Saturday, November 24, 2007

Review in November Issue of DWELL

"This finely printed volume ... reads like a well-done thesis..."

Thanks Dwell.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Upcoming Lecture at OSU KSA

Our last Fall lecture is coming up next week at Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture.

"Liat Margolis & Alexander Robinson will present a lecture titled "Living Systems, Innovative Materials & Technologies in Landscape Architecture" as part of the KSA Lecture Series.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday, November 28, 2007, 5:30 pm, Knowlton Hall Auditorium (KN 250)."

Download the Lecture Series Poster Here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

// launch

MFO Park Planting Diagram by Raderschall Landschaftsarchitekten AG

Excerpt from Launch chapter introduction:
“The growth of plants, from initial planting to maturation, is characterized by a continuous gain in height, mass and strength over time. The challenge often lies in the plant's infancy stage where its structural fragility requires external support in order to withstand wind and erosive forces. The concept of Launch is a combination of living and nonliving systems: a progression of vegetal growth and its correspondent structural scaffolding that is required to guide the plant’s form and trajectory until it reaches stability.

The scaffold may be a transitional structure, i.e. biodegradable; permanent; or designed to evolve symbiotically. The material systems include aboveground structures, such as a tensile cable, a mesh, and beam frameworks that allow for plant attachment, as well as subsoil materials, such as geotextiles. While cable frameworks are not typically grouped with subsoil reinforcement systems, Launch proposes the potential to merge both below- and above-ground support structures in a vertical continuum: a unified system that can reinforce and direct the development of the plant's entire composition.

Launch demonstrates a rising interest in vertical landscapes. Within the fields of landscape and architecture, this interest in typologies such as hanging gardens, tensile vine structures, and multi-tiered green fa├žades emerges from the desire to expand the definition of landscape solely as a horizontal ground plane, and capitalizes on the inherent plasticity of plants to adapt and redirect their growth toward any supporting surface or source of nutrition, light and water.”

Projects in Launch display a gradient of structural conditions, ranging the spectacular architectonic displays of MFO Park (Multi-Tiered Vine Park) in Zurich, by Raderschall Landschaftsarchitekten AG. vegetative structures that parasitize, consume, and improve upon the structural and program of their constructed scaffolds, as in MAK t6 Vacant (Parasitic Vegetal Structure) by David Fletcher and Juan Azulay. scaffold systems that consider varied spatial and expressive conditions, such as the twisted hyperbolic structure of the Palio de Bougainvilleas (Wind Adapted Road Canopy Structure) scaffold that concurrently reacts to both the visual speed of the road and the likelihood of hurricane force winds in Puerto Rico.

And the playfully cursive and free form misting pergola (Misting Vine Pergola) of Parque de Diagonal Mar, Barcelona, Spain by Enric Miralles Benedetta Tagliabue, EMBT Arquitectes Associates (Photograph courtesy of Alex Gaultier).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

solid poetry

Both the name and technology of this product have been useful in describing how a more technologically rich landscape can also be a more imaginative, dynamic, and fantastic place.

Frederik Molenschot and Susanne Happle "solid poetry" is a concrete that reveals graphic patterns when wet; revealing itself during rain or errant irrigation. The naturalistic patterns that are instantly revealed suggest a more immediate connection between rain and life, if only graphical.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Mention in Metropolis

From Metropolis's September 07 Bookshelf:

"Knowledge of material technologies has become an essential part of any architecture practice, and landscape architecture is certainly no exception. The authors of this richly informative book selected 36 case studies to illustrate conceptual and technical ideas at a range of scales. The chapter titles are impressive: “Water-Cleansing Biotope,” “Fiber Optic Marsh,” “Hedge-Trimming Armature.” In the back, an illustrated guide to 23 products and technologies help make this a practical reference for landscape architects as well a source of gee-whiz inspiration."

Thank you Metropolis. (One correction: these are not the chapter titles, but rather the titles of various projects.)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tues / Wed Lectures at Harvard and UPenn

Harvard Graduate School of Design
Tuesday, September 25th
Gund Hall 6-7PM
Reception in Portico Rooms 7-9PM
GSD Upcoming Lectures

University of Pennsylvania
School of Design
Wednesday, September 26th
Lower Gallery Meyerson 6PM
UPenn Event Details

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Artificial Winter Microclimate for a Bamboo Garden
groooming // StoSS Landscape Urbanism

With perhaps the exception of skating rings and sledding hills, urban parks are rarely thought of as a destination during Milwaukee winters. The design constructs an artificial microclimate as a maintenance strategy to sustain vegetation in winter and make the park active year-round.

Erie Street Plaza sits at the confluence of Milwaukee’s three rivers and the channel to Lake Michigan. “Far beyond the reaches of downtown” this abandoned post-industrial site is what StoSS describes as “a long and cold walk from anywhere”. The design advocates the utilization of available on-site water resources to create an unconventional seasonal program.

The park features the Radiant Grove, a series of bamboo planting beds that are integrated with a network of steam pits structured beneath the ground surface. Each steam pit includes a low-energy pump that draws groundwater up from the river below. Immersion heaters in the pits heat up the water to 150 F (65.6 C) and emit hot steam, which creates a warm microclimate within the cold surroundings. This microclimate is intended to sustain the growth of the bamboo during the winter months.

