Posts Tagged ‘sandstone’

LAM is highlighting student and professional winners from the 2021 ASLA Awards by asking designers to share an outtake that tells an important part of their project’s narrative.


Natural History Museum of Utah: A Museum Without Walls

Design Workshop

General Design Award of Excellence

Image courtesy Design Workshop, Inc.

“The Natural History Museum rests at the threshold of urban and natural lands. An early parti sketch illustrates how the multistory modern building embeds itself into the steep hillside, each level offering an opportunity to visually and physically engage with the natural landscape through abstracted tectonic-like interventions that extend the interior program and use.” 

                                         —Mike Albert, Design Workshop 


About  the Natural History Museum of Utah:

With a location chosen for its cross section of geological, ecological, and cultural landscape features, the Natural History Museum of Utah landscape contains 180 feet of elevation change on a 17-acre site in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains. The design team divided the sloping site with locally sourced red sandstone gabion walls, and seeds collected from plants disturbed by the building’s construction were planted when the dust settled. The museum’s environmental features include a campus with one of Utah’s largest solar panel installations, a green roof, and two 10,000-gallon cisterns for irrigation. With grading and revegetation, 90 percent of the site’s disturbed area was restored. At the museum, a set of monolithic boulders tells the story of the region’s geologic history in blazing heat, unending pressure, and epochs of time, and a “land terrace” works as an outdoor classroom backed by glass that reflects its powerfully beautiful surroundings. A mirror to the mountain, the museum’s landscape is also built with the same geologic building blocks as the Wasatch Range itself, bringing its meditation on place, time, and perspective full circle.

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The Barangaroo Reserve transforms Sydney Harbour’s old industrial landscape.



When I was a child growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, my understanding of landscape was one of changing purpose. Cornfields were converted into housing subdivisions and office parks. Old winding roads were straightened, thickened with extra lanes, and punctuated by traffic lights. It was the small discoveries—an arrowhead in the garden, a bullet lodged in a tree—that revealed the older stories of these fractured landscapes. The layers of roads, power lines, and strip malls made any trace of a site’s earlier history difficult to imagine.

But what if we were to allow a landscape to break free from the confines of concrete curbs, smooth out its industrial wrinkles, and pluck off architectural blemishes in an effort to recapture a semblance of its younger, more picturesque self? Where injections of earth and rock serve as the Botox for an aging landscape, erasing the creases of human development in favor of a more natural topography. So begins the story of Barangaroo Reserve in Sydney, Australia. (more…)

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An Australian town decides what to do with a spent quarry.


Hornsby Quarry is like many quarries that roared with life in the 19th and 20th centuries and then suddenly fell silent because their resources were tapped out or became too expensive to extract. It is deserted today. The quarry, in Hornsby, New South Wales, Australia, has for a generation remained “the big hole in the ground”—300 meters roughly square, 100 meters to the bottom—and a major safety hazard that Hornsby Shire was forced to buy at the market rate of AU$25 million (about $16 million U.S.) after CSR Limited, a private company, ceased extracting hard rock basalt for road base material and gravel in 2001.

The Hornsby Shire Council acquired the quarry in 2002. Because it was built before reclamation laws and it was zoned as Local Public Recreation Land (technically called Open Space A) by the New South Wales Environmental Planning Act in 1994, CSR had no obligation to mitigate the site before ceasing operations, and the Shire was required by state legislation to buy it back. The huge cost of the land, set by the solicitor general, was ultimately reduced in court by AU$9 million, but the final price still cost each rate-holder (taxpayer) approximately $50 per year, for a total of 10 years, says Kurt Henkel, a landscape coordinator at Hornsby Shire.

The quarry will not remain dormant, however. Its stories—physical, historical, geographical—parallel the long development of Australia and are about to get a bold retelling. The vision for Hornsby Quarry (more…)

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