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New Center for Landscape Architecture / Gensler

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has embarked on a $4 million plan to renovate its headquarters building and create a Center for Landscape Architecture. ASLA aims to raise $1 million in private donations for the Center this year.

The Society purchased its 12,000-square-foot building, which is located at 636 Eye Street, NW, in 1997 for $2.4 million, just as D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood was being revitalized. After 17 years of occupancy, any building would be in need of renovation. But ASLA leaders saw the opportunity to do much more.

Mark A. Focht, FASLA, immediate past president of the ASLA, in presenting the renovation plan to the Society’s Board of Trustees for approval in late November 2014, said: “This is an opportunity to create a facility to reflect the image and ethic of our profession—a world-class Center for Landscape Architecture that will inspire and engage our staff, our membership, allied professionals, public officials and the general public.”

The ASLA Board of Trustees approved the $4 million plan with nearly unanimous support. “ASLA paid off the original mortgage last summer, so the Society is in an excellent financial position to take out a $3 million mortgage and raise the balance of what we need through fundraising and product donations,” said Nancy C. Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president/CEO of the Society.

Focht made a personal pledge to contribute $15,000 to the project and challenged the other Board members to join him in launching the fundraising efforts.

James Burnett, FASLA, founder of award-winning landscape architecture firm The Office of James Burnett, donated $25,000 to the project and volunteered to chair a fundraising task force to raise the remaining funds needed. “Since the Board approved the project on November 20, we’ve received more than $340,000 in payments and pledges—that’s over 34 percent of our goal,” said Burnett. “We’ll also seek in-kind product donations lighting, furniture, green walls, kitchen appliances, surfacing and other items. We’re committed to creating a space for ASLA’s national headquarters that reflects the complexity and vitality of our profession, and the more successful our fundraising is, the more successful the project will be.”

Global architecture firm Gensler was selected through a request for proposal process to lead the design team, which includes landscape architecture firm Oehme, van Sweden, to ensure the profession’s values will be well-represented. The building will be designed to LEED Platinum and WELL™ building standards. Gensler has developed a number of exciting design concepts to modify the building:

The façade will be slightly altered at the ground level to provide more of a street presence (see image above).

The street level will be reconfigured to become the public face of the Center for Landscape Architecture and will feature flexible meeting/event space, exhibit space, a catering kitchen and restrooms to provide for increased industry and public engagement.

The current closed, double staircase will be opened up to create a three-story, day-lighted atrium, engaging the floors vertically and providing an opportunity to display elements of landscape architecture.

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Office space will be reconfigured and furnished to meet current staff needs and provide for future growth. Staff will also have access to a wellness room, focus rooms, small conference rooms, and upgraded kitchen, break, administrative, and restrooms.

Conceptual drawings are available on the Center for Landscape Architecture website, along with a list of donors, naming rights opportunities, and information on how to donate to the project.

Currently, construction is planned to begin in fall of 2015.

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2015-awards

ASLA 2014 Landmark Award. Norman B. Leventhal Park at Post Office Square, Boston, Massachusetts. Halvorson Design Partnership / Ed Wonsek

The American Society of Landscape Architects has released its 2015 awards call for entries for the 2015 professional and student awards, the premier awards programs for the profession. For the first time, submissions will be handled online.

Award recipients will receive featured coverage in the October issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine and in many other design and construction industry and general-interest media. Award recipients, their clients and student advisors also will be honored at the awards presentation ceremony during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Chicago, Nov. 6–9, 2015. The award-winning projects will be featured in a video presentation at the ceremony and on the awards website following the event.

