Public Works Departments turning to AEC firms for landscape architecture

Recently Public Works published a survey or Top AEC (Architecture Engineering Construction) firms finding that for the first time since 2005 one-third of Public Works departments “are now turning to these same firms for landscape architecture park/design.”

We can interpreted this survey in many ways such as AEC firms have hired more landscape architects and therefore have the skilled staff to complete the work and are marketing their firm as multi-service or integrated design (hot topic at the moment). Another interpretation is that AEC firms needed more billable work in the current financial market to keep their current architecture, engineering & construction staff occupied and have been marketing wider services towards Public Works departments. I just hope that Public Works departments are making sure that the landscape architecture work is being undertaken is by qualified landscape architects and not engineers and architects.

With large unemployment in the landscape architecture industry in North America it would be a shame to see so many talented people to be left idle as Public Works departments contract Architects and Engineers to take on a service that they are not trained or qualified to fulfill. I don’t wish to be negative or hostile towards our allied professionals and I hope that this increase of Public Work departments use of AEC firms for landscape architecture means more jobs for landscape architects!

More Information on the Survey read Public Work – Multipurpose solutions are on the rise

Canadian National Urban Design Awards announced

Urban design and architectural excellence play an important role in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Canadian cities.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects in cooperation with Canadian municipalities, wish to promote public and private awareness of that role.

Recently the award winners were announced:

Community Improvement Projects

Ottawa Children’s Garden (Ottawa, ON)
Sustainable Living Ottawa East and the Community of Old Ottawa East

Urban Design Plans

Transformation of the Bonaventure Expressway at the Montreal Downtown Gateway (Montreal, QC)
Groupe Cardinal Hardy collaboration: Urban Soland :
paysages urbains and Société du Havre de Montréal

Urban Architecture

Manitoba Hydro Place (Winnipeg, MB)
Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, Smith Carter Architects & Engineers, Transsolar KlimaEngineering

Urban Fragments

Capital Health Centre (Edmonton, AB)
Dub Architects Ltd.

Civic Design Projects

Waterloo Public Square (Waterloo, ON)
GSP Group Inc.

Special Jury Award: Sustainable Development

Tower Renewal Opportunities Book (Toronto, ON)
E.R.A. Architects Inc. and the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto, Project lead Graeme Stewart, ERA Architects Inc.

Special Jury Award: Small or Medium Community Urban Design

HRMbyDesign (Halifax, NS)
The Downtown Halifax Plan, Heritage and Design Department, Halifax Regional Municipality

Student Award

City_Program: Hybrid Area (Montreal, QC)
Virginie Pontbriand, Anik Malderis and Alexandre Guilbeault
(Université de Montréal)
Certificates of Merit

Urban Design Plans

The RiverWalk Master Plan (Calgary, AB)
Stantec Consulting Ltd.

Urban Architecture

Life Sciences Complex, McGill University (Montreal, QC)
Diamond and Schmitt Architects, Provencher Roy + Associés Architectes, Architects in Joint Venture

Royal Conservatory, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning (Toronto, ON)
Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects

Civic Design Projects

Spadina WaveDeck (Toronto, ON)
WEST 8 + DTAH Joint Venture

SOURCE: RAIC

Urban SOS – AECOM student ideas competition

AECOM has launched for its second year, an open student ideas competition for 2010 – Urban SOS.

The competition seeks to engage students in the design, planning, architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, engineering, environmental and related fields, with the urban conditions that are now facing the majority of the world’s population.

This year, AECOM are exploring the topic of ‘Transformations,’ looking at seven cities in particular that are in the midst of a change or collection of changes that represent both challenges and opportunities to the shared futures of each city. Entrants must submit a site redevelopment plan that addresses specific issues in one of the following seven cities:

  • Beijing, China
  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Phoenix, USA
  • Port au Prince, Haïti
  • São Paulo, Brazil

The top four finalist/teams will travel to Barcelona to attend the World Architecture Festival from 3-5 November, 2010, with $20,000 in prize money at stake.

