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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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Entries in parks (5)


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....


Rethinking Cleveland's Public Square

{"The Thread" illustration. A fluidity of paths and hills.}

Cleveland, once dubbed the "mistake on the lake" is considering a major landscape architectural development. Currently divided in a peculiar four-square arrangement, three new proposals re-image Cleveland's Public Square into a united green space design.

James Corner, of Field Operations and High Line Park fame have worked directly with two nonprofit organizations, Parkworks and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. Corner offers three radically different designs to the square. Deemed, The Frame, The Forest, and The Thread, the concepts address traffic and circulation matters to different extremes, while all providing elements of urban park goodiness.

The injection of the park into Cleveland seems a bit lofty goal, and it is. A city hit as hard as any by economic woes seems an unlikely candidate for a shoot for the stars type concept. But that was Corner's intention. Designing to a current city park budget will inevitably create mediocrity, so why not aim high, and worry about the money later.

{Three concept diagrams.}

I kind of love this approach of finding finance when pockets tighten, excite people and developers about the project, the money will maybe come with them. It seems that a general excitement is being generated around the idea, and those in power are realizing the social and eventual benefits of landscape architecture.

My favorite, and it seems the majority of interest is forming around the organic hill structure, or The Thread, a 70-foot-high manmade hill that would link all four quadrants of the square and separate pedestrians above from cars and buses below on Superior Avenue and Ontario Street. This is clearly the more iconic choice, and holds the greatest potential for spatial interest. It could be interesting to see at least a partial combination of the hill and forest concept.

{"The Frame" 3D and illustrative rendering.}

Will it ever get built in the near future? It's hard to say, but seems Cleveland officials acknowledge the impact that Corner's High Line has had, and looking for ways to make it work. As an Ohio native, I'd love to see its fruition, and hopefully keep stirring the fire in Urban Park Development. Now, if we can only do something about the Great Park?

{"The Forest" 3D concept and illustration.}Story was found here.


A New Park for Bilbao

The interstice, the spaces in between "places" often over looked are typically where Landscape Architects in particularly work their mojo. Their presence most felt, when the intervening spaces that were once cause for environmental or physical harm are transformed into something beautiful, something usable.

A compelling new park built on a slope that split two suburbs in Bilbao, Spain is both a landscape cure and adornment. Designed by ACXT, Pau Casals Square is a dynamic of green space connecting adjacent neighborhoods with a source of passive interaction. The park transforms an area prone to landslides and takes on a strong architectural form intermingling existing rock with triangular concrete pieces and green space.

Pau Casals Square is part of a series of projects that Bilbao has undertaken to improve urban spaces in the city’s outlying areas, creating connections between different neighborhoods and increasing the quality of life for residents. These neighborhoods grew during the post-war era, when they suffered from poor urban infrastructure and disorderly planning, which created rocky unused spaces like this site along Jesus Galindez Avenue.

Its not hard to imagine the value this would bring to any neighborhood. Think of all the forgotten sites in your surrounding neighborhoods. How would the transformation of those spaces change the makeup and psychological effects of that area. This can be accomplished relatively cheaply and provide something positive, even if its only temporary.

+ Via Inhabitat, Platforma Arquitectura

Photos by Aitor Ortiz



A park in Norrebro, Denmark designed by Danish firm Nord Architects is a delicious display of urban design goodiness.

In all honesty, I do like it simply for the fact that it doesn't take itself to seriously and isn't incessantly covered with planting, allowing the open space to just be. 

Part of a neighborhood renewal project, Nord created a master plan divided into three zones: 'The Jungle,' 'The Square,' and 'The Lawn.'

I would suspect that this would be a rather ephemeral park, something the designers grand children might not get to see in its original form.

By the way, as a note, I'm seeing more and more Architects design parks, any thoughts?

+ Via DesignBoom


A Walk in the Park

Toyo Ito & Associates Architects / Island City Central Park Grin Grin from 0300TV on Vimeo.

0300TV presents a video of Island City Central Park GRIN GRIN in Fukuoka designed by Toyo Ito.

Project Details:
Building Island City Central Park Grin Grin
Architects: Toyo Ito & Associates Architects
Project Team: Toyo Ito, Toyohiko Kobayashi, Hiroyuki Shinozaki, Maya Nishikori, Yoshitaka Ihara
Structural Engineers: Sasaki Structural Consultants
Program: Cultural Building
Client: Fukoka City
Constructed Area: 5000 sqm
Completed: 2005
Location: Hakata Bay, Island City, Fukuoka, Japan

Source: Architecture Lab