Landscape Architecture in the News Highlights (November 1 – 15)

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Tech Deck in Mountain View, California / Bionic

Young Landscape Architect Works to Shape the Future San Diego Downtown News, 11/3/17
“Growing up in Tempe, Arizona, Magnusson was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, and had opportunities to explore several of his commercial, institutional and residential projects.”

Michael Maltzan Architecture to Expand ArtCenter College of Design The Architect’s Newspaper, 11/3/17
“ArtCenter College of Design has unveiled renderings of a new, two-phase master plan created by Michael Maltzan Architecture that aims to reposition the college as an expansive, urban campus connected by pedestrianized open spaces, new housing, and student amenities.”

Lines Are Drawn Over Design for a National World War I MemorialThe New York Times, 11/8/17
“When it was built in 1981 as part of an architectural revival of Pennsylvania Avenue, Pershing Park was a downtown oasis of tree line and water fountain steps from the White House. In the years since, the park has fallen into disrepair and has become a haven for homeless people and pigeons.”

It’s All About the Details for Landscape Architect Kathryn Gustafson The Vancouver Sun, 11/10/17
“This year the Robson Square lecture hall was packed to hear renowned American landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson, and she did not disappoint.”

Bionic Forges Lush Landscapes and Public Spaces in the Dense Bay Area Curbed, 11/15/17
“Wilson is changing the shape and texture of some of California’s most beloved landscapes and outdoor public areas in ways that are surprising, unconventional, and delightful.”

With Resilient Design, We Can Better Protect Our Communities from Wildfires

Washington state wildfire / Wikipedia

This year, the Pacific Northwest saw an extraordinary fire season, with approximately 35 fires raging in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California by mid-September. While there is an immediate knee-jerk reaction to fires as entirely negative, wildfires are in fact a very natural part of the life cycle of forests. In addition to removing undergrowth so sunlight can reach the forest floor and new plants can grow, some plants, such as the lodgepole pine, even require fire to germinate and sprout.

What is so unusual about this year’s season is how long it has lasted: a full seven months. An unusually dry summer in a region known for rain, combined with a strong ridge high pressure that settled over the Pacific Northwest heating air and blocking storms from entering, resulted in dried-out plants and created the perfect environment for fires. In 2017, we have already spent more in national funds to combat the fires than in any other year on record, and the year isn’t yet over.

Similar to the hurricanes battering the East Coast this season, these events would be considered normal individually, if it were not for the acceleration of their natural cycles, creating increased numbers that are larger in scope. Looking at the total picture, the acceleration of these cycles is where we can see the inevitable consequences of climate change at work.

Living in Seattle, I have seen the effects of these fires firsthand. Getting up one morning this summer after having left the window open overnight, I went into my dining room and discovered that the wind had covered it entirely with ashes. Despite not being exposed to an active fire, the visible effects continued to blanket our city. And it’s not just the visible effects. Ash and smoke particulates in the air can cause breathing problems, especially for sensitive populations including those with heart and lung diseases such as asthma. Though fires may not be blazing downtown, they are have impacted the lives of everyone living in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Even if you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest, the fires are affecting you too, though you may not know it. The ash and smoke from the fires are not just settling on our cities, but also being lofted into the atmosphere and spreading around the globe. In this map created by NASA, you can see the ash and smoke from the Pacific Northwest fires drifting across the earth, reaching as far as Europe and Northern Africa. And due to their carbon gas emissions, the wildfires themselves contribute to accelerated climate change worldwide. While climate incidents like these can be “out of sight, out of mind” for those not actively experiencing them, the earth is a closed system: climate incidents that impact some of us, impact all of us.

So with climate change here to stay, how can we mitigate its impact to make our cities and dwellings safer? Landscape architecture can provide solutions to some of the problems posed by climate change. For example, better urban design can help reduce the sprawl at the intersection of urban and natural space, which is now in the most in danger of devastation from wildfires. For those already living at these intersections, landscape management of individual properties can help mitigate those hazards.

One such solution is to create a “defensible space” around homes at these intersections. These spaces create a barrier to impede wildfires from reaching homes, room for firefighters to maneuver if needed, and prevent fires in the home from spreading into the wild. Defensible space tactics can include reducing plant fuels around the home, incorporating fuel breaks such as gravel, and ensuring that all trees are cleared to 6-10 feet off the ground.

