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Posts Tagged ‘Foster + Partners’

LETHAL GLASS LANDSCAPES

BY JEFF LINK

A proposed building and landscape ordinance could shape the future of bird-friendly design in Chicago.

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

On a mild Friday in early May, Ted Wolff took a personal day and drove to the Ballard Nature Center in Altamont, Illinois, to catch a glimpse of Lewis’s woodpecker, a nearly foot-long, pink- and white-breasted bird native to the western United States. Along with two other Chicago birders, Wolff, the garrulous, white-bearded principal of Wolff Landscape Architecture, was on a “twitch,” an English expression for pursuing a bird in a geographic area where it is rarely seen.

Early that morning, an Illinois Rare Bird Alert reported that the woodpecker—named after the explorer Meriwether Lewis, who first saw the bird on his expedition with William Clark—had been seen at the nature center. It was reason enough for Wolff to clear his docket. Before long, the three birders were driving south to be among the first people to see the bird in Illinois, outside its historic range.

When they entered the nature center’s indoor viewing area, the woodpecker was already perched on a platform feeder—a “walk-up,” in birder’s parlance—eating shelled peanuts in front of a one-way reflective plate glass window. They watched it peck at the platform for several minutes, then fly to a hackberry with a peanut wedged in its bill, pausing before circling back to the feeder.

“At some point, though,” Wolff told me later in his office on the sixth floor of the Old Republic Building on North Michigan Avenue, “it flies over toward the feeder and overshoots and flies into the window. I think it sees its own reflection and it sort of pulls up and touches the window lightly and is able to fly off.”

Many birds are not so lucky. Ornithologists estimate that up to a billion birds, often migratory birds listed as species of conservation concern, die in building collisions in the United States annually—collisions that Wolff says are largely preventable, and deaths that warrant a stronger response from landscape architects as advocates for bird-friendly design. (more…)

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BY ALEX ULAM

From Los Angeles, Charles Anderson tackles the site of a lifetime at the old Athens airport.

From Los Angeles, Charles Anderson, FASLA, tackles the site of a lifetime at the old Athens airport.

From the March 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

The Hellinikon, an enormous area on the outskirts of Athens, Greece, is testament to how rapidly man-made forms literally can go to seed. From a hillside overgrown with unruly purple bougainvillea, you can see hundreds of structures in various states of decay across a vast expanse that terminates at a highway along the Aegean Sea. Just below, clumps of scrub grass have thrust their way up between stadium seating overlooking a complex of structures that includes a series of moldering concrete ramps built for a 2004 Summer Olympics kayaking event.

Near the decaying Olympic venues are the sprawling remains of the former Hellinikon International Airport. These include the ghostly, white-columned terminal for international flights designed by Eero Saarinen. Today, this modernist interpretation of Greek temple architecture is fenced off, and through the broken windows under its porticos, you can see rubble. The concrete runways are cracked, and they have large puddles, oases for seagulls and packs of wild dogs. Security guards cruise around in unmarked cars; they are the only other people anyone is likely to find on the grounds. Next to the terminal is a row of jets, several with retractable stairs attached. At first they look as though (more…)

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