The prestige of the ASLA awards programs relies on the high-caliber juries that are convened each year to review submissions. Members of this year’s professional awards jury are:

  • Keith LeBlanc, FASLA, Keith LeBlanc Landscape Architecture Inc., Boston, Jury Chair
  • Thomas Balsley, FASLA, Thomas Balsley Associates, New York City
  • René Bihan, ASLA, SWA Group, San Francisco
  • Alan Brake, The Architect’s Newspaper LLC, New York City
  • Kathleen Dickhut, ASLA, Department of Housing and Economic Development, Chicago
  • Signe Nielsen, FASLA, Mathews Nielsen, New York City
  • Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, FASLA, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Mark Robbins, American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy
  • Richard Weller, ASLA, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Members of the student awards jury are:

  • Kona Gray, ASLA, EDSA, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jury Chair
  • Richard Bumstead, ASLA, University of Chicago, Chicago
  • Maurice Cox, Tulane University, New Orleans
  • Katya Crawford, Affiliate ASLA, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Lisa Gimmy, ASLA, Lisa Gimmy Landscape Architecture, Los Angeles
  • David Hill, ASLA, D.I.R.T. Studio, Auburn, Alabama
  • Fernando Magallanes, ASLA, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Katherine Orff, ASLA, Scape / Landscape Architecture PLLC, New York City
  • Laura Solano, ASLA, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts

Both the ASLA professional and student awards feature five categories: general design; residential design; analysis and planning; communications; and research. The professional awards also include the Landmark Award, while the student awards include the student community service award and student collaboration categories.

Entry submissions and payment must be received by:

March 27, 2015 for ASLA professional awards
May 22, 2015 for ASLA student awards

In need of inspiration? View the ASLA 2014 professional and student award-winning projects.

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rhino

Rhinoceros / Kruger National Park

At nearly 19,000 square kilometers, Kruger National Park, which spans both South Africa and Mozambique, is one of the largest wildlife preserves in Sub Saharan Africa. It’s home to thousands of highly endangered elephants, lions, leopards, and rhinoceroses. In fact, the park is one of the last refuges with large numbers of white and black rhinoceroses; there are only 25,000 of these magnificent animals left. According to the International Wildlife Center (IWC) Africa, tourism is what’s largely keeping them alive.

IWC are the organizers of a new international design competition, which aims to create a new center and accommodations for tourists and volunteers. The facility is meant to enable a “learning experience that includes direct contact with the species in Kruger National Park.”

IWC intends to attract tourists, volunteers, and conservation professionals who want to broaden their knowledge of Africa’s keystone species and restore their habitat. The new visitor center will provide action-oriented education and “responsible rehabilitation of the fauna.”

The competition is open to all kinds of designers worldwide. First prize offers € 3,750 as well as publication in a range of international design publications. Registration is due January 16, 2015 and costs €75 for individuals and €100 for teams.

Other competitions of interest:

In New York City: Gowanus by Design, a “community-based urban-design advocacy organization,” has launched its third international design competition, Axis Civitas, which invites participants to first map the existing conditions of the heavily-polluted yet recovering Gowanus Canal in Queens and then design an “urban field station” accessible to the public. The collective mapping exercise will lead to a comprehensive atlas of the area that can “facilitate the community’s grassroots collaboration in the continuing evolution of the neighborhood.” Submissions are due March, 6 2015. Student fees are $50; $75 for professionals.

In London: The borough of Wandsworth seeks concepts from multi-disciplinary design teams from around the world for a £40 million bicycle and pedestrian bridge that will cross the River Thames between Nine Elms and Pimlico. The competition will identify the best team and explore options, not select a specific design. According to the organizers, “partial funding has already been budgeted for the bridge’s future construction and it is hoped that the winning design can be used to attract further match funding.” Stage one submissions are due January 6, 2015. Shortlisted finalists will each receive £12,000 to create concept designs.

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ASLA 2008 Professional General Design Award of Excellence. Lurie Garden, Chicago / Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has released its call for presentations for the 2015 Annual Meeting and EXPO, which will take place November 6-9, 2015, in Chicago. More than 6,000 attendees are expected to attend.

The meeting will feature a diverse spectrum of industry experts speaking on a wide range of subjects, from sustainable design to active living to best practices and new technologies.