Careful selection of plants, too, can have an impact at these intersections. Plants that shed minimal amounts of leaves and needles provide less fuel for fires. Trees with low resin and sap content are also considered less likely to burn. Finally, native plants may be more fire-resistant or fire-adapted than non-native species. Over the last 30-40 years, we have gained an increased understanding of the environmental importance of using native plants in landscapes. But with climate change, we must also plan for a “different kind of native,” selecting plants with an eye towards the future, as current native species may not thrive in the environment as it changes.

This is where research and forward-thinking are most critical. Greater focus and funds towards researching the anticipated effects of climate change on an area allows us to plan for “new native” species that will thrive in their changing environment.

We must call on national agencies managing resources to do so with an eye towards the future, conducting research and careful planning to ensure that our natural resources and our built environments are protected. While the effects of climate change are inevitable, what matters now is finding ways to adapt to these new circumstances. You can see great work being done by the National Park Service in this area, preparing our natural treasures to survive and thrive in a world of accelerated natural cycles.

Tackling the problems posed by climate change can be overwhelming, but humans are highly adaptable species, and there are measures we can and should take to protect our future. That’s why the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has convened a blue ribbon panel of multidisciplinary experts to create innovative solutions that will make our cities and inhabited spaces climate resilient. The report will provide comprehensive public-policy recommendations for using resilient design to combat climate change. Learn more about how we’re developing policy recommendations to safeguard our cities and natural resources for the future.

This post is by Vaughn Rinner, FASLA, immediate past president of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and a landscape architect with 40 years of experience.

Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge Announces 10 Design Teams

San Francisco Bay Area / ESA

The Rockefeller Foundation together with other organizations have brought their Rebuild by Design design competition to the San Francisco Bay Area. Like the original competition set up in the tri-state area after Hurricane Sandy, the Bay Area Challenge identified a set of teams that will go out into communities and devise conceptual designs for reducing exposure to the harmful impacts of climate change. The goal is to “lay out a blueprint for resilience in our region and communities around the world.”

Out of 51 teams that submitted proposals, 10 multi-disciplinary teams of landscape architects, climate scientists, architects, engineers, and artists have been selected to engage communities over the next nine months. Half are led by a landscape architecture firm, and almost all include landscape architecture firms. Also, each team includes at least one firm from the Bay Area, while some teams are made up of all local firms and experts.

The 10 teams:

Next, the teams will head out into the community for three months on collaborative research tours. Local experts and community groups will identify “locations vulnerable to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding, and earthquakes.” In November, each team will present 3-5 project design opportunities. And then in December, one project will be selected for each team.

The design work will then begin early next year. Teams will be expected to form close partnerships with state and local governments and community groups in order to achieve implementation.

San Francisco Bay wetland / Save the Bay blog

Also, Resilient by Design is partnering with Y-PLAN, an educational platform developed by University of California, Berkeley that enables “young people to tackle real-world problems in their communities through project-based civic learning experiences.” Alongside the Bay Area Challenge, Y-PLAN will lead students through a similar planning and design effort, empowering them to “dream big and envision a more resilient Bay Area grounded in equity, and providing sources of inspiration for future college and career readiness for young aspiring resilience planners.”

Watch a kickoff video and see a calendar of upcoming public events.

New Guide: Energy Efficiency at Home

By using passive solar heating and an extended roof of photovoltaic panels, these houses produce more energy than they consume. The Solar Settlement in Schlierberg, Freiburg, Germany / Wikipedia

Inefficient home energy use is not only costly, but also contributes to the growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the primary cause of climate change. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the residential sector accounted for 21 percent of total primary energy consumption and about 20 percent of carbon emissions in the U.S. in 2013. And according to Architecture 2030, building construction and operations-related energy use accounts for almost 50 percent of total GHG emissions.

Through integrated site design, a comprehensive approach to sustainable building and site design, sustainable residential landscape architecture practices can not only improve the environment, but also result in net-zero or even climate positive homes. If part of a broader integrated site design, sustainable residential landscape architecture can help eliminate the need for fossil fuel-based energy, while creating a healthy residential environment.

ASLA has created a new guide to increasing energy efficiency through sustainable residential landscape architecture, which contains research, projects, and resources. Developed for homeowners and landscape architects and designers alike, the guide is designed to help spread more sustainable and resilient practices.

