Drought blamed for dead trees in Texas

Currently the drought is continuing in Texas and as a result hundreds of Austin’s 300,000 trees have died this summer due to drought. Native species such as live oak and hackberry have perished due to drought and an intense summer. Currently Austin is cutting down the dead city trees and making them into mulch for use on other trees.  Residents are being advised to soak trees with 5 gallons of water per week for every inch of tree trunk caliper.

SOURCE: Dallas News.com – Drought blamed for dead trees in Texas

St.Petersburg could lose its UNESCO status *UPDATE*

gazProm_RMJM

St. Peterburg, Russia could lose its UNESCO status as a World Heritage Centre if the plans of the world’s biggest natural gas company to build a 396 metre (1,299 ft) skyscaper go ahead. The $3 billion building designed by RMJM has still not been approved by the local government.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

*UPDATE*

1. Opponents of the Okhta Center, also known as the Gazprom Tower, filed a lawsuit late last week asking the court to cancel an upcoming public hearing as “illegal.” SOURCE: St.Petersburg Times

2. St. Petersburg residents on Tuesday (01.09.09) clashed with police and OAO Gazprom security guards during a public hearing over the plan to erect the tallest skyscraper in Europe. Around 12 people who attended Tuesday’s meeting were removed, as calls of ‘shame on Gazprom’ rung in the air. SOURCE: Architect’s Journal

Jakarta City calls for help to keep green space

Jakarta City administrators seem to have thrown in the towel claiming that the 650 sq km city is to big to manage with too few city workers and audit team to manage and police development in the city. The city is asking the private sector to help manage buildings in the city and surrounding green spaces. The current green space in the city is 9.97% whereas the plan drawn up in 2000 mandated a minimum 13.49% by 2010.
The Jakata Globe quoted Nirwono Joga, head of the Indonesia Landscape Architecture Study Group, said

“his group and the Indonesian Association of Planners were both ready to step in and form audit teams for the green space supervision program next year.”

SOURCE: Jakata Globe – City calls for help to keep green space

Rooftop Gardens of the World – Huffington Post

The Huffington Post is looking for submission of photos of the green roofs around the world. The photos are being ranked by users to determined the 8 Rooftop Gardens from around the world. Its easy to enter just find the address of the project and then upload a photo and give a quick description of the roof.

Some of the current top 8 includes roofs include Acros Fukuoka Building, Japan, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Waldspirale, Germany, Marriot Hotel, Victoria Canada for the other top 8 roofs and to add yours go to the SOURCE: Huffington Post – 8 Rooftop Gardens From Around The World

Sketchup Book for Everyone

HeadShotDaniel Tal is a registered landscape architect and member of ASLA with over 10 years experience and has recently written a book on Sketchup, the easy to use 3D modeling program that has given students and design firms an affordable way to produce 3D renderings for projects. Daniel has been using Sketchup since the early days and consulted with the developers of Sketchup in 2004. We caught up with Daniel and asked him about his newly published book.

WLA:When or What was the ‘light bulb’ moment for writing the book?

DANIEL: First and foremost, I wrote a book about SketchUp because I love using the program. It borders on obsession. It has imbued my work with tremendous satisfaction. I use SketchUp with process in mind and it neatly fits into design flow.

By 2007, I’d been practicing landscape architecture for about 10 years and had actively been using SketchUp for 5.  I noticed that many people use SketchUp sort of randomly; they do not apply a process to how they build models or how they fit SketchUp into the design process

I had been using SketchUp and AutoCAD in tandem since day one.  Again, it is all about process; making the two platforms work seamlessly. The integration between the two allows the creation of detailed models lighting fast; in many cases it’s possible to generate a model from a CAD plan in under an hour. I am not talking about a basic spatial model, but one that is fully articulated to represent a completed design.

So, between wanting to relate process and ways to create conceptual grading and integrate AutoCAD, I felt like I had enough material to teach and share.

WLA: How long was the process of writing the book?

DANIEL: I wrote the book in two drafts. I started the first draft in February of 2008 and completed it in June, 2008. I reviewed what I had and I was not satisfied with the flow or cohesion. So, in July 2008, I took a 3 month sabbatical from work and I hashed out the bulk of the book. I completed the final draft on December 24th. From January through June of 2009, Wiley edited and compiled the book into its present form. The whole process took roughly 18 months.

WLA: SketchUp is a relatively new tool for landscape architects and other built environment professionals, how do you think it assists designers during the design process?

DANIEL: SketchUp is a unique tool. Because it’s a real time render, meaning you can see what a model looks like as its being pieced together, it allows designers to view and analyze spatial relationships instantaneously. In real world terms, it allows designers to catch possible issues early on in the design process.

SketchUp is fast. Because of its speed, it fits into the design process. I start modeling a site during concept phase. This gives the designers, the client and consultants a better understanding of what the project looks and feels like.

WLA: Currently SketchUp is used by firms for testing design and other firms are using it for presentation, what are the benefits of using SketchUp for presentation?

DANIEL: Photo-realistic rendering is becoming the norm for design presentation. At RNL, I worked with some very talented render artists. They use 3D max, Revit, Viz and many other 3D rendering programs to represent projects. They are pushing the limits and their work is outstanding.

Many firms do not have access to this technology and while it’s becoming more mainstream, it requires motivated and highly trained individuals to advance these technologies within a firm.  SketchUp is not a specialized program. If someone has the desire to learn they can do so, with little cost and a decent time investment. That is one of the purposes of the book.

The other difference is the number of views and the type of representations that can be created with photo-real rendering vs. SketchUp. It can take hours and days to generate multiple photorealistic images and the resources to create animations is time consuming and large.

Simply, SketchUp allows users to create multiple views and animations of a project in hours. These are not photorealistic renderings, but with enough practice and know how, you can generate some highly expressive images and animations with Sketch Up.

WLA: Who is the audience for your book?

DANIEL: Wiley originally wanted me to write an advanced SketchUp manual exclusively for landscape architects. The publisher encouraged me to send the draft manuscript out for review by various professionals. It became clear that designers and educators wanted a more holistic book that went beyond landscape architecture and met the needs of designers and students with varied levels of experience.

The most important thing to note about the book is it focuses not just on how tools work, but also explains what to do with the tools to meet specific goals. In Part 1, the spotlight is on process and using the right methods and process to setup models from the start. Part 2 is a series of exercises leading to a goal–the creation of a detailed, effectively articulated 3D model. You start by building a site plan and modeling detailed elements (lights, benches, rails, etc.). Next, you model 3 buildings.  Last, you compile the site plan, elements and buildings into a single model. What I am showing people is a method that can be applied to almost any project type; how to start, generate detail and end with expressive design images. The book also goes into depth about how to use the Sandbox tools to generate conceptual grading, complex organic forms and architecture. And, like I stated earlier, there is a whole section on integrating AutoCAD with SketchUp.

The book is tailored to multiple audiences. I believe the book is useful to beginners and advanced users, including architects, landscape architects or hobbyists. It’s also useful as a guide/textbook for educators and students in the design professions.

For more information on Daniel’s book, SketchUp for Site Design: A Guide to Modeling Site Plans, Terrain and Architecture, visit www.daniel-tal.com

Center

Plaza

Dunes

Shrub-planting

IMAGES: DANIEL TAL


DISCLOSURE: Daniel Tal was an advertiser with World Landscape Architect
This interview was not paid for or a condition of advertising.

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