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Design Under Sky discusses landscape architecture, the utilitarian but leaning towards the conceptual, thinking on modern occurrences and peripheral boundaries.  

DUS is the blog and personal design studio of Adam E. Anderson, a designer based out of the East Coast, currently a Critic at the Rhode Island School of Design, and a designer at Landworks Studio.

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December 2011
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June 2010
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[Group reviewing a student projection project based on the four sacred peaks of the Navajo from my Sound, Media, and the Urban Space Studio in the RISD Digital+Media Department.]

Its been a minute since last posting, my apologies. But I have a few decent excuses. D.U.S. has since relocated from California to Providence RI where I've been studying/researching art, sound, architecture, and landscape at the Rhode Island School of Design. My focus, as always, is to explore and expand the field of landscape architecture into new realms of disciplines, and RISD provides an ideal environment for this pursuit.

I plan to post some of the interesting student research and design projects that are happening all around me as well as hopefully posting more frequently.

To get things going again I've uploaded Ian Quate's thesis proposal, which he raps (only at risd) about mining, microbiology, and possible futures. Ian is a third year grad in landscape architecture.

This Thesis

Thanks for hanging around.


Sacred Groves

[All images above by the Bureau of Architecture, Research, and Design (BOARD). ]

A landscape always exists in an ephemeral state in comparison to most architecture. Much of its makeup often being organic, there is an expiration date unless certain remediations take place to maintain a somewhat original existence. We've discussed ways in which landscape architects might design in accordance with this natural decay, allowing projects to fade away in an intended manner, rather then employing a tireless effort to maintain a certain "pristine" condition.

In a brilliant read by Geoff Manaugh [BLDG BLOG] through CCA, the idea of a "sacred grove" is discussed and what might constitute one. Their organic nature not lasting the tests of time, much of what we think existed can only come from their depictions through poetry, paintings, and as Manaugh mentions, mint. Their intended purpose, or meaning left to the interpretation of the descriptive artwork.

As it was suggested, could it be that a certain grove held sacred was merely a utilitarian construct, planted not as an emotional or religious space but purely for timber production?

[From "Growing A Hidden Architecture" by Christian Kerrigan ]From "Growing A Hidden Architecture" by Christian Kerrigan ]

I've stumbled upon groves in the forest. After trouncing through miles of random tree placement I come upon an orthogonally ordered alignment of mature pine oddly placed in the middle of this natural growth. Clearly man made, this pine grove did possess a certain power. It might of been simply the juxtaposition of arboreal spaces, but the idea that man had long ago used and created this space, regardless of intention, was quite fascinating to me. I let my mind wonder, studying the area in my own form of landscape archeological reconnaissance.

Continuing in the article is a list of potential future sacred groves. One favorite being Christian Kerrigan's "Growing a hidden Architecture," which reminds us of the FabTreeHab, its description:

By controlling the manipulation of refined armatures, calibrating devices and designed corsets,” Kerrigan writes, “the system is capable of controlling the growth of a ship inside the forest. The ship will grow over a period of 200 years and will exist as a hidden architecture inside the trees. The ship growing in the forest is the ship from the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner,’ a tale of man’s relationship to mortality.” In a particularly fantastic detail, “the artificial system harvests resin from the trees to measure time passing.

Slowly growing to completion, the end of the system within the forest is signalled by the Amber Clock, the resin cycles in the trees keeping time. The armatures alter the geometries of the copse with technologies, which are spliced into the hull of the ship.

[From "Growing A Hidden Architecture" by Christian Kerrigan ]

Please read the CCA post in its entirety here.

Related: Botanical Gentrification | Arbortectual



[Window into the OLM studio]

It might be fair to say that for those unfamiliar with landscape architecture the idea of "what we do" is often obscure, and understandably so, as we've found, many LA's aren't quite sure what they do either.

That's why its so important to create a transparency from the studio to the outside world, to give everyone willing an inclusive look and understanding that design is a process and that landscape is not an afterthought. Better understanding may lead to a greater want, and thus, more work.

