July 22, 2018

Grant Associates consult Bristol University development


The team set to develop Bristol University’s new Temple Quarter includes globally recognised architecture firms Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, engineering consultants Buro Happold and ARUP and international landscape architecture consultancy Grant Associates, all of whom have local teams based in Bristol and Bath.

The new campus will provide spaces for teaching, learning, research and innovation including flexible collaborative spaces for co-located enterprises. A student village will offer state of the art accommodation and an open access Quantum Technology Innovation Centre on the campus will take quantum research from the lab into the commercial world.

High quality landscaping will open up neglected areas of the harbour and provide new cycle paths and walkways, public spaces and facilities for the public and neighbouring communities to enjoy.

It will bring new life to the east of the city centre, providing a welcoming space and facilities for the communities around it and improving the arrival experience at Temple Meads.

Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol said: “Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus offers us an opportunity to reimagine the University’s role in the city, develop new research, education and partnering opportunities and secure the future of our globally recognised University.

“We are excited to be working with such an outstanding design team with an understanding of creating quality places that people want to spend time in, spaces that are inspiring, sustainable and welcoming. Over the coming months we will be working with the architects, businesses, our staff, students, our city and its communities to develop our plans further to transform this presently derelict landmark site into a vibrant new part of the city centre.”


Landscape Architects outline blueprint for climate smart, resilient communities


Climate change is intensifying the negative impacts of standard development practices and is putting people and communities across the United Sates at risk. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) convened an interdisciplinary Blue Ribbon Panel on Climate Change and Resilience in September 2017, and this week ASLA released a blueprint for helping secure a sustainable and resilient future that summarizes the panel’s work and recommendations.

Smart Policies for a Changing Climate: The Report and Recommendations of the ASLA Blue Ribbon Panel on Climate Change and Resilience found that the U.S. needs a new paradigm for communities that works in tandem with natural systems. It recommends that public policies should:

  • Be incentive based
  • Promote holistic planning and provide multiple benefits
  • Take into account environmental justice, racial and social equity
  • Reflect meaningful community engagement
  • Regularly evaluated and reviewed for unintended consequences
  • Address broader regional issues as well as local and site-specific concerns.

Smart Policies for a Changing Climate found that:

  • Designing and planning in concert with natural systems promotes resilience, capitalizes on the benefits of natural systems and provides greater long-term return on investment. Key strategies include use of green infrastructure, native plants, urban and suburban tree planting plans, and healthy soil management practices
  • Compact, walkable, and transit-oriented “smart growth” communities reduce energy use and are climate smart.
  • Special attention must be paid to vulnerable communities in coastal and inland flood plains and underserved and low-income communities.
  • Transportation should be considered critically as not only a connection point between home to work/services, but also as a source of greenhouse gas emissions, and a contributor or detractor to a community’s appearance and function in light of a weather event.
  • Agricultural systems must be addressed because they are being stressed by unsustainable farming practices and farmland is being lost to expanding development and sprawl.

“Our nation, states, counties, and cities are looking for solutions to mitigate the risks from the changing climate and extreme weather events,” said Nancy C. Somerville, Hon. ASLA, ASLA executive vice president and CEO. “With this report, landscape architects and their design and planning colleagues forward public policy recommendations that can make communities safer while taking climate change and existing natural systems into account.”

ASLA released the report at an evening reception and candid discussion yesterday with Somerville, and ASLA Blue Ribbon Panel members Adam Ortiz, director for the Department of the Environment for Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Diane Jones Allen, program director for Landscape Architecture, the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington and principal landscape architect with DesignJones LLC.

The Blue Ribbon Panelists included a diverse range of practitioners, experts and stakeholders with different levels of experience working in different aspects of geographic and technical design. They are:

  • Vaughn Rinner, FASLA, SITES AP, ASLA Immediate Past President, Chair;
  • Armando Carbonell, FAICP, Senior Fellow and Chair, Department of Planning and Urban Form, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy;
  • Mark Dawson, FASLA, Managing Principal, Sasaki Associates Inc.;
  • Tim Duggan, ASLA, Founder, Phronesis;
  • Ying-yu Hung, ASLA, Managing Principal, Principal, SWA, Los Angeles Studio;
  • Dr. Dwane Jones, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Sustainable Development + Resilience at the University of the District of Columbia;
  • Diane Jones Allen, ASLA, Program Director for Landscape Architecture, the College of Architecture Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington and principal landscape architect with DesignJones LLC;
  • Adam Ortiz, Director for the Department of the Environment for Prince George’s County, Maryland;
  • Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, SITES AP, Executive Vice President and CEO, ASLA; and
  • Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome, Ph.D., Senior Program Officer, Environment, The Kresge Foundation.

