ASLA Drawing Resource

An amazing combined Landscape Architecture information and drawing excercise resource from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)  reposted from  The Dirt 

The ASLA Discover Landscape Architecture Activity Books are for anyone interested in landscape architecture, architecture, planning, and engineering, and for those who like to draw, doodle, and be inspired. The books’ primary focus is landscape architecture, giving readers the opportunity to see the many drawings, places, and landscapes created by landscape architects.

Download Activity Book for Kids

Take a journey across an imaginary town to learn about the building blocks of landscape architecture. In this activity book, you will learn about landscape architecture, see sketches from landscape architecture professionals, and have the opportunity to sketch and color drawings. This book is geared towards readers 9-12 years old.

Drawing by Jim Richard, FASLA / ASLA
Drawing by Michael Batts, ASLA / ASLA

Download Activity Book for Teens & Adults

Take a journey across the United States to see some of the great places designed by landscape architects. In this activity book, you will learn about landscape architecture, see sketches from landscape architecture professionals, have the opportunity to sketch and color drawings, and problem solve to plan your own projects. This book is geared towards readers 13 years and older.

Drawing by Yifu Kang, Student ASLA
Drawing by Robert Chipman, ASLA / ASLA

Share the Books!

Do you have a friend that is interested in landscape architecture? Do your children like the idea of blending art with the environment? Are you a landscape architecture professional visiting a local school and searching for a fun interactive exercise?

Whether you are a kid, teen, parent, teacher, undergraduate student, or landscape architecture professional, there are many ways to share the activity books. To start, share with family, friends, classmates, neighbors, other professionals, and community members.

And don’t forget to share your work. Post your drawings with #ASLAactivitybooks to show the world your creative talents! Stay tuned for future initiatives at ASLA including available copies for distribution and Spanish translated editions.

Design from a Digital Device

Landscape architects create drawings on paper and on digital devices. If you are interested to complete the activity books from your digital device, check out some of the free apps and programs below that include drawing tools.

Adobe Sketch
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Microsoft OneNote

This post is by Shawn Balon, ASLA, Career Discovery and Diversity Manager at the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

Charles Eames’ Advice for Students

Like many others I love the Eames’ chairs and own a couple of copies (unfortunately I have not committed to paying the price of the originals) – their iconic designs and the ethos of their work  is inspirational – here is a new book and an excerpt of their advice for designers from ARCHDAILY 

Charles & Ray Eames

he forthcoming An Eames Anthology, edited by Daniel Ostroff and published by Yale University Press, chronicles the careers of Ray and  in their pursuits as designers, architects, teachers, artists, filmmakers, and writers. As Ostroff attests, with over 130,000 documents archived in the Library of Congress, the Eameses were nothing if not prolific; this volume, accordingly, is not comprehensive so much as representative, curated to reflect the breadth of interests and accomplishments of the pair.

In preparation for a 1949 lecture at the University of California, Los Angeles on “Advice for Students,” Charles made the following notes on inspiration, methodology, and career strategy. They are excerpted here from An Eames Anthology:

Make a list of books
Develop a curiosity
Look at things as though for the first time
Think of things in relation to each other
Always think of the next larger thing
Avoid the “pat” answer—the formula
Avoid the preconceived idea
Study well objects made past recent and ancient but never without the technological and social conditions responsible
Prepare yourself to search out the true need—physical, psychological
Prepare yourself to intelligently fill that need

The art is not something you apply to your work
The art is the way you do your work, a result of your attitude toward it

Design is a full time job
It is the way you look at politics, funny papers, listen to music, raise children
Art is not a thing in a vacuum—
No personal signature
Economy of material
Avoid the contrived

Apprentice system and why it is impractical for them
No office wants to add another prima donna to its staff
No office is looking for a great creative genius
No office—or at least very few—can train employees from scratch
There is always a need for anyone that can do a simple job thoroughly

There are things you can do to prepare yourself—to be desirable
orderly work habits
ability to bring any job to a conclusion
drawing feasibility
a presentation that “reads” well
willingness to do outside work and study on a problem . . .

