Urban Design Since 1945 – A Global Perspective
At the end of World War II many European and Asian cities lay in ruins and in need of reconstruction, leaving millions of people homeless refugees. Urban Design Since 1945 details how this crisis was confronted by architects and urban planners. It examines the attempt to solve this problem through industrialisation of housing and the machine city model on both sides of the Iron Curtain and charts the emergence of urban design as a distinct, fragmentary profession within the global network city in Europe, America, and Japan. Given the landscape of the near future, the book asks how planners will reach such goals as sustainable development, equity, and social justice. Available at http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-350016.html
Design for Flooding: Architecture, Landscape, and Urban Design for Resilience to Climate Change
Architects, urban planners, and urban designers, as well as water resources engineers and landscape architects will discover that Design for Flooding presents the best practices and lessons to create buildings and communities that are more resilient in the face of severe weather, climate change, and the prospect of rising sea level.
“Design for Flooding defines the need and opportunity for planners, architects, landscape architects, engineers, and conservation biologists to work together to develop the mix of inland and coastal flooding solutions required for a comprehensive response to climate change.” From the Foreword by Daniel Williams, FAIA, author of Sustainable Design: Ecology, Architecture, and Planning
“Design for Flooding should be a major tool for the design professions, for public agencies, and for civic activists, indeed for everyone who wishes to bring a genuinely ‘intelligent’ design for water to their communities. It is a call to action and demonstrates that we have the knowledge, the tools, and the capability to better manage the water system on which we depend.” From the Foreword by Carol Franklin, FASLA. Available at http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-350016.html
Redeveloping Industrial Sites: A Guide for Architects, Planners, and Developers
Architects, urban planners, urban designers, developers, city officials, and all those interested in revitalizing their post-industrial cities will find the tools they need here. Redeveloping Industrial Sites delivers solutions to complex issues concerning urban planning, design, and financing to reveal lessons on ways to successfully convert decaying land and buildings into vibrant parks, stimulating cultural destinations, and active commercial complexes. In addition, carefully chosen real-world examples illustrate topics such as sustainability, public policy, and developer know-how to form a complete picture of the elements involved in planning and executing urban redevelopment projects. Providing historical context as well as current perspective, Redeveloping Industrial Sites offers clear direction on repurposing derelict and polluted wastelands and warehouses into vital, living extensions of their communities. Available at http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-350016.html
Sustainable and Resilient Communities: A Comprehensive Action Plan for Towns, Cities, and Regions
Communities face substantial challenges-a changing climate, a housing crisis, the end of cheap oil, shifting demographics and lifestyles, and substantially declining federal, state, and local revenues. This is a step-by-step guidebook for urban planners and urban designers to implement a “green action plan” for cities small and large as well as private development. The guidebook delineates both sequential and parallel sets of instructions for the creation of comprehensive action plans that encompass all the major elements of sustainability, from land use plans to solid waste to economics. Available at http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-350016.html
House in the Landscape
A good house design, at its most essential, addresses the living requirements and preferences of its occupants, but equally important is a house’s consideration of the land it occupies and the manner in which it addresses its site. Not only is proper house siting integral to good house design, it’s a vital element of sustainability-a common belief among many architects. In his newly released book House in the Landscape-Siting Your Home Naturally (Princeton Architectural Press, $40), architect Jeremiah Eck, FAIA, expounds these concepts, urging architects and owners alike to design and build more thoughtfully and illustrating the many ways houses may interact with their landscapes.
Eck, partner at Boston-based Eck|MacNeely Architects, is uniquely qualified to discuss the way houses relate to their landscapes; in addition to his design work, he also is a painter of landscapes. Through his landscape paintings, Eck gains a deep understanding of the site elements contained within them, which translates into his architecture and the way he sites houses.
Beginning with an explanation of how to read site plans for those unfamiliar with them, Eck quickly moves on to the meat of his book: 22 inspiring residential projects that exemplify site-sensitive and site-responsive design. Along with two of Eck|MacNeely’s own projects are featured houses designed by some of the best-known firms, including Frank Harmon Architect, Cutler Anderson Architects, Eggleston|Farkas Architects, The Miller Hull Partnership, Maryann Thompson Architects, SALA Architects, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects, McInturff Architects, and several others. Photos, sketches, and site plans are included with each case study to help detail each site’s features and the issues they posed, the architects’ solutions, and the resulting house designs.
Through these case studies, Eck illustrates the ways proper-and often creative-siting can allow house and landscape to merge and work in unison, creating dwellings that are sustainable in the most straightforward manner. Many of the projects demonstrate how good siting-whether urban, suburban, or rural-can play up and take advantage of a landscape’s best features and how houses designed to respond to their environments frequently reinterpret vernacular architecture and traditional building strategies for modern lifestyles. What these projects truly reveal is the creative compromises sometimes necessary in the negotiations between a site’s features and the owner’s programmatic requirements, particularly when sustainability comes into play. At its heart, House in the Landscape makes a persuasive argument against houses that disregard their environments and in favour of those that work with the advantages of their sites and transcend their limitations.
Book review by Stephani L. Miller
Landscape Infrastructure: Case Studies by SWA
Edited by the Infrastructural Research Initiative at SWA Birkhäuser, 2011 Hardcover, 184 pages.