Below, please find a list of select quotes from panelists on the importance of adopting effective public policies and landscape architecture design solutions:

“The plans we’re going to have in the future to deal with living with water have to be more realistic. We have to live with the acknowledgement that there will be hurricanes and areas that naturally want to flood. How do we build differently as opposed to thinking we can keep water out?”

Diane Jones Allen, ASLA
Program director for Landscape Architecture, the College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington

“We have a number of antiquated policies within governmental structures. Reevaluating them every five years or so would help us to reflect what is currently happening and to better project how we should design communities to be able to proactively respond to such changes and challenges.”

Dr. Dwane Jones, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for Sustainable Development + Resilience at the University of the District of Columbia

“All public projects really have to be interdisciplinary. They have to incorporate the local culture, the local economy, forward-thinking design concepts, as well as good engineering. All that together, in a very thoughtful way that respects the complexity of our society, is a way to make a sustainable project that people enjoy and love.”

Adam Ortiz
Director for the Department of the Environment for Prince George’s County, Maryland

“One of the things we need to be doing is do a lot more experimentation. Sometimes you just need to be able to try things and see if that solution can take you forward. If it’s not a good solution, let’s try something else. That kind of creativity and ideas is really what innovation is all about.”

Vaughn B. Rinner, FASLA, SITES AP
Immediate past president, American Society of Landscape Architects

“Our standard development practices are not sustainable, but when we understand and work with natural systems, we can build safer and healthier communities.”

Nancy C. Somerville, Hon. ASLA. SITES AP
Executive vice president and CEO, American Society of Landscape Architects

“My hope is that we embed true kinds of community engagement, justice, and equity into our focus on climate change and resilience. We need to really do that in a way where it’s not so scientific. The social engineering matters as well. It’s what you’re doing in your profession that impacts people and makes those impacts equitable.”

Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome, Ph.D.
Senior program officer, Environment
The Kresge Foundation

Garden Dialogues bring an intimate look at landscape architecture to Bridgehampton


The goal of The Cultural Landscape Foundation is to connect people with places, bringing landscape architecture into discussion. This is exactly what J. Brian Sawyer, a landscape architect and member of TCLF’s stewardship council, plans to do at a Bridgehampton residence he designed in a discussion series titled the Garden Dialogues.

The Garden Dialogues began in 2012, inspired by the foundation’s focus on landscapes and patronage. “Without great patrons, there is rarely a great work of landscape architecture,” said Charles Birnbaum, the president and CEO of TCLF.

Mr. Birnbaum said he never truly got the information or the real interaction he wanted when he went on garden tours, so the foundation created the Garden Dialogues program to cultivate the intimate setting and sharing of knowledge that he craved.

“I’ve gone on a lot of garden tours and you often go in the back gate and someone might know plants, but you don’t really get to know the story behind the garden. … What we really wanted to do was make visible that art of collaboration between the patron-owner and the landscape architect,” Mr. Birnbaum said.

TCLF is in its 20th year, thus the declaration of “Twenty for Twenty,” the theme of this year’s Garden Dialogues. There will be 20 different dialogues this season around the country, each featuring a site designed by a member of the board of directors or the stewardship council of TCLF.

Mr. Sawyer has hosted dialogues for TCLF in the past, just last year hosting at a private residence in the village of Southampton where he was not only the landscape architect, but the interior and exterior designer as well.

He said he feels as if the Garden Dialogues help “spark thoughts and ideas, making sure people understand the history and the future of American landscapes.”

Being on the stewardship council at TCLF has been important to Mr. Sawyer. He sees his own role within the foundation as getting the word out in his own community as far as recognizing and making people aware of important landscapes.

