The ASLA-NCC 2016 Sketch Crawl ™


The ASLA-NCC 2016 Sketch Crawl ™ 

Saturday, May 7th


Join veteran urban sketchers JAMES RICHARDS, CHIP SULLIVAN & APRIL PHILIPS for a short Urban Sketching Workshop, then explore the visual treasures of North Beach through on-location sketching. This is an opportunity for creative people to meet each other, draw together, and celebrate our city. All experience levels are welcome; bring your own sketching materials. We’ll hear road-worthy tips and techniques, draw together, then conclude by sharing sketches and stories and taking a group photo.

Here is more info on our veteran urban sketch leaders for the event:

James Richards:

Chip Sullivan:

April Philips:


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Garden Dialogues at Lands End Lookout

On May 21, get exclusive access to private gardens in San Francisco and hear directly from the designers and their clients about their collaborative process.

How do clients and designers work together? What makes for a great, enduring collaboraGarden Dialogues with James A. Lord, Roderick Wyllie, Geoff di Girolamo of Surface Design, Inc.tion? Garden Dialogues provides unique opportunities for small groups to visit some of today’s most beautiful gardens created by some of the most accomplished designers currently in practice.

Thanks to the generosity of our hosts and sponsors, tickets for Garden Dialogues are tax deductible and proceeds benefit the educational programs of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Lands End

Garden Dialogues with James A. Lord, Roderick Wyllie, Geoff di Girolamo of Surface Design, Inc.

Saturday, May 21, 1:00-4:00pm | San Francisco

Lands End Lookout, Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary Plaza, The Barnacles at Pier 9

James A. Lord, Roderick Wyllie, Geoff di Girolamo of Surface Design, Inc.

Perched between the Bay and the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco is surrounded by—and in many ways defined by—its waterfront context. Surfacedesign will introduce three of their waterfront open space projects—The Lands End Lookout, The Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary Plaza, and the Barnacles at Pier 9— that explore what it means to create waterfront space. In each project materials were used to reinforce sense of place and reveal the cultural, ecological and historic narratives inherent in the sites.

The Lands End Lookout, designed to frame the spectacular view of the ocean and ruins of the baths below, is the newest visitor center in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Home to a unique combination of outdoor exhibits, view terraces and gathering spaces, the Lands End Lookout recounts the many stories of Lands End and the Sutro Baths and provides an improved visitor experience to the countless people who visit every year.  The project team went to great lengths to work with a limited set of building and plant materials for reasons of economy and sustainability, utilizing local plant material and reclaiming area Monterey Cypress for benches and screens.

The Golden Gate Bridge, a San Francisco icon, spans the foggy bay, connecting the city and the majestic Marin Headlands. A new plaza created for its 75th Anniversary enhances access and visibility of the breathtaking Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay.  Once an afterthought to the automobile-dominated infrastructure adjacent to bridge tollbooths, the new site, which draws its design inspiration from the bridge itself, is a place of arrival, a destination for meeting, and a frame for a new spectrum of views of and from this historic place.

The Barnacles at Pier 9 was created from a former parking lot on the Embarcadero. Flanked by the bay trail with views to the Bay Bridge and beyond, this 7000-square-foot multi-purpose public space is inspired by and honors the local ecology. Clusters of benches derived from abstracted barnacle geometries create multiple rooms within the sites for people to sit, gather and play. Larger exhibition spaces allow for events and interactive exhibits to populate the site day or night.

Thanks to the generosity of our hosts and sponsors, tickets for Garden Dialogues are tax deductible and proceeds benefit the educational programs of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.



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Showcase 2016


LAN 680 students working on site - Copy

LAN 680 students working on site

 2016 Decorator Showcase

298 Chestnut Street

April 30–May 30

You are invited to the West Coast’s premier design event—the 39th San Francisco Decorator Showcase, featuring the work of over two dozen of the region’s most distinctive interior and landscape designers.

This year a magnificent Italian Mediterranean-style villa on Telegraph Hill hosts the San Francisco Decorator Showcase. Built in 1929 by the Demartini family, the home at 298 Chestnut Street sits on a triple-wide lot and features beautiful gardens, sweeping views of San Francisco Bay, and original architectural details such as inlaid wood floors, stone columns, and Italian mosaics.

