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Baseball, the Olympics, and Jekyll Island: Geodesign Students Address Real World Scenarios in the Virtual Classroom

Classes are back in session on campuses across the country, including virtual ones. Penn State’s Geodesign program, an online professional master’s degree program offered through Penn State World Campus,  provides students the opportunity to have collaborative experiences with design professionals online and to become the missing piece of the sustainability puzzle. Rather than being immersed in one area of design, students study the ripple effects of major issues facing their studio projects and the future of design. “The one commonality our students have coming into the program is that they have never done Geodesign,” noted James Sipes, faculty member for the Penn State geodesign online master’s program and founding principal of Sand County Studios. “Instead, they all have different skill...Read More

Magnolia Station: Industrial Nexus Reimagined

Long before Victory Park was home to the American Airlines Center, a W Hotel, bars and restaurants, it was a gritty, industrial area that included an oil distribution hub — followed by industrial-scale meat processing and paper production — for decades. The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway would eventually become the Katy Trail, and the former Magnolia Petroleum Distribution Center site would become residential, known as Magnolia Station, in the early 1990s, but much of the essence of that early 20th century industrial character remains in the recently renovated Magnolia Station, which celebrates its historic roots while incorporating modern design sensibilities. Comprised of 70 lofts in seven buildings, Magnolia Station enjoys close proximity to many area attractions along with the type of a...Read More

Beatrixpark Turns Art Installation into a Playground

The Beatrixpark by Carve Landscape Architecture (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) The Beatrixpark is a place with a rich history that has story to tell. If you are familiar with a work of one of the first Dutch urban planners Jakoba (Ko) Mulder, a famous ‘’Miss of the Forest’’, then you know that one of her important works was a design of The Beatrixpark. The park was built in 1938 with a specific design approach, mainly as a transition from the romantic design style of the 19th century to the more functionalist style after the Second World War. At first, it had a paddling pool and a play pool for children, with a pergola. Influenced by English parks, with a small lake and open landscape, the Beatrixpark has received the status of the city monument in 2005. Today, the park has been designed by ...Read More

How Landscape Architecture Mitigates the Urban Heat Island Effect

Global temperatures are rising. This is especially felt in urban areas due to the urban heat island (UHI) effect, where temperatures can be 10oF (5.5oC) higher than the surrounding countryside. This phenomenon is due to several factors that combine to alter the local microclimate of an urban area. However, several techniques can be employed by landscape architects to help combat the local rise in temperatures, saving money, reducing global warming, and making a more pleasant environment to live and work. In this article, we look at what the urban heat island effect is and what landscape architects can do to combat it. What is the Urban Heat Island Effect? Objects of different colours reflect varying amounts of light. Surfaces with a greater albedo (or lighter colour) reflect more of the su...Read More

Landscape Architecture in Walkable Cities

For too long the city has been designed for cars. Pedestrians can often feel like second-class citizens, as cities are much easier to drive into than walk through. Recently, built environment professionals have been advocating improving the quality of our built environment by making cities easier to navigate by foot. In this article, we look at how landscape architects are especially well qualified to implement walkability in our cities and how landscape architecture can improve the quality of our walkable urban environment. Walk and Walkability A simple definition of a walkable city or neighbourhood is one that is enticing to pedestrians, encouraging walking over other forms of transport. Professionally, the term covers several phenomena. In her 2015 paper ‘What is a Walkable Place? The W...Read More

The Divinity of Detail: Lessons from the Japanese Garden

The phrase “God is in the details” is, with uncertainty, attributed to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. But whether it came from the Modernist great or someone else, there is something about the play of detail in the creative process that transcends time and geography. Detail occupies a particularly complex and nuanced role in the Japanese garden. The Japanese gardener’s planning process is embedded in the details – working up from the individual elements, rather than from a top-down master plan. A layout and sketches inform and help guide the process, but factors such as the available choice of materials can cause a change in the design. It can happen that the directionality of one particular boulder or composition of boulders, or the form of a single tree, becomes the focal point — and by...Read More

