VIDEO | The Built Environment: A Conversation with M. Van Valkenburgh, P. Walker, and A. Berrizbeitia

Back in September 2014, the Harvard GSD held the Grounded Visionaries Design Weekend as part of the campaign launch for Grounded Visionaries (set to launch a new websit in early 2015). During the Design Weekend various lectures and conversations were held including The Built Environment: A Conversation with M. Van Valkenburgh, P. Walker, and A. Berrizbeitia.

Peter Walker starts the conversation by giving a brief overview of his involvement in the Harvard GSD Landscape Architecture program and an overview of some of his recent projects (9/11 Memorial, Headland Park, Constitution Gardens) pleading with the audience to “not forget practice, practice is the way you find out whether the ideas you have work.”. Michael Van Valkenburgh follows on from Peter Walker with 3 projects from his practice that are relevant to the contemporary condition. The thematic of Van Valkenburgh’s presentation is “Infrastructure” with a topical comparison between traditional and green infrastructure. Michael also gives us a brief look into G.W. Bush Presidential Center, Lower Don Lands, Brooklyn Bridge Park. Anita Berrizbeitia then poses the questions to Peter and Michael about what drives the work. The answers provide knowledge that is relevant to students and practitioners of landscape architecture.

The conversation is just over 35 minutes, but provides information and knowledge garnered from years of practice from two of the best practitioners of the current era of landscape architecture.

The full series of Grounded Visionaries videos from the Design Weekend are availiable on Youtube.

VIDEO | Christophe Girot, “Topology: On Sensing and Conceiving Landscape”


Harvard GSD recently posted a lecture by Christophe Girot titled “Topology: On Sensing and Conceiving Landscape”. An lecture that will intrigue students and professionals interested in Visualisation and Computer Modelling. Girot shows various projects, processes and the tools (Terrestial Laser Scanners, Point Cloud, Rhino, GIS, etc) used to create models of existing and proposed landscapes around the world.

The invention of landscape has always oscillated between a history of beliefs in nature, with its many representations, and a history of terrain measurements through various techniques of appropriation. In his talk, Christophe Girot will consider the longstanding balance between culture and its instruments for sensing and conceiving a landscape, noting that the particular representation of landscape that we hold true today has roots in the dialogue between ars and techne that has characterized every epoch. The aim of this talk and discussion is to open a window on topology’s shifting point of view with regard to this form of interdependence that will considerably affect our ability to act and perform effectively on landscape’s reality.

Video Credit | Harvard GSD

VIDEO | Olmsted Lecture: Joseph Disponzio|”On the Theoretical and Practical Development of Landscape Architecture”


Recently, the annual Olmsted Lecture was given by Joseph Disponzio at the Harvard GSD. Disponzio gives an interesting lecture exploring the intellectual origins of landscape architecture and the term landscape architect.

“Exploring the transformation of the modeling of land from garden-making to landscape architecture, this lecture by Joseph Disponzio will establish the intellectual origins of landscape architecture in relation to the new garden practices that emerged during the 18th century, and the texts that codified these practices, amid Enlightenment-era changes in the understanding of nature. Disponzio is Preservation Landscape Architect for the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation, and Director of the Landscape Design program at Columbia University. He has taught at several institutions, published widely on garden history from the 18th century to the present, and is currently writing introductions for an edition of N. Vergnaud’s L’Art de créer les jardins (1835) and a translation of Jean-Marie Morel’s Théorie des jardins (1776).”

This Week in Landscape | 21 September 2014

10 No Brainers – Say “Yes” to Parklets from Centre for City Ecology on Vimeo featuring Nancy Chater, Landscape Architect and Associate, The Planning Partnership.

Energy Corridor district mulches to maintain trees | Jocelyn Kerr | Chron.com
“In the old days when you’d build a freeway, you’d use the subsoil you dug up during construction, add some compost then seed it. It’s hard to grow anything in that. You need a better grade of soil. TxDOT came up with the Green Ribbon Project…”

Architects step in to street vendors row | Bangkok Post
“Landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom, the project designer, said most city footpaths are not functional, adding an infrastructure plan that is synchronised between various government agencies was urgently…”

A Brazilian City’s Dilemma: How Urban Should a Waterfront Be? | Greg Scruggs | Next City
“Whatever the merits of JLAA’s plan, Mayor José Fortunati has moved it forward. On September 4, in a ceremony that featured Lerner, he announced a R$57 ($25 USD) million bid to implement the design scheme, a project scheduled to break ground in the first trimester of 2015.”

Wait Your Turn for the Swings at Boston’s Adult Playground | Anthony Flint | CityLab
“The wildly successful Lawn on D Street is a temporary park that took no tedious city planning. Should we let more urban design emerge organically?”

Building a beautiful, durable and sustainable streetscape is a team effort | Roger K. Lewis | Washington Post
“Urban and suburban streets should be structurally sound and safe for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. Ideally, they should also be beautiful.”

Graduate School of Design Launches $110-Million Campaign | Harvard Magazine
“THE HARVARD Graduate School of Design (GSD) launched its $110-million-plus fundraising campaign on September 12 and 13 with a series of events highlighting the school’s “grounded visionaries”: architects, planners, and designers who are at once free to dream of inventive solutions for—and intensely concerned with the practical challenges of—building a better world.”

“Save the Frick” Petition Racking Up Signatures | Rozalia Jovanovic | artnet news
“The Frick’s expansion plan, which was unveiled in June, calls for doing away with the coveted viewing garden on East 70th Street designed by landscape architect Russell Page”

Harvard GSD announces winners of the 2013 Veronica Rudge Green Prize

2013-08-25-Transformative-Mobility-Medellin-Andalucia-timelapse

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) is pleased to announce the awarding of the 11th Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design to two projects, The Metro do Porto in Porto, Portugal, and the Northeastern Urban Integration Project in Medellín, Colombia, in a ceremony to be held on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. in Piper Auditorium at the GSD. Rahul Mehrotra, Professor and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, and Prize Jury Chair, will host a panel discussion including presentations by representatives (designers and administrators) of the two winning teams. The event will be followed by a reception and viewing of the exhibition Transformative Mobilities: Porto & Medellín, installed in the GSD’s Gund Hall gallery.


“If there are lessons to be drawn for urban design from Medellín and Porto, I think the broader lesson has to do with the disruption of the segregation of the disciplines in the design field. Historically we have understood that Landscape Architecture sits in one place, Architecture in another, and Urban Design and Planning [in another, with all three disciplines] in constant conflict about their territorial rights. One of the things that is revolutionary about the Medellín project is that distinguishing among the disciplines is no longer possible.” Michael Sorkin – Jury Member

Continue reading Harvard GSD announces winners of the 2013 Veronica Rudge Green Prize

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