Landscape Architect Quarterly 10/
Features Perspectives on the Profession Round Table Working with Landscape Architects
Publication # 40026106
As I sit on the granite steps beneath the statue of Samuel de Champlain, seeking shade in his shadow as his gaze is cast along the shores of the Ottawa River, I find myself wondering about the elusive nature of the Canadian national identity and its ties to the landscape. This very vantage point—perched high above Ottawa, behind the National Gallery of Canada—offers an unequalled perspective of Parliament Hill and the city that surrounds it. I am struck by the prominence of nature, here in the heart of the national capital: trees cling to the limestone escarpment behind the Centre Block; the Ottawa River and its historically confounding rapids flow by the base of the escarpment, with logs periodically surfacing to remind us of the logging history of this region; the Gatineau Hills—so green they seem almost purple—observe quietly from a respectful distance.
In September, it was my pleasure to present greetings from all OALA members at the opening ceremonies of the Helen M. Kippax Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington (see Up Front story, page 9). The few moments that I spent conversing with Mary Stedman, Helen Kippax’s niece, were a profound highlight of my day. Mary quietly whispered to me of the importance of “giving back” and “supporting” the profession of landscape architecture.
Almost any reference to the Canadian national identity is inextricably bound with references to the innumerable diverse landscapes of Canada—the gentle giant that we call home. But Canada, and in particular Ontario, is a land of immigrants, with a significant percentage of the population hailing from another country, another culture, another land. Regardless of the rich customs, traditions, and memories that we apply to our lives , perhaps it is our relationship to this Canadian landscape—urban or not—that unites every citizen of this country. Whatever our roots, we share a common bond of facing the challenges of living in and succumbing to the beauty of the Canadian landscape. We relate together, although each in our own way, to an idea of the Canadian landscape. Ours is an embarrassment of riches: a country of wide open spaces, seemingly endless vistas, and some of the most culturally diverse cities on earth. We are the fortunate guardians of the largest freshwater resource on the planet. Our embrace spans an entire continent, massaged by three of the world’s four oceans. The diversity of our landscape, from Arctic tundra to the Pacific rainforest to Ontario’s “deep south,” provides habitat for countless species of wildlife found nowhere else. Ours is a landscape that is rich and colourful and celebrated throughout the world. And as landscape architects practising in this country, we must accept our important responsibility to act as stewards of this inspiring, albeit sometimes fickle, landscape. Samuel de Champlain, in chronicling his storied canoe expedition, wrote in his journal in 1615: “As for me, I labour always to prepare a way for those willing to follow . . .” And so, I pose the question to all members of the OALA, as guardians of the landscape: are we willing to lead, or are we content to follow? ANDREW B. ANDERSON, OALA A MEMBER OF THE EDITORIAL BOARD AND CURRENTLY A SESSIONAL INSTRUCTOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH, ANDREW B. ANDERSON IS IN THE MIDST OF A LIFELONG ROMANCE WITH THE CANADIAN LANDSCAPE.
Indeed, our professional organization is indebted to the Stedman family who, upon Helen’s passing, granted funds to the CSLA in order to establish the Helen Kippax Memorial Scholarship Fund. Helen’s vision was not only focused on planting research and garden design, but to furthering the involvement of women in the profession of landscape architecture. Each year for the past four decades or more, the Helen Kippax Memorial Scholarship Fund has honoured the outstanding female student from each of the CSLA-recognized schools of landscape architecture in memory of Helen Kippax. This issue of Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly highlights the development of our association and our profession. Most of this development has been achieved thanks to the strong spirit of volunteerism from many individuals from all walks of life. Whether we are in the midst of establishing our career paths or enjoying our creative years, each one of us is able to contribute in various ways to the future legacy of landscape architects in Ontario. Every effort builds on the collective spirit that multiplies the benefits we enjoy now as OALA members. Find a way to “give back”—to the profession, the association, the students, our community. We will all be enriched by the experience! One opportunity to participate is at the 2009 CSLA/AAPC Congress that the OALA is hosting to celebrate 75 years of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. Please note the revised dates of August 12-16, 2009, and make plans to celebrate together in Toronto! ARNIS BUDREVICS, OALA PRESIDENT PRESIDENT@OALA.CA
Green roof memorial gardens could transform burial conventions
Veronica Schroder Integrating rainwater harvesting in residential landscape design
Up Front: Information on the Ground
“When I see a cemetery, I see a huge expanse of land that could be used for other things but isn’t, because dead people are in it,” says Veronica Schroder, a recent graduate of the University of Guelph’s Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program. Twenty-four years old, Schroder is full of youthful energy and enthusiasm, but she spends a lot of time thinking about death— specifically, about cemeteries. For her undergraduate thesis, she began with a simple question—”why are we putting people in the ground when we’re running out of space?”—and her answer took her to an unlikely place: urban rooftops. “Basically, I’m proposing green roof memorial gardens, cremation-only cemeteries located on building rooftops.” It’s a radical concept—”when I tell people, they look at me like I have three heads,” says Schroder—but she’s on a mission to spread the idea, and she’s got patience and persistence on her side. “I think this concept is before its time, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start planning for alternative methods of burial now. My intention is to get people thinking about it.” According to Assistant Professor Sean Kelly, OALA, Schroder’s work engaged other students in the class, though he adds that some were “a little uncomfortable going beyond the conventional with this one.”
Like many new ideas fuelled by passion, Schroder’s concept started out as intensely personal. “I lost my grandmother while I was in school and I took a semester off. I needed time away.” The experience led her to question society’s conventions around memorials: “I stepped back and looked at the cemetery as a land form. I researched a number of different burial innovations around the world, wondering if there’s a better way than traditional ground burial. The idea of green roof memorial gardens came to me as an epiphany, a eureka moment.” Citing the lack of space for traditional burial, the often isolating aesthetics of cemeteries as places of mourning, and the ecological problems with conventional burial, Schroder sees her green roof memorial gardens as a way of integrating the memorial function with other uses. “These commemorative spaces would be multi-functional and attractive; they’d be dignified. My goal is to encourage people to want to go to the cemetery.” Schroder acknowledges that there are technical limitations. “I don’t think there’s a green roof system on the market that would accommodate the weight of burial niches, memorial walls, etc.” But she’s confident that existing systems could be tweaked to overcome the technological challenges. And she’s hopeful that, with time, municipalities and the Funeral Services Board of Ontario will be interested in her idea. “Cities will have to think differently. We don’t really have anywhere else to go...except up...towards the sky.” For more information on Schroder’s idea, see http://web.mac.com/vschroder/ towardsthesky. TEXT BY LORRAINE JOHNSON, EDITOR OF GROUND: LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT QUARTERLY AND AUTHOR OF NINE BOOKS RELATED TO ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES.