Join our email list at

 HOURS: Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. (last entry); Fri 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. (last entry); Sun, Memorial Day 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. (last entry); Closed Mon (except Memorial Day)

TICKETS: Available at the door, or PURCHASE HERE to avoid the line. General $35; Seniors $30.
Credit cards accepted (Visa and MasterCard).
INFORMATION: / (415) 447.5830
TRANSPORTATION: Public transportation info: or
PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT: The Financial Aid Program of San Francisco University High School

 Guests, please note: comfortable, low-heeled shoes are recommended.
There is no elevator in this year’s home.

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The ASLA-NCC 2016 South Bay Lecture Series


The ASLA-NCC 2016 South Bay Lecture Series

Wednesday, May 4th


Stanford University Spring Lecture Series 2016 

Architecture & Landscape Live Work Play

The featured landscape lecture will be Kevin Conger with  CMG Landscape Architects.  The lecture is free to all and will include a reception immediately following. As a part of Stanford University’s Spring Lecture Series, it will be held at Stanford’s new McMurtry Building for the Arts by Diller Skofidio Renfro with landscape by the Office of Cheryl Barton.

The University Architect / Campus Planning and Design Office sponsors a spring lecture series in architecture and landscape architecture. The purpose of the series is to bring together community enthusiasts, students and staff from across different disciplines to hear the latest innovations in building and design. The lectures provide the Bay Area architectural and design communities an opportunity to hear nationally and internationally renowned experts in the field. The lectures are free of charge and open to the public.

The theme for this year’s series is “LIVE, WORK, PLAY”. A cultural shift is clearly well underway, where the boundaries between these 3 phases of a conventional working day have been eroded. Some would argue that there is no such thing as a work-life balance, because a growing portion of the modern workforce does not distinguish between work and life. We have asked our esteemed lecturers to discuss how their work addresses this evolution.

When: Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
Lecture: 6:30 with a reception immediately following

Where: McMurtry Building 380 Roth Way, Stanford First Floor, Oshman Hall

Parking Map:  CLICK HERE

Cost: Free


For further information, please contact: Sarah Jacobs, Event Coordinator  650-736-2331

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Jim Chappell Lecture Tonight!

Please join the School of Landscape Architecture in a lecture by Jim Chappell.


Making Architecture Real. What’s the secret sauce?

A Public Lecture by Jim Chappell

When:Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30 PM

Where: Cannery Room 302-H

20080519153651_yerba buena gardens san francisco

Jim Chappell is an urban development expert, strategic thinker, and community opinion leader experienced in building consensus on complicated civic problems.


He specializes in providing strategic assistance to the development community and public agencies on private-public initiatives. From 1994 to 2009, he led the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), bringing a balanced and informed perspective to San Francisco Bay Area urban issues through research, education, and advocacy. Prior to that he began his career as a planning and development consultant, working for some of the country’s top planning firms, on a wide variety of projects for developers, public agencies, and community groups.


He is skilled in strategic planning, positioning, zoning and land use planning, project siting, entitlements, public/private partnerships, historic preservation, park and recreation planning, community relations and government relations.





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Back-To-Back Lectures Next Week!

Jim Chappell and Cathy Blake_final

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Margie Ruddick Is Wild by Design

Wild by Design / Island Press

“Combining ecological function and design is now mainstream,” said landscape architect Margie Ruddick, ASLA, in a talk at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. “It’s no longer fringe. The culture has caught up.” And it’s caught up to where Ruddick, the winner of the 2013 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, has been for a while. A leading advocate of the “wild” landscape movement, Ruddick explained how she carefully balances ecological conservation and restoration with a strong sense of design.

In 2011, a New York Times article about Ruddick and how she was fined for growing “weeds” in her front yard in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia went “viral” among landscape architects and designers. She ultimately got out of the $75 fine by explaining to the judge the value of the wild plants she let live in her yard. “I told the judge: ‘This is actually not a weed. It’s Prunus serotina, a black cherry seedling. This is not a weed. It’s an oak tree, Quercus alba. The 10-inch weeds are rhubarb.’ ” Since then, Ruddick has become an advocate for ecological landscapes, explaining how important it is to create spaces for both people and nature.