Landscape architecture, planning, and urban design firm SWA was founded in 1957 by Hideo Sasaki and Peter Walker as Sasaki, Walker and Associates. Over time SWA evolved into an international practice owned completely by its employees and collaborative in nature, a “participatory group practice involving several seasoned and talented principals and associates.” This last fact is evident to a certain degree in the Infrastructure Research Initiative of SWA’s Los Angeles office, headed by Ying-Yu Hung and Gerdo Aquino, the firm’s president. As Charles Waldheim mentions in his introduction to this book collecting some of the LA office’s recent projects, the initiative carves a niche in SWA “for experimentation, risk-taking, and the production of landscape projects as cultural forms,” as well as a “kind of design think-tank.” Waldheim further explains that “by choosing infrastructure as the object of study, Aquino/Hung et al. enter contemporary discourse on landscape as a form of urbanism.” This book, a monograph of sorts, illustrates this position through fourteen case studies and contributions from others in the field, including Waldheim, Julia Czerniak, and Adriaan Geuze.
The well-documented case studies are divided into four chapters: performance, aggregate, network, and increment. As explained by Ying-Yu Hung in her essay these attributes of landscape infrastructure, respectively, achieves requirements with measurable results, collects piecemeal projects to remediate negative conditions, brings cohesion and purpose to disparate elements, and sustains growth over a period of time. In a sense all of the projects embody more than one of these, but like any monograph the overriding aspects of the projects determine their location in the book. More importantly, these attributes help to explain what landscape infrastructure is: a way of designing that integrates infrastructural systems to positively affect both landscape and infrastructure, moving beyond single-use infrastructure developed by engineers. A good example is the Buffalo Bayou Promenade, which controls erosion along a stretch of downtown Houston, helps remediate the waterway, and provides a park for residents. Simply using pipes to control runoff is no longer an option; solutions are more complex but also more beautiful.
The other case studies range in size from the roof of the California Academy of Sciences by Renzo Piano and the Lewis Avenue Corridor in Las Vegas (two relatively small projects) to linear parks like the Katy Trail in Dallas and a number of mega-projects in Asia. About half of the projects are completed. Documentation is thorough, featuring photographs, renderings, plans, diagrams, details, and some research documentation. Descriptions situate each project in its context yet also delve into the details, such as unique aspects of construction (I especially like the section illustrating the installation of the retaining walls along the Buffalo Bayou) and plant selection. With a broad presentation of the various projects the book should appeal to more than just landscape architects. It is especially valuable for articulating a practical position for dealing with infrastructure, at a time when the term still carries old connotations in need of reconsideration.
Overlooking the Visual: Demystifying the Art of Design
By Kathryn Moore, Reviewed by Gareth Doherty,
Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; e-mail: email@example.com
In this mesmerizing book, Kathryn Moore turns traditional assumptions about design, and design education, upside down and inside out. Moore tells us that “a radical redefinition of the relationship between the senses and intelligence is long overdue” (1), and not just demolishes existing perceptions, but through the 254-page book, offers a vision for the re-conceptualization, and teaching, of design. Lightenment when an overt rationalism became dominant, relegating the sensual, including visual, knowledge to the sidelines (17). “The crux of the problem,” says Moore, “is that an intractable rationalist paradigm dominates our thinking to such a degree we no longer give it much thought” (6). Materiality becomes separated from intelligence but, Moore argues, that to consciously adopt a specifically sensual approach serves to acknowledge this difference and reinforce the binary. Influenced by philosophers such as Gilbert Ryle, Hilary Putnam, and Richard Rorty, Moore suggests that in order to re-evaluate the way we think about design, designers need to engage with ideas at all stages of the design process and that artistic practice needs to engage with “space, words, shadow, light and form” (9). We cannot understand theory without practice and vice versa, and this integration of the theoretical and practical is inherent within the book itself where copious illustrations and design projects are as every bit integral to the book’s argument than the text itself. The sequence of images of a sublime sea remind us that the sea has smell, color, and memories. Just like the visual. Part of Moore’s argument is that the visual is not just about what we see but is itself a political and emotional construct.
Through eight highly engaging chapters, with titles such as “The sensory interface and other myths and legends,” “Teaching the unknowable,” and”Objectivity without neutrality,” Moore outlines a vision for landscape architectural education with design at its core. The book is dense and theoretical, but well written and lucid. It fits within a growing literature on the anthropology of design, and a movement in design away from the design of objects and processes to the understanding of context and how and why we design. Moore has a lot in common with artists like Olafur Eliasson, who sees the political ramifications of the emotions, and anthropologists like Albena Yavena, who recently published an ethnography on the design process of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture. Not alone does Moore outline the problems with design education but proposes alternative models. This active agency of the designer that comes through in the book is part of the reason this book, or chapters thereof, should be essential reading for design educators, and students, and indeed for anyone interested in processes of design.
Kathryn Moore is a Professor at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University,
UK. Moore is past President of the Landscape Institute, the UK representative of IFLA, and an experienced educator and practitioner.
(Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2010). Pp. 254. $155.00 cloth, $44.95 paper
Source: IFLA Newsletter April 2011
Construction for Landscape
By Robert Holden & Jamie Liversedge
Holden and Liversedge have produced the best book on landscape architecture construction. It is well written and well illustrated. More important, it is well conceived and based on the authors’ personal experience of design projects and construction sites. The authors describe their book as ‘an introductory text’. It is true that no prior knowledge is assumed but the scope of the book is not limited to introductory matters. It contains much wisdom and sets a new standard for this type of book by combining:
- technical principles
- design judgment
- knowledge of materials
- sustainability considerations
- weathering and life cycle considerations
- examples of construction/site/weathering problems
The illustrations, which are excellent, include analytical hand-drawings, photographs of traditional details, modern details and sequential photographs showing stages in the construction process. I particularly commend the annotations on the drawings. Instead of giving near-useless data (eg “200mm layer of 10mm pea shingle”), the captions are explanatory (eg “filter media improves fast filtration”). One aspect of the book deserves a sharp criticism: the front cover shows is ugly. It shows an inexplicable CAD drawing tinted in what a friend used to call “architects’. Green”: an insipid vomity yellowish-green. WHY? Publishers need to be nice to authors: the age of the eBook is upon us and it will be as easy for authors to cut publishers out of the loop as it will be for recording artists to cut the record labels out of the loop. Authors are less dependent on the marketing skills of publishers than musicians. Authors may prefer receiving 70%+ of the cover price from Googlebooks to receiving the 10%+ ‘royalties’ currently on offer from traditional print publishers. One can’t be sure. I look forward to future books on specific aspects of landscape construction and recommend giving priority to a book on the construction design for water and water features. When I was a landscape student we only had one good book on landscape construction: Elizabeth Beazley’s Design and detail of the space between buildings, for which I retain an affection. It combined photographs of high-quality designs with over-detailed technical information. Since then, many landscape construction books have been published -most of them with too many specifics and too few explanatory principles. Here is a list:
- David Langdon Everest, Spons External Works and Landscape Price Book 2009.