Homeowners can go net-zero or climate positive by tapping the potential of landscapes. As an example, residential green roof and wall systems, which are often key features of integrated site design projects, can reduce energy use and home heating and cooling costs.

According to The Sustainable SITES Initiative™ (SITES®), homeowners can use trees and dense shrubs to shade their home and any external HVAC systems or block wind and thereby further reduce energy use.

Homeowners can further leverage clean energy technologies, like solar-powered LED outdoor lighting.

The environmental and economic benefits of energy efficient technologies increase as homes are tied together into multi-family housing complexes with shared infrastructure. Research shows dense development lowers water and energy use, conserves natural habitats, and reduces transportation-related GHG emissions by encouraging walking, cycling, and taking public transportation. Communities like Freiburg, Germany and Malmo, Sweden are examples of residential communities that have taken innovative approaches to design and planning by implementing sustainable energy, water, and waste management systems.

Landscape architects can help homeowners by undertaking a comprehensive energy audit and then identify landscape-based solutions for generating renewable power or reducing energy waste.

State and local governments also work with design professionals to incorporate sustainable residential landscape architecture codes throughout urban, suburban, and rural areas. For example, South Miami just recently mandated that new buildings, and some renovations, must include solar panels.

Source: Drivers of U.S. Household Energy Consumption, 1980-2009, U.S. Energy Information Administration

Explore the guide:

Green Roofs
Green Walls
Tree Placement for Energy Efficiency
Solar

ASLA Announces 2017 Professional Awards

ASLA 2017 Professional General Award of Excellence. Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas. OJB Landscape Architecture / Thomas McConnell Photography

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced its 38 professional award recipients for 2017. Selected from 465 entries, the awards recognize the best of landscape architecture in the general design, analysis and planning, communications, research, and residential design categories from the United States and around the world.

The winners will receive their awards at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Los Angeles on Monday, October 23, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The September issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine (LAM) features the winning projects and is available free.

The following is a complete list of 2017 professional award winners:

General Design Category

Award of Excellence

Klyde Warren Park – Bridging the Gap in Downtown Dallas, Dallas (see image above)
by OJB Landscape Architecture for the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation

Honor Awards

The Entrance Garden, Sao Paulo, Brazil
by Alex Hanazaki Paisagismo for Eliane Revestimentos

Windhover Contemplative Center, San Francisco
by Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture for Stanford University

Owens Lake Land Art, Inyo County, California
by NUVIS Landscape Architecture for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

SteelStacks Arts + Cultural Campus, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
by WRT for the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem

Central Seawall Project, Seattle
by James Corner Field Operations LLC for the City of Seattle Department of Transportation and Office of The Waterfront

The Yue-Yuan Courtyard, Suzhou, China
by Z+T Studio Landscape Architecture for Avic Legend Co. Ltd.

Merging Culture and Ecology at The North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina
by Surface 678 for the North Carolina Museum of Art

Chicago Botanic Garden: The Regenstein Learning Campus, Chicago
by Mikyoung Kim Design and Jacobs/Ryan Associates for the Chicago Botanic Garden

Workplace as Landscape – Facebook MPK20, San Francisco
by CMG Landscape Architecture for Facebook

Analysis and Planning Category

Award of Excellence

ASLA 2017 Professional Analysis and Planning Award of Excellence. Storm + Sand + Sea + Strand — Barrier Island Resiliency Planning for Galveston Island State Park, Galveston, Texas. Studio Outside / Studio Outside

Storm + Sand + Sea + Strand — Barrier Island Resiliency Planning for Galveston Island State Park, Galveston, Texas
by Studio Outside for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Honor Awards

The Olana Strategic Landscape Design Plan: Restoring an American Masterpiece, Hudson, New York
by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects for the Olana Partnership and The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Waterfront Botanical Gardens, Louisville, Kentucky
by Perkins+Will for Botanica

Positioning Pullman, Chicago
by Site for the National Parks Conservation Association

Conservation at the Edge – Prototyping Low-intervention Conservation in the Patagonian Wilderness, Cambridge, Massachusetts
by Reed Hilderbrand LLC Landscape Architecture for Victor F. Trahan III, FAIA

Fitzgerald Revitalization Project: Landscapes as the Framework for Community Reinvestment, Detroit
by Spackman Mossop Michaels for the City of Detroit