Primitive spear is not the work of an individual nor is a good tool or utensil.
To be a good designer you must be a good engineer in every sense: curious, inquisitive.
I am interested in course because I have great faith in the engineer, but to those who are serious
(avoid putting on art hat) Boulder Dam all’s great not due engineer
By the nature of his problems the engineer has high percentage of known factors relatively little left to intuition
(the chemical engineer asking if he should call in Sulphur)

Source: Charles Eames, handwritten notes on talks at University of California, Los Angeles, January 1949, Part II: Speeches and Writings series, Charles and Ray Eames Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

Landscape of professionalism

From Winnipeg Free PressBy: Brent Bellamy

Scatliff + Miller + Murray A design sketch for a commercial streetscape. Landscape architects work as part of a design team to ensure buildings appropriately engage the public realm

There is nothing more frustrating than flying into a new city while sitting in the middle seat of an airplane. You stretch to see over the person beside you who’s pressed up against the small round window. You strain to catch a glimpse of the city passing below you, trying to formulate that first impression of the place you are about to experience.

We often seem to rate the urban quality of North American cities in this way, as if we are 1,000 feet in the air. The size of its freeways or the height of its skyline resonate as symbols of civic affluence and vibrancy.

The true health of a city, however, must be judged from its sidewalks. Its urban quality can’t be measured from the height of its towers. It can only be found in the spaces between those buildings. The human experience is not defined by how buildings engage the sky, but how they engage the ground, how they define public space, how they facilitate a social connection between the people in and around them.

The quality of these spaces is what makes a city livable and prosperous. Active parks, sidewalks, plazas and courtyards work together as an integrated network of open space that can attract people to live, work and invest in a city. When done well, they can be a catalyst for growth and development. When done poorly, they can enable crime and promote urban decay.

As cities look to increase density and become more sustainable, the need for quality public space has become vitally important. With this pressure, the voice of the landscape architect has become recognized as a key contributor in the design of healthy cities.

During Winnipeg’s recent growth spurt, headlines have generally focused on the construction of shiny new buildings. Less celebrated has been the role landscape architecture is playing in improving our city’s health and quality of life through interventions at all scales of development.

At the largest scale, landscape design is transforming Winnipeg through a complete renaissance of our neglected regional park system. The most significant project is occurring at Assiniboine Park, which is in the midst of a $200-million redevelopment that has already revolutionized the city’s premier green space. Under construction is the zoo’s Journey to Churchill exhibit that will become a global centre for northern wildlife education, research and conservation.

At a civic level, landscape design in Winnipeg has recently been implemented as a successful catalyst for growth and neighbourhood rejuvenation. The construction of Waterfront Drive along the Red River converted an abandoned rail line into a network of parks, plazas and pathways that provided the spark for hundreds of new residential units, stimulating the economic rehabilitation of the entire Exchange District. Further west, the redevelopment of Central Park has taken a once crime-filled, derelict urban space and transformed it into a proud neighbourhood focal point and public gathering place that has uplifted an entire community.

Landscape architects work as part of a design team to ensure buildings appropriately engage the public realm, strengthening their connection to the human scale. A successful example of this is the urban plaza that creates a transition from the stark glass walls of Manitoba Hydro Place to a sun-drenched public gathering place along Graham Avenue. Similarly, an integrated landscape design will be essential to ensure the introduction of the towering Canadian Museum for Human Rights does not diminish the pedestrian scale of The Forks site. New landscapes can also redefine existing buildings, exemplified by the City Hall Plaza and Steinkopf Gardens redevelopment at the Manitoba Centennial Centre that reconnect austere modernist designs with their urban fabric.

Landscape architecture influences every part of our city, right down to our neighbourhood playgrounds, schoolyards, skate parks, wetlands and retention ponds. As their profile and public responsibility grows, it is becoming important the profession of landscape architecture regulates the skills and qualifications of those who practise in their field. For this reason, the Manitoba Association of Landscape Architects is currently working with the provincial government to secure “name-act legislation.” This legislation would restrict the use of the title landscape architect to those with the education, training and qualifications defined by the association, similar to that of other design professions such as architects, engineers and planners.