- Pitman, Phil External Works, Roads and Drainage: A Practitioner’s Guide Spon: 2001.
- Stephen Bird External Works (ENDAT standard indexes) : annual.
- Charles W. Harris and Nicholas T. Dines Time Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture: McGraw Hill: 1998.
- Alan Blanc Landscape Construction and Detailing Batsford: 1996.
- Black and Decker Complete guide to landscape construction: 60 Step-by-step Projects for Creating a Perfect Landscape Creative Publishing International: 2006.
- J.William Thompson and Kim Sorvig Sustainable Landscape Construction: A Guide to Green Building Outdoors Island Press: 2008.
- James Blake Introduction to Landscape Design and Construction Gower: 1999.
- Derek Lovejoy, C.A. Fortlage,Elizabeth Phillips, Landscape Construction: Earth and Water Retaining Structures Ashgate:2001.
- David Sauter Landscape Construction 2e Delmar Learning: 2004.
- Harlow C Landphair and Fred Klatt Jr Landscape Architecture Construction Prentice Hall: 1998
Book review by Tom Turner
Brenda Colvin: A Career in Landscape
By Trish Gibson
Brenda Colvin (1897-1981) ranks with Sylvia Crowe and Geoffrey Jellicoe as a pioneer of twentieth-century landscape design in Britain. This first full account of her life and work demonstrates her importance.
Early in her career Colvin visited the USA to see the new civic landscaping projects, especially the parkways. In England she transformed the landscapes of power stations, reservoirs, industrial sites, new towns and national parks and worked on private gardens. Her simple planting style and her ecological approach had enormous influence. Colvin championed the profession of landscape architect as a founder member and president of the Landscape Institute. Her books Land and Landscape and Trees for Town and Country remain standard works. Hal Moggridge, who became her partner; has written the foreword to this book.
Trish Gibson has had full access to the archives of Colvin & Moggridge. She draws on Colvin’s personal notebook and uses previously unpublished material. The offices of Covin & Moggridge continue to thrive at Little Peacocks, Filkins, Gloucestershire, where Colvin’s garden is kept as it was in her day.
Binding: Hardback, 256 pages
Format: 287mm x 230mm
200 colour and b/w illustrations
BIC Code: BG, WMB
BISAC Code: GAR006000
Imprint: Frances Lincoln
Cities for People
By Jan Gehl
For more than forty years Jan Gehl has helped to transform urban environments around the world based on his research into the ways people actually use-or could use-the spaces where they live and work. In this revolutionary book, Gehl presents his latest work creating (or recreating) cityscapes on a human scale. He clearly explains the methods and tools he uses to reconfigure unworkable cityscapes into the landscapes he believes they should be: cities for people.
Taking into account changing demographic and changing lifestyles, Gehl emphasizes four human issues that he sees as essential to successful city planning. He explains how to develop cities that are lively, safe, sustainable, and healthy. Focusing on these issues leads Gehl to think of even the largest city on a very small scale. For Gehl, the urban landscape must be considered through the five human senses and experienced at the speed of walking rather than at the speed of riding a car or bus or train. This small-scale view, he argues, is too frequently neglected in contemporary projects.
In a final chapter, Gehl makes a plea for city planning on a human scale in this fast-growing cities of developing countries. A “Toolbox”, presenting key principles, overviews of methods, and keyword lists, concludes the book.
The book is extensively illustrated with over 700 photos and drawings of examples from Gehl’s work around the globe.
Foreword by Richard Rogers
Baron Rogers of Riverside CH, Kt, FRIBA, FCSD
November 2010 – 285 pages – Cloth: £31.00 – 978-1-59726-573-7
Available through all good booksellers throughout Europe or alternatively direct from:
Marston Book Services
PO Box 269, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 4YN, UK
Urban Geometry – Geometria Urbana
by Claudio Lobo
A good example to investigate urban geometry and its temporality is Sao Paulo. From an unimportant village 400 years ago, Sao Paulo has become, in last 100 years, a major and the most populous city of Brazil.
Geometria Urbana é o relato de imagens das formas, luzes, sombras, reflexos e cores que simbolizam a geometria das construções, a geometria dos interiores e a geometria da vida.
Um bom exemplo para investigar a geometria urbana e sua temporalidade é São Paulo. De uma vila sem importância, há 400 anos, São Paulo transformou-se, nos últimos 100 anos, em uma importante e na mais populosa cidade do Brasil.
New City Life
By J. Gehl, L. Gemzoe, S. Kirknaes & Britt S. Sondergaard
NEW CITY LIFE describes the changes in City Life of the past 50 years. Where City Life earlier was predominantly filled by people busy with vital pursuits, we nowadays see a City Life dominated by activities of leisure-time society, posing new challenges to public spaces. A handbook on how to create human qualities in the city.