Texas Capitol Complex Master Plan, Austin, Texas
by Page and Sasaki Associates for the Texas Facilities Commission

Communications Category

Award of Excellence

ASLA 2017 Professional Communications Award of Excellence. Digital Library of Landscape Architecture History. Benjamin George, ASLA / Benjamin George

Digital Library of Landscape Architecture History
by Benjamin George, ASLA

Honor Awards

Ecology as the Inspiration for a Presidential Library Park
by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. for the George W. Bush Presidential Center

The Landscape Architecture of Lawrence Halprin
by The Cultural Landscape Foundation

Toward an Urban Ecology
by Scape, published by The Monacelli Press

‘Jens Jensen The Living Green,’ A Feature Documentary
by Viva Lundin Productions and the University of Michigan

Championing Connectivity: How an International Competition Captured Global Attention and Inspired Innovation in Wildlife Crossing Design
by ARC Solutions

Research Category

Award of Excellence

ASLA 2017 Professional Research Award of Excellence. Fluid Territory: A Journey into Svalbard, Norway. Kathleen John-Alder, ASLA, Rutgers University, and Tromsø Academy / Herta Lampert Archives

Fluid Territory: A Journey into Svalbard, Norway
by Kathleen John-Alder, ASLA, Rutgers University, Tromsø Academy

Honor Awards

Climate Change Impacts on Cultural Landscapes in the Pacific West Region, National Park System
by Cultural Landscape Research Group, University of Oregon for the Pacific West Region, National Park Service

Seeding Green Roofs for Greater Biodiversity and Lower Costs
by Richard Sutton, FASLA, for the Sandhills Publishing Inc., Arbor Day Foundation, Tetrad Property Group, LPS NRD, and Lincoln Urban Development

Rendering Los Angeles Green: The Greenways to Rivers Arterial Stormwater System (GRASS)
by Lee-Anne Milburn, FASLA, for the City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Sanitation

The Ecological Atlas Project
by Studio Roberto Rovira

Residential Design Category

Award of Excellence

ASLA 2017 Professional Residential Design Award of Excellence. Birmingham Residence. Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture / Marion Brenner

Birmingham Residence, San Francisco
by Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture for Linda Dresner

Honor Awards

Telegraph Hill Residence, San Francisco
by Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture

Northeast Harbor, a Restoration on Mount Desert Island, Hancock County, Maine
by Stephen Stimson Associates | Landscape Architects

Smith Residence
by Roche + Roche Landscape Architecture

Casa Las Brisas – Formation of a Coastal Retreat, Las Condes, Chile
by C. Stuart Moore Design

Proving Grounds – A 20-Year Education in American Horticulture
by Reed Hilderbrand LLC Landscape Architecture for Adam R. Rose and Peter R. McQuillan

Agrarian Modern – The Recovery and Renewal of Manatuck Farm
by Reed Hilderbrand LLC Landscape Architecture

Abstracting Morphology
by HOLLANDERdesign | Landscape Architects

Northpoint Apartments, Orinda, California
by JETT Landscape Architecture + Design Inc. for Aline Estournes, Northpoint Apartments LLC

The Landmark Award

ASLA 2017 Landmark Award. J. Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles. OLIN / OLIN, Sahar Coston-Hardy

The J. Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles
by OLIN for the J. Paul Getty Trust

The professional awards jury included:

  • Elizabeth Miller, FASLA, Chair, National Capital Planning Commission, Washington, D.C.
  • Diane Jones Allen, ASLA, DesignJones LLC, New Orleans
  • Maureen Alonso, U.S. General Services Administration, Washington, D.C.
  • James Lord, ASLA, Surfacedesign Inc., San Francisco\
  • Janet Rosenberg, FASLA, Janet Rosenberg Studio, Toronto
  • Glen Schmidt, FASLA, Schmidt Design Group Inc., San Diego
  • Todd Wichman, FASLA, Stantec, St. Paul
  • Barbara Wyatt, ASLA, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.

For the selection of the Research Category, the jury was joined by M. Elen Deming, ASLA, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, on behalf of the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) and Charlene LeBleu, FASLA, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., on behalf of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA).

