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Giving Back [Land8x8 Video]

Anchalee (Annie) Phaosawasdi of Hargreaves Jones used the platform of the Land8x8 Lightning Talks to share her experiences giving back to her community as a landscape architect and challenges the profession to create time to do so as well. While most of the projects that landscape architects serve their communities and neighborhoods, they are not always as rewarding as the larger-scale projects that are “saving the planet” or projects that are immediately rewarding. Annie shares ways that she and her colleagues engage the community to give back and increase awareness and diversity of the profession. One such program was Gear-Up by the New York Botanical Garden that targets high school and first year college students to learn about the environment, program and projects of the Bo...Read More

Toward a Patchwork Ecology [Land8x8 Video]

“Space” in landscape architecture typically conjures up images of the horizontal plane: a canvas, sometimes blank, upon which designs may proliferate. In urban areas, greenspaces necessarily punctuate the vast expanse of hardscape as they manifest ideas of seclusion and refuge. But what about liminal space, or areas created by the in-between of the architectural world? How about the flora that grows independently, or without human intervention, in these areas? To David Seiter, Founder and Design Director at Future Green Studio, weaving landscape into the architectural environment through perhaps unconventional methods is the focus of his work as he explains at the Land8x8 Lightning Talks. Founded in 2008, Future Green is a design-build firm that began in New York City and now services urba...Read More

The Tao of Woke Practice [Land8x8 Video]

The modern design process has been formulated and repeated for decades in the landscape architecture profession. Oftentimes, it is this procedure- almost an institutionalized method of creation- that ends up disserving the same communities one vows to protect and uplift. Since 1994, Elizabeth Kennedy, PLA and Principal of Elizabeth Kennedy Landscape Architects (EKLA), has been leading by example in how she and her team show up and make space for clients and each other. In the months following the death of George Floyd, Kennedy participated in nearly thirty juries and presentations to share her expertise in empathetic community engagement and landscape architectural practice as it pertains to African American communities and beyond. Kennedy highlights EKLA’s project of Weeksville, New York,...Read More

Fill for Habitat [Land8x8 Video]

New York City’s landscape has much to offer. From its soaring skyscrapers to its vast and unique parks system, the fact that water plays a significant geographical and historical role perhaps falls to the wayside. There is a structural reasoning- even with over 520 miles of city shoreline, most is what’s considered “hard”. Bulkheads and concrete walls create a stark divide between people and the water they live on all the while diminishing critical habitat. The importance of water does not go unnoticed to Brad Howe, PLA and Senior Associate at SCAPE. In fact, it is central to what they do. “The frequency which with we experience water and its capability of destruction is only increasing,” Howe states as he describes the hard edge’s role in poor stormwater infrastructure. Further, its these...Read More

Designing for Decarbonization [Land8x8 Video]

2022 has been a year in which we are reminded in headline after headline that climate change is, in fact, not a problem to prepare for but a present and dire force to be reckoned with. The effects of increasingly frequent natural disasters and extreme temperature shifts are global issues that require innovative and imaginative solutions. Fortunately, the end is not nigh, as those same headlines are coupled with the groundbreaking news of climate capturing technologies and an increased awareness of what, exactly, our natural world is capable of. At the Land8x8 Lightning Talks, Matthew Gindlesperger, PLA and Associate at Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP), sees the potential of these climate resiliency technologies to play a substantial role in the practice of landscape architecture. “[We are] t...Read More

Adaptive Landscape Master Planning [Land8x8 Video]

How can we better prepare for the future unknown? Martha Desbiens, Associate at MNLA, recounts how the last few years brought radical change and emphatic proactivity to the heart of her work at the Land8x8 Lightning Talks. Desbiens reflects on how much landscape architects have improved communication skills between colleagues, clients, and communities alike during the COVID-19 pandemic. The voice landscape architects have forged in the public discourse, especially around social issues and the climate catastrophe, has been massively impactful, but “largely reactive”. Looking towards the future, landscape architects must shift communication and action to proactive, adaptive design choices and communication efforts. To provide precedent, Desbiens details how MNLA’s Smith College “20-Year Visi...Read More