178 pages, hardback, 24 x 28 cm
Price: DKK 375 (app. $67/€51) incl. VAT (excluding postage)
To place an order, send an e-mail with your order to The Danish Architectural Press firstname.lastname@example.org
New City Spaces
By Jan Gehl & Lars Gemzoe
This book presents an overview of the development in the use and planning of public spaces, and offers a detailed description of 9 cities and 39 selected public space projects from all parts of the world. The book is extensively illustrated by drawings, plans and photographs.
264 pages, hardback, 28 x 24,50 cm
Price: DKK 375 (app. $67/€51) incl. VAT (excluding postage)
To place an order, send an e-mail with your order to The Danish Architectural Press email@example.com
Public Spaces Public Life
By Jan Gehl & Lars Gemzoe
The book describes the remarkable qualitative improvements which have taken place in central Copenhagen over the past 34 years, and how they have been accomplished. It presents a method of assessing urban quality and gives a thorough insight into how people use urban spaces.
96 pages, paperback, 22,5 x 31 cm
Price: DKK 295 (app. $53/€40) incl. VAT (excluding postage)
To place an order, send an e-mail with your order to The Danish Architectural Press firstname.lastname@example.org
Life Between Buildings
By Jan Gehl
This book is the best source for understanding how people use public spaces in our cities. Published in many languages since 1971, it continues to be the undisputed basic introduction to the interplay between public space design and social life. Now available in its sixth English edition.
200 pages, paperback, 15,50 x 21 cm
Price: DKK 248 (app. $45/€34) incl. VAT (excluding postage)
To place an order, send an e-mail with your order to The Danish Architectural Press email@example.com
CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
presents the most spectacular international projects in the field of landscape architecture inserted in both an urban and a natural context. As a rule these projects are spatially unenclosed, open to the public and define themselves through a wide range of functions – riverbanks and watersides, parks, observation terraces, tunnels, public squares, spas, cemeteries, monuments, watchtowers and many more.
Generally these costly projects impose very specific demands on the architects and this not only because of their inherent dimensions. These much-discussed projects tend to be of public interest, whereby often exposing the architects to criticism. The goal of these projects is both to create new spaces as well as to successfully redefine those spaces, which once served very different purposes (for instance industrial sites, quarries, wharfs and even former prisons). Sometimes the goal is to implement a large-scale regional landscape development plan. In any case, these designs must be on a par with the manifold social prerequisites and must blend in with the respective urban or natural surroundings. Sometimes they set a striking contrast or result in a modernist antithesis to a relatively uncultivated, sweeping landscape. The construction materials are as complex as the specifications they aim to fulfill: wood, stainless, polyester, and fiberglass, often combined in surprising ways. At times the choice of color functions as an eye-catcher, highlighting the function and line of the project within its surrounding in a way that sets it apart from the pre-established infrastructure it is inserted into.
Format 22,5 x 22,5 cm
384 Pages Hardcover
Text: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian
Retail Price 39,95 Euro
For further information, please contact:
D – 50670 Cologne
t + 49 – 221 – 91 39 27 – 12
f + 49 – 221 – 91 39 27 – 20
What is Landscape Urbanism?
Book review by Tom Turner
London’s Architectural Association has picked up the term landscape urbanism and come near to draining it of meaning. The programme’s ‘rationale’ states that landscape urbanism is understood as ‘a model of connective, scalar and temporal operations through with the urban is conceived and engaged with: the urban is conceived and engaged with: the urban is diagrammed as a landscape; a complex and processual ecology’. In social science, ‘processual’ means ‘of or relating to a process, especially to the methodological study of processes’. In physics ‘A scalar is a quantity with a magnitude but no direction’. So I would describe the above ‘rationale’ as profoundly vague.
Wikipedia defines landscape urbanism as ‘a theory of urbanism arguing that landscape, rather than architecture, is more capable of organizing the city and enhancing the urban experience’. This definition comes from The landscape urbanism reader edited by Charles Waldheim (Princeton Architectural Press, 2006). Waldheim associates the term landscape urbanism with James Corner’s essay Terra Fluxus. Corner, in turn, associates the term with a conference organized by Waldheim in 1997. But Corner’s essay, unlike the AA statement, is cogent and useful and has a simple underlying message: buildings and landscapes must be considered together, planned together and designed together (my phrasing). They comprise a ‘field’ on which we operate. Corner works with an architect (Stan Alan) and their firm has the name Field Operations. Corner’s essay allows one to understand what the AA means by processual. City planning should rest on an understanding of the ecological and social processes which underpin Ian McHarg’sDesign with nature approach. The term Terra Fluxus is therefore a contrast with Terra Firma: the world is not firm – it is a flux (as Heraclitus observed). I commend James Corner for his clarity and abhor the AA’s obfuscation of the term.
Charles Waldheim’s Landscape urbanism reader.
South African Landscape Architecture: A Compendium
Compiled by Hennie Stoffberg, Clinton Hindes and Liana Muller
This publication is a collection of professional landscape architecture projects which have received awards of merit from the Institute for Landscape Architecture in South Africa. This represents some of the most significant landscape interventions the profession has produced over more than 25 years.
Over the last three decades only five publications on South African landscape architecture are available in print. These form the only source of written material for research purposes on many topics related to the profession in South Africa. If such resources are not conserved in some way, it will inevitably become increasingly fragmented and ultimately very difficult to collect. The Compendium thus collects this published material on the 63 Merit Award projects in its original form, in order to document this resource, given its historical and cultural value.
South African Landscape Architecture: A Reader
Compiled by Hennie Stoffberg, Clinton Hindes and Liana Muller
The discipline of landscape architecture in South Africa has been covered in five main popular printed media in the form of trade related journals and magazines.South African Landscape Architecture: A Reader is however the first collection of papers written by academics actively involved with landscape architecture research. The Reader serves as a platform for current South African landscape architecture research and theory to be locally and internationally distributed, making it widely accessible to peers involved with research. Publishing through Unisa Press (the largest local academic publishing house) is for these reasons an appropriate choice.
