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 2016 Annual Meeting and may also be eligible for reimbursement for one night’s hotel stay at an official ASLA hotel (an estimated $750 value). Landscape architecture professionals wishing to present at the New Orleans 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.
Pershing Square Park is Los Angeles’ oldest park. First opened in 1867 as St. Vincent’s Park, in 1870 it was officially renamed Los Angeles Park. Over the decades, the park underwent numerous revisions. In 1886, a dedicated bandstand pavilion was created, making it a public space for concerts. In the interim years, various statues were added. In 1910, architect John Parkinson redesigned the park, adding a fountain. After World War I, the park was renamed Pershing Park in honor of General John Joseph Pershing. In the 1920s and 30s, tropical plants were added, creating zones of greenery. Then, in 1994, a $14.5-million renovation by Mexican architect and landscape architect Ricardo Legorreta and American landscape architect Laurie Olin, FASLA, was completed. The bright, boxy post-modern design, which is in place today, notably features a 10-story purple bell tower, fountain, and small enclaves of trees. And today, AEG corporation, which created the massive Staples Center and L.A. Live spaces in downtown Los Angeles, has sponsored a new design competition to remake the 5-acre space once again.
According to the competition organizers, a new park is needed for a new downtown Los Angeles booming after decades of decline. The organizers says the transformation of the area is due to the city’s “adaptive reuse ordinance,” which has allowed developers to transform great old buildings in the historic core of downtown into commercial and residential space. Nearby, cool kids of all ages congregate at the Ace Hotel. And the Grand Central Market is now drawing others beyond the Latino community who have historically made up the district. Hotels and shops have popped up to serve both tourists and new waves of locals who have moved in. In 2000, downtown Los Angeles’ population was a mere 20,000; by 2010, it had doubled to 40,000.
Other city-wide efforts create impetus for a new downtown central square. Los Angeles is building a streetcar network that will make downtown even more accessible; Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar has launched “Bringing Back Broadway,” which aims to revitalize this historic avenue; and the ongoing Los Angeles River revitalization efforts continue.
According to The Architect’s Newspaper, the effort to create a new Pershing Square grew out of a task force established by Councilmember Huizar, who led a team with local designers, developers, and policymakers such as Macarlane Partners, Gensler, NBBJ, JFM Development, LA Recreation & Parks, and the Urban Land Institute. These taskforce members have already pledged support for a redesign. “MacFarlane Partners, which is developing 99,000 square-foot site overlooking the square, pledged $1 million pledge to seed Pershing Square Renew. The Department of Recreation and Parks earmarked $1 million for ‘immediate future for infrastructure improvements and amenities.'”
The goal is to create a dog-friendly community space with “less concrete and more green space” that can be used safely both day and night. They call for “tearing down the walls, ripping up the concrete, and planting more trees.” We would add there should be more easily-accessible public restrooms. When we visited the park during a conference this spring, much of it smelled like a urinal.
One big challenge will be figuring out how to keep the parking under Pershing Square Park accessible. Ramps for cars suck up a lot of space today, creating an unfortunate pedestrian experience that needs to be navigated on the north side of the park.
Councilmember Huizar is putting a great emphasis on public input at every stage of the design process. Project for Public Spaces, which have been highly critical of the existing park, led public public workshops this spring. The competition web site also enables residents to submit comments.
Archinect has launched a new competition that seeks “imaginative, pragmatic, idealist, and perhaps dsytopic” design proposals to address the future of water in California, as the most severe drought in a generation continues. The organizers point out that California only has about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and the state’s groundwater, which is supposed to be banked for the future, is being rapidly depleted by unabated industrial farming.
Archinect writes: “The stakes couldn’t be higher: not only is California the most populous state in country, it is by far the largest agricultural producer. According to many experts, the drought in California correlates to both unsustainable human practices and the larger product of unsustainable human activity: climate change. With current responses largely amounting to ‘too-little-too-late,’ the clock is ticking for California.”
The competition will divide submissions into two categories: “one for speculative projects that involve realities, futures or technologies not yet imagined and one for pragmatic responses that could actually be implemented within current economic and technological conditions.”
The inter-disciplinary jury includes: Allison Arieff, former editor of Dwell and now head of Spur; Geoff Manaugh, founder of BLDGBLOG; Hadley and Peter Arnold, co-founders of the Arid Land Institute, NASA’s Jay Famiglietti; Charles Anderson, FASLA, Werk; and Colleen Tuite and Ian Quate, founders of the “experimental landscape architecture studio” Green as F*ck.
Another opportunity worth checking out: The Walton Family Foundation is looking to fund projects that fit into its plan to “elevate the quality of architectural and landscape design in Arkansas’ Benton and Washington counties.” The foundation will fund landscape designs by local governments, including school districts, and non-profits. In 2014, the foundation provided more than $40 million in support. For this year’s round of local investments, planner Victor Dover and University of Virginia landscape architecture professor Elizabeth Meyer, FASLA, are among the judges. Landscape architects should submit design proposals by September 16.
This past month, the American Society of Landscape Architects joined World Landscape Architecture Month (WLAM), a global effort to raise awareness of the profession. During this time, our members took nearly 4,000 pictures of landscape architect-designed spaces with our “Designed by a Landscape Architect” card and posted them to social media using #WLAM2015.
These posts reached nearly 3 million people and showed how landscape architects can effectively use social media, harnessing its inherently visual nature.
