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Archive for January, 2007

Almost 150 years after Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux finished Washington Park, Chicago is set to unveil some alterations and improvements – or not, depending on who you ask – to help lure the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune does a straight reporting version of the anticipated plans for an amphitheater
.

A temporary stadium would be built before the amphitheater. Look for the plans, and for Kamin to get critical, after next week’s unveiling.

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Development Near Flight 93 Memorial Studied

Anticipating 250,000 visitors annually to the planned United Flight 93 national memorial, county officials have hired a landscape architect to conduct a study of the main roads and the adjacent land to the site and how it might be developed, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Jim Klein, ASLA, a principal with Lardner/Klein Landscape Architects, is conducting the corridor study.
 
Both residents and officials have voiced development concerns.

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Halprin Original Vision Exposed

Charlottesville, Virginia, paper The Hook uncovers the original vision of this downtown mall by the renowned landscape architect, Lawrence Halprin, FASLA.

First of all, where have the interactive water fountains gone?

Three are usually hidden, surrounded by the outdoor seating at Miller’s, Sal’s and The Nook restaurants, and all four have strayed so far from their designer’s original intention that one local architect says the biggest one — at Central Park — has become “a kind of dead zone.”

A chain has been added to keep people out of one. Safety reasons are cited. Public space discussion follows, so stay tuned. . .

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It’s opening, Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park designed by New York-based architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi.  Read all about it!

Referring to the architects, The Seattle Times says “the New Yorkers have correctly identified the kind of visual decompression chamber and zone for reflection so needed by Seattleites.”

Time gets a little warmer with this angle: “The story of landscape design has been a centuries-long argument between the ‘natural’ and the ‘man-made.’”

But nary a mention of the landscape architect for the project, Charles Anderson, FASLA, in the majority of coverage on the park.  Anderson’s work has consistently won national design awards from ASLA for the past several years, so he’s hardly unknown.

Did a New York architecture firm suddenly become experts on the native Northwestern plants that comprise four distinct sections of the park?  Incredible!

The Dirt’s not going to dig too deep as to why Anderson is not getting the credit he deserves, but we want him to know we salute his work on yet another successful project. Read the “story of landscape design” for the project here.

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Century City is the focus of a new round of urban planning for the area that would add open spaces and increase walkability, according to this Los Angeles Times article found via Archinect.

The median along Avenue of the Stars would feature trees recalling the grand boulevards of Europe. Public green spaces or pocket parks would dot what has been a landscape of glass towers and gray concrete, says one planner of the project.

“Many obstacles to the greening project loom,” the article says. For sure, dude.

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delllogo1
At the Consumer Electronics show this month, computer mogul Michael Dell announced a program to plant trees in an effort to offset the environmental effects of the energy used to power electronics, The New York Times reports in its technology section.

Money raised from customer donations would be given to the Conservation Fund and the Carbonfund, two nonprofit groups that promote ways to reduce or offset carbon emissions, to buy and plant trees.

Mr. Dell the idea came up when he and a chief executive, discussed the company’s efforts to recycle and reduce the use of various chemicals like brominated flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride. He said he thought, “This would be a fantastic way for our customers to get involved.”

The Dirt assumes desktop computers, for which Dell requests a $6 donation, have more of those nasty ingredients and use more energy than laptops ($2 donation requested).

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The Art of Garden Design (Web sites)

A candid take on garden design and how it’s experienced through various websites is here at Garden Rant.

Garden Design Magazine
gets a rousing shout-out for keeping current on the subject.

Other websites are ranked by a three-category system: crappy, so-so, or wow. The actual garden designs are assessed as well.

In one particularly flowery section of the rant, one designer’s work is described as “the marriage of clean design to the love of plants, uniting the English tapestry tradition of intense herbaceous borders with the new naturalistic and eco-friendly movement – think Gertrude Jekyll meet Oehme, Van Sweden” – referring to Wolfgang Oehme, FASLA, and James van Sweden, FASLA, whose firm is based in Washington, D.C.

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A candid take on garden design and how it’s experienced through various websites is here at Garden Rant.

Garden Design Magazine
gets a rousing shout-out for keeping current on the subject.

Other websites are ranked by a three-category system: crappy, so-so, or wow. The actual garden designs are assessed as well.

In one particularly flowery section of the rant, one designer’s work is described as “the marriage of clean design to the love of plants, uniting the English tapestry tradition of intense herbaceous borders with the new naturalistic and eco-friendly movement – think Gertrude Jekyll meet Oehme, Van Sweden” – referring to Wolfgang Oehme, FASLA, and James van Sweden, FASLA, whose firm is based in Washington, D.C.

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Taught by Gropius, collaborated with Louis Kahn, and an early adopter of green roofs, the work and inspirations of landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander, FASLA, are examined in this Vancouver Magazine article.

Calling her “the undisputed queen of landscape architecture,” the piece includes an anecdote from Oberlander’s childhood and attempts to deconstruct her style.

How did Oberlander render the concrete of her Robson Square provincial government complex in Vancouver so serene? the article posits.

Patterns and repetitions. There’s the secret. It might look like “nature imported into the city,” as various writers have described it: a bit of mountain here, a strip of forest there, a flowering trail winding away over yonder. But it is in no way like the nature to which it refers. Everywhere, instead, the regularity, the rigour of the modernist idea. A whispered architectural mantra reworked in flowering form.Minimalist, modernist, or both, Oberlander’s work is far from cold and quite environmentally forward.

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Landscape Architecture at Gator Bowl

The national championship game pitted Ohio State against the University of Florida — two schools renowned not only for their prowess on the field, but also for their leading landscape architecture programs. The profession was well-represented on national television by Eddie George, ASLA, who won the 1995 Heisman Trophy at Ohio State, who served as a guest commentator for the game on FOX.

George received accolades on his insightful, articulate and humorous commentary and at one point tried to rally the crowd in what turned out to be a rough night for his Alma Mater.

He now rules the turf with the same enthusiasm at his own landscape architecture firm, The Edge Group, in addition to his generous support of ASLA efforts to introduce landscape architecture to middle and high school students as a career opportunity.

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