All the papers have undergone editorial review and every paper was double-blind peer reviewed (a process independently facilitated by Unisa Press). This book provides an accessible vehicle for the dissemination of this research. While the longer papers are more theoretical, the shorter project descriptions focus more on the application of theory to design projects and are usually more comprehensively illustrated. Several of the authors are involved in practice and supplement their research with results from inquiry undertaken through practice – design as research. These project descriptions add tremendous value to the discipline and to an integration of academia and the profession.
This book will significantly add to the dialogue on the developing discourse of South African landscape architecture and enhance the reciprocal dynamic between praxis and academia.
Roberto Burle Marx: The Modernity of Landscape
Book review by Ryan Smith
Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994) is one of the more compelling figures in the history of landscape architecture. A Brazilian by birth, he gained exposure to modernism as a youth on a trip to Europe, and went on to not only develop a unique approach to design but work on some of the more striking examples of midcentury landscape architecture. A polymath who was also a musician and painter, Marx is perhaps best remembered for building landscape designs based on the abstract modernist paintings he created.
The book “Roberto Burle Marx: The Modernity of Landscape,” as its title would suggest, seeks primarily to illuminate Marx and his work as well as place it in relationship to modernist theories and working architects that were current during his lifetime. Additionally, it delves into his biography, scientific interest in horticulture and ecology, and his thoughts on gardens and their place in urban design.
The collection of essays contained within the book were collected on the occasion of an exhibition of Marx’s work in Europe, and also includes four chapters he penned himself. It’s also illustrated with a massive amount of photographs of Marx, his built works, and his renowned plans and paintings. For the pedant, the book also includes an elaborate life chronology and a minor but interesting list of plants culled for their relationship to Marx.
The book works very well as an introduction to Marx and his work and its relationship to the modernism that held the attention of architects and landscape architects for the better part fo the 20th century. Many of his ideas on horticulture and urban ecology have been built upon and taken to greater degrees of sophistication in the intervening years, but they remain foundationally apt. As a historical document and an elaboration on one of the profession’s brighter lights, “Roberto Burle Marx: The Modernity of Landscape” works as both a coffee table book and as an enlightening read.
[Ryan Smith holds a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture and a master's degree in urban planning]
Jo’burg for secret agents
Paul Ash of Times Live reviews – Gerald Garner’s book Space & Places Johannesburg. This is an account of a passionate lover of the city and an ardent supporter of it’s regeneration.
While you were sleeping, somebody chopped down the Top Star drive-in screen. Can you believe it? Somebody also took the mine headgear at City Deep with its orange winding wheels – it was one of Johannesburg’s nicer landmarks, which you would see from the M2 highway. The big mine dump at Cleveland has also gone, carried off in trucks for reprocessing to extract the gold left behind the first time.
I noticed all this driving out to Rand Airport in December. Whole pieces of the city’s skyline – which meant a lot to some of us – have disappeared in the night.
Gerald Garner’s book, Spaces & Places Johannesburg, has landed at just the right time. Garner, a landscape architect, says he felt compelled to write a guidebook to the city’s “hidden gems” after a French journalist, here for the World Cup and marooned at some soulless hotel out in the boonies, came looking for a guide.
As Garner rightly observes, Jo’burg is a city tripped-up by other people’s misconceptions and night terrors. We who live here have our own stories and no-go zones – and not all of them are right, either.
Johannesburg is a tough sell. So, when a local gets out of his comfort zone and goes exploring, it’s worth taking note.
Garner describes the city as a “conglomeration of a series of smaller villages and towns, each with its own unique character”. He begins his tour of the city in Craighall Park, where he lives, and moves north through the suburbs, into the city itself and on to Soweto, plus a foray north to the Cradle of Humankind.
The detail is as deep as the longing for downtown Jo’burg to shake off its doldrums and take its place as one of the world’s great metropolises.
The author has also taken his own pictures which gives the book its insider’s identity.
The confidential nature of the guide is both a good and bad thing. The good is that Garner writes about the places he has found with delight. The bad is that there is much that remains hidden, largely because the exploration is incomplete. The missing parts include other villages that make up this conurbation. I’ve always wanted to know, for example, just how nice – or bad – the bar is at the Brakpan Hotel. From the outside, it looks both like a colonial marvel and the sort of place where people might put a .357 on the bar counter to ensure they are left to drink in peace.
Still, the guide has shown me things I plan to check out for myself, such as Randlords, a rooftop venue with gorgeous city views from the top of the 22-storey South Point Towers, and bicycle hire at Main Street Life for an alternative, if hairy way of exploring downtown.
It’s good to remember, too, that Main Street has been pedestrianised and filled with artworks, such as the gorgeous, leaping impala sculpture – rescued from vandals in Ernest Oppenheimer Park – and a complete gold mine headgear. And every mining town worth its soul needs one of those.
Gerald Garner lives in a Craighall Park “countryside” home overlooking the Braamfontein Spruit. From there he has the pleasure of walking, running and mountain biking through Johannesburg’s green spaces. He enjoys this as much as venturing out to explore the urban spaces and village streets of the city – right from the skyscraper inner-city to the verdant green northern suburbs and vibrant Soweto. He finds the magnetism of Joburg irresistible.
As a professional landscape architect, and experienced writer and publisher in the field of the urban environment, specifically through the medium of business-to-business magazines, Spaces & Places – Johannesburg is his first book, published under his new venture, Double G Media.
Sunburnt – Landscape Architecture in Australia
By Julian Raxworthy, SueAnne Ware
Review by Damian Holmes
Australia is a large country with many diverse landscapes ranging from dry forests through deserts to tropical rainforests. The landscape architecture profession in Australia is just as diverse as the landscape.