There is a pivotal climate change-related benefit to rainbarrels. Many cities utilize more electricity in water operations than in any other use—including transit, streetlighting or buildings. During peak periods in summer, 40 percent of all water demand in Ontario relates to irrigation. If you are seeking to integrate rain harvesting in your landscape designs— whether to achieve LEED credits or simply to provide a home-friendly gardening amenity—visit the RiverSides website at www.riversides.org.
harvesting the resource
Rainwater is a precious resource. Yet the design of our cities has, historically, rarely taken this into account. Water is often channeled away, burdening neighbouring rivers with urban runoff. Forward-thinking designers, naturalists, and friends of urban rivers realize that it is possible to emulate natural hydrology through low-impact development (LID) techniques of infiltration, bioretention, and lot-level storage. At the residential level, rainbarrels are the simplest and most practical rain-storage system available. However, stormwater engineers have typically questioned the viability of lotlevel stormwater management, as its ongoing maintenance relies on human intervention. In short, engineers don’t trust people to do things correctly. Municipal stormwater guidelines emphasizing ponds and pipes reflect this anxiety. Residents’ role in stormwater management is eyed suspiciously. It doesn’t help that many municipal or developer’s rainbarrel programs opt for low-quality, ill-designed second-use containers, while providing almost no social marketing follow-up support for their residents.
Enter RiverSides, an Ontario-based organization founded to advance lowimpact development for the protection of urban rivers. RiverSides promotes and distributes a unique 500-litre rainbarrel designed to meet the climate-change forecasts of larger storms and deeper droughts. At more than twice the volume of standard barrels within the same footprint, the RiverSides’ barrel achieves virtually zero residential roof runoff. Its threepart seasonal diverter valve also incorporates an overflow bypass and a filter, which eliminates the cost of installing an unsightly downspout Y-diverter. The valve easily rotates to winter mode, and the mosquito-proof filter eliminates the need to clean eavestrough flotsam from inside the barrel, a major limitation of other rainbarrels.
TEXT BY JOHN-PAUL WARREN, A BOARD MEMBER OF RIVERSIDES, AND KEVIN MERCER, FOUNDER OF RIVERSIDES.
Made in Canada, RiverSides’ barrel is available in either solid colours or blended faux-stone finishes, thus complementing the design aesthetic of most homes’ exterior and downspout colours. Heritage towns such as Greenbelt Maryland have specified the RiverSides rainbarrel because of its utility and aesthetic appeal. The RiverSides rainbarrel is coupled with supportive social marketing, demystifying the utilization of rainwater through the Homeowners Guide to Rainfall website, www.torontorainguide.org.
unearthing historical gems
For many years, the McLaughlin Library at the University of Guelph acquired landscape architecture materials to support research and teaching. For example, among Guelph’s early nonCanadian holdings are a number of plans for projects on which Frederick Law Olmsted probably worked. In 1998, these resources were included in a larger project, the Centre for Canadian Landscape Architecture Archives (CCLAA), to preserve our heritage, to make resources known, and to have them available via the internet. Since that time, the library’s collecting activity has focused on the work of Canadian landscape architects, especially in Ontario, and its holdings have become a significant national resource. More information on this project is available online at http://www.lib.uoguelph.ca/resources/ archival_&_special_collections/ the_collections/digital_collections/ccla/. It is not necessary to be a university member to use the collections in person or online. Brief descriptions of some major archival holdings follow.
Lois Lister Collection Lois Lister, born in 1919 in England, began her work in 1953 as a landscape consultant in Toronto and designed gardens for many of Toronto’s prominent citizens. She died on July 22, 1995. The Lois Lister Collection consists of more than 300 separate project files, which were carried out for some 250 individual clients, principally in Ontario. Most project files include Lister’s working notes, sketches and drawings, large original working designs and architectural blueprints, lists of plantings, correspondence and memos, estimates and invoices, and landscape/garden photographs and slides.
George Tanaka Born in Vancouver in 1912, George Tanaka established his own professional office in Toronto in the 1950s, and later distinguished himself through a number of award-winning projects in Canada as one of the country’s foremost landscape sculptors and landscape architects. In 1988, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto, which Tanaka had helped to found some twenty-five years before, honoured him with a special tribute and retrospective exhibition of his design projects. The Tanaka Collection consists primarily of designs, drawings, sketches, and planting plans spanning the years 1955-84.
Stanley Thompson Society Collection The Stanley Thompson Society was founded in 1998 to research, record, and publicize the life and works of Stanley Thompson, one of the world’s leading golf course architects. Between 1920 and 1950 he designed, remodeled, or constructed approximately 145 golf courses in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and South America. Along with Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones, he founded the prestigious American Society of Golf Course Architects in 1948. The collection consists of biographical materials, plans and drawings of courses, and publications relating to Thompson and his work on courses.
H.B. Dunington-Grubb and Stensson Collection The Dunington-Grubb and Stensson Collection consists of 241 different projects, with hundreds of landscape architecture drawings by Howard Burlingham Dunington-Grubb (1881-1965), Lorrie Alfreda Dunington-Grubb (1877-1945), Jesse Vilhelm Stensson, Janina Stensson, and others. Photographs or slides exist for some of the projects. The DuningtonGrubbs and, later, the firm of DuningtonGrubb and Stensson were responsible for designing both private and public gardens. These included municipal contracts, such as the 1914 plans for the City of
Brantford, and other urban projects for churches, educational institutions, apartments, clubs, parks, factories, and public buildings. Chief among the urban public works represented in this collection are the plans for the Oakes Garden Theatre and Rainbow Bridge Gardens in Niagara Falls, Gage Park and the McMaster University Entrance Park in Hamilton, and the Workman’s Compensation Board grounds and the central boulevard of University Avenue in Toronto. H.B. Dunington-Grubb was a founding member of the CSLA, its president in 1934-5 and 1945 (carrying on his late wife’s term of office), and its secretary in 1953. Roger du Toit Architects Roger du Toit Architects, affiliated architects, landscape architects, and planners, have been offering interdisciplinary design services since 1975 to institutions, federal and provincial government agencies, municipalities, developers, and corporations. In 1985, the firm became du Toit Allsopp Hillier, a provider of urban design, landscape, architectural, and planning services. The collection includes approximately 200 projects that are located in
many parts of Ontario as well as across Canada and in the United States, including work on the National Capital, Confederation Boulevard, downtown Belleville, Wascana Centre, and other urban/environmental projects. Cecelia Paine This collection consists of drawings done between 1970 and 1998, including the sixteen years Paine spent in Ottawa working for two private firms and the NCC before opening her own practice in 1982, Cecelia Paine and Associates, which operated in Ottawa until 1990. About one-third of the collection consists of master plans Paine developed for the NCC, including more than 5,000 hectares of natural areas and agricultural lands in the Ottawa Greenbelt. Among her favourite projects was the restoration master plan for Mackenzie King Estate, a national historic site in Quebec’s Gatineau Park, and the redesign of Sparks Street Mall, which opened in 1988. Also included are plans for restoring the grounds of the Queen’s Park Legislative Assembly in Toronto and development for the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village in Alberta.