Into the Weeds [Land8x8]

Imagine the world is at the edge of an apocalypse – that Earth’s life has been greatly damaged and resembles a disastrous wasteland. The grim images painted in science fiction films are generally understood to be out of the realm of real possibility. However, during the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Seattle, Michelle Arab, Director of Landscape Architecture at Olson Kundig, asks us to consider this landscape for a moment. Arab begins her presentation by evoking the imagery of the barren landscapes of Blade Runner 2049 – a stark vision of a world shattered by some nameless disaster – and asks us to consider the role of landscape architecture in a post-apocalyptic world. What lessons might we take from this type of world and how we will design in it? At a time where natural disasters such as hu...Read More

How Autonomous Vehicles are Influencing Urban Design

The rise in autonomous vehicles is happening faster than many people think. NVIDIA CEO, Jensen Huang, says that fully automated vehicles will be on our roads by 2022, while Scott Keogh, Head of Audi America has promised that Audi would have its first self-driving cars ready to purchase by as early as 2020. So, with the rapid acceleration of the autonomous vehicle (AV) market, what are the main challenges we face as urban designers? And how will autonomous vehicles affect the urban fabric of our cities? Towards a New Autopia? Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, our urban and suburban environments have been primarily designed for private car use. However, there has been a recent reduction in the ownership of private vehicles. Thanks to on-demand ridesharing services like Uber and...Read More

Union Park: Immersive Play as Community Catalyst

Union Park, a master-planned community in north Texas, was first conceived in 2014 through a planning and visioning process conducted in partnership with Hillwood Communities, which has developed a series of Live Smart principles that address key lifestyle considerations like connectedness, well-being and stewardship. Ultimately planned for 2,400 single-family homes, Union Park prioritizes the outdoor setting as an integral lifestyle component — it’s the connective fabric between community destinations as well as the backdrop to restorative recreational opportunities. Its holistic planning approach accommodates a full range of recreational needs, although until recently it lacked an immersive play environment for children — but the addition of its multifaceted Exploration Park has turned t...Read More

The Most Important Chart for the Future of Landscape Architecture

The chart above is of profound importance to landscape architecture as a profession and especially for any practitioner or student under the age of thirty. This chart, which is based on the science supporting the Paris Climate Agreement, foretells that if we are to have any chance at salvaging a livable climate, humanity must essentially cease the use of fossil fuels within 30 years. Vitally too, this chart shows that we must work to draw down the excess carbon dioxide (CO2) that is already in the atmosphere. These two actions give us the best chance of bringing climate back into a balance conducive to civilization. This “below zero” era of minimal carbon dioxide emissions and increasing CO2 drawdown will have enormous implications for landscape architects. For while the need for our work ...Read More

Apply Now for the $25,000 LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership

Calling all innovators in landscape architecture! The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is now accepting applications for its 2019-2020 LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership. This $25,000 year-long fellowship is a unique opportunity for mid-career and senior-level landscape architects to explore, research, develop, and test big ideas that will bring about positive change and expand the impact of landscape architecture. The fellowship was launched in 2016 to support innovation, cultivate transformational leadership, and foster intergenerational mentorship in the field of landscape architecture. Each year, 3-4 fellowships are awarded through a competitive application process based on a proposed project. Projects may be grounded in theoretical or historical investigations, produc...Read More

3 Reasons You Should Start Drawing Now

When is the last time you packed a sketchbook and went drawing outside? Sitting down, really observing a place, understanding it more with each traced line? Maybe you’ve been drawing during your studies and stopped because you do not have the time anymore. Or you might be new to hand drawing and want to learn. We strongly believe hand drawing is something every landscape architect can benefit from. That’s why we’d like to share 3 reasons why you should definitely pick it up: 1. A New Trend Think five years back – a brief scan of competition entries in architecture and landscape architecture would show almost nothing but photorealistic renderings or photoshop montages. It was an attempt to come as close to the visual reality that is suggested to get built as possible. However, r...Read More

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