Landscape as Infrastructure and Other Imaginary Tales [Land8x8 Video]

When it comes to resiliency infrastructure, machine-like futures seem to lie ahead for our shorelines. As sea level rise threatens our coastal communities, projects are typically driven by the works of engineers in order to create the mechanical layer of protection cities and neighborhoods need. It may seem as if landscape as infrastructure is an imaginary tale, but according to Gonzalo Cruz, Studio Design Principal, it is the core of what he and the landscape architecture team do at AECOM New York. “There’s a lot of made-up stuff that we think through… that actually becomes realized” Cruz states in reference to the firm’s projects at the Land8x8 Lightning Talks. Driven by engineering, the team is juxtaposed to design a landscape in which the technical infrastructure necessary for resilien...Read More

Grounding Stories in Place [Land8x8 Video]

Taewook Cha, founding principal and landscape architect of Supermass Studio, discusses how stories in the landscape are the key to professional excellence at the Land8x8 Lightning Talks. With 25 years of experience, Cha notes how landscape architects often use phrases and terms that seem like vaguely grand yet promising gestures. “Urban Life Forms” and “Exemplary Environments” seem like shining examples of design integrity but lack clear meaning and impact. Thus, the outlook of landscape architecture may not fall in the pinpointing of the terms that buzz the community. “There were times where we believed the future of landscape architecture depended on our ability to conceptualize and theorize abstract words, but the future relies on our ability to relay people’s stories through the landsc...Read More

Conflict Wood [Land8x8 Video]

The use of tropical hardwood lumber, such as ipe, in construction is damaging the world’s ecosystems at an alarming rate. During the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Austin, Texas, Zac Tolbert, a licensed landscape architect and Business Development Representative at Delta Lumber & Millworks, outlined the detrimental environmental impacts of specifying tropical hardwoods and the sustainable alternatives available. As a call to action, Tolbert urged design professionals to be stewards of nature and lead the building and construction industry to a sustainable future – starting with eliminating the use of tropical hardwoods in their projects. While wood is considered a renewable resource, standard harvesting practices such as clear-cutting, in which large expanses of forests are cleared, do not...Read More

The Icon: From Concept to Reality [Land8x8 Video]

Iconic elements in the landscape – whether sculpture, public art, or branded graphics – accentuate the experience of a place. These “icons” become identifiers that capture the character of a place and act as a physical interpretation of a development’s brand. However, sometimes the intention of such placemaking icons can fall short, as ideas conceptualized early-on in the design visioning process are not fully realized. How can designers ensure an initial design vision is carried through to implementation? To answer this question, Alex Ramirez, Office Director at Design Workshop’s Houston office, formed a research group with his fellow coworkers as part of Design Workshop’s Emerging Leaders Group* program. During his presentation at the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Houston, Texas, Ramirez, s...Read More

What Automation Means for Landscape Architecture Practice [Land8x8 Video]

We are in an era of digital transformation. The emergence of new technologies is rapidly transforming the way we approach design, with firms utilizing computer software more heavily than ever before. Does this mean the jobs of landscape architects are soon to be replaced by automation? Probably not, but it will challenge us to do things differently. Formerly of Clark Condon at the time of this video and now as Senior Associate at TBG Partners, self-proclaimed “tech nerd” Chris Gentile put it, “In order to maintain relevance, we must adapt.” At the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Houston, TX, Gentile explains why he has embraced automation, not only for its efficiency, but also because it frees up time for more creativity in the design process. Recognizing the benefits, TBG Partners ...Read More

Evoking Soul in Landscape Architecture [Land8x8 Video]

There has been a trend in landscape architecture to measure the success of a project using research and quantified data. However, to Christine Ten Eyck, founding principal of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects (TELA), evaluating the success of a project extends beyond quantifiable metrics and measurable outcomes. Ten Eyck defines successful projects as places designed with “soul” – those that people connect to on a deeper, more meaningful level. Soul – the inspiration, feeling, emotion, passion, spirit and energy of place – is that added sense of surprise and delight that brings meaning to a space. When you design a landscape with soul, every detail has a purpose and the use of texture, vegetation, and water form a dialog between beauty and functionality. During her presentati...Read More

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