Macklin L. Hancock/Project Planning Associates Ltd. Collection Macklin L. Hancock, founder of Project Planning Associates Ltd., gained international recognition as a planner and designer of large-scale development projects such as new towns and capital cities, business parks, retail and mixed-use centres, major recreational parks, university campuses, and tourist resorts. Project Planning Associates, originally formed in 1956 after the design of Don Mills in metropolitan Toronto, was structured as a multi-disciplinary organization enabling it to provide fully integrated consulting services involving planners, designers, infrastructure and transportation engineers, landscape architects, and environmental and socio-economic specialists. Macklin Hancock served as president of the firm for more than forty-five years. The collection is currently being catalogued and consists of more than 100 projects. TEXT BY LORNE BRUCE, THE ACTING HEAD, ARCHIVAL AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH LIBRARY.
Caledon ski village, Roger du Toit Architects, 1978-79
Archival Collections, University of Guelph Don Mills plan, Project Planning Associates
Archival Collections, University of Guelph Project Planning Associates, Kuwait waterfront development model
Archival Collections, University of Guelph Project Planning Associates, King Abdulaziz University Library courtyard
Archival Collections, University of Guelph Project Planning Associates, Kuwait waterfront
Archival Collections, University of Guelph Roger du Toit Architects, Harbourfront Housing Co-op, 1987
Archival Collections, University of Guelph Frances McLeod Blue Collection, French garden,1938
Archival Collections, University of Guelph Macklin Hancock, c.1970s
Archival Collections, University of Guelph
Whether by constructing site panoramas, cataloguing existing and historical use patterns, mapping ecological communities, or locating topographical information, landscape architecture projects involve research about sites on sites—fieldwork. As starting points for developing design strategies, these techniques and tools sometimes follow familiar and conventional methodologies and often overlook opportunities for exploring particularities of sites. As instructors in the University of Toronto’s Master of Landscape Architecture program, we were interested in working with students to develop alternative methods of gathering site information. Approaches ranged from helium balloon aerial photography to video collage to acoustic data collection. This seminar/workshop, called Fieldwork: Landscape Design Research Methods, looked at a spectrum of practices from creative disciplines such as land and kinetic art, cartography, geology, and ecology. Students compiled a range of techniques and strategies, many of which initiated creative possibilities for future design research.
The following is a sampling of strategies developed by students in the course. Stefania Mariotti developed an Acoustic Field Guide that catalogued the acoustic properties of materials found on the site. By projecting consistent sounds at various locations and recording the reflected sound and corresponding wavelength, she was able to quantify the auditory conditions of different landscape architectural materials such as concrete, vegetation, and the lakeshore embankment. These tests, inspired by the work of sound artist Bernard Leitner, allowed her to develop a keen awareness of the variables by which sound creates space. Zahra Awang developed an ecological surveying strategy of the site by looking at the work of landscape architect Victoria Marshall, whose collaborations with ecologists have adapted vegetative sampling techniques to urban environments. After establishing transects on an aerial photograph of the site, Zahra mapped and catalogued the surface materials along these transects. By focusing on quantifying materials, Zahra developed an aerial understanding of site that transcended traditional figure/ground relationships.
Adam Eisler explored the site through thermal sensing photography, merging ideas found in the photographic and installation work of artist Olafur Eliasson. The images graphically displayed that which is normally invisible—the thermal qualities of materials. Inherently temporal, these thermal properties changed throughout the course of the day depending on climate and human occupation. The photographs thus portrayed the site as a dynamic and tactile environment. Experimental in nature, these projects all expanded the conventions of site research, often revealing hidden qualities and new information that could be generative of, and integrated into, design strategies. TEXT BY JANE HUTTON, ASSOCIATE MEMBER, OALA, AND LISA MOFFITT, INSTRUCTORS IN THE MASTER OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE AND MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE PROGRAMS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO.
Investigating the acoustic properties of various materials
Stefania Mariotti Thermal sensing generates site information
rbg opens new garden
The volunteers are huddled in a large group, their heads bent over clipboards and notepads so that only the variously shaped sun hats they’re wearing for protection against the sun are visible. It’s September but this is one of the hottest days of the year. Despite the warm weather, the volunteer troops are out in full force. They’re here, at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, to organize what feels like a military manoeuvre—the planting of more than 14,000 perennials and grasses in the Helen M. Kippax Garden at the RBG. Nestled on table land above the forested slopes of Grindstone Creek Valley, this new garden at the RBG is a one-acre showcase of native plants in a design inspired by local plant communities such as prairie, oak savanna, Carolinian forest, and wetland pond. “We’re hoping that visitors to the RBG will come away with ideas about sustainable gardening that they can apply to their own properties,” says Martin Wade, OALA, of Martin Wade Landscape Architects who, with Nancy Chater, Associate Member, OALA, and Colin Berman, OALA, designed the garden for the RBG. Opened in mid-September, the new garden, budgeted at approximately $550,000, was made possible by a donation from the Stedman family. In the 1940s, Mary Stedman and her late sisters, Margaret and Ruth, were introduced to the RBG by their aunt, Helen Kippax, and in 2005 the sisters decided to support the development of a garden in honour of their aunt. Along with her interest in native plants, Helen Kippax was one of the founding members of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects in 1934. “Helen Kippax was a pioneer in our profession,” says Martin Wade.
The new garden that honours Kippax is likewise pioneering. “Our design approach for the RBG was to move beyond what botanical gardens have been in the past as collections of plants, and into the idea of designing with plant communities,” says Wade. He credits his associate Nancy Chater with the planting concept and planting design, for which she did extensive research into Ontario’s native plant communities; the design includes more than 130 native species. In terms of the actual planting, Chater points to the benefits of having the herbaceous planting work done by the RBG’s Auxiliary volunteers (woody plant material, including more than 45 native trees and 200 shrubs, was planted by the landscape contractor). “In addition to significant cost savings, having the Auxilliary members do the herbaceous planting brings in about 80 experienced gardeners who have taken incredible care in their work. These are knowledgeable plant people. They have helped organize the planting process, which requires incredible attention to detail. Their involvement builds vital community involvement through their
investment of time and effort. The Auxiliary’s involvement in this planting has been key,” says Chater. Thus, it seems fitting that, much like the founding of the CSLA 75 years ago, the new Helen M. Kippax Garden, in honour of a CSLA founder, represents many hands—professional and volunteer alike—involved in a labour of love to advance the appreciation of the designed landscape in our lives. TEXT BY LORRAINE JOHNSON, WHO CONSULTED ON THE NATIVE PLANT LIST FOR THE HELEN M. KIPPAX GARDEN.
