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Posts Tagged ‘Sasaki Associates’

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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From We Declare in the May 2016 issue, five landscape architects, scholars, and advocates revisit “A Declaration of Concern” for the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s 50th anniversary celebration.

 

INTO AN ERA OF LANDSCAPE HUMANISM

BY GINA FORD, ASLA

Fifty years ago, the voice of our profession was eerily prescient, undeniably smart, and powerfully inspired. It was also, let’s admit it, almost entirely white and male.

I note this with no disrespect to the six incredible leaders of our profession who penned the Declaration of Concern. Clearly, their call—to reconcile the needs of humankind with sound knowledge and respect for the natural processes of our environment—is as relevant (or even more so) today as it was then. Equally, their edict for landscape architects to command the technical skill sets associated with natural resources and processes—geology, physiography, climatology, ecolog—remains of vital importance.

Yet, as we look forward and consider the significance of climate change, demographic shifts, and income inequality, the Declaration’s “man” as nature’s antagonist feels strangely abstract and incomplete. To maintain relevance over the next 50 years, the profession needs to (more…)

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BY FRED A. BERNSTEIN

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Daniel Biederman sweats all the details in a crusade to make parks that work.

From the December 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Daniel Biederman’s desire to improve America’s parks has him patrolling green spaces from Santa Monica to Boston, issuing complaints about everything from a messy bicycle rack weld (“it looks like Play-Doh”) to the quantity of caution tape around an out-of-order bathroom (“people will think it’s a crime scene”). When he is in Manhattan, in his office overlooking Bryant Park, he tries to speak with each of his employees daily—he describes it as essential to their professional development. (“I have to build them up so they can interact with clients.”) But, as in the business of renovating parks, building up often involves tearing down. During a weekly meeting of his business improvement district minions, Biederman browbeat one employee over how he approached newspaper circulation executives (who, he explained, “are former truck drivers, with IQs of 97”); corrected the grammar of another; and ordered his social media team never to tell him a mention of one of his parks had “gone viral,” which he dismissed as a cliché. Instead, he told the team, “Give me real data.”

Asked about his tough leadership style, Biederman later said, “I can’t have kindergarten.”

He also can’t achieve (more…)

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June’s issue of LAM looks at the tough choices that landscape architecture firms, such as Sasaki Associates and OLIN, must face when updating for a new era; the rustic landscape of a house in Northern California by Lutsko Associates, a winner of a 2013 ASLA Professional Honor Award; and we visit New York City’s biggest secret, Governors Island, the first phase of which opened to the public last year with designs by West8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture.

In departments, Michael Cannell interviews the computer scientist Ioannis Karamouzas about the anticipatory nature of people in crowds; New York State’s new “unwanted” list of invasive plants, fish, invertebrates, and vertebrates outright bans the use of some fan favorites; and Louisville’s tree canopy is disappearing by approximately 54,000 trees a year, according to a new report by the Davey Resource Group. All this plus our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for June 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 June articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Treasure Island,” © Iwan Baan; “The Shelter of Oaks,” Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA; “Crowd Computing,” Ioannis Karamouzas; “Don’t Bring It Here,” “Flowering Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) Somewhere in Massachusetts, USA” by Liz West is licensed under CC by 2.0; “A Canopy in Crisis,” Courtesy Davey Resource Group.

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Of the 1,000 urbanites surveyed nationwide, 47% said they preferred a cities waterfront space. Image courtesy of Sasaki Associates.

Of the 1,000 urbanites surveyed, 47 percent said they preferred their city waterfront to other open spaces. Image courtesy of Sasaki Associates.

America’s move toward urban living can be seen as a step toward a more sustainable future, but it also unearths a host of questions for the people who must design these spaces. What are the things people living and working in these urban environments gravitate toward? How might that change based on what kind of city they live in? These questions stick with the designer on their endless drive to envision the ideal balance of humans, urban environment, and nature. Sasaki Associates recently published research on these questions in a report called The State of the City Experience, and it turns out some of the answers depend on who you’re asking.

Sasaki surveyed 1,000 urbanites, ranging in age and income, from six cities across the United States (Austin, Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.). They were asked about four aspects of the urban environment—architecture, activities, parks and open spaces, and transportation—what they currently thought of their urban environment and what they would like to see in the future. “What is written about on cities is from the perspective of the designer, and we were interested in what people experience in the city, what the public might say about how we design city spaces…and how their experience might inform how we think about the design of cities,” said Gina Ford, chair of Sasaki Associates’s Urban Studio.

There are many interesting finds in the report: For example, of the 1,000 respondents, 47 percent said the waterfront was their favorite open space in the city, including landlocked Austin. But a surprising find, according to Ford, was that a whopping 65 percent said their favorite city experiences happened in either an open space or on the street. “[It] is incredibly edifying as a landscape architect, because so much emphasis recently has been put on public realm, [and] investments, as a way of increasing attraction and retention of workforce and identity of cities,” said Ford. “It kind of positions architecture as a supporting player, maybe something that reinforces community but doesn’t necessarily create it. A lot of times people think it’s a building project that’s going to enhance the identity of a city; now we have data that it’s landscape.”

For more information on the report, The State of the City Experience, contact Sasaki Associates at info@sasaki.com.

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BY ELIZABETH S. PADJEN

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HIgh-tide scenarios for a storm in 2050, and potential location of future design strategies. Courtesy Sasaki Associates.

Can Boston take action—enough action—to protect itself from rising waters before the next big storm? Or will the city tragically require its own Katrina or Sandy in order to muster the will to protect itself against repeated catastrophe?

Those were the questions in play at the “Sea Change: Boston” symposium on April 26, cohosted by Sasaki Associates and the Boston Architectural College. Sea-level rise is no idle threat in this city: If Superstorm Sandy had hit five hours earlier, at high tide, flood waters could have extended to City Hall. Boston is vulnerable to storm surges of both hurricanes and nor’easters, which could hit on top of sea levels that are projected to rise 1 to 2 feet by 2050 and 3 to 6 feet by 2100.

(more…)

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