Ruddick has turned her love of nature into a principled design approach, laid out in her new book Wild by Design: Strategies for Creating Life-enhancing Landscapes. In her talk, Ruddick walked us through some of her design principles — reinvention, restoration, conservation, regeneration, and expression — providing a few examples of each:

Reinvention: Ruddick first explained her complex project in New York City: Queens Plaza, which sits under a “tangle of elevated train infrastructure” that causes a constant, “horrible screech.” The plaza is where Riker’s Island releases prisoners at 2am with $3. It’s known as the “boulevard of death” because of the people who died trying to make it across the streets that had no crosswalks. “It was a sketchy, dangerous place.”

To make it more hospitable, Ruddick worked with a team at WRT, Marpillero Pollak Architects, and Michael Singer Studio, to find a way to embrace the infrastructure but also separate people from it with well-designed pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and arrays of trees. New crosswalks create safe routes for pedestrians, while artful concrete obstacles were created in other places to prevent deadly jaywalking.

Concrete shard barriers at Queens Plaza / Margie Ruddick Landscape

Meandering paths, which were calculated for different kinds of circulation, lead people to a small park. There, the surrounding trees are so effective at noise attentuation they’ve reduced the screech by 25 percent.

Queens Plaza /

New bike lanes are lined with vegetation, too, so that “riding through, you feel protected from the traffic, like you are in a park.”

Queens plaza /

For Ruddick, the key to the success of the new Queens Plaza is that “it’s wild, but not unkempt.” The city was never going to pay for an irrigation system, so she created wild-looking constructed wetlands that generate their own cooler micro-climates, offsetting the heat from the street and elevated tracks.

Queens plaza /

Patterned, hand-made pavers and curbs, which were designed with artist Michael Singer, are designed to let water out into those wetlands.


Paired with the ecological function of the wetlands, there is a rugged design language that is “carefully done, but not dolled-up.” Her goal was to maintain the “industrial character of the place,” in part by replicating the massive scale of the place with heavy-duty concrete slab pathways. “The dimensions and proportions help the landscape stand up to the big scale. It doesn’t feel faux.”

Queens plaza /

Restoration: In Chengdu, Sichuan province, China, Ruddick partnered with local Chinese landscape architects to design Living Water Park, which brings back a traditional Chinese garden approach to Chengdu, long known as the “city of gardens.”

Ruddick said Living Water Park was the first park in China to be explicitly designed to provide ecological services. It’s a water purification system: fountains remove solids from the water before it heads to wetlands where it’s filter and aerated. Ruddick believes it was also the “first park in China to showcase local plants.” The result is the park “feels like a refuge.”

Living Water Park /

Conservation and Regeneration: “There are so many special places that you don’t want to mess up.” In Western Ghats, India, Ruddick restored the forest landscape in the Shilim Retreat and Institute, but the project was really about “cultural conservation” and the relationship of the local people with the ecosystem. Ruddick was thrilled to be working there: “It’s a precious range, a UNESCO World Heritage landscape, and a biodiversity hot spot. You feel like you are in heaven there.”

To the restore the environment in this 2,500 acre-resort, Ruddick first focused on the slopes stripped by erosion brought on by monsoons and local tree-cutting. To strengthen local culture, Ruddick purposefully leaned on local horticultural talent and their knowledge of how to grow plants in the Ghats environment. These locals were hired to grow thousands of trees, which were replanted on the slopes, and then to dig slopes so water could reach the saplings.

Resort rooms are carefully nestled into the landscape, and spa facilities, within the rice fields. The resort features a new institute, with a center for sustainable development.

Western Ghats resort /

Expression: The Durst Foundation tasked Ruddick with creating a winter garden in the Bank of America in New York City. Working with WRT, and her mother, who was a sculptor, Ruddick decided to go up to fill in the tall interior space. She wanted to create something art-filled — “that’s also very important in my work.”