Three provinces currently have similar legislation and others are progressing toward it. Professional regulation would help to ensure industry competence and ethical practice by establishing comprehensive standards that work to protect public health, well-being and quality of life, while promoting design expertise that enhances our natural environment and cultural heritage.

The design palette of a landscape architect is composed of living things; things that change each year, things that grow and die and transform through the seasons. The spaces they create redefine themselves over time. They bring us together, encourage social interaction and enhance our connection to the environment. The ability to compose these spaces with a knowledge of how they will live, grow and evolve through the years is the magic landscape architects as professional designers bring to our cities and to our lives.


Brent Bellamy is senior design architect for Number Ten Architectural Group.

Designing for Adaptable Futures (DAF) Winners Announced

While we are struggling o come to grips with the changes wrought by the older generation of which i am one, we are often exited to see the work of the future designers of the world and how we might look afresh at our problems from bustler

The Adaptable Futures (AF) group at Loughborough University in England today announced the winners of its first international student competition, Designing for Adaptable Futures (DAF). The competition asked students to illustrate how the life of their proposal – whether product, building or urban intervention – would unfold through time: over an hour, day, year, decade, or perhaps a century.

The international jury of architects included Charles Holland, Director (FAT Architecture); Daisy Froud, Director (AOC); Megumi Matsubara, Founder (Assistant, Japan); Søren Nielson, Director (Vankunsten Architects, Denmark); David Rowley, Director (Nightingale Associates); and Paul Warner, Director (3D Reid Architects).

Joint First Prize: Factory Home by Johnny Killok from AdaptableFutures on Vimeo.

Top submissions were shortlisted, from which the judges selected three winning submissions (a joint first place and a third place) along with five submissions deserving honorable mention. Overall the competition received over 150 submissions from 26 countries around the world.


Joint First Prize: Factory Home by Johnny Killok: Still from the Factory Home film: work mode

Joint First Prize: Factory Home by Johnny Killok: Still from the Factory Home film: work mode

Joint First Prize: Factory Home
by Johnny Killok (University of Westminster, UK)

Factory Home focuses on reshaping the live/work spatial relationship as part of a ‘third industrial revolution’. The proposal organizes the building as three distinct zones – living, working and transition which are blurred through the use of flexible modules sliding in and out of the transition zone as needed throughout the day. – boards (PDF)

Joint First Prize: Village Green
by Jeffrey Adjei (University for the Creative Arts Canterbury, UK)

Village Green (for the people by the people) in New Addington proposes several ideas about how to construct transient social structures for a high quality public space which evolve with community needs. The proposal embraces Walter Segal’s concept of self-build and looks extensively at the collaborative process, linking the community with a vast network of charity and government organizations through a continual building process. –boards (PDF)

Joint First Prize: Village Green by Jeffrey Adjei: Village Green's public space

Joint First Prize: Village Green by Jeffrey Adjei: Village Green’s public space

Third Prize: Adaptable Street 
by Maxime Rousseau and Paul Jaquet (Université de Montréal, Canada)

Adaptable Street focuses on exploiting (and expanding) the capacity in our major cities to create and adapt spaces at and around street level, creating ‘thick streets’ for a vibrant mix of uses. The proposal explores how the uses and spaces would transform linearly, seasonally and over time. – boards (PDF)

Third Prize: Adaptable Street by Maxime Rousseau and Paul Jaquet: Sections through street

Click above image to view slideshow
Third Prize: Adaptable Street by Maxime Rousseau and Paul Jaquet: Sections through street

Regarding the winning submissions, Daisy Froud of AOC stated; “I’m really glad that the two joint winners reflect two very different approaches, one more traditionally architectural – it’s a big building with bits that slide, but that is nonetheless rooted in thinking about how people in central London live and work – and one that has more in common with social sculpture, its speculations based on research into a specific cultural and perhaps even ‘small-p political’ context.”

Jury members were inspired by the quality of the visual and narrative ideas presented. David Rowley of Nightingale Associates commented: “I was impressed by the time and effort many of the students put into the submissions, and how effectively they showcased their ideas using both presentation boards and film.  The best submissions fully embraced adaptability with sustainability in its broadest sense, taking into account social and political factors as well as accounting for the visual environment and longevity.”