More than 130 education sessions and field sessions will be presented during the meeting, providing attendees with the opportunity to earn up to 21 professional development hours under the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System™ (LA CES™).

Many of the sessions will also qualify for continuing education credit with the Green Building Certification Institute (toward LEED AP credential maintenance), the American Institute of Architects, the American Institute of Certified Planners, and other allied professional organizations and state registration boards.

Education session speakers selected from this process will receive a full complimentary registration to the ASLA 2015 Annual Meeting and may also be eligible for reimbursement for one night’s hotel stay at an official ASLA hotel (estimated $750 value). Landscape architecture professionals wishing to present at the Chicago meeting need to be active members of ASLA. Allied professionals are encouraged to both submit presentations and speak but are not required to be members of the Society.

The deadline for education session proposals is January 29, 2015. Submit your session proposal now.

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sagamore

Eel Creek Boardwalk leading to salt marshes and the Long Island Sound, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site Oyster Bay, NY.

In the era of ubiquitous technology and low attention spans, how can we reshape the national parks experience? This is what the Van Alen Institute and the National Park Service (NPS) want to figure out through their new competition, National Parks Now, which aims to bring “multidisciplinary teams of young professionals” together to develop new ways to attract diverse audiences, tell new stories, and engage the “next generation of visitors.” This competition is happening just as the National Park Service celebrates its centennial.

The four historic sites that are the focus of the competition are in the Northeast:

  • Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (Oyster Bay, NY), the estate of President Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Steamtown National Historic Site (Scranton, PA), one of the world’s most important monuments to the steam locomotive.
  • Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (Paterson, NJ), a historic birthplace of American textile manufacturing.
  • Weir Farm National Historic Site (Ridgefield, CT), the summer estate of the artist Julian Alden Weir.

According to the Van Alen Institute and the NPS, these sites are in the some of the country’s “densest and most diverse urban sites,” and offer “countless layers of the nation’s economic, ecological, and cultural history.” To unearth all of this history and make it more accessible to younger, smart-phone enabled visitors, the NPS seeks new forms of “learning tools, hands-on workshops, customizable self-led tours, site-specific leisure and exploration opportunities, digital narratives, short or long-term interactive installations, performance events, and outreach and engagement campaigns.”

Interestingly, the competition is part of a broader initiative at the Val Alen Institute to explore how “the form and organization of the built environment influences our need for escape.” The goal is to more deeply understand cities’ effect on us.

Each team will need to be multidisciplinary and feature young professionals. Team leaders must have obtained their professional degrees within the last ten years. Additional experts should also be among the recently graduated. The organizers encourage design professionals to also bring a young academic on board. Here are some ideal teams for the organizers:

  • Filmmaker, landscape architect, historian, ecologist, and artist working with a film class.
  • Web developer, art historian, architect, public relations, and arts management professional working with a new media interactive design development class and local preservation organization.
  • Sociologist, marketing/advertising professional, civil engineer, graphic designer, urban planner, and artist working with marketing students and a local community development group.

The organizers write that four winning teams (one for each park) will receive $15,000 to participate in a six-month, collaborative research and design process. At the end of that stage, each team will get another $10,000 to prototype their strategies, which will be implemented in the summer of 2015.

Pre-register by October 10 and get your submissions in by October 30.

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A new design competition will transform San Francisco’s Market Street into a “public platform” for three days in April 2015, showcasing 50 innovative ways to further improve this iconic civic space. According to the organizers, the Prototyping Festival will invite diverse designers to interact with the equally as diverse communities around the street to create a “more connected” San Francisco. The festival is organized by the San Francisco Planning Department, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Knight Foundation.

The organizers write: “We are looking for projects that encourage activity where people linger, socialize and spend time while simultaneously reflecting the district in which they exist. We also want projects that identify Market Street as uniquely San Francisco, creating an experience of the city’s history, diversity, environmental commitment, and leadership in cultural creativity and technological innovation.”