ASLA Announces 2017 Student Awards

ASLA 2017 Student General Design Award of Excellence. Invisible Works: A public introduction to the dynamic life of wastewater treatment. Bridget Ayers Looby, Associate ASLA | Faculty Advisors: Matthew Tucker; Joseph Favour, ASLA; Baline Brownell, University of Minnesota / Bridget Ayers Looby

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced the 28 winners of the 2017 Student Awards. Selected from 295 entries representing 52 schools, the awards honor the top work of landscape architecture students in the U.S. and around the world.

The winners will receive their awards at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Los Angeles on Monday, October 23, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The September issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine (LAM) features the winning projects and is available for free viewing.

The following is a complete list of 2017 student award winners:

General Design Category

Award of Excellence

Invisible Works: A Public Introduction to the Dynamic Life of Wastewater Treatment (see image above)
by Bridget Ayers Looby, Associate ASLA, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota

Honor Awards

Weaving the Waterfront
by a graduate team at Cornell University

Milan Traversing
by Zhiqiang Zeng, Student ASLA, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania

Concrete Nurse Logs: Spawning Biodiversity from Ballard’s Century-Old Locks
by Hillary Pritchett, Associate ASLA, a graduate student at the University of Washington

Creating Dynamic Hybrid: Towards Landscape Innovation in a Smart City
by Fang Wei, Student Affiliate ASLA, a graduate student at Tsinghua University

Create a Walkable History: Editing the Historical Percorsi of Pienza
by Zhengneng Chen, Student ASLA, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania

The Turning Point: A Focused Design Study for the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York
by Christopher O. Anderson, Student ASLA, a graduate student at State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF)

Residential Design Category

Honor Award

Micro-infrastructure as Community Preservation: Kampung Baru
by a team of graduate students at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Analysis and Planning Category

Award of Excellence

ASLA 2017 Student Analysis and Planning Award of Excellence. Water and the Agricultural Landscape of Illinois. Team: Jacqueline Carmona, Student ASLA; Maria Esker, Student ASLA; Layne Knoche, Student ASLA; Carmeron Letterly, Student ASLA; April Pitts, Student ASLA; Cesar Rojas-Campos, Student ASLA; Zi Hao Song, Student ASLA; Yuxi Wang, Student ASLA; Xiaodong Yang, Student ASLA; Dongqi Zhang, Student ASLA; Nathan Burke, Student ASLA; Yizhen Ding, Student ASLA | Faculty Advisor: Kathrine Kraszewska. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Water and the Agricultural Landscape of Illinois
by an undergraduate student team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Honor Awards

Desert River Water Conservation
by Zhuofan Wan, Student Affiliate ASLA, a graduate student at the University of Toronto

Disaster Autopsy Model
by an undergraduate student team at the Louisiana State University

Climate Change Armor
by Zixu Qiao, Student ASLA, a graduate student at Texas A&M University

Reviving the 30 Meters
by Tianjiao Yan, Student ASLA, a graduate student at the University of Toronto

Landscape in Evolution: Creating a Resilient Nomadic Landscape from Bottom Up in Hulunbuir
by a team of graduate students from Beijing Forestry University

Forests on the Edge: Plant-Based Economies Driving Ecological Renewal in Haiti
by Christine Facella, Student ASLA, a graduate student at City College

Communications Category

Award of Excellence

ASLA 2017 Student Communications Award of Excellence. HydroLIT: Southeast Tennessee Water Quality Playbook. Southeast Region, TN, USA | Team: Lindsey Bradley, Student ASLA; Erica Phannamvong, Student ASLA; Kyra Wu, Student ASLA; Sarah Newton, Student ASLA | Faculty Advisor: Bradford Collett, ASLA. University of Tennessee / Lindsey Bradley, Erica Phannamvong

HydroLIT: Southeast Tennessee Water Quality Playbook
by a team of graduate students from the University of Tennessee

Honor Awards

Agro-pelago (Foodscapes for the Future)
by Jaclyn Kaloczi, Student ASLA, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia

Urban Landscape Metrics: Re-imagining the Class Field Trip in New York City’s Great Parks
by Quinn Pullen, Associate ASLA, a graduate student at the Pennsylvania State University

Tactile MapTile: Working Towards Inclusive Cartography
by Jessica Hamilton, Student ASLA, a graduate student at the University of Washington

Research Category

Honor Award

Fairy Tales to Forest
by Amy Taylor, Student ASLA, a graduate student at Ohio State University