StoSS’s illuminated bamboo grove aims to “create a welcome respite from cold winter winds, to warm the hands and bodies of those out for a winter run”. The thermal and visual effects at very cold temperatures are envisioned to be impressive, while at warmer temperatures, up to 50 F (10 C), the steam effect is “visible but more ethereal”. Visitors are envisioned to stroll through the “otherworldliness of this artificial ecology”. As winter fades and spring temperatures rise above 50 F (10 C) the system shuts off until next winter.

Images copyright StoSS Landscape Urbanism
(First in a series of excerpts from Living Systems: Innovative Technologies and Materials in Landscape Architecture)

Living Systems ToC

Excerpt from ToC (Download entire ToC)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

digestive // TX Active Photocatalytic Cement Available in North America

As featured in our Materials section, this new digestive material is becoming increasingly available:

TX Active, the new photocatalytic cement technology for self-cleaning and pollution-reducing concrete, now available in North America.

"Through photocatalysis, TX Arca reduces the maintenance requirements for concrete structures or buildings by destoying most organic and inorganic pollutants that come into contact with the concrete surface and cause discoloration. In addition to this self-cleaning benefit, TX Aria effectively destroys airborne pollutants, which are responsible for urban organic pollution."
Press Release for North America

"In a large city such as Milan, researchers have calculated – on the basis of test results – that covering 15% of visible urban surfaces with products containing TX Active® would enable a reduction in pollution of approximately 50%. "
Milan 2006 Press Release

Monday, September 10, 2007

Living Systems Launch Invitiation

Originally uploaded by woodshole
Here is our invitation to our three upcoming Fall lectures:

Harvard Graduate School of Design, September 25th
University of Pennsylvania, September 26th
Ohio State University, November 28th

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

UPENN Speaking Date

Liat and I will be speaking on Wednesday, September 26th at 6PM in Meyerson Hall.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Book Review on Archidose

The book was reviewed by Archidose and is now featured on their daily and weekly pages.

"If the book lives up to the authors' high expectations and intentions remains to be seen, though the emphasis on processes and innovative technologies is certainly aligned with architectural considerations today as well, sustainability and material innovation, respectively. The presentation of projects and products here would make a fitting companion to similar books geared to architects, ones that may devote less space to considerations like natural processes, which architects need not master but certainly should be familiar with. The projects included here hold great promise: that collaborative efforts are becoming more and more the norm, and the product of such are designs that bridge architecture and landscape towards the betterment of both."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fall Book Launch at the Harvard Graduate School of Design

Liat and I will be speaking and launching our book at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, Tuesday September 25th!

Formal announcement and details will follow.

About the Authors

Liat Margolis is the former Director of Material Research at Material ConneXion, an innovative multi-industry materials research and consulting company. Liat earned her BFA in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and her Masters of Landscape Architecture from Harvard’s Graduate School of
Design (GSD). She currently manages GSD’s Materials Collection, a material research lab, and practices landscape architecture at Hargreaves Associates in Cambridge, MA.

Alexander Robinson studied fine arts and computer science at Swarthmore College and earned his Masters in Landscape Architecture from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Alexander led numerous urban landscape technology and planning research projects with Harvard’s Center for Technology and Environment. As former landscape architect with Mia Lehrer + Associates, he helped author the Los Angeles River and Compton Creek Master Plans. Alexander currently works for SWA Group in Los Angeles, CA.

About our Collaboration
Liat and Alexander began their collaboration while attending the Harvard Graduate School of Design Landscape Architecture program. They both were a part of a student group that received the ASLA honor award for a landscape-planning project titled Alternative Futures for Tepotzotlán, Mexico. They also led the GSD student collaborative, featured in the 2nd International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam: The Flood.

Liat and Alexander are the recipients of a grant from the Graham Foundation to assist in the research and development of this publication. They have plans to continue their collaboration and further expand and promote the topic of innovation in material technologies and ecology in landscape architecture. They can be contacted via the website

Description of the Book

Living Systems surveys a wide array of innovative approaches to material technologies within the field of landscape architecture. The selected projects and materials exhibit a contemporary demand for technological landscapes and the collaboration between designers, engineers, scientists and ecologists. The book’s language proposes a synthesis between technology and theory, and redefines the conventional boundaries of landscape materiality by focusing on its dynamic attributes, such as: growth, flow, metabolism, climate, and atmospheric phenomena.

Projects and materials are cross-referenced within the authors’ new categorization system, which focuses on performance criteria, processes, and properties. Each of the 36 international projects and 23 material technologies is presented with drawing details and construction photographs. A description of key processes and adaptive qualities provides an analysis of the various complex systems featured, such as vertical growth structures, flood prevention, stormwater infiltration, erosion control, and the integration of digital media to communicate, monitor, and provide interactive environments.

Projects featured include works by West8, GROSS.MAX, Weiss-Manfredi Architects, Field Operations, BIG, StoSS, DIRT Studio, and Vogt Landschaftarchitekten.

Buy the Book!

Our book is now available in both German and English editions!