The pictures featured some instantly recognizable, iconic landscapes.
But also some favorite local projects, too.
WLAM was also an opportunity to show all stages of design.
Americans weren’t the only ones involved: Landscape architects from more than 30 countries participated in the campaign, often using the cards we created in 13 languages.
Both future and veteran landscape architects were involved in the campaign, connecting multiple generations.
World Landscape Architecture Month helped raise the visibility of landscape architecture on a global level. The “Designed by a Landscape Architect” cards helps the public understand many of the places they use and love everyday are actually designed by someone. The campaign was so successful ASLA is continuing it past April in order to continually promote the work of its members and landscape architecture around the world.
South by Southwest (SXSW) Eco, which has grown from a small off-shoot of the well-known SXSW music festival into a major sustainable design conference, is now looking for the “businesses, designs, and technologies that will drive global change” for its early October conference in Austin, Texas. SXSW Eco looks like the perfect place for landscape architects to present their innovative ideas, as this year the focus will be on architecture and the built environment; art and design; smart cities and transportation; and water and resources.
The conference organizers are looking for “content that inspires, educates, and informs, providing motivation as well as the tools to take action.” They want a real “diversity in perspective, opinion, and representation.” Furthermore, “self-promotion and advertorial presentations are not well-received.” Session proposals could include panels, workshops, debates, or any other creative format.
According to Forbes magazine, “creating that marketplace for exchange of ideas and progressive thinking is what South by Southwest Eco is all about.”
The International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) and the Association of Landscape Architects of Russia (ALAROS) has launched a design competition that seeks to identify “superior environmental designs” by landscape architecture students worldwide. The competition is open to individuals or teams of students in undergraduate and graduate programs.
According to the organizers, “students are invited to present their ideas for the application of innovative, sustainable solutions in contemporary landscape issues. The competition encourages students to explore both urban and rural green-blue infrastructure and suggest scenarios for the sustainable development of human habitats.” Students can select any site in the world, at any scale.
The top-three winners, which will be announced at the IFLA World Congress in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 10-12, will take home $7,000 in prizes. Winning boards will also be exhibited at the conference.
Submissions are due May 8. Entry fees range from $10 to $50, depending on the country of the educational institution. The fees are calculated based on purchasing power indexes to ensure students are charged an “equitable amount.”
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) seeks a full-time summer communications intern. The intern will research and update ASLA’s sustainable design resource guides, produce new content for the web site Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes, and write weekly posts on landscape architecture and related topics for The Dirt blog.
The intern will be expected to work full-time from June through August.
The intern will research and update resource guides on sustainable transportation, urban development, and other topics. The intern will create new case studies of best practices for Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes.
The intern will also create original content for The Dirt, including a weekly series of reviews on new apps and technology useful to landscape architects.
The intern will attend ASLA’s annual diversity summit weekend and write a report on the proceedings.
The intern will also have the opportunity to attend educational and networking events at the National Building Museum, Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks, and other museums and think tanks in Washington, D.C. Other communications projects may come up as well.
Current enrollment in a Master’s program in landscape architecture.
Excellent writing skills. The intern must be able to write clearly for a general audience.
Excellent photographic composition and editing skills.
Proven research skills and ability to quickly evaluate the quality and relevance of many different types of Web resources.
Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to interact graciously with busy staff members and outside experts.
Working knowledge of Photoshop, Google Maps, and Microsoft Office suite.
How to Apply:
Please send cover letter, CV, two writing samples (no more than 2 pages each) to firstname.lastname@example.org by end of day, Friday, March 27.
Phone interviews will be conducted with finalists the week of March 30 and selection will be made the following week.
The 10-week internship offers a $4,000 stipend. ASLA can also work with the interns to attain academic credit for the internship.
ASLA offers a flexible work schedule but the intern must be at ASLA’s national headquarters, which is conveniently located in downtown Washington, D.C., one block north of the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Station on the Red, Yellow, and Green Lines. Learn more about ASLA’s green roof.
Architectural Record and the Van Alen Institute have created a new survey meant to mine the design world’s complex feelings about competitions. The survey, which takes just about 10 minutes to complete, is sure to collect some fascinating data on what motivates designers to enter competitions, how they would like to see the format improved, and what they have gained or lost from participating. The sponsors say the “survey results will help catalyze the development of new models for this highly charged” practice.
In one section, the survey aims to uncover just how truly interdisciplinary those interdisciplinary teams are in these competitions. There are questions like: “How frequently are you required to work with other design professions (e.g. architecture, landscape architecture, planning, etc.) in the design competitions you have entered? How frequently are you required to work with other non-design professions (e.g. finance, ecology, social sciences, etc.) in the design competitions you have entered? What professions outside of design would you like to work with on a competition?”
Other interesting questions ask respondents to think more broadly about the role competitions play in focusing our attention on critical issues. “What do you think has been the most interesting or influential design competitions of the last decade and why? What sites or issues do you think future competitions should address?”
The survey doesn’t address student design competitions explicitly.
Results will be presented at a conference organized by the Van Alen Institute and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design on April 23-24 and also be made available online.
A few lucky random respondents will receive prizes like an iPad Mini, Bose QuietComfort noise-cancelling headphones, a Nespresso Vertuoline espresso maker, and a $200 gift card to MoMA Design Store.
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.
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.