Watercolour rendering of the Helen M. Kippax Garden
Perspectives on the Profession
Perspectives on the Profession
TEXT BY GEORGE DARK, OALA, FCSLA
Peering into the future of the profession 01
TEXT BY GEORGE DARK, OALA, FCSLA
The future of landscape architecture lies in the hands of those who practise it. If that group is diverse, skilled, informed, and imaginative, so too will the profession be. To that end, we are fortunate that the OALA has taken steps to make our association more attractive to a wider and more diverse group of younger professionals. I keep twenty-eight years’ worth of Landscape Architecture magazines in what is best described as a pile behind my desk. They are there to remind me how diverse landscape architecture is. In the February 1988 issue, the table of contents included: “Edge Cities: How to Make Great Places,” “Brave New World: The Landscape of New Places,” “Prospect: The Forces of Decentralization,” “Design: A Focus on Corporate Landscapes,” and “Fletcher Steele: Places to Dream.” In the February 2008 issue, the contents included: “Nature Over Traffic,” “In Guatemala: Building Gardens of Hope,” “Cliff Dwelling,” “Treeconomics,” “Five Visions for Manhattan Superblocks,” and “The Monument in the Age of Political Correctness.” The lists above show a diverse, skilled, informed, and imaginative group at work over a twenty-year period.
Positive action is the best response to a changing world
So here is what I imagine a table of contents for the February 2028 issue of Landscape Architecture might be: “Wind, Sun and Thermal: Success for an Ontario Town off the Grid,” “The Trees are Gone: Replacing the Urban Forest,” “The Landscape of Aging: An Overview of Where the Baby Boomers are Living,” “Landscape Architect Elected Premier of Ontario,” “Don River Estuary: The Don River Opens to Lake Ontario Again After 200 Years,” “Grow It at Home: Inner-City Food Production Statistics,” “Canadian Designs New National Park in Afghanistan,” and the feature article on the design of ten transit plazas at the new mobility hubs across the GTA. Okay, so the part about the premier of Ontario being a landscape architect might be a bit speculative, but the rest of the list stands. Our part of the world will adapt to an aging population, change fundamental values, and require significant shifts in thinking as energy, food, health, and the environment become the fundamental economic drivers of all aspects of life. The post-war period has been obsessed with design for cars—I hope that we are moving away from this. We don’t really have a choice, so positive action is the best response. Anybody want to be premier? GEORGE DARK, OALA, FCSLA, ASLA, CNU, IS THE MANAGING PARTNER OF URBAN STRATEGIES INC., A TORONTO-BASED CONSULTING FIRM, AND CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF THE EVERGREEN FOUNDATION.
Digits and Digital
Digits and Digital Reflections on the changing tools of design
Digits and Digital
TEXT BY NATE PERKINS, FASLA
For almost twenty-five years, digital tools have slowly and relentlessly been usurping digits (the craft of hand) in design conception and communication. This is a fundamental and profound shift in what we do and how we do it, and has led to consternation and confusion about the influence of tools in design. The debate about digital tools, when there is one, is often needlessly confounded by the lack of specificity as to what tools do and where and how they are used. Nowhere is this more acutely felt than in the university design programs where tradition and innovation are always uncomfortable bedfellows.
To be, design needs to be described. Without tangible evidence of a certain kind of intellectual activity, there simply is no design. Design without description is similar to thinking without language—perhaps possible in theory but not in practice. At its most basic level, design is intellectual activity described by voice, written words, and images. Carl Steinitz at Harvard University once succinctly titled an article “Design is a verb, design is a noun,” and pointed to the phenomena that all designers know intimately. The linkage between design procedure and product, that of to design and the design, often has no clear transition from one to the other. Adding to the linguistic confusion and conversational awkwardness, the design referred to often does not exist in physical form; rather, it is a proposal, an imagined future described sufficiently to convey in the mind of the designer or to the minds of others a “sort of real” thing. The confusion between the process of design and the evidence of design (a real place or a projected future) is influenced by how design is conceived, how it is communicated, and how it becomes real.
Four images of a Frank Lloyd Wright door
Most of us would agree that the process and products of design benefit from, and are also constrained by, the tools used. Digital tools used in the early stages of design are, by and large, information acquisition and processing tools. GIS and CAD have fundamentally influenced the speed of acquiring and sorting base information used in design. It is becoming harder to remember the time when much of the site information necessary to design was obtained in situ because it simply did not exist elsewhere or was deeply buried in steel flat files somewhere else. Increasingly, a site inventory is more about knowing where to look for information in the digital realm than how to collect it in the physical world. Aerial and satellite data downloaded from the internet can now be geo-referenced with digital maps from municipalities, and combined using GIS not only to create a base plan of a park, but to add the property values of surrounding homes and historical data as well. While there has been a revolution of sorts in the common availability of data to initiate design, the digital tools used in the process of designing have not yet developed to the point where they allow designers to think like designers. Herein lies a subtle but, I think, fundamental problem for students of design.
Digits and Digital
Digital tools take a beginning designer to the end too quickly, and this is particularly a problem among students who do not yet have the experience (or patience) to work through and sort alternatives. What suffers in moving too quickly to a design resolution is the intellectual gestation, the iterations required in design—in short, the non-linear and messy process of design. It is not uncommon for students to start a design in CAD and finish eight hours later with a ready-to-present design. The graphics are often impressive, but the decision-making used to arrive at the design is absent. “Autosave” means that the working copies are overwritten, and there are no breadcrumbs to retrace the path taken. I was taught twenty-five years ago that design is, when stripped of all pretence, an act of Knowing, Thinking, Showing, and Doing (Inventory, Analysis, Synthesis, and Implementation). It’s the Thinking part that digital tools and the people who use them have yet to master.
Digital tools not only excel at information gathering and processing, they can also be superb helpers when it comes to communication, specifically graphic communication. Simply put, a threedimensional photo-realistically rendered computer model of an urban streetscape can communicate more persuasive and often more precise information to multiple viewers than a plan with a few rough sketches can. Such communication is frequently more graphically sophisticated than a hand-rendered production, but this sophistication often masks the true nature of design communication. Designers can produce sophisticated digitally composed presentations that are often no more than a monologue, whereas the best design communication is a conversation—a conversation about the journey as well as the destination. In short, digital often overwhelms digits in information gathering and management and in sophisticated presentation, but the cost is paid for in the middle where design is “created.”
Digital design tools are not yet conducive to creating multiple drafts, working copies that have a history of decisions. Conversely, producing design by hand, on paper, usually results in physical layers of decisions accepted and more often rejected, which allow one to retrace and recreate a pseudo-linear process that can be rewound, stopped, and fast-forwarded. Although tracing paper can still be found in the teaching studio, it is rarely used with the abandon and in such copious quantities it once was. The result is that history (process) is rarely acknowledged and articulated. What’s lost in using digital tools in design is the serendipity and the deep think that come with mentally working and reworking a design concept based on previous decisions. The process has become a linear “one-off” because the tools are linear and there is no past. Hand graphics, however, almost force iteration, layering, and acknowledgement of history in the act of design.
