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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.

Click above for a full PDF of the translated text with English text available below.

BY BRIAN BARTH

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

In March of 2016, the landscape architect Ron Henderson, FASLA, had the rare opportunity to visit Mcity, the autonomous vehicle research center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His entourage, which included Nilay Mistry, ASLA, as well as an architect, a transportation engineer, a social scientist, and an attorney, signed in at a gatehouse worthy of a military facility. They were then relieved of all cameras and recording devices—“It’s like a top-secret corporate espionage kind of place,” Henderson says—before being escorted on a brief tour of a 16-acre test track composed of every road condition imaginable: bridges, tunnels, gravel roads, bike lanes, railroad crossings, roundabouts, graffiti-defaced road signs, faded lane markings, a main street with parallel parking, and a short stretch of freeway. “They even have a little Potemkin village of fake storefronts,” Henderson says.

At Mcity, a consortium of academic researchers, government agencies, and corporate entities are sorting out how to make autonomous transportation a reality. Henderson was surprised to learn that trees may not be part of the equation. “We learned that vegetation interferes with the signals between the cars,” he says. “So they cut down the trees at the test track. One of the engineers jokingly said to us, ‘If we had our druthers, we would just cut down all the trees.’ The landscape architects in the group (more…)

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BY JAMES TRULOVE

Back from a dozen years in London, the designer is focusing on climate and the world she has made her home.

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM “MARTHA SCHWARTZ, RECONNECTING” IN THE JULY 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE. FOR THE FULL ARTICLE, PLEASE SEE THE MAGAZINE.

Martha Schwartz, FASLA, and her business partner and husband, Markus Jatsch, last year relocated from London to Brooklyn, though the London office remains the headquarters of their firm, Martha Schwartz Partners. Schwartz continues to teach at the Harvard Graduate School of Design—though her projects have taken her firm just about everywhere but the United States. James Trulove, a former editor of LAM, who has known Schwartz for years, joined her and Jatsch, who is trained as an architect, for a conversation to find out what prompted the move and where Schwartz is directing her design and teaching now.

James Trulove: You now have offices in New York, London, and Shanghai. I guess there are many opportunities for a landscape architect in China given the enormous amount of construction that is taking place. What is it like to work there?

Schwartz: Unfortunately the quality of much of the built work is poor, (more…)

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The battle to document and save old trees that may have once marked Native American trails.

Congratulations to Timothy A. Schuler, editor of LAM’s NOW section and a frequent contributor to the magazine. He is the 2017 recipient of the Forest History Society’s John M. Collier Award for Forest History Journalism, which recognizes excellence in reporting on forest or conservation history. Tim’s winning article, “Searching for a Sign”—about the strangely bent trees once used as trail markers by Native Americans—originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of LAM.

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

The battle to document and save old trees that may have once marked native American trails.

The battle to document and save old trees that may have once marked native American trails.

 From the November 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine

Six months before the stock market crash that plunged the country into the Great Depression, Richard Gloede, a landscape architect and the owner of a nursery in Evanston, Illinois, wrote a letter to General Abel Davis, the chair of the Cook County Forest Preserve’s advisory committee. He implored Davis for help in protecting the “old Indian trail trees” along the shores of Lake Michigan. “I have located on the North Shore alone over one hundred and have photographed, measured them according to size, condition, which way they point by compass, etc.,” Gloede wrote in a letter dated March 22, 1929. “It seems to me that these trees should be put in the best of care and kept so.”

The trees in question, often referred to as trail marker trees, would not have been hard to find. Each made two roughly 90-degree bends so that a portion of the trunk grew horizontally, (more…)

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This month’s LAM is like no other, as we focus all our attention in the feature section to one spectacular project: Barangaroo Reserve in Sydney, designed by PWP Landscape Architecture with Johnson Pilton Walker of Sydney. The 14-acre headland park, which fans out before Sydney’s central business district, is part of a 54-acre urban project within the lines of what had been a colossal shipping terminal. It involves practically everything that is so risky, wonderful, and artful in landscape architecture today—not least the shaping of a new stepped stone foreshore, built from gigantic slabs of sandstone hewn right from the site. It includes lush gardens along sinuous paths that trace along a dramatic slope up from the water. And the new parkland connects intimately with central Sydney. Even for a dean of the profession like Peter Walker, the chief designer, it is a once-in-a-career project.

Don’t miss all the other great stuff in this issue! There are pieces on designing with decomposed granite at Kenyon College; a rather radical adventure by the military to try therapeutic landscape as an answer to post-traumatic stress disorder among returning battle veterans; a quest to uncover the history of “trail marker” trees on onetime Native American lands; and a review of a wonderful new book on the California designer Ruth Shellhorn. The full table of contents for November 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 November articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Peter Walker’s Point,” Hamilton Lund/Barangaroo Delivery Authority; “Keeping Up Jones,” Rendering by Studio RHLA; “The Road to Evidence,” Lisa Helfert; “Searching for a Sign,” Courtesy Lakes Region Historical Society; “The Right Path,” Neil Budzinski; “Her California,” Photograph by Ruth Shellhorn, Courtesy Kelly Comras

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BEDIT_LAMCast-TEDTreeTalk

 

“Forests aren’t simply a collection of trees,” said the ecologist Suzanne Simard during her recent TED Talk. In this 18-minute lecture, Simard details her experiments of the past 30 years on the unique way trees communicate with one another and how that has translated into an in-depth knowledge of the ecosystem of a forest. By knowing what and how these species interact, Simard says, we can begin to understand the effect we have on the landscape, such as clear-cutting of forests and how to manage our natural resources to become more sustainable.

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BY MIMI ZEIGER

BEDIT_LAMdec14_Eckbospread

To revive downtown, the city appears poised to drive right through a masterpiece.

From the December 2014 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

The city of Fresno sits in the middle of California’s San Joaquin Valley. When you drive into town from Los Angeles, the landscape is agricultural and framed by roadside eucalyptus trees. It gives way to off-ramp clusters of gas stations, fast-food chains, and light industrial warehouses. Most of Fresno’s neighborhoods, after nearly 50 years of decentralization and flight from the urban core, sprawl north, tracking the edge of the San Joaquin River. The city’s historic downtown and civic center are a near ghost town.

At the heart of downtown is the Fulton Mall. In the early part of the 20th century, it was Fresno’s main drag, Fulton Street, six blocks lined with banks and department stores. In 1964, the landscape architect Garrett Eckbo turned the street into a modernist pedestrian mall as part of a master plan for downtown Fresno by Victor Gruen Associates. Photographs of the period show a wide promenade full of people flanked by the awnings of existing buildings. Daffodils peek out of Eckbo’s sculptural planting beds, fountains gurgle, and a clock tower by Jan de Swart, an expressive interpretation of a historic form, unambiguously marks the mall as the new town square.

Today, the mall is the center of a fight over downtown Fresno’s redevelopment. The city government, with a $14 million federal transportation grant, supports plans to put a new complete street down the center of the mall. Preservationists plan to file a lawsuit to block the scheme. The rhetorical standoff between sides comes down to revive versus destroy, but the conditions on the ground tell a more complicated story about the role of design as a catalyst and a scapegoat in a changing urban landscape.

(more…)

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