The idea for this project came out extensive community feedback gathered through the city’s Better Market Street project. San Franciscans said loud and clear that they wanted a “more vibrant and positive experience,” so the city has responded with a commitment to both redesign sidewalks and create “street life zones,” which competition winners will be asked to create with the community. The 50 projects will be spread along a 2-mile stretch between Market Street at the Embarcadero all the way to Van Ness Avenue.

Any person, business, or organization can submit a prototype or model. See some examples of what the organizers are looking for. Winning teams will receive a $2,000 stipend.

Submit your ideas by October 10.

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resilience

ASLA 2013 Professional Design Award of Excellence. Lafitte Greenway + Revitalization Corridor | Linking New Orleans Neighborhoods, New Orleans / Design Workshop

The Rockefeller Foundation has announced the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, a $100 million effort to improve urban resilience. Their goal is to help cities build resilience to all sorts of social, economic, and physical challenges. Winning cities will receive funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer, assistance in creating a comprehensive resilience strategy, and access to a “platform of innovative private and public sector tools.” The foundations says each city will not receive $1 million, but instead, get valuable resources to push forward their own well-defined resilience efforts.

Each city is only allowed one entry into the challenge. Cities will be evaluated against their commitment to “lead the resilience movement.” The city will have to show there is a broad base of support for their resilience program, and they already have multi-sector partnerships in place. They will need to identify areas where they are most vulnerable. And they will need to include the “voice of the city’s poor” in their efforts.

The foundation articulates the reasoning behind their effort: “We can’t predict the next disruption or catastrophe. But we can control how we respond to these challenges. We can adapt to the shocks and stresses of our world and transform them into opportunities for growth.”

Rockefeller Foundation judges will look at whether there is a real commitment, a “willingness for building and scaling the overall resilience of a city and using adaptable strategies.” They are looking for support from the leadership of the city. Judges will be looking for “ability to adapt,” including “flexibility to test new techniques, processes, services, or systems that expand the city’s ability to respond and emerge stronger when experiencing acute shocks (such as earthquakes and floods) and chronic stresses (such as violence and crime, pollution, pronounced inequality, serious energy shortages, lack of economic diversity, and inadequate housing).” Lastly, cities must demonstrate readiness to move with a comprehensive resilience plan and have a set of feasible activities ready to go.

We hope the Rockefeller Foundation will increase its support for the use of green infrastructure at all scales to enhance resilience.

And while these efforts are necessary, we’d like to see a greater discussion of how resilience connects with long-term sustainability, which is still the central goal. Resilience is merely a facet of sustainability. A singular focus on resilience seems to imply there is little chance for sustainability and we must gird ourselves for inevitable changes.

Cities must submit their applications by September 10, 2014.

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ecosystem-services

ASLA 2011 Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award. Making a Wild Place in Milwaukee’s Urban Menomonee Valley, Milwaukee by Landscapes of Place / Nancy Aten

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an international organization committed to strengthening the role of science in public decision-making on biodiversity and ecosystem services, seeks expert landscape architects, ecologists, and others with policy experience to assess its latest research. The call for more engagement was made at a recent presentation at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) in Washington, D.C.

IPBES explains the reason for its existence on its web site: “Biodiversity from terrestrial, marine, coastal, and inland water ecosystems provides the basis for ecosystems and the services they provide that underpin human well-being. However, biodiversity and ecosystem services are declining at an unprecedented rate, and in order to address this challenge, adequate local, national and international policies need to be adopted and implemented. To achieve this, decision makers need scientifically credible and independent information that takes into account the complex relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem services, and people. They also need effective methods to interpret this scientific information in order to make informed decisions. The scientific community also needs to understand the needs of decision makers better in order to provide them with the relevant information. In essence, the dialogue between the scientific community, governments, and other stakeholders on biodiversity and ecosystem services needs to be strengthened.”

