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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

Landscape architects are visualizing the future of renewable energy.

Landscape architects are visualizing the future of renewable energy.

FROM THE MARCH 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

I first began to see the signs outside Sioux City, Iowa, along Interstate 29. They were white with big black letters: “Have Pride in Our Community.” The words were arranged around a central graphic of a wind turbine circumscribed by a red circle, a diagonal line through the middle. Just beyond the signs, and the farmhouses whose owners had put them up, were the real thing. Dozens of them. Giant, spinning turbines as far as the eye could see. Their presence gave the homes a sense of existing in occupied territory.

Wind turbines—and opposition to them—are an increasingly common reality, not just in Iowa but throughout the United States. According to Department of Energy statistics, wind energy generation quadrupled from 2001 to 2006 and did so again by 2011. By 2015, the United States was producing 190 million megawatt hours of energy by harnessing the wind, compared to just 5.5 million megawatt hours in 2000. Most of this capacity has been constructed in the heart of the country, where wind is plentiful. Iowa, with an installed capacity of 6,917 megawatts, is the national leader when it comes to in-state wind energy generation. Wind accounts for 36 percent of the state’s energy needs.

Assuming that the United States continues to devote land and other resources to large-scale wind and solar power (and experts believe it will, despite the election of Donald Trump, owing to market pressures), (more…)

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Many eyes are hungrily on the Arctic. The polar region is opening to resource hunters and shippers who see huge advantages in the unfortunate loss of its ice. Heavier development will inevitably find its way north, with enormous impact to ecology and indigenous societies. This month, Jessica Bridger, a LAM contributing editor, reports on the research by Leena Cho and Matthew Jull and their Arctic Design Group. Cho is an assistant professor of landscape architecture and Jull is an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Virginia. They have taken landscape and architecture students to Svalbard, about as north as the settled north gets, to study urbanization patterns and develop design responses to the environmental challenges of industry amid the receding ice and shifting permafrost—signs of much more to come.

In Catalonia, Tim Waterman views the city of Girona as the landscape architect Martí Franch has connected it—humanely, narratively—through removal of vegetation that opens up views and creates connections. It’s as much an act of radical maintenance as it is design. And in El Paso, Mark Hough, FASLA, considers the University of Texas campus newly designed by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects of Austin. It regenerates the desert site (with its Bhutanese architecture) with the vigor you would expect from Christine Ten Eyck, FASLA. In the Back section, Anne Whiston Spirn, FASLA, writes on the work of the artists Helen and Newton Harrison and its suggestive flow into landscape architecture. And in Books, Julia Czerniak reviews The Course of Landscape Architecture by Christophe Girot.

In Now, read about postcoal scenarios for Utah and new moves in Scandinavian urbanism. The Office section asks firms about their collaboration software setups. In Water, Sasaki has helped Cedar Rapids, Iowa, get ready for its next big flood. In Tech, we have the intriguing potential of 3-D scanning for landscapes. And in Goods this month, we have fences—but only nice, almost come-hither fences. The full table of contents for January can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 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 January articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Permafrost Urbanists,” Jessica Bridger; “It’s About Time,” Estudi Martí Franch; “Desert Bloom,” Adam Barbe, ASLA; “Second Chances,” Sasaki; “Infinite Mapping,” Tommy Jordan; “Sharing Is Wearing,” Norris Design; “The Art of Inquiry, Manifestation, and Enactment,” Piet Janmaat

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By Zach Mortice

The 2008 flooding in eastern Iowa saw the Cedar River crest at 31 feet, inundating much of downtown Cedar Rapids. Image courtesy of Sasaki.

On the morning of Jun 12, 2008, the landscape architects Gina Ford, ASLA, and Jason Hellendrung, ASLA, of Sasaki woke up in their hotel rooms by the riverside in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to stifling heat and eerie silence. They were in town to pitch their riverfront master plan to the city council. They knew the Cedar River was expected to flood (and had stocked up on water, granola bars, and bananas just in case) but neither expected any sort of ordeal stemming from the river, which they had come hoping to reimagine as a lively and gregarious urban greenway. The power, air-conditioning, and phones were out. The hallways were empty and pitch black, and a ferocious rainstorm had darkened the skies and pushed the encroaching floodwaters. Reaching each other via cell phone, they discussed their options. In the distance, the Quaker Oats cereal mill plant’s red neon sign was still lit. “It can’t be that bad,” said Hellendrung. “They still have electricity.”

“As I said that, there was a bolt of thunder and lightning, and the sign went out. Then I was like, ‘Maybe the police will get here soon?’”

Police did dispatch rescuers, who led Ford and Hellendrung out of the hotel. A second-floor connection to the convention center (more…)

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