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5 Things Architects Want from a Landscape Architect

We love architecture and we love working with architects. It’s no secret that there’s sometimes tension in the architect/landscape architect relationship, but there’s no reason it needs to be that way. The duo will always create a better project together when they work as a team in harmony. Over the years, we’ve successfully navigated many projects and relationships and we’ve listened to what architects say about what rings their bell and what pushes their buttons. To lay the foundation, here are five guidelines for working with architects that will help you become their ‘go-to’ landscape architect, time after time. Be responsive to deadlines It’s tempting to say “never miss a deadline”, but never missing a deadline requires that you recognize when time seems short and respond to that. Eve...Read More

The Climate Report That Changes Everything for Landscape Architecture

On October 8, 2018, the UN released a bombshell report whose implications will shake the profession of landscape architecture to its core. The report lays out clear evidence that if world governments don’t take drastic action to end the fossil fuel era over the next decade, in the very near future humanity will witness severe food shortages, climate related poverty increases, and massive ecological destruction, all leading to unprecedented human migration. This is ultimate proof of the destructiveness of fossil fuels and the first time we’ve definitively been presented their needed expiration date. “This report shows that we only have the slimmest of opportunities remaining to avoid unthinkable damage to the climate system that supports life as we know it,” said Amjad Abdulla, an Int...Read More

Authentic Nature is Our Greatest Amenity

On a sticky Saturday morning, a pickerel frog lets out a slow, steady snore as he perches proudly in his newly found, tiered-pond paradise. Just below the water’s surface, dozens of intrepid tadpoles dine on algae — while others succumb to schools of hungry fish on the prowl for a morning snack. Aquatic plants shimmer in the sunlight, as ever-evolving shadows cast from bald cypress branches sway to wind-swept rhythms across the wetland wonderland. A great blue heron drops in for a closer look when the proud pickerel frog catches her eye. Just beyond this nature show scene, the smiling faces of children explore the setting and make memories they’ll cherish for ages. Some wade in the muck searching for crawfish and frogs, others skip stones and trade playful taunts in friendly competition, w...Read More

Why Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

There is a “Wandering Landscape Architect” currently making a splash in the Instagram scene. If there is a slight anonymity about the page, it is done so intentionally. The creator behind the page is landscape architecture graduate, Emily Sutherland. Having traveled thus far to 18 countries, Emily decided to create a profile on the visually stimulating social media platform three years ago. She recalls, “I’ve always visited many places, and I had so many pictures but never knew what to do with them. So I decided to create this page as a way of storing them for my own reference and to have record of where I’ve been.” Since then, the Wandering Landscape Architect page has been gaining momentum. In a world of filters, there is a strong sense of authenticity and reality in her pict...Read More

Landscape Stories as Catalysts of the Shared City [Land8x8]

The ways in which citizens engage the landscape reveal a community’s values and priorities. During the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Seattle, Nate Cormier, Principal at Rios Clementi Hale Studios, conjectured that American urbanism has a storytelling problem. Arcadian and Utopian mythologies of the West were used to sell sprawling patterns of land use and transportation which encouraged people to live in low-density environments and to take their leisure in private. Through media like Sunset Magazine, the California backyard grew into an American ideal. The resulting landscape of inequity has in recent decades been compounded by virulent NIMBYism (“Not In My Backyard”) which resists infill housing and makes living in job-rich cities increasingly unaffordable for young people. Whil...Read More

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

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