To reiterate, Douglas Beard Jr., National Climate Change and Wildlife Center, U.S. Geological Survey, and a co-lead for the science component of IPBES for the U.S. Delegation, said: “It’s always better to hear from a diverse group of people.”

Established in 2012, IPBES has convened multi-disciplinary groups of experts to conduct public assessments around the globe. With 114 member countries, IPBES is dedicated to becoming the leading international organization on ecosystem services.

Assessors will help make progress on the status of pollinators, pollination, and food production; scoping for a set of global and regional assessments of the status of biodiversity and ecosystem services; and scoping for a thematic assessment of land degradation and restoration.

If you are interested in nominating someone or being nominated for an upcoming call, please contact Clifford Duke at ESA, which coordinates the U.S. stakeholders.

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A Memorial for the Canterbury Earthquakes / Christchurch Central Development Unit

In New Zealand in 2010, an earthquake 7.1 on the Richter scale shook open the earth in a previously unknown fault. Over the next three years, some 14,000 aftershocks hit the residents of the Canterbury region. One particularly devastating quake in February 2011 killed 185 people and damaged much of the city of Christchurch. In fact, up until July 2013, the center of Christchurch was totally cordoned off. Clean up and reconstruction has been intensive and ongoing. One sad statistic: only 20 percent of the city’s original buildings will remain when demolition is complete, writes the Christchurch city government.

In a sign of this city’s great resilience, Christchurch has sponsored a new design competition for a Canterbury Earthquake Memorial. The memorial is designed to be a “unique and lasting tribute to the tragic events that have so dramatically reshaped the Canterbury region and people.” The memorial seems to be needed: “people continue to mourn the losses and deal with the challenges of living in a damaged city.”

The memorial will be on a stretch of Ōtākaro/Avon River, between the Montreal Street bridge and Rhododendron Island. The Christchurch government says the site was chosen because it offers a “quiet, contemplative space” that can conversely also host large events for crowds up to 2,000. A tree-lined route, which includes a “bridge of remembrance,” will connect the memorial to the inner city.

The design competition is open to everyone, all over the world. The entries will be judged anonymously, with only an ID number accepted on the submission form. This is mean to eliminate any possible “professional or personal bias” among the judges.

Entries are due August 22.

Another opportunity: Princeton Architectural Press (PAP) is seeking submission for its cutting-edge Pamphlet Architecture series, made possible through support by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). “Pamphlet Architecture is again offering an opportunity for … landscape architects to publish their projects, manifestos, ideas, theories, ruminations, insights, and hopes for the future of the designed and built world. With far-ranging topics including the alphabet, algorithms, machines, and music, each Pamphlet is unique to the individual or group who authors it.”

PAP seeks concepts that “possess the rigor and excitement” found throughout the history of the series. Landscape architects: Register by August 1 and submit your best ideas by September 1. Winners will receive $2,500 to flesh out their proposals.

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sustainablelandscapes
Vote for Us: ASLA’s web site, Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes, has been nominated for a Webby, the most prestigious award for all things online. We need your help to win the People’s Voice Award. ASLA is currently in 2nd place.

The web site is an online exhibition highlighting real-life examples of sustainable landscape design and its positive effects on the environment and quality of life. These spaces use natural systems to clean the air and water, restore habitats, create healthy communities, and ultimately provide significant economic, social, and environmental value.

A total of 30 case studies illustrate just what sustainable landscapes are and how they provide important benefits on a variety of scales. In the process, the case studies, written in clear, understandable language, also introduce users to what exactly landscape architects do.

The Web site also features 10 animations created by Daniel Tal, ASLA, using SketchUp, which have been watched more than 150,000 times so far. The most recent animation, Designing Neighborhoods for People and Wildlife, explains how to transform your property into a real wildlife habitat. Learn how native plants and designed structures provide what nature needs:

Animations also include companion guides — sustainability education resources that enable users to explore sustainable design concepts in greater depth.

This project was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Vote for ASLA before April 24th.

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