Inspired by the fern canyons of the Pacific Northwest, Ruddick and her mother created vegetated sculptural forms you can walk through and around.

She said many people go there to unwind and people who frequent the garden have told her that when they are there, “their blood pressure and stress levels go down.”

While many of Ruddick’s projects exemplify multiple aspects of her design principles, Ruddick pointed to the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, a wonderful project she is now working on with WRT and Cloud 9, as the prime instance of how all her nature-inspired strategies come together.

She led a team of architects from Cloud 9, a Barcelona-based firm, to create an alluring canopy of 40,000 LEDs, all blinking according to a pre-set program. The canopy is a “sculpture composed of compression arches, tension cables, masts, and hanging cable mesh.” But it’s clearly inspired by sea creatures — from a whale opening its mouth, to the scales of a fish. “A lot of research went into marine animals and that comes out in the design.”

New York Aquarium / Margie Ruddick Landscape

The new perimeter is only one facet of a broader revitalization of the aquarium, which includes a new light and soundscape on the boardwalk in front of the building, surrounding gardens, and more. Ruddick and her team also laid out a vision for how to better connect the institution to its waterfront, proposing the re-use of old jetties, constructing them as tidal pools that can attract sea life, so they can serve as an environmental education center.

New York Aquarium plan / Margie Ruddick Landscape

Many more examples of her design principles can be found in Wild by Design.











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Bridge Park as Community Gateway

Rendering of the planned 11th Street Bridge Park, in Washington DC image: courtesy of OMA and OLIN

A multi-million dollar elevated park spanning the Anacostia River is planned to link neighborhoods in the District of Columbia. This project will use existing infrastructure to support a new landmark called the 11th Street Bridge Park.

Washington DC, our Nation’s Capital, is a city of around 650,000 people, 76,000 of whom live within two miles of this project. This city is located at the convergence of two large rivers: the Anacostia and the Potomac. The Potomac River serves as the southwestern border, with the Anacostia River cutting the District in two. Bridges over the Anacostia River have existed for over two hundred years. At this location six bridges have existed, but none were dedicated to pedestrians.

Creating pedestrian bridges is not revolutionary. In fact, pedestrian bridges are being planned all over the country, like the South Side Lake Shore Drive pedestrian bridges in Chicago. This project will connect the Bronzeville neighborhood to the lakefront, linking this community with its adjacent waterfront.

The plan for the 11th Street Bridge Park is not just another pedestrian bridge, but an elevated park and more. The plan is to create a larger relative of the existing Potomac River Waterfront Park, located in Maryland, which spans I-95, the busiest interstate in the United States. This park’s design was led by Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, Inc. (JMT) and was completed in June 2009. More information about the park’s design can be found on JMT’s Riverfront Park Design webpage. The Riverfront Park is similar to the 11th Street Bridge Park in that they will both be elevated and connect pedestrian networks, but that is where their similarities end.

The Potomac River Waterfront Park in Maryland image: courtesy of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

The 11th Street Bridge Park will be more like inFORM studio’s planned design for the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge in Rhode Island, which will also use existing infrastructure for structural support. More information about the Providence Pedestrian Bridge can be found by looking at their public meeting presentation. While both projects will use existing piers, the project in the District will be much larger and offer more programming.

A perspective rendering of the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge image: courtesy of inFORM studio

The winning entry for the 11th Street Bridge Park was submitted by architecture firm OMA (New York) and landscape firm OLIN (Philadelphia). The 11th Street Bridge Park will be the first of its kind. This landscape will be a vibrant destination park which reuses aged infrastructure to connect the Main Street Mixed Use Corridor of the historic Anacostia community with the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood and Capitol Hill. This landmark will bring the citizens of Washington together, and to the edges of the Anacostia River. The project will include an environmental education center, boat launch, café, gallery, performance space, play area, and will serve as a pedestrian bridge. When complete, the bridge park will span the length of three football fields.

