Seeing the tree from the forest

SERA Simulation of Tree Canopies - Credit: Sean T. Hammond

Sean Hammond and Karl Niklas have published a paper in the August 2009 edition of  American Journal of Botany presenting an algorithm that could be used to predict plant communities. The algorithm known as spatially explicit, reiterative algorithm, or SERA explores whether changes occurring in plant communities, such as self-thinning and the competitive displacement of one species by another, can be attributed to the characteristics of the individual plants that comprise the community.

“Remarkably, our model predicts the behavior of real plant populations, and thus suggests to us that many ‘complex’ ecological interactions emerge as a result of a few very ‘simple’ processes,” commented Dr. Niklas. SERA may be very useful in predicting changes in community development and composition as environmental and climatic variability increases.

The full article is available for until the 20 September 2009 at www.amjbot.org/cgi/content/full/96/8/1430. The SERA program can be accessed at www.botany.org/downloads/HammondandNiklas.zip.

UNM Dean to step down in 2010

UNM Today announced that Dean and Professor Roger Schluntz, FAIA, will resign as dean of UNM’s School of Architecture and Planning on June 30, 2010.

UNM Today
quoted Schluntz as saying

“a number of truly remarkable accomplishments as well as many critical incremental transformations” at the School.

A national search will begin this fall and intends for a new dean to be hired when Schluntz steps down.

SOURCE: UNM Today

SWA Group Wins Master Plan Assignment for Mexico’s University of Monterrey Including Site-Design for Tadao Ando Building

SWA Group has won a design competition to provide master planning and landscape architecture improving sustainability for the 247-acre (100-hectare) campus of the University of Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico. The assignment includes a phase-one implementation of site design for the Art and Design School Building under construction by noted architect Tadao Ando, the 1995 winner of the Pritzker Prize.

SWA’s assignment for the University of Monterrey (UDEM), Mexico’s premier institution of higher education, will help transform the campus from a vehicular orientation to one that encourages pedestrian, bicycle and transit use. The master plan will also incorporate greater sustainability by use of indigenous plant materials, natural water-retention and filtration, low maintenance landscaping as well as site-design strategies to enhance the learning and collaboration among students and faculty.

Tadao Ando’s structure, called the Gate of Creation, is a $34.5 million project encompassing 94,000 square feet (8,719 square meters), with spaces for design, research, teaching and exhibition, as well as 22 laboratories and workshops. According to the university, the building will help it establish Mexico and Latin America as a leader in the education of art, architecture and design.

“The landscape architecture and site design effort for UDEM is both a challenge and an honor that we are thrilled to be undertaking,” said Rene Bihan, SWA’s San Francisco-based managing principal overseeing the design team. “We will be working with the architect and the university to provide a proper landscape backdrop to what is considered one of the most significant architectural buildings in all of Latin America, while also helping the university move its campus to a higher level of sustainability.”

SOURCE: Businesswire

Natural Play Area for School in Scotland

A natural play area is being designed and constructed in at Merrylee Primary School in Scotland. It is going to be the only school in Britain with a natural play area within its grounds.

The Evening Times reports

It will have hills, long grass, a flower garden and eco-friendly features including badger set and fox’s den.
They worked with Felicity Steers, who is a parent and a landscape architect, and came up with the design of the Merrylee Urban Jungle.

For the FULL article & video go to the [SOURCE: Evening Times - Naturally Classy]

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT – Felicity Steers of erz studio

Anita Berrizbeitia Appointed Professor of Landscape Architecture

Mohsen Mostafavi – Dean, Faculty of Design at Harvard University GSD announced

It gives me great pleasure to announce the appointment of Anita Berrizbeitia as tenured Professor of Landscape Architecture, starting in July 2009.

Berrizbeitia is a landscape architect whose research focuses on design theories of modern and contemporary landscape architecture, the productive aspects of landscapes, and Latin American cities and landscapes. She was awarded the 2005–2006 Prince Charitable Trusts Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, she studied architecture at the Universidad Simón Bolívar before receiving a BA from Wellesley College and an MLA from the GSD.

Berrizbeitia has taught design theory and studio, most recently at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, where she was Associate Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture. Her studios investigate innovative approaches to the conceptualization of public space, especially on sites where urbanism, globalization, and local cultural conditions intersect. She also leads seminars that focus on significant transformations in landscape discourse over the last three decades. From 1987 to 1993, she practiced with Child Associates, Inc., in Boston, where she collaborated on many award-winning projects.

SOURCE: News at GSD

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