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Posts Tagged ‘University of California’

BY ZACH MORTICE

 

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Sea Ranch, in Northern California, seems to have always existed, emerging from the Pacific Coast cliffs like sun-dappled lichens spread across the rocks. But it was like little else people had seen when it was built by a supergroup of designers, developers, and artists in the early 1960s.

A new website is pulling back the curtain on how this masterpiece came to be. “Journey to the Sea Ranch” holds more than 800 digitized images from the Environmental Design Archives of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Architectural Archives at the University of Pennsylvania to tell the story of how Sea Ranch was conceived and built. (more…)

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SELECTIONS FROM THE 2018 STUDENT AWARDS

BY ZACH MORTICE

“Stop Making Sense” resists applying easily explicable narratives to the open question of nuclear waste storage. Image courtesy Andrew Prindle, Student ASLA, and Kasia Keeley, Student Affiliate ASLA.

The winning entries of the 2018 ASLA Student Awards offer solutions for extreme sites and surreal conditions, completely appropriate to the times in which they were crafted. Here is a selection of six award-winning student projects that greet such days with humanity, nuance, and rigor.

Stop Making Sense: Spatializing the Hanford Site’s Nuclear Legacy

General Design: Honor Award

Composed of a pair of inscrutable concrete bunkers that are 1,000 feet long and dug 60 feet into the earth, “Stop Making Sense” by Kasia Keeley, Student Affiliate ASLA, and Andrew Prindle, Student ASLA, pushes aside dominant narratives about how our nation treats and digests nuclear waste.

“We didn’t want to give people answers, and we didn’t want to force a perspective,” Keeley says. “What we wanted to do was raise questions and incite curiosity.” (more…)

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As landscape design coalesces more and more around an infrastructural and regenerative mandate, there’s been less emphasis on what is perhaps the most fundamental (and broadly shared) conception of what landscape architecture is: the aesthetic arrangement of plantings. That’s the view of a recent symposium held at the University of California, Berkeley’s Landscape Architecture + Environmental Planning department, organized by the professor emeritus of architecture Marc Treib. The Aesthetics of Planting Design symposium, held February 17–18, invited landscape architects and historians to lecture on a topic that’s been lately marginalized by sustainability, resilience, and social justice. In his introduction, Treib begins by questioning the notion that “good morals automatically yield good landscapes,” though he emphasizes that all landscapes have a dual responsibility to both art and beauty, as well as resiliency and conservation. While planting aesthetics are most commonly addressed in small gardens, according to Treib, it’s seldom discussed at a civic (or larger) scale—though notable exceptions include the designers invited to lecture at this very event. This international group of presenters includes Peter Walker, FASLA; Christine Ten Eyck, FASLA; Andrea Cochran, FASLA; and Kate Cullity.

You can watch the symposium lectures here.

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BY BRADFORD MCKEE

A quirky nook at UC Berkeley memorializes Bill Callaway in style.

FROM THE MAY 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Peter Walker, FASLA, has thought quite a lot about memorial design. With Michael Arad, he completed the World Trade Center Memorial in Lower Manhattan, which opened in 2011. But a more recent call about a memorial commission was quite personal. It came from Jennifer Wolch, the dean of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, near where Walker has his firm, PWP Landscape Architecture. She wanted to create a memorial within the school’s Wurster Hall to William Byrd Callaway, known to his friends as Bill. Callaway, who died in 2014 at the age of 71, joined Walker at SWA in 1967 and eventually became its CEO—and a legend to his colleagues.

Wolch “had quite an interesting space, but it was really ugly,” Walker said. “Everyone just threw stuff in it.” The space is a two-story light well for which no use was specified when the building opened in 1964. Faculty members at that time debated its best use but couldn’t agree on what that would be. “The decision was made to put all plans on the back burner,” Wolch said. “For 52 years.” (more…)

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BY ANNE RAVER

Two closely related Asian beetles are boring their way through Southern California’s trees.

FROM THE MARCH 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Smaller than sesame seeds, two beetle species are spreading through Southern California, killing hundreds of thousands of trees and infecting many thousands more with a pathogenic fungus.

At first, scientists thought the pests were the same species because they look exactly alike, but they carry different pathogenic fungi, and DNA analysis revealed genetic differences. But their damage to trees is so spectacularly similar that the two beetles—the polyphagous shot hole borer and the Kuroshio shot hole borer—are now referred to collectively as the invasive shot hole borer (ISHB).

A 2017 U.S. Forest Service survey estimated that 23 million trees are vulnerable to the ISHB that is working its way through Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties—or 33 percent of Southern California’s urban canopy. It’s impossible to know how many trees will die, but the projected losses are catastrophic. (more…)

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HOMEPLACE

“We were ready to fly on our own,” Nancy Levinson said in August as she described the next phase of life for the beloved Places Journal, based in San Francisco, where she is the editor and executive director. In late June, Levinson and Josh Wallaert, the journal’s senior editor, posted the last piece in Places as part of the Design Observer Group’s platform of online design writing. In late September they relaunched Places as an independent site dedicated, as its tagline says, to “public scholarship in architecture, landscape, and urbanism.” The main support for Places comes from a group of 24 universities, each of which has a member on the journal’s board of directors. The site also receives foundation grants and individual donations.

Places was started in 1983 by faculty members of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley (Donlyn Lyndon and William Porter were founding editors). It appeared as a print publication until it went online-only in 2009 as part of Design Observer. The decision earlier this year to end the partnership with Design Observer was a friendly one, Levinson said. “It was great to be partners, and it was a great way to move from being a print publication to being a web publication.” The new site, she said, clarifies the stand-alone status of Places as a nonprofit, dot-org rather than dot-com, that offers long-form public-interest journalism. The Design Observer site provides a link to the new home for Places.

SEXPLACE

Hammering out the new site’s design began in May. Levinson and Wallaert hired Kyle Larkin of Extra Small Design, in Phoenix, to create the site; Larkin had been the first web editor of Places in 2009. The new design gives the journal a cleaner look, bigger images, slide shows, and easy sharing on social media. Levinson’s goal was to create a more “immersive” format for Places’s roomy inquiries into design topics that range among media, politics, geography, economics, industry, energy, and sex. There are links from current pieces to those in the journal’s archive of about 1,800 articles published since 1983. At the bottom of a recently posted essay, “From Architecture to Landscape,” by Brian Davis and Thomas Oles, you reach links to other pieces relating to landscape. And you can find the entire Places print archive available in PDF. There is plenty to explore.

“People don’t necessarily go online to read journals,” Levinson said. “They go online to read articles, and as they read articles, they discover journals. Our big focus is our commitment to articles that are serious and substantial. The web has become a very fraught place, and we’re trying to maintain a strong signal amid the ever-increasing noise.”

For more information, visit https://placesjournal.org.

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