Posts tagged Burbank Water and Power EcoCampus


An Urban Farm That Is a Cross Over Between Art and Architecture:Space10 and architects Mads-Ulrik Husum & Sine Lindholm co-created a stunningly beautiful urban farm that was exhibited at CHART ART FAIR in Copenhagen this weekend. With the Growroom, Space10 wants to spark conversations about how we can bring nature back into our cities, grow our own food and tackle the rapidly increasing demand for significantly more food in the future.”

Burbank Water and Power – Ecocampus, Burbank, CA. An abandoned utility tunnel in the Centennial Courtyard was re-purposed into a phytoextraction channel. Stormwater is diverted into this channel, where a carefully selected mix of plant material cleans the water and infiltrates into the subgrade. Credit: Heliphoto

Burbank Water and Power – Ecocampus, Burbank, CA. Photo: Heliphoto

SITES: An ecosystem services framework for built landscapes: “Too often, the landscape is seen as an afterthought – something to be altered and shaped once elements like buildings and roads are finalized. Rather than be an afterthought, though, how can a site or place inform the design process? How can humans be reconnected with nature, particularly at a time when half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and that number is only expected to rise? How can we create beautiful places that are also healthy, functional and resilient?”

 The Altamira Residence, in Palos Verdes, California, designed and built by Marmol Radziner. Photo courtesy of Benny Chan/Fotoworks

The Altamira Residence, in Palos Verdes, California, designed and built by Marmol Radziner. Photo courtesy of Benny Chan/Fotoworks

Building California Cool: “More than ever, and certainly in California, there’s a really strong trend connecting indoor and outdoor spaces. I think people really want to connect to nature, to the garden: spaces that open.”

Bios Urn: “The Bios Incube has been designed for city dwellers with limited access to natural land, those seeking an alternative to traditional burials, and for people who want to meaningfully connect with their loved ones who have passed away.”

The Art of Architecture Inspired by Biology: “Sung constructs windows, walls, and building components with metals, which curl when heated, or thermobimetals. These materials have never been used in architecture before. The lady has so far designed a thermobimetals sunshade, a window panel having an inner layer made of thermobimetals, which responds to sunlight, and walls having vents made of thermobimetals. These components are indeed inspired by the breathing system of a grasshopper.”

AHBE-Burbank Water and PowerToday, a video about a series of sustainable green infrastructure projects at the SITES certified Burbank Water and Power EcoCampus – including photovoltaic parking lot canopies, a green street demonstrating innovative stormwater treatment technologies, and a courtyard built around a salvaged electrical substation.

Burbank Water and Power

Sustainable features include five different types of water filtration technologies:  infiltration, flow-through, detention, tree root cells, and rainwater capture.  The campus also features one of the longest “green streets” in Southern California, running across three contiguous city streets. The “green street” acts as a filter before runoff enters the storm water system.  By California law, all projects are required to mitigate at least the first ¾ inches of rainfall, the water that collects all the dust, pollution and other toxins that accumulate on non-permeable urban surfaces such as streets and roofs.

As a means of celebrating World Landscape Architecture Month 2015, I have been crowdfunding my 2nd feature film: Hringvegur, a time-lapse circumnavigation of Iceland. A follow-up to my 2013 feature From Sea To Shining Sea, Hringvegur is also an experimental film, the record of an exploration, and the possibility of a gallery video installation.

So what exactly does this have to do with landscape architecture?

One of the most relevant examples in our portfolio is the award winning and internationally recognized Burbank Water and Power EcoCampus, the transformation of an industrial campus into a garden space with innovative stormwater treatment technologies. The EcoCampus fully expresses its place by means of a de-energized substation ruin that creates community via an employee courtyard; abandoned utility tunnels that allow for the installation of bioswales, stormwater infiltration and phytoremediation planters; existing crushed rock under the substation repurposed as planting mulch; Burbank’s distinctive geology and permeable soils allowing for increased infiltration and groundwater recharge; salvaged relics that allow for an artful juxtaposition within a re-created oak woodland landscape. This is how the EcoCampus expresses its place.

Simply put, the EcoCampus could only be here, because it could not be anywhere else.

This idea of dwelling on the idea of place (and site context) is prevalent in my film work as well, notable my triumvirate of Louisiana films: Scenic Highway as digging deep into the psyche of growing up in Baton Rouge; A Necessary Ruin as revealing how industrial ruins tell the story of the South Louisiana petrochemical landscape; and how the Phyllis Wheatley Elementary School could not occur anywhere but New Orleans. It’s about the place.


Hringvegur, the project, is an exercise in revealing the nature of a place. In this case a foreign landscape that has been described as if “someone put the American West in a blender: California’s poetic central coast, the Nevada desert’s barren expanses, Alaska’s glaciers and Yellowstone’s geysers”. Aside from the off-quote line from The Player – that “Iceland is green and Greenland is ice” [sic] – I know little about the place.

I have dubbed this genre of experimental film the land-lapse. It is about using video to immerse the viewer in a landscape to achieve an experiential quality. The use of time-lapse video compresses the journey into both a manageable length and allows the viewer to observe the dynamics of shifting landscapes. Finally an audio collage (wild sound, music, interviews, commentary) is added to provide a layer of cultural landscape interpretation.

That’s the basic question of the Hringvegur project – and the land-lapse genre itself: How successfully can one be immersed in the landscape via a video medium, to actually feel as if you have been to Iceland?

I believe that engaging in exercises such as this, hones our ability as landscape architects to put place into our projects.