Programmatic diagram of the planned park spaces: relax, gather, learn, and play image: courtesy of OMA and OLIN

The Bridge Park Impact Area will benefit from the creation of a world renowned destination, but will also have to manage the impact of this project on the real estate market. Producing new amenities also produces new interest from outside investors. To proactively address issues of displacement an Equitable Development Task Force has been created, consisting of community leaders and stakeholders from both sides of the Anacostia River. This team has participated in past and ongoing meetings/workshops towards the development of a three-pronged approach to deal with the issues of Workforce Development, Small Business Enterprise, and Housing.

The first strategy is focused on workforce development through the creation of the Community Workforce Agreement (CWA). This legal document is between contractors, local businesses, and residents who will give employment priority to neighboring residents and “harder-to-employ District residents.” Construction workers will be given a living wage and be taught valuable skills. When construction is complete, local residents will also be given priority employment at the Bridge Park.

The second strategy works to encourage new small business enterprises particularly in the Anacostia community. Some of the investments will come in the form of mentorship, partnership, and training. Consideration is also being given to connect the shops on the bridge, to the shops within the immediate neighborhoods. Local businesses will also benefit from enhanced walkability within their commercial corridors.

The last strategy focuses on housing and involves measures to keep existing affordable housing in place and to promote future affordable housing in this area of Washington. Three approaches are in place to achieve this goal. The first approach is to educate the local community about housing opportunities near the project site. The second approach is to keep existing affordable housing, and to build new affordable housing, in the area. The final approach is to work with policy makers, and those within the housing community, to create new affordable housing within the Bridge Park Impact Area. This information is included in the Equitable Development Plan Timeline, which also estimates a completion date of summer 2019, and discussed in a recent in-depth article from The Washington Post.

With the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative able to invest ten billion dollars over the next thirty years into revitalizing this waterfront community, this project is sure to be one of several interventions making Washington a more sustainable waterfront city. For more information about this project, find them on Facebook.

by Christopher Myers, Associate ASLA, LEED Green Associate, and Certified Arborist. He studied architecture at the University of Colorado and has an MLA from the University of Maryland. He lives in Hyattsville, Maryland.


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LAF Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future


Calling all change-makers who are passionate about sustainability, challenging the status quo, pursuing big ideas, and playing their unique role! The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) invites you to participate in its historic Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future.

On June 10-11 in Philadelphia, LAF is convening preeminent thinkers and influencers from around the world to set the course for landscape architecture to make its vital contribution in the 21st century. Over the course of two days, an exceptional line up of 65 established and emerging leaders will reflect on what landscape architecture has achieved over the last 50 years, present bold ideas for what it should achieve in the future, and engage in lively debate about realizing landscape architecture’s potential and effecting real world change.

The Summit marks 50 years since Ian McHarg and other leading landscape architects composed LAF’s seminal Declaration of Concern, which decried the burgeoning environmental crisis and heralded landscape architecture as critical to help solve it. Building on this legacy, this one-time historic gathering will culminate in a redrafting of the original 1966 Declaration of Concern and a landmark publication of the ideas presented.

LAF will also host a lively dinner and reception at the Constitution Center to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the organization’s founding.

Join the best minds and rising stars in contemporary landscape architecture, broaden your thinking, get inspired, and help propel the profession forward!

For more information and to register, visit:

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Kit of Parks is a portable kit of parts to build a park


Kit of Parks is a portable kit of parts to build a park. Constructed out of low-cost, lightweight material, Kit of Parks is designed to be on the move to serve under-programmed public spaces.  It can be biked anywhere and upacked in less than 10 minutes. Kit of Parks provides an instant boost of color, fun, and community gathering.


The first Kit of Parks was constructed on a CNC router at Sasaki Associates’ FabLab for the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA). It contains a high top table, benches, side tables, stools, games, planters—all easily contained within a 4’x8’, 125lb bike trailer for easy transport. Kit of Parks made its debut as the BSLA expo booth at 2015 ABX in Boston, MA and has been set up at the Innovation and Design Building in Boston and the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House in Cambridge, MA. Where should Kit of Parks park next? Let us know @KitofParks and #KitOfParks




Kit of Parks

Contributors | Nina Chase, Philip Dugdale

Location | Boston, MA

Budget | $2,200

Image Credits |
Ben Gebo
Matthew Reese

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