The Contemporary Austin Announces Finalists for Laguna Gloria Master Site Plan

Laguna-Gloria_jdeeringdavis2

Louis Grachos, Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director of The Contemporary Austin, announces three internationally renowned landscape architects as finalists in creating a Master Site Plan for Laguna Gloria, Austin’s picturesque historic treasure.

The main stipulation in the Request for Qualifications was for the selected firm to develop a comprehensive Master Site Plan that fully incorporates the twelve acres of Laguna Gloria while laying the groundwork for the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park and respecting the existing historic 1916 Italianate Driscoll Villa, the fifty-year-old Art School, and the vibrant ecology of the site.

Continue reading The Contemporary Austin Announces Finalists for Laguna Gloria Master Site Plan

St.Petersburg Pier Design Competition Finalists unveil designs

St.Petersburg Pier Design Competition Finalists

St. Petersburg has sponsored an international design competition for the redesign and replacement of its landmark Pier.  Finalists included  Bjarke Ingels Group, Michael Maltzan Architecture, and WEST 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture who submitted their designs on November 29 and are now displayed at the “Look, Think, Share” exhibit for public viewing and comment from December 6 to December 30.

Continue reading St.Petersburg Pier Design Competition Finalists unveil designs

Four finalists present their visions for Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition

The four finalist teams recently unveiled their visions for Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition (MR|DC), the largest landscape and urban design competition in Minneapolis history, each crafting a multidimensional landscape and urban design proposal addressing 220 acres of parkland and surrounding neighborhoods along 11 miles of riverfront from the historic Stone Arch Bridge north to the city limits.

Ken Smith Workshop – City of the River
Ken Smith
The river is a catalyst for renewal through new and enhanced park, infrastructure and ecological systems and a series of bold, iconic design scenarios that reflect the area’s history and spirit of place.

Stoss Landscape Urbanism – Streamlines
Stoss LU-Streamlines
A longer term transformation that reclaims the river as civic space, introduces new landscapes, infrastructure and urban fabrics, and weaves the multiple new and existing systems and experiences back into the city.

TLS/KVA – RiverFirst
TLS/KVA-RiverFirst
A set of inter related design initiatives – focused on health, mobility and green economy – that function at multiple scales and are enhanced by community outreach strategies to raise public awareness about consumer choice impacts on the river system.

Turenscape – The Resilient River
Turenscape-The Resilient River
A fifty year framework for investment that focuses on: ecological renewal, social equity, new economies and a new identity for the city of the river, and includes a strategic approach to ecological infrastructure, re-orienting urbanism and phasing over time.

SOURCE: Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition

James Corner Field Operations selected for Seattle Waterfront

James Corner Field Operations has been selected by the Seattle Parks, DPD and SDOT, who went through a highly rigorous process to identify the winning firm.  The project attracted international attention with 30 firms submitting their qualifications for the work and the selection involved careful review of qualifications, extensive interviews with four short-listed teams and a public presentation to a group of 1,300 interested members of the public.

The four shortlisted finalists for the project included

  • Wallace Roberts and Todd
  • james corner field operations
  • Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates
  • Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

James Corner Field Operations were selected for its innovative thinking, context based design and effective public engagement, and will prove a valuable asset to the City in the hundred-year decision of designing a new waterfront.

The process is expected to take 8 years with conceptual design with the team and city planning many public forums leading to a conceptual design in 2012, followed by a final design in 2015 and construction by 2018.

The 2 hours of presentations from the final four finalists and their PPT files are available at SDOT

SOURCE: SDOT -

News tip thanks to @svrdesign via twitter

For the full list of James Corner Field Operations team members

Continue reading James Corner Field Operations selected for Seattle Waterfront

Lansdowne Park Design Competition entries revealed

*UPDATE*
Seems who ever wins of June 4 when the winner of the Lansdowne Park Competition will have to deal with a large amount of consultation with stakeholders and be ready to compromise on parts of there design as Parks Canada and Ontario Heritage Trust raise concerns about some of the design – Read more at the
Ottawa Citizen – Lansdowne makeover hits new snags

Recently the City of Ottawa revealed the five designs submitted by design firms for the redevelopment of the Lansdowne Park area. The designs where labeled as anonymous entrants (although if you have seen prior work of the entrants you can guess who’s design is who’s). The entrants included the following design firms:

  • Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
  • Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg
  • SWA Group
  • West 8
  • Williams, Asselin, Ackaoui & Associates

What is encouraging is that 5 firms developed differing designs and approaches to the space, often competitions can fall flat as the designs can mimic each other. This also shows that the competition brief was not too restrictive in its design constraints on entrants. The entries all offer different approaches but it is great to see entrants have given thought to the integration of  storm water, heritage, planting, public art with some being more resolved and effective than others.

The design presentations are all of good quality and show that as landscape architects we can produce amazingly presented design work. However, some of the presentation graphics where more polished than others; this may have to do with the size of the firm or there international resources and will be seen if this made a difference when the design firms for each entry are revealed.

The design entries are interesting with many different approaches to spatial arrangement, program & function, circulation, aesthetics, seasons, public art, water, budgets. However, I feel that the all the designs have the same issues which is true of much of current landscape architecture. These issues are compartmentalization, under programming (lack of cross programming) and international design style.

Compartmentalization and under programming are interlinked in that when designing we draw a bubble around an area and state this shall be X and this is Y. Programming should be cross programmed and programs should be allowed to extend beyond the boundaries of an area to create a more dynamic design. Some of the greatest cities and designs in the world are when two uses and/or programs intermingle to create an interesting and energetic place.

International design style which has in recent years grown more pronounced as the globalisation of landscape architecture services takes place. In some ways international design can be beneficial as firms can offer a unique perspective on the area and use their experience of other cultures and designs. However, often the culture of the place can be lost or represented with the token piece of public art or a local sport placed in the design. The design entries presentations sometimes fell into this ‘international design style’ in which the design could have been anywhere in the world or northern hemisphere. How we improve on this is yet to be determined and will be one of the many issues that as landscape architects we face as we design landscapes across the globe.

I also found it interesting that only one of the design entries featured French text for a design competition held for a site in the capital of an officially bilingual country. Maybe it wasn’t a request of the brief; however I find it interesting to see what language was used when presenting a design in a different country and culture from the design firms.

Overall to decide on a winner will be hard and will require deliberation, resident feedback and evaluation of budgets. I hope that the winning design is implemented in its entirety over a well staged implementation. Congratulations to all the teams for producing amazing presentations that shows that landscape architects can produce high-quality world class designs.

Below are the plans and one image from each design. If you would like to see all the designs and presentations go to the City of Ottawa – Lansdowne Park.

IMAGE SOURCE: City of Ottawa

IMAGE CREDITS: All images are copyright of the entrants – currently anonymous

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