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Archive for April, 2008

080428handbook21
Here’s a trip down memory lane for all students of drafting, architecture, and landscape architecture, courtesy of Architectural Record. This week they review the new Architecture Handbook from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, which updates the foundations of the profession with new case studies and up-to-date terminology. The 489-page book is already very popular; according to the article, 71 high schools in 34 states, plus 10 community colleges, were using it. One of the book’s co-authors, Krisann Rehbein, says of the textbook’s success “It’s been wonderful to see how architects pick up this book and say, ‘I wish I had this in high school.’”

Check out the whole article here.

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Here in the mid Atlantic states, Earth Day weekend featured rain and wind that canceled many of the outdoor concerts and events. But tomorrow, April 22nd, is officially Earth Day and the skies are looking brighter already. What are your celebration plans, dear Dirt readers? Let us know in the comments!

While you wait for the big day, take the time to read Joel Makower’s excellent post on his blog, “Two Steps Forward,” where he analyzes the plethora of “green” and sustainable consumer survey results that are now out. “All told, [the surveys] paint a portrait that hasn’t changed much over the past twenty years: The public wants to buy green products and support good companies. Of course, what this means — and how to define both ‘green’ and ‘good’ — is where the devil meets the eco-details. But there’s something slightly different about this year’s bumper crop of data. A shred of realism seems to be creeping into the mix.”

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

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outside1
If you find yourself waiting in line at the grocery store in the next few weeks, be sure to pick up the May issue of Outside Magazine for their “Top 50 Best Jobs” cover story (for some reason, reporter Anderson Cooper is on the cover). Landscape architecture is one of the top jobs. Outside describes what LAs do as: “Create natural settings–parks, waterfronts, campuses, parking lots–that are pretty and functional. Increasingly, this means reinventing contaminated sites like old factories and decommissioned mines, often using vegetation and other bioremediation so that sites, in effect, clean themselves.”

That description strikes The Dirt as a little narrow, but we’ll let it slide. The full article is not online at present.

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luriegarden-cropped1
We’re excited this morning to announce the 2008 ASLA Professional Award winners to the world. The 29 winning projects stretch across the country and around the world, and are really amazing. The Dirt shouldn’t say which is his favorite, but he can profess a certain fondness for the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, this year’s Excellence winner in General Design. Click through to check out all the winners, and make sure to click on the thumbnails to see the high resolution images. Congrats to all our winners!

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Our landscape architect friends in New Zealand this week released the winners of their 2008 awards. 47 projects from around the country won in categories such as urban design, residential design, and environmental planning. The big winner was the Isthmus Group for their design of the Kumototo waterfront plaza on Customhouse Quay in Wellington. There are lots of great images of projects on the NZILA site here, though details on the projects themselves are a little lacking.

Just a reminder that next week the ASLA 2008 Professional Award winners will be announced in LAND Online.

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This week the brand new ASLA Green Roof Education site launched at ASLA.org. The site is targeted mainly to middle school students and educators, and offers a host of resources, lesson plans, Flash tours, and 360 degree immersive video. The site focuses on four major ecological benefits of green roof technology: reducing the urban heat island effect, stormwater retention, air purification, and increasing habitat.

Poke around the new site and let us know what you think!

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The National Resources Defense Council last week announced the findings from their new analysis of the most recent federal government temperature figures for the American West. The analysis found that  2002-2007 temperatures in the Colorado River basin, an 11-state western region stretching from Wyoming to Mexico, were 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the historical average for the 20th century. The temperature rise was more than twice the global average increase of 1.0 degree during the same period.

The report, co-authored by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO), warns that the current Colorado River drought will not only continue, but also worsen thanks to diminished snowpack and increased chances of prolonged heat waves. About 30 million people in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas depend on water from the Colorado and its tributaries.

Read the press release and fact sheet [pdf], or the full report [pdf].

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