In the past five or so years, the tools to produce stunning digital graphics have become accessible to almost everyone, and their sophistication has resulted in an ease of use hard to imagine a decade ago. The Adobe suite of software (Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat Professional, and InDesign) alone provides professional publishing and graphic power that is ready to use out of the box. Some elementary schools now provide Adobe CS3 in their libraries. Add Microsoft Office and Apple’s iLife and iWork with CAD and GIS, and much of the software required to manage even a mid-sized practice is on a laptop. In the last decade, the professional bundle of digital tools has dropped in price 300-400 percent. Even students have legal copies of powerful and professional tools, and they’re quick to pick up on the age-old designer’s lament (and dilemma): an elegant presentation of a mediocre design often trumps a mediocre presentation of an elegant design. In my view, what is so different now, in contrast to twentyfive years ago, is that we are in a sort of technology arms race where increasingly sophisticated tools are desired, not necessarily for better design, but as ends unto themselves. Where does all this lead us? I frequently make the quip to students that digit, or hand skills, still have currency and although developing these skills takes time and effort, they will never leave home without them…the digits and associated skills, that is. However, digital tools are here to stay and familiarity, if not mastery, is essential. What I hope doesn’t get lost in the continuing migration from digit to digital is that design is, and will always be, an intellectual endeavour first. NATE PERKINS TEACHES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH, WHERE HE IS BOTH CONFUSED AND AMUSED. HE IS A MEMBER OF THE OALA CONTINUING EDUCATION COMMITTEE AND WAS RECENTLY ELECTED A FELLOW IN THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS.
Digits and Digital
Sketch of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois, with a transition to more recent photograph
From Pencil to Machine
From Pencil to Machine A practitioner's point of view
From Pencil to Machine
TEXT BY RUEDI HOFER, OALA
The computer is the machine and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) is the implement that lets us plough in the field of landscape architecture. I am one of the practitioners who started out with a square edge and a pencil. Of course, I had to learn to work with the “new machine” and its ever-changing implements. Has it made our work better, easier, and more efficient? I would say no, or at least not so far. Just the fact that machine and implement are being changed and upgraded almost daily proves that this equipment is still in a state of infancy, often unreliable, cumbersome, and inefficient. Landscape architects have had to adapt to keep up with their peers in engineering and architecture. It is for them that CAD was developed, and it is for them that it has served best: foremost as a tool to economize repetitious design; to process, convey, and share information; and to archive it. However, as a design tool to explore, develop ideas, then visualize and convey ideas, CAD is still limiting and also very expensive for landscape architects, who work so much with organic and fluid forms, typically on one-of-a-kind projects that have little money attached to them. It is one thing to labour for hours on the computer, designing something that will be produced for thousands of dollars or be repeated hundreds of times. It is another to draw a grade contour line that explicitly describes the flow of a piece of land. It is one thing to employ ten technicians to draw a floor plan that is repeated twenty times, or a kilometre of sewer or road, and another thing altogether to design a shelter in a park or a meandering pathway. The ratio of design hours spent versus the cost of the final built product does not work favourably for the landscape architect. Most of the time, this is in light of the fact that the fee percentage paid for the landscape architect’s services is of a similar percentage to that paid for architects’ and engineers’ services. For example, for six percent the landscape architect might have to provide the design and detail drawings for a one-of-a-kind project with no repeating components, pursue approvals from authorities, and provide contract administration. The landscape work may amount to $250,000. Engineers or architects might have a very similar scope of work for their five percent, but the built component could be $5 or $10 million.
Water feature at PMA project Garden for Peace and Understanding, Victoria University
PMA Landscape Architects Hand sketch by Ruedi Hofer, digitally coloured, for Garden for Peace and Understanding, Victoria University
PMA Landscape Architects
Computers and design programs have the capacity to express design intent in virtual reality and beyond that in dramatized operatic exuberance. Look at Harry Potter. Look at Dubai’s real estate marketing. Look at the X-Box. Here is the new language to convey, to sell, and entertain. Architects and landscape architects follow suit, having picked up on this language to sell their designs. We have adopted a graphic language of cut and paste from templates to convey our ideas. Tragically, we have also truncated our design capacity to make it understandable in this language at the price we can afford to pay. We can afford only simple expressions to communicate economically in this complex language and, therefore, we truncate our designs and compromise the scope of our ideas. Is the new vogue of linear design pattern in landscape architecture a renaissance of modernism or simply driven by CAD economics? I am afraid it is often the latter. Design is a process of exploring and developing ideas graphically; drawing is the means to convey this to an audience. CAD is a complex and cumbersome tool in which to “doodle,” to sketch the undefined, first vague outline of an idea not yet cast into a finite form. It is an inadequate tool with which to express the meaning and soul of an idea. Cartoonists like Sempé, Loriot, or Rauch convey graphically to a large audience, in a few lines, the meaning of a complex and nuanced message. This is produced in a few seconds by a few strokes of a pen. These lines are not just vertices connecting A to B. CAD is still what it stands for—an aid for design. But we tend to use it as the prime media to develop a design in a laborious, costly drafting exercise that generates distorted images and messages often hard to understand by the general public. An idea sketched using CAD may be misread as a finite, hard-lined image. CAD is an indispensable tool, but it still has its limits as a design tool in landscape architecture. Until the interface between the thought process and the tool to convey it becomes much simpler and less costly; until the computer screen is of a size that lets us view our work as a whole at a comprehensible scale without having to scroll from segment to segment—until then, best to keep on learning to draw by pencil and become more proficient at expressing our ideas in a mix of media. RUEDI HOFER, OALA, IS RETIRED PRINCIPAL OF PMA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS, WHERE HE COMMITTED MORE THAN TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF HIS CAREER.
Constructions of Power
Constructions of Power How social relations are embedded in built form
Constructions of Power
TEXT BY ERIN MACDONALD
On a typically grey January day in a typically grey corner of a typical southern Ontario downtown, I am standing by a bus station looking out over the platform to the line of railroad tracks beyond. In curious boredom I wander across the asphalt and along the tracks, taking note of the silty snow piled along the edge of the railroad. Underneath, galvanized guard rails line the tracks and I can see the metal edge peaking through the bank in a worn-down spot where a well-beaten path crosses over the tracks. I find it particularly entertaining that this path is situated immediately beside one of several “No Trespassing” signs and only metres from the dark entrance of the designated pedestrian underpass. In a half-cynical, half-reflective mood, I find myself contemplating this little path. It’s a testament to the bad design decisions out of which this illegal path has evolved. It’s clear that the tracks hinder movement through the city, and it is even clearer that the underpass provided is sub-satisfactory. It comes as no surprise that most people opt to drudge their own path. The dim, narrow underpass maintains the perfect image (and scent) of neglect, and if this isn’t enough to deter people, perhaps its poor sightlines or lack of accessibility forces users to choose an alternative.