The word “landscape” doesn’t necessarily refer to one specific outdoor design. Mr. Sawyer said a cultural landscape is anything that recognizes an important design moment, design period, or even one specific design, but with an emphasis on the quality of the Bridgehampton design.

He emphasized that good design isn’t always recognized, even by people who are aware of architectural design or interiors, and that its impact is often overlooked.

The dialogues usually consist of a tour of the property and a conversation between the landscape architect, the patron-client, and the attendees.

Mr. Sawyer said Garden Dialogues guests often ask questions that he had no idea others were interested in. “We get a really cool dialogue about how designed landscape evolves and what happens during the design process,” he said.

It was Mr. Sawyer, himself, who proposed that his dialogue be at the residence in Bridgehampton, which began as a single house and garden for a family and expanded as they acquired more property, the landscape evolving with it.

The how-we-got-here conversation is the most interesting to Mr. Sawyer, as most people who attend the dialogues don’t know the ins and outs as the architects do. Mr. Sawyer is passionate about teaching more people to appreciate not only the finished product, but the process.

The dialogue is limited to 40 attendees to keep it an intimate experience and make sure the attendees get the most they can out of the conversation.

“This is just a great opportunity to lift the veil on what it takes to make a great garden,” Mr. Birnbaum said.


Riverfront park design to feature concrete petals


American firms Lake Flato and Matsys, along with landscape architect Rialto Studio, have designed a riverfront park with concrete petals in southern Texas, with sculptural pavilions that provide shade on sunny days and help collect rainwater during storms.

Confluence Park is located on a bluff overlooking the point where the San Pedro Creek merges with the San Antonio River. Covering three acres (1.2 hectares), the public park encompasses a classroom building, a main pavilion and three smaller pavilions. The park is overseen by the San Antonio River Foundation, which manages the watershed.

“Confluence Park is a living laboratory that allows visitors to gain a greater understanding of the ecotypes of the South Texas region and the function of the San Antonio River watershed,” said local architecture firm Lake Flato in a project description. “Throughout the park, visitors learn through observation, engagement and active participation.”petals

Lake Flato said the “idea of confluence” and flowing water heavily informed the park’s design, from the patterning in the pavers to the sculpting of the landscape. The firm collaborated with two design firms on the project: Matsys, an interdisciplinary studio in San Francisco; and Rialto Studio, a local landscape architecture practice.

The centrepiece of the park is the main pavilion, which consists of 22 concrete “petals” that form giant archways. The sculptural panels were cast on-site and lifted into place, similar to tilt-wall construction. At night, the dramatic structure is illuminated by up-lights that are discreetly embedded in the pavers.

The thickness of the curved walls decreases as they ascend to a pinnacle of 26 feet (eight metres). The concrete petals were also used to construct the smaller pavilions, which rise 17 feet (five metres).

The pavilion forms go beyond aesthetics. The petals are designed to funnel rainwater to a catchment system – the park’s primary source of water. In addition to collecting water, the structures offer refuge from the summer heat.

“The pavilions throughout the park provide shade and shelter, simultaneously engaging visitors to visualise the cycle of water at Confluence Park and how it relates directly to the rivershed,” the team said.

Adjacent to the main pavilion is the classroom building, called the Estella Avery Education Center. Partly embedded in a berm, the rectilinear facility features board-formed concrete walls, large pivot doors with wooden slats, and a roof covered in native grasses. The architects also installed a rooftop solar array that provides “100 per cent of onsite energy on a yearly basis.”


Crucial role available on the board of LI committee


A position for a non-trustee member of the Landscape Institute (LI) has opened up on the LI’s Finance and Risk Committee.

Meeting four times per year, the Committee helps steer the LI’s financial and investment decisions by making recommendations to the LI Board of Trustees.

The Committee comprises the Honorary Treasurer and between two and four other trustees. In addition, in order to broaden the range of skills on the Committee, up to two non-trustees may join.

The Committee is advertising now for a member with substantial business skills to help the LI deliver its ambitious five-year corporate strategy. Interested applicants should submit personal statements, no longer than a single side of A4, outlining their strategic skills and achievements and suitability for the role.

Existing Committee members will assess all applications.

If you wish to apply, please first review the FRC terms of reference. Then, submit your statement by 5pm on Friday 20 July to emma.wood@landscapeinstitute.org.