The integration of time in their design proposal was framed around three criteria presented in the brief: strategies for change (AF frame cycle), building layers and design guidelines (spatial, material and mind set).

Students were allowed to submit two A0 boards and/or a three minute film. The three competition winners will share a £3,500 (US$5,433) cash prize and have been invited to participate and present at this autumn’s AF event in London.

The jury also awarded Honorable Mentions to following five projects:

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arata isozaki + andrea maffei associati: citylife

More “starchitect” architecture masquerading as “urban design” I can only sympathize with this comment on the post by nicola brambilla as being the voice of the people who live there crying out in disgust at he manipulation of intentions by economic and political interests

i’m from milan, i live very closed to the area where they’re building it, so i think i can spend a minute to say a word.

i just want to say that this project it is really NOT what people from milan NEED.
In the competition there were other projects (like Renzo Piano’s masterplan) really well-designed, BUT (guess what ?!) WAS CHOSEN THE ONE WITH THE BEST BUYING OFFERT (the one is showed here).

i’m very sad about this.

i’d like to think in the future will be the people that LIVE around to CHOOSE what is better for the CITY


‘citylife tower’ by arata isozaki + andrea maffei associati, milan, italy
image courtesy of arata isozaki + andrea maffei associati

designboom recently visited the milanese studio of arata isozaki + andrea maffei associati, where wereceived an exclusive look at ‘citylife’, the new skyscraper currently under construction at the historic fairgrounds in milan. designed in response to the city’s chaotic industrial core, the office tower features a differentiated form which looks to reinterpret and simplify the complex, urban tension of milan. part of a larger master plan, the design reflects the city’s changing aesthetic, its slim, modern facade representing a renewed urban center.

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Designing the Post-Political City and the Insurgent Polis’: A Recorded Presentation by Erik Swyngedouw

From [polis} a  dissertation on alternatives to top-down design with the limited purpose of serving vested financial and political influences for the benefit of its population – this is particularly relevant to our situation here in Cape Town with the current emphasis on Central Improvement Districts, IRT systems which serve more affluent suburbs rather than the urban poor stuck in ghettos on the periphery and Soccer World Cup stadiums that are now white elephants and a financial noose around the cities neck while the profits accrue in the hands of vested international interests – is there a way to resist this is the focus of a recorded presentation by Eric Swyngedouw on “Designing the Post-Political City and the Insurgent Polis.” Swyngedouw is a professor of geography at the University of Manchester School of Environment and Development.

Swyngedouw points to a climate of global consensus that has become pervasive over the past twenty years, effectively suppressing dissent and excluding most people from governance. He explains this consensus as limited to a select group (e.g., elite politicians, business leaders, NGOs, experts from a variety of fields) and perpetuated through “empty signifiers” like the sustainable/creative/world-class city. He argues that this consensus serves a “post-political” neoliberal order in which governments fail to address citizens’ most basic needs in order to subsidize the financial sector and take on grandiose projects designed to attract global capital. He adds that the flipside of management through limited consensus is rebellion on the part of the excluded, which he views as insurgent architecture and planning that claims a place in the order of things. Swyngedouw calls for open institutional channels for enacting dissent, fostering a democratic politics based on equal opportunity for all in shaping the decisions that affect our lives. He envisions the city as “insurgent polis” — a new agora where democratic politics can take place, where anyone can make a case for changing the existing framework

Listen to the presentation and read more on [polis]

New Chinese eco-city in Langfang to model cutting edge technologies

By : Jenny Marusiak on Eco-Business:

An artist's rendition of China's new eco-city in Langfang. Image: Southworth International

Plans for a new eco-city south of Beijing were unveiled on Thursday by former Australian prime minister John Howard.

Located in Langfang in the Hebei province, the 30 square kilometre development will feature a theme park and an exhibition centre, designed to be the world’s largest with over 1.3 million square metres. Green space will flow throughout the development and there will be restrictions on gasoline powered vehicles, according to the developers.

Speaking at the China Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, Mr Howard said, “I am very pleased that Langfang is taking a leadership position in developing smart city technology.  This is an outstanding opportunity to build a new city from the ground-up with wired and eco-green technology that will pave the way for cities of the future around the world.”