Julian Raxworthy and SueAnne Ware have recently edited ‘Sunburnt’, a discourse about the different ways of approaching contemporary landscape design in Australia. Thankfully, they have side-stepped the temptation to produce a coffee table book and have created a book that reflects on each project, thus giving the reader a true understanding of the landscape design, its influences and surroundings.
Sunburnt presents contemporary landscape projects from Room 4.1.3, Rush Wright Associates, ASPECT Studios, 360°, Ashton Raggatt McDougall, Cardno S.P.L.A.T. and many others. The book is an even balance of written word and layout of beautiful images showcasing each project and their various aspects and elements. ‘Sunburnt’ provides readers with a greater understanding of contemporary Australian landscape profession.
ISBN 978 94 6105 2001
Available at SUN Architecture.nl
Small Scale: Creative Solutions for Better City Living
By Keith Moskow and Robert Linn
Book review posted by Min Li Chan on polis
Fellow Polis blogger, Melissa Garcia Lamarca, and I recently hunkered down with Moskow and Linn’s sojourn into small-scale urban interventions by architects for “making life better for city dwellers” around the world (as the authors describe in the book’s introduction). Paul Goldberger, in his recent New Yorker piece on Frank Gehry’s new residential tower at 8 Spruce Street in Brooklyn, observed that for the past half century, there have been two ways to build an apartment building in New York: an architect’s way or a developer’s way.
In reviewing the genuinely creative, fascinating projects put forth in “Small Scale,” we wondered aloud if the criteria and measures of success used by the authors was too steeped in the architect’s way, leaving us with lingering questions on the projects’ process and true impact, particularly with our respective backgrounds in urban politics/development and technology/ethnography. One may argue that the architect’s way lives too much in the world of Utopian ideas (while the developer’s way is largely pragmatic, functional, at the risk of being overly utilitarian).
Still, the format appears to repudiate that of an architectural coffee table book and warrants thoughtful debate. Thus, we’ve taken a slightly unorthodox approach to this book review by presenting it in the experimental form of a free-flow conversation, conducted via online chat between New York and San Francisco. With fond apologies for any errors of web-speak that are to follow, we begin:
Min Li Chan: The book is definitely an interesting compendium of “intervention” projects. You brought up some important questions in your initial assessment – namely “better city living for whom?” I also had questions around the scale/impact of these interventions on a macro scale – I’d like to challenge the authors’ assumptions that these projects have had a macro impact, as they postulated in the Introduction. So, where should we start?
Melissa Garcia Lamarca: Starting with your second point is a good way to begin. I think the philosophy put forward on creatively viewing existing elements of landscape or open space as assets (rather than liabilities) is great. Small scale interventions are definitely wise and appropriate in terms of cost, time, and resource use. But yes, can or do micro interventions have a macro impact? The book’s Introduction needs a more complex and complete analysis of the issue; as it stands now it is presented as an assumption.
MLC: And in fact, the analogy that the authors use in the Intro is already quite telling, perhaps without them realizing it. They’ve likened these projects to microloans in developing countries. Microloans are, in fact, not systemic solutions to poverty, nor did they intend to be: they empower individual entrepreneurs, which makes them a valuable tool – but poverty eradication takes something on the order of changes in policy, government programs, and the help of the private sector.
Melissa: Great point.
MLC: But of course, these interventions make life for people in that immediate community better – I would have liked to see metrics of how changes in environment/space have affected life there. But this might not have been in the scope of the book, as data can be hard to come by. Perhaps the future designer/architect needs to also be an urban analyst: looking for evidence that this has improved quality of life or made a difference.
Melissa: Agreed. The traditional architectural or design training, in my opinion, must evolve with the times, as we live in a world, and in cities, characterized by ever greater diversity and inequity. I would have liked to see more on process, both in terms of how the authors chose the projects – what principles or criteria did they use? This is not clear, nor is the process used to engage or work with communities. I only saw this mentioned in one project: “Thread City Crossing in Windham Connecticut.” I think this point that you make, around improving quality of life for residents of the area where the intervention occurs, is one principle that we can think about in terms of a criteria for selecting projects for better city living. It starts to speak to the fundamental question: better city living for whom?
MLC: Do you have a sense that each project had a clear definition of the users for these projects? For some projects, the users are clear – such as Public Architecture’s Day Labor Station, a structure that can be deployed at informal day labor locations that aims to respond to their needs and desires. For others, it can seem as amorphous as, say, “people in the city in general.”
Melissa: Yes, definitely. The day laborer station stood out for me and I think it is an interesting concept. But in reality, reflecting on my experience interacting with illegal farm workers in California, for example, I question the amount of time day laborers would actually have to participate in planning, building and maintaining a station in their given locale. Most start work before sunrise, sometimes at 4 am, and understandably finish exhausted in the evenings. Also, I found the language used in the project description, referring to day laborers as “clients,” a little unsettling.
MLC: That’s really interesting, could you explain why you found that unsettling?
Melissa: The project is aiming to integrate day laborers into the community – which I assume refers to a place-based community – and giving them a more dignified presence in the public realm, which I think are noteworthy and sound objectives. Referring to day laborers as “clients,” however, in my opinion, highlights a consumer, or rather transaction-based, relationship. This is a deep contradiction if the goal is empowerment and transformation.
Transforming relationships means transforming the way we think about the “other.” The term “client,” for me, maintains barriers rooted in capitalist thinking, and also keeps an ‘us vs. them’ approach. Perhaps it’s just semantic, but for me the deeper roots are important.
I wonder if the architects/designers from Prototype Design who proposed the Day Laborer Station collaborated with day laborers to shape their ideas? This sort of information on the process is critical to include in the book – in order to move toward better city living for day laborers who are marginalized in so many places, we need to understand needs from their perspective.