Student Collaboration Category

Award of Excellence

ASLA 2017 Professional Student Collaboration Award of Excellence. RISE, a coastal observation platform. Goose Island State Park, TX, USA | Team: Hannah Ivancie; Neive Tierney, Student ASLA; Olakunle Oni; Sebastian Rojas; Max Mahaffey; Qianhui Miao, Student ASLA; Michelle Sifre; Sara Bensalem; Eric Alexander; Mitch Flora; Josh Leger; Hannah Frossard; James Holliday | Client: Goose Island State Park; Texas Parks & Wildlife Department | Faculty Advisor: Coleman Coker. The University of Texas at Austin

RISE, a Coastal Observation Platform
by a team of graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin

Honor Awards

The White House Kitchen Garden
by a team of graduate students at the University of Virginia

Follow the Water: Rain Garden as Diagram
by a team of graduate students at Mississippi State University

Community Service Category

Award of Excellence

ASLA 2017 Professional Community Service Award of Excellence. Student Ridge Lane, San Francisco, California. Nahal Sohbati | Faculty Advisors: Heather Clendenin, Affiliate ASLA; Mary Muszynski, ASLA; Wright Yang, Academy of Art University / Eric Arneson

Ridge Lane
by Nahal Sohbati, Student Affiliate ASLA, a graduate student at the Academy of Art University

Honor Awards

Earth and Sky Garden: A Therapeutic Garden for the Puget Sound Veteran’s Affairs Hospital
by a team of graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Washington

An Outdoor Learning Environment for and with a Primary School Community in Bangladesh
by Matluba Khan, Student Affiliate ASLA, a graduate student at the University of Edinburgh

The student awards jury included:

  • Barbara Swift, FASLA, Chair, Swift Company llc, Seattle
  • Michael Albert, ASLA, Design Workshop, Aspen, Colorado
  • Meg Calkins, FASLA, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
  • Mark Focht, FASLA, New York City Parks & Recreation, New York
  • Robert Page, FASLA, Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, Boston
  • James Richards, FASLA, Townscape Inc., Fort Worth, Texas
  • Roberto Rovira, ASLA, Florida International University, Studio Roberto Rovira, Miami
  • Meghan Stromberg, American Planning Association, Chicago
  • Mercedes Ward, ASLA, New York City Parks, Flushing, New York

New Guide: Smart, Sustainable Materials at Home

The landscape architect mined elements from the cannery structure, including abandoned machinery, for repurposing in the new gardens. The recycled tumbled glass riverbed in the Dining Room Court, and stone columns in the Lew Hing Garden add to the historic character. Hand crafted site furnishings made from FSC-certified wood, concrete, steel, and glass were designed by the landscape architect and crafted by Miller Company Landscape Architects’ in-house installation team. ASLA 2010 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. Pacific Cannery Lofts / Miller Company Landscape Architects.

New and non-recyclable materials used in homes and landscapes are often not designed to be recycled. These materials can consume enormous amounts of resources to produce and distribute and create additional waste when they are demolished. Waste materials create waste landscapes: landfills, massive incinerator systems, and multi-square-mile floating plastic garbage islands in the world’s oceans.

ASLA has created a new guide to using low-impact materials at home, which contains research, projects, and resources on how to better source materials for residential landscapes. Developed for homeowners and landscape architects and designers alike, the guide is designed to help spread more sustainable and resilient practices.

To avoid sending useful materials to landfills and cut down on materials that release toxic substances, The Sustainable SITES Initiative™ (SITES®) recommends reusing or recycling existing materials.

Homeowners can also specify local materials to support local economies and cut down on the energy use from the transportation of materials.

But beyond reused, recycled, or local materials, there are other important ways to reduce the impact of materials on our health and environments.

Sustainable residential landscape design can increase the health of environment through the use of innovative low-impact materials that are permeable and reflective (high albedo).

Permeable materials allow water to infiltrate and recharge aquifers, instead of being sent to combined stormwater and sewer systems.

Reflective, “cool,” or white materials help reduce air temperatures, particularly in cities dealing with the challenges of the urban heat island effect, and energy costs by minimizing the use of air conditioning to cool buildings.

There are also more sustainable wood and concrete options out there that minimize consumption of newer materials or extend the life of existing materials.

