Posts tagged landscape architecture

Choose another tag?

New renderings released for Pershing Square redesign: “Highlights of the redesign include a reflection pool meant to capture the image of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel and new landscaping features that designers promise will give the park a “welcoming ecology with gardens, grasses and lawns.”

Current Wildfire and Smoke Conditions: 2017 Statewide Fire Map offers live updates of the ongoing fires impacting numerous communities across Southern California this week. Locals and visitors to Los Angeles seeking information on related closures or possible visitor impact can find relevant information on this page, which will be updated frequently.

Both Sides of Sunset: Photographing Los Angeles: I thought I understood what he was saying, that L.A. was diffuse, disorganized, that the center did not hold. It took me years, perhaps a decade, to recognize that this was, in itself, the point. Los Angeles was a chaotic landscape, a collage in three dimensions, “America’s first postmodern city.”

Top 10 architecture and design movies of 2017: Design site lists the best of their videos dedicated to architecture and design for the year 2017. Our favorite: Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s concealed stone statue of the buddha hidden within a hill covered in lavender plants.

Uncovering a buried movie sphinx in California: “Archaeologists uncover a sphinx from a nearly century old movie set built by legendary director Cecil B. DeMille on the Central Coast of California. The sphinx was one of over twenty that once adorned one of the largest movie sets ever built. “

As 2017 year comes to a close, the AHBE LAB contributors are taking time to look back at our year’s worth of posts. We are each identifying the most memorable post and sharing what we found interesting, informative, and inspiring. Enjoy the flashback, and let us know which post you thought was most memorable.

It was my colleague Katherine’s photos of buckwheat that first grabbed my attention. What is this wirey, yet elegant star dancing on a hillside stage set by summer’s dry conditions?

I was still new to Southern California when I read Katherine’s post, In Praise of Buckwheat. I was immediately drawn to the plant’s presence and beauty that endures at a time when other plants go dormant. Inspired by her post, I began my own hunt to document native buckwheat while hiking and strolling around Los Angeles afterward.

Upon further reflection, I thought deeper about the beautiful subtleties summer dormancy – during the time when most people say, ‘everything is dead’. I began noticing how even the land of endless summer has seasons that manifest in plants like buckwheat. The questions I was left pondering with this new insight about this native plant: How can we as designers use these stars of our dry summer to create a beautiful, natural, and sustainable landscape? How can we best convey the beauty in dormancy?

The original post here: In Praise of Buckwheat

As 2017 year comes to a close, the AHBE LAB contributors are taking time to look back at our year’s worth of posts. We are each identifying the most memorable post and sharing what we found interesting, informative, and inspiring. Enjoy the flashback, and let us know which post you thought was most memorable.

Looking back at 2017, the AHBE Lab post I found most inspiring was authored by my colleague, Wendy Chan. Titled, Finding Peace and Serenity in Ittekikaitei – A Drop of Ocean Garden, the post is a thoughtful reminiscing about a visit to one of Japan’s dry landscape gardens resting just outside the Komyozenji Temple.

As an artist and someone who loves to explore new places, Japan has long been at the top of my list of places to visit. Reading about Wendy’s experience and photos, I felt momentarily felt immersed into another world – one filled with the peace, serenity, and calm thoughtfulness Japanese gardens are renowned for. Granted, looking at a photograph is nothing compared to a firsthand experience, but a picture is worth a thousand words. The picture below particularly caught my attention:

I am continually inspired and fascinated by the way Japanese designers accomplish their intended design using a limited palette of materials, a minimum amount of space, all carefully composed  to artfully frame the view. They demonstrate a clear artistry and mastery of their craft of placemaking. I’d like to continue learning how to skillfully compose designed landscapes in such a way to appropriately immerse people into the experience of the place, and transcend what is right in front of us.

The original post here: Finding Peace and Serenity in Ittekikaitei – A Drop of Ocean Garden

As 2017 year comes to a close, the AHBE LAB contributors are taking time to look back at our year’s worth of posts. We are each identifying the most memorable post and sharing what we found interesting, informative, and inspiring. Enjoy the flashback, and let us know which post you thought was most memorable.

Photos by Jennifer Zell

One of my favorite AHBE Lab bloggers is Yiran Wang. Her posts tends to weave together a thesis out of seemingly disparate elements, causing the reader to reevaluate ideas about a subject. Her posts, The Magic of an Isometric Perspective, is particularly memorable. She essentially claims isometric representations – as diverse as traditional Chinese paintings and the obsessively detailed drawings of Architecture Drawing Studio – determine how cities get built.

In a post by Gary Lai titled, Signs from the Beginning, a similar theme is explored, one where representation isn’t the spatial and physical destiny of the city, but becomes the vehicle of his professional destiny. In the process of telling his story of building a model in high school for a design competition, he discovered his professional destiny—sustainability.

Both of these Lab posts reminded me of a model I made in graduate school. In building the model, I was trying to discover how to make something that did not represent the landscape as a surface, but as a whole. Something that could not be viewed from one perspective, but needed to be picked up by hand and studied from multiple angles to be understood.


My grad school model was more interesting in its ambition than execution, but it shares a theme with both Yiran and Gary’s blog posts. As designers, how we represent places, buildings, and landscapes express our world-view, and in-turn the built environment.

The original posts here: The Magic of an Isometric Perspective and Signs from the Beginning

As 2017 year comes to a close, the AHBE LAB contributors are taking time to look back at our year’s worth of posts. We are each identifying the most memorable post and sharing what we found interesting, informative, and inspiring. Enjoy the flashback, and let us know which post you thought was most memorable.

An AHBE Lab post I remember as particularly memorable was a piece written by my colleague Jessica Roberts. Her post “One Neighborly Prickly Pear” tells the tale of a prickly pear cactus growing over her neighbor’s fence, its growth instigating a personal journey of discovery leading to a deeper understanding of indigenous food culture and the niche edible plants can occupy in urban ecologies.

Jessica’s opinion of the prickly pear cactus adjacent to her backyard isn’t adversarial, but considered as a plant that “isn’t dividing, but uniting neighbors”. Her observation highlights even when there is a need to separate neighbors, there are still design solutions capable of mitigating alienation, deter seclusion, and bring people together. What the story highlights well is the potential efficacy of these design solutions when they are grounded in contextual and cultural relevance. It is through these shared, tangible experiences that designed landscapes can become relevant, meaningful, and beloved.

The cactus in Jessica’s post not only grows next to her home, it also produces edible fruit sold by her local market, an integral ingredient of the culinary culture of others in her community. In this case the cactus is not just an arbitrarily selected landscape element with little relevance to the community. The prickly pear cactus is meaningful to the local culture and ecology in a variety of ways, with the power to evoke a sense of connection to the natural and cultural environment that is not easy to disregard or ignored. It is through these shared, mutually-beneficial experiences where bonds between people are established and the foundation of sustainable communities are built upon.

The original post here: One Neighborly Prickly Pear