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As part of an ongoing effort to make content more accessible, LAM will be making select stories available to readers in Spanish. For a full list of translated articles, please click here.

BY JESSICA BRIDGER

FROM THE JANUARY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

It is likely you have never heard of Paul Mathews, but if you ski it is probable that you have been on a slope that he had a hand in designing. In 1975, he founded Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners, “Ecosign” being a portmanteau of ecology and design. Whistler, the downhill and backcountry ski hub in British Columbia, has been his home turf since the 1970s, and Ecosign has worked on more than 400 ski resorts around the world.

Mathews was responding to the state of skiing in the 1970s when he founded Ecosign. Ski areas had evolved over the years, some growing from ad hoc paths down the sides of mountains into massive areas, choked by car traffic on the weekends, full of stairs and narrow, poorly designed ski slopes, or pistes, with disorganized ski villages at their base. Infrastructure was insufficient; environmental degradation was rife. Some resorts were made by tearing into the landscape, moving large amounts of rock and soil, cutting excessive numbers of trees, ignoring flora and fauna. Few undertook adequate transportation planning to handle weekly visitor flows. Other ski areas suffered from fragmented ownership, with multiple operators in single small town or village settings, hampering the investment needed to keep facilities modern and ensure longevity and employment. Four decades after founding Ecosign, Mathews knows what to do with both challenges—how to plan for sustainable futures and growth and how to establish completely new ski resorts in places that have none. The company is about 20 people and includes landscape architects, architects, engineers, soil scientists, and MBAs, among others, who work around the world from Ecosign’s base at Whistler. “There is lot of work in China, the Balkans, Turkey—anywhere where they have mountains, snow, and incomes that are rising,” Mathews says. (more…)

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January’s issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine does a global scan to see how different countries tackle familiar problems. In Europe, the writer Michael Dumiak travels across Switzerland, where almost every corner of the country is accessible by public transportation. An ocean away, efforts to mitigate the effects of future disasters ramp up after the devastating tsunami that rocked Japan’s shores in 2011.  San Francisco has required downtown projects to add privately owned public spaces since 1985. But private ownership can sometimes make it hard for the public to find, much less access, these spaces that are meant for the public.

In Materials, SiteWorks’s Andrew Lavallee, FASLA, details common problems and remedies for natural and human-made edging in the landscape. In Water, lessons in evolving a moribund cranberry bog into its former glory as an ecologically productive wetland. And in Interview, planner Damon Rich discusses his firm’s work and his recent MacArthur Fellowship. All this plus the regular Now and Goods columns. 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 posting January articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “New Roots,” Nate Berg; “Public, with an Asterisk,” Kyle Jeffers; “Clockwork,” Michael Dumiak; “Exit Strategy,” Nick Nelson, Inter-Fluve; “Trouble on the Edge,” James Dudley, ASLA, SiteWorks; “A Force for People,” John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

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The things our art director, Chris McGee, hated to leave out of the current issue of LAM.

Credit: Jessica Bridger.

One of Zurich’s badis, Seebad Enge, at night. Credit: Thomas O. Maurer.

From “Everybody Into the Pool!” by Jessica Bridger, in the June 2015 issue, featuring Zurich’s beloved public bathing places called badi.

“The splashes of color shimmering on the water makes this image seem as though it’s vibrating with the sounds of music and laughter.”

—Chris McGee, LAM Art Director

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.

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BY JESSICA BRIDGER

In Zurich, the quest for something cool ends at the nearest badi.

In Zurich, the quest for something cool ends at the nearest badi.

From the June 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

It is hard not to feel extremely self-satisfied on a late summer afternoon in Zurich, relaxing in the sun. Not only because you perhaps just closed a multibillion euro-Swiss franc M&A deal but because you know that you live in a modern fairy-tale paradise of a city. Where else can you lie out suntanning on a weathered wooden deck, dark aquamarine lake sloshing under you, glass of rosé at your side, steps away from your office in the heart of the city? Zurich is an amazing city for many reasons, and the public baths, known as badis, along the river and lake are certainly not the least of them. If they sometimes seem as perfect as a mid-1990s Abercrombie & Fitch photo shoot with a European city backdrop, this is because they largely are. But this is no accident of urban fortune, nor is it an example of mysterious Swiss superiority. Zurich is a place that leveraged its fortunate position on a lake early, and from its hygienic beginnings to its recreational present, steps were taken to ensure high environmental and open space quality. All with a healthy dash of Swiss sophisticate lifestyle mixed in the blue-green watery bliss.

And what water it is. It is clean enough to swim in on a hot summer day. It is potable—Lake Zurich currently provides 70 percent of the city’s drinking water. It is clean enough to make ice cubes. It would seem to be alpine fortune, an accidental natural wonder, blissfully free of industrial and human effluent. Actually, starting in the mid-1970s, water treatment effectively reduced pollutants, including algae-blooming phosphorus, sickening E. coli, and chemical and biological contaminants. Water treatment plants, overflow sewers, and industrial pre-treatment transformed the water from typical urban filth to drinking water. As cities across the globe shift their focus to waterfronts as a public amenity instead of a site of industry, reclaiming urban space, Zurich’s badis have the power to inspire. Swiss bathing culture is deeply embedded, with everyone from former Swiss National Bank chairmen eating popsicles at Seebad Enge to teens and grandparents building sand castles alongside whiny toddlers. (more…)

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