The built environment has the capacity to produce and reproduce social norms and hierarchies of power
Retreating back to the surface for some fresh air, I note how intensely this connection is used. Linking the old residential downtown with the denser commercial downtown, it’s a significant access point, and the majority of people choose to avoid the tunnel. Looking across to the other side, I notice an adorably over-stuffed little boy shuffling in his winter gear alongside his mother. She’s pushing another cushiony youngster in a stroller as they close in on the obstacle ahead of them. Somehow, I know what is about to go down. And sure enough, they walk straight past the entrance to the underpass and head for the bank’s edge. Apparently, climbing over the barriers is much easier than lifting a stroller up a flight of stairs, and apparently it’s much faster than taking the detour around the tracks. With incredible craftiness, she manoeuvres her stroller over the hard snow and surfaces on the quiet tracks. Feeling guilty for my passive observation, I offer a hand over the final barrier. We find ourselves in a conversation about accessibility and the day-to-day struggles of lowincome parents. She explains that although she realizes this route is not the safest option, daily decisions are made according to convenience and affordability. Even public transit can be an uneconomical choice for those on a limited income. Unfortunately for this woman, the route that connects her to daily services and shops is intersected by some hefty infrastructure which isn’t going anywhere any time soon. After this encounter, I realize that the path is more than just a testament to inadequate design. It reveals deeper inadequacies: inadequacies in our social priorities and consequently in how we produce the built environment. The built environment has evolved out of history and can be read as a story, revealing a spatial narrative that is shaped by dominant social powers and cultural ideologies. If, for a moment, we abandon our identities as landscape architects and become literary analysts, we can begin to deconstruct the stories within the landscape. What does this particular story
of a pedestrian underpass reveal? Well, it certainly points to whom we accommodate in society and whom we do not, the latter including any group that is less physically able or mobile. It demonstrates the amount of power we have handed over to private entities and that public interests are too often sub-priorities. Arguably, this space would not be built in the same way today. Accessibility has become the standard. Yet it is precisely this argument that illustrates the reproductive power of the built environment. Because spaces are static, the ideologies present at the time of a space’s conception are the ideologies projected into the future, regardless of shifting or evolving social ideals. It is in this sense that the built environment has the capacity to produce and reproduce social norms and hierarchies of power beyond generations. This particular story is just one mini-drama that is part of a much larger spatial narrative which has been written by the dominating social phenomenon of capitalism. Because our society is driven by the pursuit of amenity and profit, certain social groups are often left out in spatial production. Places are designed and programmed according to certain interests and tend to reflect the ideologies of those who are empowered. Growing privatization of the public realm means our public spaces increasingly reflect the ideologies of certain social groups while others are pushed to the margins. Perhaps now more than ever, it is necessary for landscape architects to adopt a critical—and, I would argue, sympathetic— perspective on how marginality interacts with the built environment, especially because our profession is situated in a place of power, and our relatively homogenous professional network is an elite one. ERIN MACDONALD IS A RECENT GRADUATE FROM THE BACHELOR OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE PROGRAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH. SHE CURRENTLY LIVES IN VANCOUVER.
Greener, Smarter Landscape architects and the Growth Plan
TEXT BY DONNA DIAKUN AND ELANA HOROWITZ
For generations, smart growth concepts have been first principles for many landscape architects. What is now different is that these principles are backed by provincial legislation in the Places to Grow Act, 2005, and the Province’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006. As a result, the role of landscape architecture in the design of compact communities and the public realm is poised to experience a renaissance. The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe is a policy document that works to create complete communities while protecting valuable green space and agricultural lands. The Greater Golden Horseshoe, stretching from Peterborough to Niagara Falls, with Toronto at its heart, is one of the fastest growing regions in North America. By 2031, close to four million more people and almost two million more jobs are forecast to come to this region. If business-as-usual development trends were to continue, this region would experience more traffic gridlock, deteriorating air and water quality, and loss of farmland and natural areas. The Growth Plan aims to manage growth in a way that supports economic prosperity, curbs urban sprawl, revitalizes downtowns, makes better use of infrastructure, and creates more options for living, working, and getting around. The Growth Plan’s principles and policies guide municipalities to build compact, vibrant, and complete communities and to optimize the use of existing infrastructure. The Plan directs new development to existing built-up areas, identifies twenty-five downtown locations as urban growth centres, and sets density targets for these centres. It also identifies other intensification areas where new development makes sense—around major transit station areas and transit corridors, for example. The Growth Plan also sets clear policies and targets for developments in designated greenfield areas.
Central Waterfront Innovative Design Competition - Bird’s Eye View of Queen’s Quay Boulevard at Harbourfront Centre (for Waterfront Toronto)
du Toit Allsopp Hillier Central Waterfront Innovative Design Competition - Queen’s Quay Boulevard and Martin Goodman Trail at Portland Slip (for Waterfront Toronto)
du Toit Allsopp Hillier
While the Growth Plan establishes an overarching policy framework, municipalities are responsible for making decisions on the ground to conform to the Plan. In addition, they must amend their official plans to conform to the Growth Plan.
Design improvements to the streetscape of a hypothetical arterial road to make it more pedestrian, transit, and bicycle friendly
Ontario Growth Secretariat, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure
As municipalities now consider the Growth Plan’s objectives in their planning decisions, the policy regime that landscape architects have been working under will change considerably.
key growth plan policies affecting the work of landscape architects
Managing Growth (Policy 2.2.2) Population and employment growth will
Those landscape architects practising master planning and urban design at the neighbourhood and community scale will be guided and backed by clear provincial and corresponding municipal policies. These policies require new development to be compact, support a mix of uses, have high-quality public space, and consist of streets and blocks that support walking, cycling, and transit. This new policy emphasis is in contrast to conventional post-war suburban-style development, with its sprawling, separated land uses and wide, car-oriented, disconnected streets.
be accommodated by— d) reducing dependence on the automobile through the development of mixed-use, transitsupportive, and pedestrian-friendly urban environments. General Intensification (Policy 18.104.22.168) All intensification areas will be planned and designed to— c) provide high quality public open spaces with site design and urban design standards that create attractive and vibrant places. Major Transit Station Areas and Intensification Corridors (2.2.5) 04/
High-density, mixeduse redevelopment around a hypothetical major transit station
Ontario Growth Secretariat, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure Hypothetical streetscape depicting the Growth Plan's density targets for designated greenfield areas (density of approximately 50 residents and jobs combined per hectare)
transportation modes to the transit facility, includ-
Ontario Growth Secretariat, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure
zoned and designed in a manner that—
Landscape architects working at the site scale, drawing the details and getting things built, will also be guided by the broad policies of the Plan—almost all aspects of landscape architecture, right down to the design of a local bench, help to create the kinds of places that people enjoy. As neighbourhoods intensify, development becomes more compact, and private spaces become smaller, there will need to be a renewed emphasis on quality in the public realm. At the Ontario Growth Secretariat we often quote Parris Glendening (President of the Smart Growth Leadership Institute and former governor of Maryland), who says that “density without design equals disaster.” Landscape architects can contribute to ensuring that along with higher densities we are creating streetscapes, parks, squares, and other public places that are vibrant and attractive urban spaces.