To learn more and download the brief go to the competition website

SOURCE: AECOM

World Landscape Architect is not involved with the organisation of this design competition please contact the organisers AECOM  via the competition website

Pakistan mosque installs country’s first urban rainwater harvesting system

The Faisal Mosque complex installed Pakistan’s first urban rainwater harvesting system has been installed in the capital city Islamabad. The system was funded by the city’s Capital Development Authority, and will provide clean drinking water while recharging the local water table for the city’s nearly 1 million residents.

Known as the Pilot Rainwater Harvesting Project, the initiative was developed in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program and the Pakistan Council of Research for Water Resource.

[SOURCE: Circle of Blue Water News]

Cream rises to the top for The City + The Arch + The River International Competition

The international design competition for the reinvigoration of the area surrounding the world renowned landmark the Gateway Arch has move on to the third and final design phase with Five Teams selected. When you look at the first list of nine teams announced back in February 2010 for the second stage it was the Who’s who of design but now that list is down to five teams; its the cream of the crop and the winner of the next stage will be a hard decision for all those involved and I guess we all have to wait until late September to find out the winner.

PRESS RELEASE

The leaders of the design teams entering the third and final stage of the competition are:

· Behnisch Team led by Behnisch Architekten – Stuttgart, Germany, Los Angeles
· MVVA Team led by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates – New York City
· PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, Civitas – Berkeley, Calif.
· SOM, Hargreaves, BIG – Chicago
· Weiss/Manfredi, Architecture/Site Design/Urbanism – New York

“The goal of the first two steps of the process was to identify design teams with the talent, capacity and commitment to create thoughtful design solutions addressing the complex issues of the site and its relationship to the city, the river and the Illinois side. With this selection, that goal has been accomplished,” said Competition Manager Donald J. Stastny, of StastnyBrun Architects. “The selected teams represent local, national and international perspective, and we look forward to working with them over the next few months as their visions evolve and they create their designs.”

“Having this level of architectural, engineering and landscape design power focused on such a visible urban park is exciting,” said Tom Bradley, superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. “We are committed to incorporating our parks into the life of their surrounding communities. I look forward to seeing the designs in August.”

The five teams will begin now and work through the spring and summer on design concepts, which will be put on public exhibition on Aug. 17, 2010. Details will be provided closer to that date.

The eight member jury – which counts a Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic, a professor in the humanities, a former deputy director of the National Park Service, a real estate economist, a museum curator, renowned architects and renowned landscape architects among its members – presented its decision to competition managers after meeting with the nine teams that competed in Stage II of the competition.

The final jury pick will be announced Sept. 24, 2010. The project will be constructed by Oct. 28, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Arch.

The public is invited to meet the design teams on April 28 at the Roberts Orpheum Theater downtown. Joe Buck will moderate a discussion about how their past work will influence their efforts to win this competition.

The “Meet the Design Teams” event will begin at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Preregistration is helpful and available through the competition Web site,www.cityarchrivercompetition.org.

St. Louis native Joe Buck is the top play-by-play man for Major League Baseball and the National Football League on FOX Sports.

“I am looking forward to moderating a forum that promises to be informational, educational and exciting for the future of our community,” Buck said.

Buck will be joined in hosting “Meet the Design Teams” by Stastny, the competition manager.

The Roberts Orpheum Theater is located at 416 North 9th Street in downtown St. Louis. Public parking is available across the street.

Also while in St. Louis, the teams will explore the competition area, be briefed on project issues and the values of the national park, and get to know the region and its people.

To help the teams understand, from a personal standpoint, what the Arch stands for and the values it represents to our region and our nation’s history, members of the public are invited to share their thoughts, stories, photos and video. Competition organizers will post selections to the Web site and include them in a presentation to the competitors. This will help the teams in their effort to meet the design goals. Submissions can be posted to the Community Connections page of the Web site or to the City Arch River facebook and Twitter accounts.

Continuing education credits, HSW, will be awarded by the American Institute of Architects St. Louis for the April 28 event.

[SOURCE: City+Arch+River competition]

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