logistically complicated, and difficult to implement in traditional design projects. But in France, reuse is becoming mainstream, and landscape designers are developing innovative approaches to reuse in new projects and recycling materials that cannot be reused. Continue reading More Virtuous Circles

Destination Danville 

A rural city bets on water access and landscape amenities as the keys to economic revitalization.

By Kim O’Connell

The project coincides with a decision to remove a defunct hydraulic dam.
The project coincides with a decision to remove a defunct hydraulic dam. Photo courtesy City of Danville.

Throughout its history, Danville, Virginia, has been a pass-through city—a place where people and products were often headed someplace else. Located on the North Carolina border, this small industrial city is bifurcated by the Dan River but remains largely cut off from it. Continue reading Destination Danville 

Rest Easier

Hoerr Schaudt’s revamped entry to Graceland Cemetery helps visitors slow down.

By Zach Mortice

A truncated patch of asphalt and two small parking lots marked the original entrance.
A truncated patch of asphalt and two small parking lots marked the original entrance. Photo courtesy Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects.

“If there’s a street named after someone in Chicago, they are likely buried at Graceland,” says Joshua Bauman, ASLA, a senior associate at Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects in Chicago. Founded in 1860 and the eternal home to many of the city’s greatest heroes, scoundrels, industrialists, and politicians, Graceland Cemetery also hosts national figures, such as the first Black champion heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson, and a concentration of architects (Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) that makes it a pilgrimage for design mavens. Continue reading Rest Easier

Book Review: Little Thrills

Letting Play Bloom: Designing Nature-Based Risky Play for Children

By Lolly Tai; Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2022; 240 pages, $50.

Reviewed by Lisa Casey, ASLA


The playground manufacturer Richter Spielgeräte, who worked on Slide Hill at Governors Island in New York City, wanted a product to help “make children strong and support them.” This simple statement in the opening case study of Letting Play Bloom: Designing Nature-Based Risky Play for Children evinces a philosophy contrary to the idea that children are fragile beings in need of protection. It’s an idea that echoes an idea from the essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who identifies that some entities are “antifragile.” A teacup is fragile, particularly in the hands of a toddler. A plastic cup, however, is resilient when thrown on the floor. But antifragile is entirely different: a system that grows stronger under stress. Children are antifragile in that their muscles, bones, and minds need appropriate stress in a supportive context to grow strong. Without it, they fail to thrive. Continue reading Book Review: Little Thrills

Close Encounters

Students in Spain bring the biodiversity of the tree canopy down to the ground.

By Zach Mortice

Designed and built by IAAC students, the observatory is sited to maximize exposure to different tree species.
Designed and built by IAAC students, the observatory is sited to maximize exposure to different tree species. Image by Forest Lab for Observational Research and Analysis (FLORA) © IAAC.

In 2022, a group of 18 students at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) had the rare experience of designing and building their own school’s research facility. Rising 30 feet above a hillside site amid the dense forest canopy of Barcelona’s Collserola Natural Park, the Forest Lab for Observational Research and Analysis (FLORA) is a mass timber observation tower that will allow students to observe and catalog the park’s biodiversity, specifically the organisms that make their home in the forest canopy. Continue reading Close Encounters

Claude Cormier: Hell of Fun

As the news of Claude Cormier’s death touched us, we look back to a profile we published in 2020. A remembrance of Cormier’s legacy and life is available on the Cultural Landscape Foundation website.

-September 15, 2023

By Brian Barth

Claude Cormier, ASLA, designed bridges, which double as romantic viewing platforms, over the entrances to a pair of underground parking decks. Photo by Jean-François Savaria.

When Claude Cormier, ASLA, and I pull up to Dorchester Square in Montreal, a man is leaning against the grand fountain, with its three Victorian bowls, all painted a very Victorian shade of green, smoking a cigarette. When we get out of the car, I realize it’s not a cigarette, but a joint. Continue reading Claude Cormier: Hell of Fun

Backstory: What’s Behind the Redesign?

A Fresh look for the ASLA Awards issue emerges from dozens of almosts.

“I realized we needed to take a big step back and think about how we were presenting our awards to our readers. We were presenting them as one large object instead of individual objects. The main thing was that we needed a color structure that would allow the reader to jump around and know where they were.”

—Chris McGee, Art Director

Continue reading Backstory: What’s Behind the Redesign?