2. Major transit station areas will be planned and designed to provide access from various ing consideration of pedestrians, bicycle parking and commuter pick-up/drop-off areas. Designated Greenfield Areas (Policy 2.2.7) New development taking place in designated Greenfield areas will be planned, designated, d) creates high quality public open spaces with site design and urban design standards that support opportunities for transit, walking and cycling. Implementation and Conformity The Places to Grow Act 2005 mandates that
We asked some landscape architects how they see their work being shaped now and in the future by key Growth Plan principles. What we heard is that as planning re-focuses on the potential of the existing urban fabric, new roles in city-building are opening up for landscape architects. Areas where landscape architects’ skills may increasingly come into play include creating transitions and borders between built-up areas and rural areas, and integrating designs for green roofs, urban agriculture, and recreational uses into intensified centres and corridors. Landscape architects will continue to play an important role in creating visual communications and inspiring images of how our cities can transform under Growth Plan principles—in short, how to make higher density work with good design. DONNA DIAKUN AND ELANA HOROWITZ ARE SENIOR ASSOCIATES AT THE ONTARIO GROWTH SECRETARIAT.
municipalities located where the Growth Plan applies must amend their official plans to conform with the Growth Plan. For the Greater Golden Horseshoe, this means municipalities must conform by June 2009. For more information, visit www.placestogrow.ca.
School Notes Investigating the similarities and differences between Ontario’s university programs
TEXT BY LISA DOBBIN
Many landscape architects acquired their academic degrees at the University of Toronto or the University of Guelph, the two Ontario schools with landscape architecture programs. One can achieve a master’s degree or post-professional certification at the University of Toronto, where courses have been taught since 1934. At the University of Guelph, a four-year BLA program and a three-year MLA program are on offer. The Landscape Architecture Student Society (LASS) at Guelph is one of the most active student chapters in North America; Guelph landscape architecture students are renowned for their extra-curricular involvement. To that end, the Landscape Architecture Community Outreach Centre offers volunteer design assistance directly to communities, organizations, and individuals. Sean Kelly, OALA, assistant professor and community outreach coordinator at the University of Guelph, characterizes the culture at the school as “involved and communal.” He suggests that having a centralized building for the program helps create this culture. Further, Kelly feels that a vision for strong communities is evident in Guelph programs, evidenced by environmentally conscious students who want to make the world a better place. In his teaching, Kelly focuses on instilling an appetite for learning and independent thinking over direct skills training, arguing that this is the most effective method to train students for professional work. Kelly’s teaching ethos is echoed by Michael A. Ormston-Holloway, who received his BA at the University of Guelph and went on to achieve his MLA at the University of Toronto. Ormston-Holloway claims that “the evaluation of students at Toronto is more based on the production of evocative graphics, pushing digital applica-
tions and computer software, whereas Guelph is more concerned with pushing the idea, rather than its representation.” When asked which program he prefers, Ormston-Holloway states that he feels both institutions are “incredible schools,” and what one gleans from their programs depends on one’s strengths and weaknesses. He further explains that because landscape architects come from such diverse backgrounds, much of one’s experience at school will depend on what one hopes to get out of the program. Alissa North, Associate Member, OALA, an assistant professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto, has been teaching at the school since 2003. She teaches graduate design studio, visual communication, and history, theory, and criticism courses. (She is also a partner, with her husband, Peter North, Associate Member, OALA, at North Design Office, which has received recognition for entries in several national design competitions.) In her teaching, North tries to “provide students with the necessary knowledge and motivation to allow them to become effective participants in designing environments toward intelligent futures.” She stresses that “students should be provided with a grounding in the history of the discipline while understanding the profession’s current theoretical discourse. This allows students to develop their own informed emerging perspectives, to further understand our current global realities, and solve problems through design.” Karen Landman, a professor at the University of Guelph, has a similar core teaching philosophy. She says that a constructive response to any design-related problem relates to fitting people into the environment in a sustainable way. Students are taught that they can be leaders in design—especially nowadays, with the focus on sustainability and greening the environment—if they use the creative problem-solving skills they gained throughout the program. Landman goes on to characterize the landscape architecture program at the University of Guelph as “a place where creative, concerned, and intensively involved students and faculty work, learn, and play together.” Landman has had a design practice for twenty years, with a specialization in planting design, and she has worked as a County planner in the Upper Ottawa Valley. Landman suggests that because all of the teachers at the University of Guelph have practised in some way, they are aware of the demands of the workplace and try to understand where students are headed. Her own research interests include rail-trail development, public participation in landscape conservation, perceptions of nature, and community management of natural resources. Although the two schools may be different in some ways, the dominant teaching ethos seems to be similar. Both landscape architecture programs aspire to produce graduates who have the skills and confidence to create environmentally conscious design, regardless of scale. LISA DOBBIN, A MEMBER OF THE EDITORIAL BOARD, WORKS IN THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY.
Milestones The compilation of this timeline was coordinated by Fung Lee, OALA, with contributions from many people. We offer it as a starting point for discussion, and recognize that many other “milestones” could be added to this list. Apologies in advance for any omissions. To view the complete version of the timeline, visit the Ground section of the OALA website, where there will also be an update on how readers can add items to, or comments on, the timeline.
