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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.”