This is so strange to me - something to admire yet also raises a LOT of questions about public safety, who did the real scale drawings and structural brainwork, etc.? Video is long, portion of interest starts at 2:05 on this "eco-artist"

 Was this just a wild era from the past or the start of a "trend" anyone has seen anywhere else?

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There are some really interesting things happening with the Fair Park Lagoon project. I think it’s a cool study that probably shouldn’t have been built. When I first saw the model I thought it looked like the field dressing from a game animal that had been left by a puddle. Thank goodness it doesn’t read like that in the real life images. Can you imagine if this were built today with railing, etc.? My biggest problem is trying to buy the whole introduced eco-system pitch. Let’s just call it art because both of those pieces required a lot of trucks, grading, form work and tons of concrete/gunite to construct. This was not a project that treaded lightly on the land. I do appreciate Patricia Johanson’s work though.

The funny thing is that this was still a new project when I was an LA student at UTA. My Profs probably didn’t think much of the project because we must have driven by this project numerous times going to other sites and no one mentioned it. I guess it beats a dead body of water in the middle of town. So mission accomplished. 

Well considering the time of its creation, I admit it may be well-known (just not to me) ...showing how I'm behind on some things. Obviously if it could become a template it would have been replicated elsewhere so guess that question is already answered.

I still picture people slipping and spraining ankles on it etc if not getting snake-bitten. It does make a place for snails etc. in the final maturation but also seems kind of contrived to start from flower sketches laid over the land, or in one of her other projects, making lakes into things like "mouse faces," although harmless enough if big issues get solved.

More of a magazine interview with her is here:

Generally, I try to be open-minded when a designer uses objects as an inspiration or to help generate a design idea, as long as it relates to the project. Most of the time when we try to mimic something, it just comes off as kind of hokey.  The problem comes when we try to be too literal as opposed to just capturing the essence or spirit of something.

It’s not easy to get something that reads in plan view to read in elevation or perspective, which is closer to how most of us humans view the world. So unless there’s an airport or high-rise near-by why bother. Besides is superimposing a botanically correct plant on to the land in concrete really creative? The design is already done by nature. Whenever I critique a student or junior designer that tries to pull off this kind of ‘design’, I always politely ask them if they can dig down a little deeper inside themselves.

With that said, I have to respect the artist because what she did was very daring for the time. I also believe there’s something for us to learn from projects like this. Anyway, who am I to throw stones? I have several projects built in that same area during around the same time period that no one is talking about in LA circles and I’m a landscape architect. So you go Patricia! The heck with what I have to say about you. 


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