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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

Floridians are rallying to restore a rare Dan Kiley landscape, starting with 800 trees.

FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

On June 17, 1988, life changed for Laurie Potier-Brown, ASLA. She was living in Tampa, Florida, and working in marketing while also pursuing an MBA. Her company’s offices were located downtown, near the new NationsBank tower, Harry Wolf’s now-iconic concrete silo of an office building. That Friday, during her lunch break, Potier-Brown ventured down to the park that had just opened in conjunction with the building. She walked under the plexiglass-bottomed canal and up into the cool, leafy garden, and as she wandered through the grove of flowering crape myrtles and listened to the “gurgling of water running in the rills,” Potier-Brown says she decided to abandon everything—her job in marketing, her MBA—and become a landscape architect.

Thirty years later, Potier-Brown is part of a group working to help restore the park that so profoundly altered her career. Today it is known as Kiley Garden after its lead designer, the renowned modernist Dan Kiley—though for those who remember it, the garden is barely recognizable. Its 800 crape myrtles are gone, as are its allées of sabal palms. The clear-bottomed canal has been removed, and the reflecting pools one once crossed have been paved over. “They’re literally parking cars where the reflecting pools were,” says Christian Leon, the director of a local nonprofit and a supporter of the garden’s restoration. “There’s an entire parking garage underneath!” (more…)

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BY BRIAN BARTH

A flood-friendly park re-creates a resilient landscape in Calgary’s Bow River.

FROM THE JANUARY 2020 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In the summer of 2013, catastrophic flooding in southern Alberta killed five people and forced 100,000 to evacuate. With $6 billion in property damage, it was one of the costliest natural disasters in Canadian history. The swollen Bow River, which flows from glacial headwaters in the Rockies to Calgary, left much of the city’s urban core underwater. The inundated area included St. Patrick’s Island, one of several islands in the downtown stretch of the river, where Barbara Wilks, FASLA, and Mark Johnson, FASLA, had just kicked off construction on a new 31-acre park. A new pedestrian bridge to the island, which was partially built at the time, suffered significant damage. But for the park itself, Wilks and Johnson—the founders of W Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Civitas, respectively—say the floodwaters provided positive reinforcement of their design.

This was not the initial reaction, however, of the folks at the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), their client.

“Our client called and said, ‘Oh, God, you have to get up here; we’re going to have to change the design,’” said Johnson as he, Wilks, and I strolled across the bridge to the completed park on a clear spring day.

“The whole island flooded!’” Wilks recalled members of the CMLC team saying in an urgent and distressed call. “We said, ‘It’s going to be fine; there’s nothing to change. We designed it to flood—this is what’s supposed to happen.’” (more…)

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