SITES recommends building with certified, sustainably-harvested woods; recycled woods; and recycled plastic or composite lumber to preserve forests, which are critical to sequestering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

To avoid sending useful materials to the landfill, conserve natural resources, and reduce a project’s carbon footprint, SITES also recommends landscape architects source sustainable concrete from manufacturers using supplementary cementing materials, like fly ash – a byproduct of coal-fired power plants. Landscape architects should reuse concrete from structures on the existing site, like crushed concrete as an aggregate base. Concrete that incorporates recycled materials, like crushed glass or wood chips, are a more sustainable and use less cement than traditional pavers.

Used in both landscapes and buildings, low-impact materials can reduce GHG emissions and create a healthier environment.

Local governments can partner with non-profit organizations and landscape architects and designers to increase public awareness about why it’s important to use low-impact materials.

Explore sections of the guide:

Permeable Surfaces
Reflective Materials
Sustainable Woods
Sustainable Concrete

Movement and Meaning: The Landscapes of Hoerr Schaudt

Movement and Meaning / The Monacelli Press

Movement and Meaning: The Landscapes of Hoerr Schaudt highlights the depth of work created by landscape architects Doug Hoerr, FASLA, and the late Peter Schaudt, FASLA. From private gardens to lush civic spaces, this coffee table book chronicles major works by the Chicago-based studio, from inception to final installation.

The book, written with Douglas Brenner, begins with Hoerr’s first residential project, a garden in Lake Forest, Illinois, a suburb north of Chicago.

Garden in the Round, Lake Forest, Illinois / Scott Shigley

And then moves to bustling plazas and civic spaces, like the Michigan Avenue streetscape in Chicago, recipient of the 2016 ASLA Landmark Award, which is given to projects of longevity that have maintained their design integrity and contributed to the public realm.

Michigan Avenue, Chicago / Charlie Simokaitis, Steven Gierke, HSLA staff

In 1991, then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley tapped Hoerr and Gordon Segal, founder of Crate & Barrel, to redesign the landscape of Michigan Avenue, a hotspot for tourism amid Chicago’s towering skyline. Hoerr’s goal was to “make the horticulture so bold that it looked ready to jump out of the planters and compete with any skyscraper.”

Michigan Avenue, Chicago / Charlie Simokaitis, Steven Gierke, HSLA staff

Schaudt also renovated Daley Plaza, a much-loved iconic square in Chicago. Designed by Jacques Brownson in 1965, Schaudt called the Modernist space “‘the Italian piazza of Chicago.'”

Schaudt sought to “replace the thin stone pavers with more durable lookalikes, double the tree court without changing the number or location of planters, and leave the plaza’s landmark character intact.”

A charming moment is documented in the book: “After Daley Plaza reopened, a Chicago architect confided, ‘This looks great, Peter, but I can’t figure out what you did.’ Schaudt took the comment as the highest compliment to his craft.”

Daley Plaza, Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago / Martin Konopacki

It’s these bits of personal context that make Movement and Meaning compelling.

The book offers insight into design challenges and decisions, explaining the unique circumstances under which each project came to be.

Take the Greater Des Monies Botanical Garden. Brenner explains that since its heyday in 1979, the site around the garden fell into disrepair. Visitors struggled to find comfort in the landscape surrounded by an interstate and a double-lane parkway. After joining a design committee in 2004, Hoerr concluded the design should be based on water and sought to bring the river to the botanical dome.

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Des Moines, Iowa / Scott Shigley
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Des Moines, Iowa / Scott Shigley

In the Dwarf Conifer Garden, another Midwest plant-focused space, the studio increased accessibility and conducted a “plant-by-plant assessment of the two-decade-old garden.”

Dwarf Conifer Garden / Plan courtesy Hoerr Schaudt
Dwarf Conifer Garden, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois / Robin Carlson, Linda Oyama Bryan

The sheer variety of images, drawings, and photography make this book an absorbing overview of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects’ work.

New Guide: Ecological Landscapes at Home

Over the four-year construction period, the addition of hundreds of mature trees and countless flowering shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers, brought in a flood of nesting birds and insect pollinators. ASLA 2016 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. Kronish House, Beverly Hills, California / Marmol Radziner.

Plants are central to a functioning global ecosystem. Plants oxygenate the atmosphere and reduce atmospheric pollutants. Ecological restoration in both developed and developing countries is a primary strategy for mitigating the impacts of climate change. Native plant communities are not only key to the global ecosystem, but also crucial to environmental and human health at the residential and neighborhood scales.

