While climate change, sustainable architecture, and green technologies have become increasingly topical, issues surrounding the sustainability of the city are much less developed. The premise of the book is that an ecological approach is urgently needed both as a remedial device for the contemporary city and an organizing principle for new cities. Ecological Urbanism approaches the city without any one set of instruments and with a worldview that is fluid in scale and disciplinary approach. Design provides the synthetic key to connect ecology with an urbanism that is not in contradiction with its environment. The book brings together design practitioners and theorists, economists, engineers, artists, policy makers, environmental scientists, and public health specialists, with the goal of reaching a more robust understanding of ecological urbanism and what it might be in the future.
With contributions by Homi Bhabha, Stefano Boeri, Chuck Hoberman, Rem Koolhaas, Sanford Kwinter, Bruno Latour, Nina-Marie Lister, Mohsen Mostafavi, Matthias Schuler, Sissel Tolaas, Charles Waldheim, among others
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announced the selection of veteran journalist Bradford McKee as the new Editor-in-Chief for Landscape Architecture magazine, the landscape architecture profession’s national magazine of record celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
“He will be a tremendous asset to the magazine and ASLA.”
“Brad McKee brings an intense passion for design, enthusiasm and understanding for the design process, as well as a keen editorial eye through nearly two decades of design journalism experience,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA. “He will be a tremendous asset to the magazine and ASLA.”
For the past 10 years, Brad has worked as a freelance writer and editor. His work has appeared in such publications as I.D., Architect, Slate, Metropolitan Home, Interiors, AARP Bulletin, The Architect’s Newspaper, Harper’s Bazaar, Cookie, Men’s Journal, Regardie’s, Washington Monthly, the Los Angeles Times and TheWashington Post. He also launched and maintained a daily, web-based bulletin, Architect Newswire, on behalf of Architect magazine.
Editors Note: Will it be more of the same? or will the new Editor in Chief change the publication? It will be interesting to see the direction that Landscape Architecture Magazine takes as traditional publishing is a having a hard time during the Global Financial Crisis as advertising sales are down and loosing some readership to websites and social networking sites.
Edinburgh College of Art is delighted to launch Vision, a major new publication about its current and future research projects in the creative disciplines.
A lavishly illustrated book, Vision includes focus features on the College’s current research groups as well as profiles of over 100 staff and their ‘visions’ of future research developments.
With the aim of progressing lively and accessible public engagement with academic research, Vision presents ground-breaking creative thinking across a vast range of art, design, architecture and landscape architecture disciplines. It also highlights the increase in cross-disciplinary and external collaboration in projects where experts in architecture, digital design, visual communications, business, anthropology, medical and computer science work with us to develop imaginative solutions to theoretical and practical issues.
Daniel 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