LABash 2015 – An Interview with the 2015 Host – Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Whether you’re an underclassman or a soon-to-be graduate, there’s one event that landscape architecture students won’t want to miss. In 1970, three landscape architecture students at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, founded what’s known today as LABash. Fast-forward 45 years and it still continues to be a destination for curious landscape architecture students. While it’s known as a three-day student-run conference consisting of speakers, workshops, design charettes, expos, and social events, it’s the sense of unity that makes it such a special tradition. LABash 2015 runs March 19-21, 2015, at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (SLO). Situated roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, on the Central Coast, the region is home to a year-round moderate, Mediterranean climate year and a trendy vibe.Landscape Architects Network (LAN) had the opportunity to interview Kate Cannon, LAbash 2015 Planning Committee Director. Here’s what she had to say. The responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Interview with LABash 2015
LAN: What is this year’s theme? LABash 2015: Spirit of a place or “Genius sloci”, borrowing from the core principles of Genius Loci and connecting them to the conference. San Luis Obispo is famous for its rolling hillsides, breathtaking ocean views, and stunning beaches.LAN: Who are the speakers? Are there keynotes? LABash 2015: So far we have 17 confirmed speakers, including Laurie Olin (OLIN), Mia Lehrer (Mia Lehrer + Associates), Kona Gray (EDSA), and Susan Van Atta (Van Atta Associates, Inc.), which are the keynotes, plus many more. We’re fortunate to have such a strong group! Check the website for the complete listing. LAN: Why should students attend? LABash 2015: While there are many reasons, perhaps the best is for the prime opportunity to interact and network with fellow students and professionals. There’s certainly a sense of shared interests and, compared to the ASLA Annual Meeting, LABash is a more intimate environment, featuring more one-on-one time with professionals. If you’re still not convinced, it’s California and what better way to enjoy your spring break than in the sunny West Coast! LAN: Do you have social events planned? LABash 2015: Yes, what’s an LABash without socialization? The opening night will be held at the Farmer’s Market (which houses more than 120 vendors selling everything from delectable eats to fresh flowers) and the following nights will feature a beach bonfire at Oceano Dunes along with closing ceremony libations at a local craft brewery. For more details, explore the full schedule on our website. LAN: What is the committee looking forward to most about hosting LABash 2015? LABash 2015: We’re excited to meet the attendees and welcome them to SLO. The last time we hosted LABash was in 1993 and that was also the last time it was on the West Coast! Also, we can’t wait to show them what SLO has to offer, from its forgotten history as an agricultural and ranching community to its 18th-century Spanish architecture. LAN: Tell us about the landscape architecture department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. What makes it unique? LABash 2015: While Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo is a medium-sized university with about 20,000 students, the landscape architecture department commands a strong presence with over 150 students. Additionally, not only do students enter directly from high school, but some spend a few years at a nearby junior college and then enter the program, ultimately creating a more diverse and realistic setting. The professors are dedicated to the students and the College of Architecture and Environmental Design is highly collaborative, which is where the landscape architecture department is based. We’re also excited to have K. Richard Zweifel (current ASLA president) as Professor Emeritus! He will be speaking at LABash. We hope landscape architecture students and professionals can join Kate and the LABash 2015 Planning Committee in beautiful San Luis Obispo, California in March!