Urbanization has fragmented what were ecologically-productive landscapes. According to the Audubon Society, the continental U.S. has lost 150 million acres of wildlife habitat and farmland to urban sprawl over the last century. Sustainable residential landscape architecture practices can help build a network of productive landscapes. Native plants can be used to regenerate sustainable plant communities and reconnect fragmented ecosystems in residential areas. Creating a network of productive ecosystems expands wildlife habitat areas and boosts human health and well-being by bringing nature’s benefits right to residential yards and outdoor spaces.

ASLA has created a new guide to applying ecological design at home, which contains research, projects, and resources on residential landscapes. Developed for homeowners and landscape architects and designers alike, the guide is designed to help spread more sustainable and resilient practices.

Homeowners can use native plants to reduce the use of excess water, energy, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides that damage natural ecosystems, as well as support pollinators.

Residential landscapes can also be used to grow food at home and in communities. When growing food, gardeners should apply principles of ecological design and permacultural practices to ensure food production and garden systems are integrated with the natural environment and avoid contaminating local watersheds with runoff. Homeowners and communities can create composting systems for efficient waste removal and to increase organic matter in the soil.

And plants can also be used inside the home to improve air quality and human productivity.

Homeowners should be mindful of the quality of the soil on their property. Healthy soils are essential to plant and tree health and enable the infiltration of stormwater into the ground. Years of development and construction can lead to layers of compacted soil that restrict movement of water and air, and limit root growth. Homeowners can achieve credit from The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES®) by using techniques like subsoiling and adding soil amendments to help rebuild ecological function in soils.

Landscape architects partner with communities, non-profit organizations, and local governments to increase public awareness about using sustainable residential design practices that yield productive plant systems and reduce the negative ecological impacts of typical residential development.

Explore sections of the guide:

Native Plants
Ecological Gardens and Permaculture
Supporting Pollinators
Residential Composting
Indoor Plants

New Guide: How to Improve Water Management at Home

This project implements the first graywater reuse system for residential application in the region. It is intended to reduce water consumption by approximately 40 percent. ASLA 2010 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. Catalina Foothills, Tucson, Arizona / D. A. Horchner / Design Workshop, Inc.

Any residential landscape can be designed to both conserve water in times of water scarcity and reduce flooding during storms. Homeowners can use green infrastructure approaches, like bioswales and bioretention ponds; rain gardens; rain water harvesting; water recycling; and drip irrigation to more sustainably manage water.

ASLA has created a new online resource guide on improving water efficiency through sustainable residential landscape architecture. The guide contains research, projects, and resources on how to better manage water at home. Developed for homeowners and landscape architects and designers alike, the guide is designed to help spread more sustainable and resilient practices.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates flooding has caused some $260 billion in damages from 1980 to 2013. And in the past decade, flood insurance claims now total $1.6 billion annually, putting further pressure on the already deeply-indebted flood insurance system. Sustainable landscape architecture practices — including green infrastructure — can significantly reduce the impacts of flooding on residences.

Homeowners also waste water by irrigating their lawns with water that should be reserved for human consumption. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nearly 9 billion gallons of water is used for residential outdoor water use, mainly for landscape irrigation, some 30 percent of total residential water use.

Sustainable residential landscape architecture—if part of an integrated site design, a comprehensive approach to sustainable building and site design—can dramatically reduce water usage while creating a healthy residential environment.

Homeowners can promote the infiltration, storing, and recycling of water, and limit the use of valuable potable water for landscapes. Bioswales / bioretention ponds, rainwater gardens, and local sustainable water recycling and drip irrigation systems can all be used to efficiently manage water. Homeowners can recycle and reuse greywater (and even blackwater) for landscape maintenance, car washing, and toilet flushing.

It’s important to note that degraded and compacted soil will reduce water and air infiltration into the ground. Homeowners can maximize the benefits of natural stormwater systems by improving the quality of soil on their property though remediation techniques.

Homes that include natural green infrastructure not only better manage stormwater runoff, but also reduce the massive energy costs associated with running complex water management systems. Water and waste utilities are heavy users of energy and major producers of greenhouse gas emissions.

Explore sections of the guide:

Bioswales and bioretention ponds
Rain gardens
Rain water harvesting
Water recycling
Drip irrigation