Unlike many design shops such as IDEO and Adaptive Path, landscape/architecture studios have been rarely successful in exposing who they are and how they do what they do. Instead so often we get the ubiquitous photo of three or four staff members leaned over a table and drawing "engaged" in the process. Accompanying this might be a descriptive paragraph with words thrown in such as "listening" and "inspiring" but shows little as to how that's done. With easily accessible technology, I think we can be more creative.

These thoughts came after viewing a video by The Office of Lanscape Morphology, a landscape architecture studio in Paris, which simply introduces the cast of staff and shows them in their native habitat, emerged in the process of design. Their site is a bit clunky, but I think the video is a particular fine example of how new media can open studio windows to the public eye.


A Central Central Park West

[Image by Douglas Jamieson / June 23, 2010]

Having spent several years in the LA area, one of my proudest achievements was eventually being somewhat able to navigate the cluster f*ck of traffic and sprawl of its satellite cities. That's not to say I don't love LA, but the city is hard to define exactly where IT rests. After 5pm little (in LA standards) takes places minus the isolated events of Staples, small venue concerts like the Wiltern, or the Disney Concert Hall. The rest of the action is scattered about the 110, 5, and 405 in the towns of the likes of Hollywood, Santa Monica, Venice, etc.

[Image via Rios Clementi Hale Studios]

A quicker then the city could handle boom after WWII sent the city in a spiraling sprawl, and with the addition of poor planning left the city with essentially no core, no public transit, and no parks.

So it is encouraging to see such a focus of urban development taking place in what might the most challenging city to do it in, but I might also add with the most opportunity. We wrote last week about the Wilmington Park under construction, and this week highlight even a grander attempt at unifying the city core, the downtown Civic Park project.

A $56-million endeavor, Rios Clementi Hale Studios were given the task to bring life into the concept, which construction crews have begun working this week on the sloping site between the Music Center and City Hall. RCHS's theme was derived from the Goode homolosine projection, a cartographer's 1923 solution for showing the curved lines of the earth's surface on a flat space.

As Rios explains them, the paths, whose curving lines recall those of a Goode map of the globe, emerged from an effort to think broadly about the remarkably diverse population the park is meant to serve. (As he likes to point out, an astonishing 92 languages are spoken by students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.) As a design gesture, the new paths turn those ideas about Los Angeles and its role as a global city into an organizing principle, at least abstractly, for the park and how visitors will move through it. Rios and other designers in the firm also studied maps and diagrams showing plane trips across the globe as well as various car and sea routes.

[Image via Rios Clementi Hale Studios]

An exciting possibility of the park is in its potential partnership with the Music Center, which would take over management of the park, bringing possibly world-renown musicians to an open downtown forum.

Naturally it wouldn't be LA without the designers having to juggle different political and economic interests along with the dizzying array of parking garages and concrete ramps, but we're excited to see local firm taking on the challenge, and look forward to its hopeful fruition.

Read more here....


Built High, without the Line

[Aerial view of the park in construction]

The High Line is cool, a representation of what is more to come in park development. It brought a lot of attention to landscape architecture which I like, but must every elevated project be referred to as the "High Line of the [fill in the geographic location]? Or for that matter parks of the west being referred to their eastern counter parts (i.e. The Great Park as the Central Park of the west).

Given the climate, far greater flora/fauna opportunities, and cities such as LA with a dearth of proper parks and integrated green infrastructure, I foresee the west becoming a hotbed of landscape architecture, in addition to the east of course.

[Rendering of the "Great Lawn."

The port city of Wilmington’s version, for now known as the Harry Bridges Boulevard Buffer, neither extends along an abandoned railroad nor is it particularly narrow like New York’s prototype. Instead, it consists of a 30-acre, nine-block-wide stretch of sloping land that separates the busy Port of Wilmington from a residential neighborhood to the north. The $55 million project is well underway and set to be completed by next summer.

Designed by Sasaki Associates and under construction, the park forms a barrier from the port, established after public outcry from the port's extension, the original plan. HBBB get's its reference to the High Line from the elevated sound wall sloping the park to the east and separating it from the street. The park will include tree groves, open lawns, pavilions, fountains, and an amphitheater. To break up the mass and ease circulation, the berm will have several openings connected via pedestrian bridges. One bridge, a steel span structure designed by Arup, will be the centerpiece of the design.

+ Via Archpaper