MLC: Yes, it sounds like the two key pieces that we would have both liked to see in the book to make it more instructive for other designers/architects are: 1) process (not just the outcome/result), and 2) some exploration of metrics/data on whether they impacted community life in a substantial way.
And as the new generation of design thinkers who espouse need-finding would point out, needs endure far longer than solutions. If any of these solutions actually work and should be replicated, then the book is missing both an explanation of process and metrics to empower future designers to learn from these examples.
Another example that I thought was interesting is Heatherwick Studio’s “rolling bridge”: the questions that lingered were things like: Is this the most efficient/optimized design? Why is it conceived as a roll-up bridge? What’s the speed of the roll-up mechanism and is it better than any other solution for that need?
Melissa: This point connects to another I wanted to make, about the book’s structure.
I think the division into the three sections – Service, Insight and Delight – is an interesting proposal, but needs some deeper grounding.
For example, I think the principles we identified regarding process and metrics (i.e. who is engaged in the design process and has quality of life improved thanks to the intervention) are especially important for the service section. I would add two other principles that I think are critical when considering interventions that provide a service to the community: 1) prioritizing marginalized areas of cities, and 2) highlighting the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the interventions.
The last one is an umbrella and would need further specification, taking into account impacts, engagement and the population addressed, but important nonetheless in my mind. So the rolling bridge example could be in the “Delight” section, as a creative and innovative idea (and I agree with the questions you raised on it – is it better than another solution for that need?), but I don’t think it necessarily belongs in the “Service” section.
The criteria of social, economic and environmental sustainability came to mind for me as well, as there are a few projects in the “Service” section that have clearly consumer oriented perspectives: for example, the “Drive-through Retail Pavilion” by Midwest Architecture Studio. Is a retail pavilion really a project for better city living? I would like to see the “Insight” section include projects dedicated to building an explicit connection between people, space and place, to address the fact that in many city spaces there is a fragmentation between place and residents’ history, experience and struggle. There are a few stand-out projects that aim for and effectively make this reconnection, largely through artistic interventions, including Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s “Have you ever been mistaken for a…?”, Local Project’s “In Pursuit of Freedom in Brooklyn,” and Schneider Studio’s “Making Time Visible.”
MLC: I see what you mean. The categorization in this book seems more driven by intent than outcome. It seems more driven by the architect outlining, “I intend for this to be a service project, or to communicate insight, or to be pure delight,” rather than evaluating by its impact to see if they truly fit into that category. The “Service” category particularly suffers in this respect. Even if the end-use cases are perversions of original intention, it would have been equally interesting to examine why the projects end up meeting or violating their intended objectives.
Melissa: Most definitely. But this is difficult to do if the criteria for selection is totally absent.
MLC: At the end of the day, without trying to sound too harsh, the book’s title can be somewhat misleading. “Creative Solutions for Better City Living” implies something like a series of exemplars to be taken to heart. But the end result seems more like an architecture coffee-table book showcasing cool ideas without much rigor.
Melissa: I think the book would be much stronger if the title were “Small Scale: Creative Solutions for Better City Living for All City Residents,” so as to emphasize everyone living in the city regardless of nationality and formal citizenship rights. Without this clarification we are left to imagine people living in the city as homogeneous, with the same needs. What about class, race, gender, and marginalization? As we mentioned previously, there are different needs and aspirations depending on these and other factors.
MLC: Yes, that’s quite true. The city is a much more complicated amalgamation of those factors and needs. I don’t recall seeing many examples of solutions for parts of cities under threat from harsh conditions. Or perhaps it’s because the chapters don’t spend a lot of time delineating who lives in those neighborhoods; more of a sense of the ethnography on the ground.
Melissa: I think it could be a combination of both points. In general, marginalized parts of cities are not often chosen as places for innovative design projects. I am thinking specifically of New York City, where Manhattan has benefited enormously from street design improvements, but what about the Bronx, parts of Brooklyn, and Staten Island? Investment tends to privilege Manhattan. There is perhaps one exception in this book: the Ecosistema Urbano project, which is in a low-income area. However, at least from the description of the project, the intervention did not appear to closely engage local residents.
MLC: We’ve covered a lot of ground here in our conversation. Hopefully these can be provocative considerations if there were a subsequent – perhaps substantially longer – edition of the book. I would have liked to see more consideration of who the specific city dwellers are and their needs, more about the process that was used to arrive at the solution, and do an assessment, in earnest, of the metrics of success for each project and whether each ended up meeting or missing their intended objectives. But overall, I’m glad that this book brings together a collection of truly innovative ideas and architectural executions that can be seeds for further conversations and explorations.
Princeton Architectural Press (2010)
Waterstones (2011) refer to the new revised edition of the classic industry reference! “Landscape Graphics” as the architect’s ultimate guide to all the basic graphics techniques used in landscape design and landscape architecture. Progressing from the basics into more sophisticated techniques, this guide offers clear instruction on graphic language and the design process, the basics of drafting, lettering, freehand drawing and conceptual diagramming, perspective drawing, section elevations and more. It also features carefully sequenced exercises, a complete file of graphic symbols for sections and perspectives, and a handy appendix of conversions and equivalents.
Pennine Lancashire Squared
RIBA bookshop’s describes Pennine Lancashire Squared as a celebration of one of the the UK’s most ambitious landscape architecture competitions.
Edited by Stirling Prize-winning architect Stephen Hodder, this is a portfolio of contemporary public realm design inspired by a beautiful and unique part of the world. It showcases design concepts for high-profile public spaces in six Pennine Lancashire towns, and includes essays by Hodder, CABE and the Landscape Institute.
