Olympics reinvigorates Vancouver’s Granville Street

Granville Street, Vancouver 2010

Image by popejon2 via Flickr

During the Winter Olympics in Vancouver a newly updated Granville Street by PWL Partnership Landscape Architects has become a lively impromptu event space for buskers, street hockey, olympic pin sellers and more. The street has been closed to traffic for 30 years with only buses allowed back in the mid-1970′s. Retail groups have lobbied to have cars reintroduced to the space. However, the success of the space which is usually the domain of club-hopping group has caused planners and downtown businesses to rethink the future of the space post-Olympics.

Could this be the catalyst for a renaissance of pedestrian malls in cities?

Read more about Granville Street during the Olympics at the [SOURCE:Globe & Mail - Games reignite dream of a car-free Granville]

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Short list announced for Lansdowne Park competition *UPDATE*

The City of Ottawa released the names of the 5 firms that have been short listed from the 21 submissions received to  compete for the design of Lansdowne Park’s open space.

The short listed firms are

  • Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates – Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg – Vancouver, British Columbia
  • The SWA Group – Sausalito, California
    Partnered with: Corush Sunderland Wright Ltd. (Ottawa), The ARCOP Group, J.L. Richards & Associates (Ottawa), WESA (Ottawa), BuildGreen Solutions, CMS Collaboratie Inc., Professional Environmental Recreation Consultants Ltd. (PERC), PHA Lighting Design, Ned Kahn
  • West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture – Toronto, Ontario
    Partnered with: Robertson Martin Architects Inc., The Municipal Infrastructure Group (TMIG), Halsall Associates (Ottawa office)
  • Williams, Asselin, Ackaoui & Associates Inc. (WAA) – Montreal, Quebec
    Partnered with: Éclairage Public Inc., Michel Dallaire Design Industriel Inc., Les Architectes FABG, Vinci Consultants, Linda Covit

With this selection, the work of the design firms will begin promptly with the gathering of information and ideas for the new open space. On Wednesday, February 24 and Thursday, February 25, the selected design firms will be meeting with the City, the National Capital Commission (NCC) and the Parks Canada Agency in a design symposium. Community groups and citizens will be able to learn about the design teams’ background and past projects, and provide comments about what they think should be built in the open space.

For more information go to the Lansdowne Park’s open space website.

[SOURCE: City of Ottawa]

RELATED STORY: Ottawa Citizen – Five firms compete for Lansdowne redesign

*UPDATE*

Joanne Chianello of the Ottawa Citizen wrote a follow up piece about the Lansdowne Park Competition reporting on the initial meeting between the City, NCC and the design teams.

Competitors where given some advice and on the designs for the site including

……. more than one presenter that proposals needed to be environmentally sustainable, “preserve the historic integrity” of the site (including the Aberdeen pavilion), with an emphasis on “soft over hard landscape.”

Later in the day the design teams presented their previous work to the City and NCC.

Read the full article at the [SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen - Designers told to ensure Lansdowne’s uniqueness]

SvR + Hewitt designing Seattle’s streets

In October 2009, Seattle Parks selected SvR Design + Hewitt as the primary design consultant for four Belltown blocks, from First to Fifth Avenues will be turned into Seattle’s first park boulevard with swales and natural landscaping. Last month SvR Design + Hewitt presented two different design options for Bell Street in the Seattle neighbourhood of Belltown to the community to receive feedback.

The design team presented two options for the first area of the project between 4th and 5th Avenue.  The design team walked the audience through a comparison of the options requesting input on the “Sluiced Surface” option and the “Measured Movement” option.

The community offered positive feedback and direction for the design of the park. The community encouraged the designers to look into a combination of the two designs emphasising the importance of safety, activation, lighting, and using green / recycled materials.

The Daily Journal of Commerce – Seattle has two designs for park along Bell Street cited

Nate Cormier, senior landscape architect at SvR, said the two designs are meant to represent “bookends” of the area’s history. Bell Street and the area around it have changed dramatically in the past 100 years. Tons of rock and soil that originally formed a steep hill there were removed and the land was regraded.

After receiving the communities feedback the team will come up with a single design and present it at a public meeting in April. Construction should occur in 2011.

For more information and to download the Presentation PDF go to [SOURCE: Seattle Parks & Recreation]

VIA: Daily Journal of Commerce – Seattle has two designs for park along Bell Street

IMAGE SOURCES: Seattle Parks & Recreation (SvR + Hewitt)

Existing Conditions looking along Bell from 4th to 5th Avenue

View Larger Map

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How video is changing Landscape Architecture

Over recent years video and digital animation have become another design tool for landscape architects and education and professional institutions.

For landscape architects digital animation and 3D rendering has become cheaper and cheaper to produce with tools such as Sketchup, 3Dmax, rhino, and maya allowing design firms to give clients another perspective and sense of place. Some of the amazing videos that are now produced are using a mixture of pure animation, still renders and imagery are stunning to watch. With the recent advances with VRL and 3D its a matter of time that the only limit will be the imagination of designers.

Recently education and professional institutions have started promoting their events and courses with the advent of cheap digital video cameras and the ability to publish cheaply with sites such as Youtube, Vimeo, Viddler, Metacafe, Youku. Recently professional institutions such as ASLA, AILA, Landscape Institute have used Youtube and self published video to increase the profile of landscape architects.

Below are some examples of how video is being used in landscape architecture. I would love to hear and see how you and your organisation are using video in landscape architecture. Drop me an email at damian@worldlandscapearchitect.com.

[SOURCE: Vimeo - TAICHUNG GATEWAY PROJECT by Stan Allen Architect from darina zlateva + takuma ono]


[SOURCE: Youku]


[SOURCE: Youtube - Australian Institute of Landscape Architects]


[SOURCE: Youtube - Landscape Institute]


[SOURCE: Youtube - American Society of Landscape Architects]


[SOURCE: Youtube - University of Gloucestershire]


[SOURCE: Youtube - University of Michigan]

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$2.2 billion for Great Lakes Restoration: EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency will spend $2.2 billion over five years on the Great Lakes to clean up polluted water and beaches, restore wetlands and fight invasive species such as Asian carp in a revitalization effort.
In 2010 $475 million is budgeted under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan.

The Initiative builds upon 5 years of work of the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force (IATF) and stakeholders, guided by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy. The IATF includes 16 cabinet and agency organizations, including: EPA, State, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, HUD, Transportation, Homeland Security, Army, CEQ, and Health and Human Services.

Chicago Breaking News reports
Billing the effort as light on study and heavy on action, environmental leaders say they’re seeking to heal the Great Lakes ecosystem from “150 years of abuse” and to ensure that “fish are safe to eat; the water is safe to drink; the beaches and waters are safe for swimming, surfing, boating and recreating; native species and habitats are protected and thriving; no community suffers disproportionately from the impacts of pollution; and the Great Lakes are a healthy place for people and wildlife to live.”

[Vancouver Sun - U.S. looks for help in battling Asian carp invasion]

[M.live - Asian carp may swallow federal Great Lakes Cleanup funding]

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