2010 IFLA Congress – Day 1

A rainy morning in Suzhou for the start of the 2010 IFLA Congress. Police escort for the bus convoy to the Suzhou Expo Centre in the newer part of Suzhou. Welcoming speeches from Chinese and Suzhou Government officials. Professional, friendly conference to further landscape architecture. The Keynote speeches gave an overall view of Chinese historical & modern landscape, modern landscape architecture, heritage through digital records and reviews of Landscape Architecture efforts by Shanghai, Suzhou & Guangzhou government officials. There was also a presentation by Niall Kirkwood titled Resilient Landscapes which gave us much to ponder about the role of landscape architects.

Lansdowne Park Design Competition entries revealed

*UPDATE*
Seems who ever wins of June 4 when the winner of the Lansdowne Park Competition will have to deal with a large amount of consultation with stakeholders and be ready to compromise on parts of there design as Parks Canada and Ontario Heritage Trust raise concerns about some of the design – Read more at the
Ottawa Citizen – Lansdowne makeover hits new snags

Recently the City of Ottawa revealed the five designs submitted by design firms for the redevelopment of the Lansdowne Park area. The designs where labeled as anonymous entrants (although if you have seen prior work of the entrants you can guess who’s design is who’s). The entrants included the following design firms:

  • Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
  • Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg
  • SWA Group
  • West 8
  • Williams, Asselin, Ackaoui & Associates

What is encouraging is that 5 firms developed differing designs and approaches to the space, often competitions can fall flat as the designs can mimic each other. This also shows that the competition brief was not too restrictive in its design constraints on entrants. The entries all offer different approaches but it is great to see entrants have given thought to the integration of  storm water, heritage, planting, public art with some being more resolved and effective than others.

The design presentations are all of good quality and show that as landscape architects we can produce amazingly presented design work. However, some of the presentation graphics where more polished than others; this may have to do with the size of the firm or there international resources and will be seen if this made a difference when the design firms for each entry are revealed.

The design entries are interesting with many different approaches to spatial arrangement, program & function, circulation, aesthetics, seasons, public art, water, budgets. However, I feel that the all the designs have the same issues which is true of much of current landscape architecture. These issues are compartmentalization, under programming (lack of cross programming) and international design style.

Compartmentalization and under programming are interlinked in that when designing we draw a bubble around an area and state this shall be X and this is Y. Programming should be cross programmed and programs should be allowed to extend beyond the boundaries of an area to create a more dynamic design. Some of the greatest cities and designs in the world are when two uses and/or programs intermingle to create an interesting and energetic place.

International design style which has in recent years grown more pronounced as the globalisation of landscape architecture services takes place. In some ways international design can be beneficial as firms can offer a unique perspective on the area and use their experience of other cultures and designs. However, often the culture of the place can be lost or represented with the token piece of public art or a local sport placed in the design. The design entries presentations sometimes fell into this ‘international design style’ in which the design could have been anywhere in the world or northern hemisphere. How we improve on this is yet to be determined and will be one of the many issues that as landscape architects we face as we design landscapes across the globe.

I also found it interesting that only one of the design entries featured French text for a design competition held for a site in the capital of an officially bilingual country. Maybe it wasn’t a request of the brief; however I find it interesting to see what language was used when presenting a design in a different country and culture from the design firms.

Overall to decide on a winner will be hard and will require deliberation, resident feedback and evaluation of budgets. I hope that the winning design is implemented in its entirety over a well staged implementation. Congratulations to all the teams for producing amazing presentations that shows that landscape architects can produce high-quality world class designs.

Below are the plans and one image from each design. If you would like to see all the designs and presentations go to the City of Ottawa – Lansdowne Park.

IMAGE SOURCE: City of Ottawa

IMAGE CREDITS: All images are copyright of the entrants – currently anonymous

KCAP and ARLETTE SCHNEIDERS ARCHITECTS win competition in Luxemburg

KCAP Architects & Planners in cooperation with local architect Arlette Schneiders win the competition for an office development in the city of Luxemburg. The competition entry was already awarded first prize in 2009. Recently, the client Fonds de Compensation has officially assigned the building commission to the team KCAP and ARLETTE SCHNEIDERS ARCHITECTS with advisors Ecofys, SIT-LUX and Lux C.E.C..

The site occupies a prominent location in Luxemburg’s Kirchberg district, facing the main square of Luxemburg’s future European district. The programme of 22.300 m2 gross floor area will be distributed over four buildings. They present a clear architectural language towards the main square and provide a strong volume on the street to reinforce the development’s urban appearance, as requested by the masterplan by French architect Dominique Perrault.

“The urban integration of the ensemble and the composition of individual buildings are key elements of our design. They allow us to create a block which is dense but permeable at the same time and to provide high quality and introverted outdoor spaces which complement the structure of the surrounding public spaces,” says Kees Christiaanse, founder and partner of KCAP.

Arlette Schneiders continues: “With this concept we are able to maintain a human scale within the European district and make the block a connecting element, able to link to the major pedestrian transfer routes. Pedestrians, cyclists, residents and working people will be stimulated to experience and actively use the new city quarter.”

SOURCE: KCAP

Living Wall at Nova Scotia Community College [VIDEO]

Dartmouth, NS – A living, breathing example of innovation is growing at Nova Scotia Community College’s (NSCC) Centre for the Built Environment at the Waterfront Campus in Dartmouth.

Earlier today, NSCC president Dr. Joan McArthur-Blair helped students complete the first, permanent, exterior “living wall” east of Vancouver. “This living wall demonstrates the capacity of the Centre for the Built Environment to help Nova Scotians study the renewable energy and green technologies that are essential to our sustainable future,” said Dr. McArthur-Blair.

Living walls combine the natural and built environments. They filter the air, create habitats and add vitality to a building’s design. In 2007, Centre for the Built Environment architects, Barrie & Langille, hired Sue Sirrs, owner of Outside! Planning and Design Studio, to study the feasibility of an exterior living wall that would thrive in a cold climate. Horticulture students and faculty from NSCC’s Kingstec Campus in Kentville helped to plan then design and build the living wall.

The 7,000 plants that make up NSCC’s living wall offer a variety of colours, textures, flowers and berries, providing a living piece of art that will change with the seasons.

Landscape Architecture at USU joins College of Agriculture

The Utah State University’s Board of Trustees,announced recently that the university’s Department of Landscape and Environmental Planning will become part of the College of Agriculture, strengthening both the department and college’s commitments to sustainable development.

The change, which will occur July 1, is part of strategic restructuring in the LAEP department’s current administrative home, the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, which is being divided into a college that includes the humanities and social sciences and a new Caine College of the Arts. As part of that split, USU President Stan Albrecht gave the LAEP department faculty and administrators a unique opportunity to evaluate the department’s plans and goals and consider which college could best support them.

[SOURCE: USU]

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