A list of the trends that are hitting the profession of landscape architecture. Typically a trend is something that is considered a passing craze, but the actual definition according to Oxford Dictionaries is “a general direction in which something is developing or changing.” Such is the case with landscape architecture and some of the “trends” of the 21st century. Below are the top 7 landscape architecture trends of the 21st century, listed in alphabetical order.
Landscape Architecture Trends
1. 3D Modeling While 3D Modeling Software has been around since the 1980s, these programs have really started to shine in the last decade. AutoCAD and SketchUp are seen as must know programs in almost every design office and many also require Vectorworks and Revit. And now, with 3D printers, these 3D models actually take form and bring modeling to a whole new amazing level. WATCH: Leaders Of The 3D Printing Revolution
2. Innercity Design It could be argued that Frederick Law Olmsted started this movement with his major park designs for cities like New York, Boston, and Chicago, but this trend is speaking more on the actual design of city streets, pocket parks, and neighborhood parks not just for beautification but also to improve public health.
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These white, curvilinear, fiber reinforced polymer panels were designed by Water Geiger and are known as the “Cascade Series,” and are meant to help bring art to the public while also providing much-needed shade to bus riders. Other innovative designs include shelters that incorporate solar panels and green roofs, or more obvious designs like the stop on South East Avenue in the Highlandtown neighborhood of Baltimore, by Madrid-based artist collective Mmmm, where the structure is actually three 14-foot-tall, 7-foot-wide letters that spell “BUS.” 4. Cycling routes Cities like Copenhagen are leading the way in designing cycling routes that don’t compete with cars or pedestrians, and other cities are starting to follow their lead. Countries like the Netherlands have over 99 percent of their population riding bicycles for their daily commute and China has almost 500 million people commuting by bike.Firms like DISSING + WEITLING and West 8 are aware of this trend and are truly changing the faces of cities with their thoughtful designs for cyclists and encouraging the next generation of designers to do the same because of their success. 5. Historic Preservation This is the practice of identifying, documenting, and hopefully preserving historical landscapes. These include significant private estate gardens, national parks, and public spaces that are in danger of being altered or lost to development. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Historic Preservation Professional Practice Network (PPN) is leading the movement. Their mission to “advance knowledge, education, and skill in the art and science of landscape architecture as an instrument of service in public welfare” can be found in their yearly newsletter on the ASLA website. This PPN is doing this by compiling and maintaining a list of significant American landscapes, and many firms actually specialize in this niche. 6. Rooftop and Vertical Gardens These magical gardens are not necessarily new, their history can be traced back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, but it is only recently that landscape architects started studying their contribution to sustainability and holistic design. Known for their ability to lower energy costs and purify water, they also can add an outdoor space in overcrowded cities where space is limited. Patrick Blanc is probably the most famous vertical garden designer, and his works can be seen around the world. 7. Sustainability Perhaps the biggest buzzword of the 21st century, sustainability is defined by the Oxford Dictionaries as “conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources,” and it is attached to almost every noticeable design of the last 15 years. Most designers looking to be truly sustainable aim for LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, certified and the projects that achieve this are recognized as the best of the best. Also, it is only natural that sustainability would be a goal of most landscape architects since many consider themselves the stewards of the natural environment. Each of the items listed above could be viewed as a natural progression for design professionals and hopefully they will all continue to develop and evolve and most importantly, stay a part of landscape architecture, and not meet the fate of most trends, and be replaced. Recommended Reading:
- Landscape Ecology Principles in Landscape Architecture and Land-Use Planning by Wenche Dramstad
- Principles of Ecological Landscape Design by Travis Beck
Article by Erin Tharp. Return to HomepagePublished in