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Posts Tagged ‘workshops’

BY KEVAN KLOSTERWILL

A custom geodesign process aims to help prototype solutions for the health of a rural watershed.

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Sam Ziegler, a corn-and-soybean farmer in southern Minnesota, had a chance to try out a new geodesign tool that could change the way he plants his crops. “It’s always on your mind what you can do better, but it’s hard to physically take an acre or a hundred out of production just to try something,” Ziegler says. “You can’t afford it. But this computer model allows you to play with things and get an understanding of what potentially would be the ramifications and benefits of switching things around.” The tool, operated with a touchscreen, was developed by a team of University of Minnesota (UM) researchers from the fields of landscape architecture, urban planning, economics, and soil and water science.

In the fall of 2013, the research team brought together about 40 community members, including farmers and environmental advocates, who were interested in improving the health of the Seven Mile Creek Watershed near Mankato, Minnesota. The group participated in a series of workshops that culminated with their generating alternative scenarios using an interactive computer model of the watershed. This investigation was supported by background layers such as aerial photographs, parcel lines, and topographic data that would feel familiar to regular users of geographic information systems. Using a 55-inch touchscreen, participants could assign various agricultural land uses to the landscape, including conventional corn and soybeans and perennial prairie grasses. “Basically, it was like painting a map, with some boundaries,” Ziegler says.

Once participants settled on a design, the geodesign program would analyze its environmental performance around various factors such as (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

“Driftwood Village—Community,” Sea Ranch, California. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 6, 1968.

Put away your tracing paper and charcoal pencils. Shut your books. Stop thinking. Put on a blindfold and go for a walk in the woods. Make a structure out of yourselves, human bodies. Catalog everything that you see, hear, feel, and smell. Build a city out of beachside driftwood in complete silence. Take off your clothes. Now start thinking about design.

You could call these instructions those of a thought experiment. They came from Anna and Lawrence Halprin’s workshops, held in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s and 1970s. But that was not the point. The Halprins held weeks-long events that took landscape architects, architects, artists, and dancers to redwood forests, expansive beaches, and into the city of San Francisco and asked them to shed all theory and dogma so they could explore and interpret their environment totally through sensory experience.

A new exhibition at Chicago’s Graham Foundation, up until Dec. 13, has assembled the Halprins’ extensive documentation of their Experiments in Environment workshops. The show is done in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania, where Halprin’s archives are held. Put together in just months, Experiments in Environment: The Halprin Workshops, 1966–1971 is the first ever serious exhibition into the Halprin workshops.

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