A representative from global investment company Southworth International, which is developing the project in a joint venture with the privately held Chinese Bestsun (Baichuan) Energy Group, told Eco-Business they would be using “cutting-edge technology in energy, transportation, low carbon, water and wired infrastructure in the recreational business district and residences.”

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Book Review: Small Scale: Creative Solutions for Better City Living

Posted by Min Li Chan on polis
Keith Moskow and Robert Linn
Princeton Architectural Press (2010)
Fellow Polis blogger, Melissa Garcia Lamarca, and I recently hunkered down with Moskow and Linn’s sojourn into small-scale urban interventions by architects for “making life better for city dwellers” around the world (as the authors describe in the book’s introduction). Paul Goldberger, in his recent New Yorker piece on Frank Gehry’s new residential tower at 8 Spruce Street in Brooklyn, observed that:

For the past half century, there have been two ways to build an apartment building in New York: an architect’s way or a developer’s way.

In reviewing the genuinely creative, fascinating projects put forth in “Small Scale,” we wondered aloud if the criteria and measures of success used by the authors was too steeped in the architect’s way, leaving us with lingering questions on the projects’ process and true impact, particularly with our respective backgrounds in urban politics/development and technology/ethnography. One may argue that the architect’s way lives too much in the world of Utopian ideas (while the developer’s way is largely pragmatic, functional, at the risk of being overly utilitarian).
Still, the format appears to repudiate that of an architectural coffee table book and warrants thoughtful debate. Thus, we’ve taken a slightly unorthodox approach to this book review by presenting it in the experimental form of a free-flow conversation, conducted via online chat between New York and San Francisco. With fond apologies for any errors of web-speak that are to follow, Continue reading

Spatial layout, urban movement & human transaction (via The power of the network)

Tim Stonor of Space Syntax gives a detailed account of the role of design in achieving sustainable mobility and all that goes with it in cities

Spatial layout, urban movement & human transaction Download my presentation "Designing mobility for democracy: the role of cities" #demobility Thursday, 14th April 2011 from 1pm to 5pm NYU, Kimmel Center, Eisner & Lubin Auditorium 60 Washington Square South, New York Summary Given the title of this event: "Designing mobility", I want to turn to the subject of design and the role of architects. The key message of this presentation is that cities need architects, not only to design the building … Read More

via The power of the network

Interview with Benjamin H Bratton via LAND Reader

This interview is an example of how far “left-field” thinking is needed to go to contemplate an alternative to “Global Capital” to rather an idea of “Global Commonwealth” – is this another type of utopian dream?

BY DAMIAN HOLMES of LAND Reader : ” The Guardian has published an Interview with Benjamin H Bratton, director of the Center for Design and Geopolitics, Calit2 and University of California, San Diego as part of their Activate New York event to be held in late April. Bratton gives interesting insights into design, technology and urbanism including:

“Better design is a way of doing good in and of itself, one would assume. But what is better design? Better for what end?” – Can we design a more harmonious world?

“Tell us who you work for and what you do.

I am a writer. My work is a mix of social and political philosophy, architectural and urban theory, and computing and information infrastructure. I direct the Center for Design and Geopolitics at Calit2 at University of California, San Diego, where I work side-by-side with nanoengineers, biotechnologists, computational physicists, neuro-ontologists, and, of course, crazy artists. A lot of my recent thinking is at and @bratton. Right now, I am writing a book on the the fate of cosmopolitanism in the era of planetary computation and post-humanism.

Cities cover 2% of the earth’s crust and account for 50% of the world’s population. Does this statistic fully highlight the importance of architects and designers in facilitating a harmonious world?

Only if we assume that architects and designers are responsible for the architecture and design of cities. They are and they aren’t. Cities are almost living things unto themselves, which we can certainly effect in particular ways, but which evolve according patterns in migratory networks, logistical networks, financial networks, informational networks, and so on. We may soon take for granted the notion that these impersonal processes have more to with the character of cities than any single master plan. This is not to say that we shouldn’t think hard about design, quite to the contrary. But our focus should be on thinking of the world’s cities as a single, massively-distributed urban organism, instead of little isolated fortresses.

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