WLA calls for more landscape architecture at the 2016 Venice Biennale

Recently, the Board of the la Biennale di Venezia has appointed Alejandro Aravena as Director of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition (Venice Biennale). On his appointment Alejandro Aravena stated that

“There are several battles that need to be won and several frontiers that need to be expanded in order to improve the quality of the built environment and consequently people’s quality of life……The 15th International Architecture Exhibition will be about focusing and learning from architectures that through intelligence, intuition or both of them at the same time, are able to escape the status quo. We would like to present cases that, despite the difficulties, instead of resignation or bitterness, propose and do something. We would like to show that in the permanent debate about the quality of the built environment, there is not only need but also room for action”.

The question is will we see more landscape architecture at the 2016 Venice Biennale? I am hoping that Aravena looks to landscape architects to provide some voices on the “debate about the quality of the built environment”. After attending the 2014 Biennale – Fundamentals – that was beautifully curated by Rem Koolhaas, however there were few pavilions or exhibits focusing on landscape.

I understand that the 2016 Venice Biennale and all biennales are architecture exhibitions but often landscape architecture and landscape architects are under represented and whilst walking around the 2014 Biennale I felt that one of the most important fundamentals – the landscape – which is the site and context within in architecture is placed was not acknowledged. I hope that Alejandro Aravena heeds my call for more representation of landscape architecture at the 2016 Venice Biennale and allows landscape architects access to curate part or whole exhibitions to be able to participate in the “permanent debate about the quality of the built environment”.

Landscape Architecture is a key part of the design conversation about the quality of the built environment and how we can improve urban and rural life through positive design outcomes. I look forward to visiting the 15th International Architecture Exhibition that will take place from 28 May to 27 November 2016.

Damian Holmes
Editor – World Landscape Architecture

Schob Nature Preserve Rain Gardens installation

Schob Nature Preserve Rain Gardens installation from TAMU College of Architecture on Vimeo.

Students install rain gardens at Schob Park Nature Preserve that sustained by stormwater runoff they absorb from nearby impervious surfaces such as walkways and parking lots. The project was funded by a small grant from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.

VIDEO CREDIT | TAMU College of Architecture

North Embarcadero waterfront park | San Diego, USA | Civitas

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San Diego’s new North Embarcadero waterfront park forms part of a revitalized gateway to the city’s downtown center and establishes an energized destination within a rapidly developing area of the city. The 1000-foot-long linear park adjacent to San Diego Bay is the first phase of a $200 million, 10-phase project which had remained in a conceptual stage for more than 20 years. Denver-based urban design studio Civitas as part of the team of consultants has worked with clients Civic San Diego (formerly known as Centre City Development Corporation), Port of San Diego, and the City of San Diego for the past seven years to bring this first phase of the project to completion. The design team evolved an existing master plan to develop a people-friendly, urban park area and promenade alongside a working waterfront that is home to cruise ships, fishing operations and museums.

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Continue reading North Embarcadero waterfront park | San Diego, USA | Civitas

Estrella Hall at Estrella Mountain Community College | Avondale, USA | Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture

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The landscape contiguous to Estrella Mountain Community Colleges new Library and Conference Center is designed to reinforce the fabric of the campus by continuing a series of linked garden spaces.  The building design concept was conceived as a pavilion within the landscaped campus core and as a backdrop for the garden spaces around it.  Permeability and visual openness of the ground floor are key elements of the architecture as the gardens become a new campus centerpiece and central core for the campus.

Continue reading Estrella Hall at Estrella Mountain Community College | Avondale, USA | Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture

MVRDV wins competition to transform abandoned highway section into Seoul Skygarden

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The Seoul Skygarden, MVRDV’s proposal for the 938 metre long former elevated highway next to Seoul’s Central Station, hopes to build on the city’s ambition to be greener, more attractive and more user-friendly so as to inspire a process of change for the entire neighborhood. The design populates the overpass with 254 species of trees, shrubs and flowers to create an arboretum of local species, a library of plants that can be enjoyed by Seoul’s public, and a nursery for the city’s other green spaces. Organised according to the Korean alphabet, this library makes legible the natural diversity of the city, allows citizens to take a selfie next to their favourite local plant while knowing its name. The new overpass will cut the 25 minute walk around the station to just 11 minutes, and will generate 1.83 times the cost of its renovation and maintenance in economic benefits, according to joint research by Seoul Institute and the Korea Planners Association.

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Continue reading MVRDV wins competition to transform abandoned highway section into Seoul Skygarden

NHA Floating Village | Bangkok Thailand | SSOCA

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One of the project’s main characteristics of this project is its strong social component and purpose. The project’s prime goal is to help bring awareness of the relevance of working with nature when dealing with flood conditions in Thailand. With this project, this has been achieved through the design of a complete floating village. 

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One of the main design elements will be the Flood Interpretative Center.  This floating structure will be hosting permanent exhibitions, teaching about ecology and learning about how to live with water.  The rest of the structures will have different uses, such as commercial, housing, and public park areas.

Continue reading NHA Floating Village | Bangkok Thailand | SSOCA

Richard Burck Associates wins Connect Kendall Square Design Competition

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The City of Cambridge is pleased to announce the selection of Somerville based Richard Burck Associates as the winner of the Connect Kendall Square Open Space Planning Competition. Richard Burck Associates was chosen by a six member jury after the culmination of a three stage process spanning eight months.

Four teams of finalists (Sitelab, Framework Cultural Placemaking, MVVA, and Richard Burck and Associates) were charged with developing an open space plan framework guided by a vision and planning and design goals identified through a robust public process spearheaded by the City and the Eastern Cambridge and Kendall Square Open Space (ECKOS) Study Committee.
Continue reading Richard Burck Associates wins Connect Kendall Square Design Competition

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