Recycling Spaces: Curating Urban Evolution: The Work of Martha Schwartz Partners by Emily Waugh published by ORO is a book of selected projects by Martha Schwartz Partners and their relationship to cities.
The 300 page book is divided into four sections each focusing on a separate urban condition - 1. Dying City Centers, 2. Depeleted Resources, 3. Shifting Populations, 4. Non-Existent Urbanism.
The books foreword penned by Charles Waldheim, John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture gives an overview of the last two decades of Martha Schwartz Partners various projects and their transformation of the cities.
The book differentiates itself from from many landscape texts, as it includes more than just powerful imagery of the projects but also gives some context through historical images, quotes from residents, stakeholders, clients about each project and the effect on their city. Also included in the book are high resolution plans and conceptual renders of the projects with annotation.
With any landscape architecture book, the photography is key with the images of high quality although some images in this book are grainy, this may have been an editorial/graphic design choice. Refreshingly, Recycling Spaces differs from many landscape architecture books in that a large percentage of the project images include people using and interacting with the space rather than static spaces, I hope this is a continuing trend with landscape architecture books.
The projects include in Recycling Spaces include the Grand Canal Square, Exchange Square, St. Mary’s Churchyard, Willow Farms Conservatory, Central Park Monte Laa, City of Edessa, Corniche Beach, and many others. The book covers MSP projects from all over the world including the UK, USA, UAE, Greece, Austria, Canada, with each project summarised in 14-20 pages.
Also included in a last section of a book is Softer Side of Sustainability; an essay by Martha Schwartz, discussing the sustainability debate and the need for the focus to shift from away from buildings and towards landscape especially their important role in cities. Schwartz also puts out a call to Landscape Architects “Our primary role as landscape architects is to understand and synthesize the vast elements of both “hard” and “soft” systems that operate on and in our urban landscapes, and then give shape, form and meaning to the built physical environments in which we live collectively.”
Recycling Spaces: Curating Urban Evolution: The Work of Martha Schwartz Partners is available through Amazon for $33.50 to $36.00 depending on the stocking.
Hardcover: 300 pages
Publisher: ORO editions (January 3, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.9 x 10.7 inches
REVIEW TEXT | Damian Holmes
REVIEW IMAGES | Damian Holmes