The book was made possible with funding from the Homes & Communities Agency, Places Matter! and CABE. (RIBA 2010)
GARDENS OF SICILY
Photographs by Mario Ciampi
This is an exciting new slant on Sicily’s gardens and landscapes, ephemeral, public, private and agricultural, with glorious photography by Mario Ciampi and brief informative, but highly readable texts by Clare Littlewood.
Many of the private gardens have never been published before and their owners have kindly granted permission to peep over their garden gates or glance out onto their secret terraces, a privileged view into the private spaces normally jealously guarded for family and friends.
The landscapes show something of the glory of Sicily’s natural and agricultural land in different seasons: the exuberance of nature, riots of colour and the dramatic force of lava flows and erosion, plants struggling against and together with the alternating violence and gentleness of the elements in Sicily.
Goethe, in his Italian Journey perspicaciously remarked that “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily leaves no image on the soul, for Sicily is the clue to everything”.
The images on these pages certainly leave a strong imprint on the soul and reveal many of Sicily’s beautiful secrets and unknown corners.
HARDCOVER / 304 PAGES
9.6 x 11.8 inches / 24.5 x 30 cm
258 COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS
Landscape Architecture Europe 2012
Editors: Lisa Diedrich, Mark Hendriks, Thierry Kandjee, Claudia Moll
Essays: Maria Goula, Steven Delva, Anna Zahonero, Mads Farsø, Anna Kucan, Eric Luiten, Hille von Seggern e.a.
ISBN 978-90-75271- 80-5
Hardcover, 22×28 cm, 264 pages, full colour
LAE / Blauwdruk Publishers, June 2012
Price € 44,90
Discount price for members of LAE
Order the book at your local book store or send an e-mail to LAE
About the book launch
The third LAE book, called In Touch, has been launched on 29 June in Copenhagen. We chose Copenhagen for our book launch because two projects of In Touch can be visited there, namely the City Dune by SLA and the Classengade Courtyard by 1:1 Landskab. Copenhagen is also the home of Malene Hauxner, one of our first essay writers and source of In Touch’s editorial method, who passed away in January. Having been a professor at the University of Copenhagen she had created the international World in Denmark landscape congress of which the 8th edition has been celebrated this year in connection with the LAE book launch, on 27 and 28 June.
System of Open Spaces: Concrete Project Strategies for Urban Territories.
by TARDIN, Raquel
New York: Springer, 2012
The book was first published in Portuguese (Rio de Janeiro, Editora 7 Letras, 2008), and then in Spanish (Buenos Aires, Editorial Nobuko, 2010). For this English version, an important review was carried out, improving the content of the book.
This book is an elaboration of a method of recognition, analysis, evaluation, and proposal of the planning of open spaces in a system for the purpose of spatial planning. The topic addressed is a currently much debated issue and interest in the proposed problem will continue to grow. In that sense, there is a demand for this type of work, a new methodology from the point of view of landscape and spatial planning. The work reflects the landscape planning approach to spatial planning, using open space as a structuring element of the urban territory and taking into account its functions within the urban context.
In general, in the majority of cities, open spaces tend to be treated as land put aside for future urban occupation, environmental reserves, or simply no man’s land. Conversely, what this book proposes is reversing this perspective and thinking positively about open spaces. In this manner, the existing values of these spaces and the permanence of these spaces in a system of open spaces interrelated with urban occupation can be used for possible territorial restructuring. The work highlights the importance of considering open spaces as components and structuring elements of urban occupation. Here, open spaces and urban occupation are interrelated and have mutual influence, and their direct relationship allows for new intervention opportunities for the development, maintenance, and management of the territory in a sustainable way, through planning and design.
This book takes a practical approach to answering a relevant question, instead of simply providing information or making a simple claim. At the same time, it presents a theoretical approach and introduces the issue under discussion in a general way, providing new arguments. Although the book focuses on a case study in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the conclusions drawn are of global relevance.
The book is fully illustrated and will be of interest to planners, landscape architects, urban designers, geographers, and architects, whether they are professionals, researchers, or students.
THE MODERN ARCHITECTURAL LANDSCAPE
By Caroline Constant
University of Minnesota Press | 320 pages | 2012
ISBN 978-0-8166-7635-4 | paperback | $30.00
ISBN 978-0-8166-7307-0 | cloth | $90.00
In The Modern Architectural Landscape Caroline Constant examines diverse approaches to landscape in the work of architects practicing in Europe and the United States between 1915 and the mid-1980s. Constant focuses on the precise material forms and ideological underpinnings of landscapes conceived by architects, revealing them as salient to the formulation of both modern architecture and the modern landscape.
PRAISE FOR THE MODERN ARCHITECTURAL LANDSCAPE:
“This is a book which architect aficionados of landscape design have long been waiting for, written by a critical scholar who has devoted the best part of the last twenty years to a progressive analysis of the interplay between modern architectural form and the landscape by which it has been invariably amplified.”-Kenneth Frampton, author of Modern Architecture: A Critical History
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Caroline Constant is professor of architecture at the University of Michigan and a fellow of the American Academy in Rome.
For more information, including the table of contents, visit the book’s webpage:
I GIARDINI DI FERRANTE GORIAN
By Fabio Gorian
Purchase and information at http://ferrantegorian.com/
Questo volume è stato voluto dai figli di Ferrante Gorian, come tributo alla sua opera terrena e come omaggio e ricordo della sua splendida persona….
Van den Berk on trees
A complete reference work. More than 800 trees discussed
Van den Berk on Trees contains 880 pages full of knowledge on trees. More than 800 different trees are displayed, all described in detail and illustrated with beautiful colour photos. This book tells you all about each type and variety of avenue tree in Europe. A must for tree lovers. The complete reference work is published in the languages French, German, English and Dutch.