Categories: OALA milestones Ontario educational milestones Miscellaneous milestones
RESOURCES ANTHONY ALOFSIN, THE STRUGGLE FOR MODERNISM: ARCHITECTURE, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, AND CITY PLANNING AT HARVARD, NEW YORK: W.W. NORTON & COMPANY, 2002 EXCERPTS FROM ARTICLE ON MICHAEL HOUGH, ADAPTED FROM A 1997 ARTICLE IN TORONTO LIFE MAGAZINE BY JANET DAVIS [SEE FULL ARTICLE AT HTTP://WWW.BEAUTIFUL BOTANY.COM/STORY%20ARCHIVES/BOTANY%20&%2 0INSECTS/ENVIRONMENTAL%20STUDIES%20%20MICHAEL%20HOUGH.HTM] LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE COLLECTIONS, UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH LIBRARY, ARCHIVAL AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS [SEE HTTP://WWW.LIB. UOGUELPH.CA/RESOURCES/ARCHIVAL_&_SPECIAL_ COLLECTIONS/THE_COLLECTIONS/DIGITAL_ COLLECTIONS/CCLA/] THE CANADIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA [SEE HTTP://WWW.THECANADIANENCYCLOPEDIA.COM] PUBLICATION - AINSLIE WOODS WESTDALE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, OCTOBER 2007 TAYLOR, JAMES R., THE PRACTICE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE IN CANADA, 2006 SPECIAL THANKS DIANA CROSBIE, CROSBIE COMMUNICATIONS DONNA HINDE, OALA PAST PRESIDENT RYAN JAMES, INTERVIEWS WITH OALA PAST PRESIDENTS, MARCH-APRIL 2008 LISA MACDONALD, ASSOCIATE MEMBER, OALA ANA DA SILVA BORGES AND NIMMI MATHANDA, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE DEPARTMENT AT THE DANIELS FACULTY CECELIA PAINE AND DIANA FOOLEN, UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE DEPARTMENT MARGERY WINKLER, RYERSON UNIVERSITY, LANDSCAPE DESIGN DEPARTMENT VICTORIA LISTER CARLEY, OALA ANDREW ANDERSON, OALA NETAMI STUART, ASSOCIATE MEMBER, OALA
1868 Profession of landscape architecture established by designation of Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. and Calvert Vaux as landscape architects of Central Park (they were named superintendents in 1857) 1870s Frederick Law Olmsted is commissioned to design Mount Royal Park in Montreal; Calvert Vaux landscape plan for Parliament Hill completed 1899 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) founded in New York City 1900 Frederick Todd – first person in Canada to use the title “landscape architect” 1903 Todd prepares the first comprehensive report for the development of the National Capital Region and submits it 1913 First Ontario Parks Act passed 1914 An independent Harvard Graduate School of Design officially establishes MLA program—the first landscape architecture program in North America 1920 City of Hamilton’s first subdivision, Westdale, is designed by New York landscape architect Robert Anderson Pope. Westdale is considered an ideal walkable community. 1922 City of Hamilton Parks Board hires DuningtonGrubb Landscape Architects to design the overall concept of Gage Park 1923 The Harvard School of Landscape Architecture offers an option leading to a master’s degree in city planning, the first such degree in the U.S. 1933-34 Courses in regional planning and landscape offered at Department of Architecture at University of Toronto 1934 Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and Town Planners (now CSLA) is founded 1946 The Province of Ontario enacts the Conservation Authorities Act
1948 Ryerson Polytechnic Institute Department of Architectural Science is established International Federation of Landscape Architects is established 1950 Plan for Canada’s Capital completed in 1950 by French architect-planner Jacques Greber (commissioned by Mackenzie King) 1953 Don Mills is conceived: it is the first planned community developed by private enterprise in North America, and a blueprint for suburban development; it is designed by Macklin Hancock 1955-57 Dunington-Grubb Landscape Architects designs University Avenue in Toronto 1957 Austin Floyd prepares the first Schedule of Fees and Agreements between Client and Landscape Architect for the profession 1964 The University of Guelph is incorporated (its history dates back to the founding of the Ontario Agricultural College in 1874) Victor Chanasyk, the first landscape architect to be appointed to a Canadian university, establishes the first landscape architecture degree program in Canada—the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph, a fouryear program 1967 University of Toronto establishes four-year BLA program 1968 Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) is founded. Council set about defining an association of landscape architects, clarifying qualifications for membership, and getting people to join. Emiel Van der Meulen serves as first president of the OALA. 1969 Diploma in Landscape Architectural Technology Program is established at the Ryerson Polytechnic Institute Department of Architectural Science and Landscape Architecture 1973-74 University of Guelph establishes three-year MLA program 1975 The OALA Review, a small newsletter, is initiated by Nick van Vliet
1977-1979 OALA opens first permanent office at 170 Donway West, Toronto, and first full-time staff is hired. OALA Council works hard to establish a clear policy for a landscape architect to be on staff in each municipality. Mississauga is the first municipality to have a landscape architect (John Day) on staff. Mississauga becomes the first Ontario municipality to require a landscape architecture stamp OALA lobbies municipalities to require bonds to be posted for landscape work, to provide leverage to make sure landscapes are properly finished
Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation created 1979-1981 Current OALA logo is designed by Nick van Vliet 1983 Department of Landscape Architecture at University of Toronto expands to five-year program 1984 Bill PR37, Ontario Association of Landscape Architects Act, 1984 given royal assent
1985-1986 The year of the Grandfather Clause: upon passing the OALA Act, a one-year grace period for membership applications is opened and closed. More than 200 people exercise this option - far exceeding any expectations. 1987 OALA Associate Members write first ever entrance examination for full membership Arthur Timms is hired as the first full-time Executive Director of the OALA 1993-94 OALA receives grant from Ontario Arts Council. A marketing video is developed, called Design for the Environment. This is a computer presentation on CD—an interactive computer program for public outreach, an innovative approach for the time.
Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and Town Planners' annual dinner, 1956 Archival Collections, University of Guelph A print from Sasaki, Strong and Associates Collection, 1962-67 Archival Collections, University of Guelph Belleville revitalization, 1979-80, Roger du Toit Architects Archival Collections, University of Guelph
1994 At the Ryerson Polytechnic University within the Bachelor of Architectural Science Program, a landscape architecture option is offered 1990s LARE becomes a requirement for full membership
1996-98 OALA supports University of Toronto in maintaining their landscape architecture program due to real threat that it would be completely dissolved because of U of T budget cuts. OALA Council works with a communications consultant to launch a comprehensive campaign on the value of urban cores 1997 University of Toronto’s “Planning for 2000” is approved. The goals are to phase-out undergraduate professional programs and replace with five new academic programs that would include the Master’s programs in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design 1999 OALA initiates discussions about changing entrance requirements due to lack of new graduates joining the OALA; controversy ensues OALA selects controversial Toronto issue of the dismantling of the Gardiner Expressway to launch an extensive media communications program 2000 University of Guelph establishes the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, with four programs: Landscape Architecture (BLA and MLA); Rural Studies; Rural Planning and Development; and Capacity Development and Extension 2002 Landscape architecture studies begin dissolving at Ryerson University 2003 OALA publishes the OALA Business Guide 2004 Groundwork is set for the new entrance requirements for the OALA. Half the membership is ready to approve while the other half is strongly opposed. 2005 Changes to the by-laws that govern OALA membership entrance requirements are ratified and confirmed (by a majority of those voting) at a Special General Meeting of Members on November 28, 2005 2006 James R. Taylor, FCSLA, FASLA, publishes The Practice of Landscape Architecture in Canada 2007 Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly is launched, established by new OALA Editorial Board
Perspectives on the Profession Panelists in related professions speak frankly about working with landscape architects
Moderated by LOLA SHEPPARD
BIOS/ CHRISTIAN BELLINI IS A SENIOR ASSOCIATE AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEER AT BLACKWELL BOWICK PARTNERSHIP. HE HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE STRUCTURAL DESIGN OF A VARIETY OF PROJECTS INCLUDING NUMEROUS RECREATION CENTRES AND HOUSING PROJECTS. JIM DOUGAN HAS PROVIDED ECOLOGICAL EXPERTISE FOR MORE THAN 1,000 PROJECTS IN THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS SINCE 1975. AS PRINCIPAL AND SENIOR ECOLOGIST AT DOUGAN & ASSOCIATES SINCE 1981, HE HAS DIRECTED A VARIETY OF PROJECTS IN THE FIELDS OF NATURAL HERITAGE AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE. TODD IRVINE IS A CONSULTING ARBORIST WITH BRUCE TREE EXPERTS, WHERE HE SPECIALIZES IN TREE PROTECTION ON DEVELOPMENT SITES. HE IS ALSO THE EDUCATION COORDINATOR AT LOCAL ENHANCEMENT AND APPRECIATION OF FORESTS (LEAF) WHERE HE LEADS TREECARE WORKSHOPS AND GUIDED TREE TOURS. TODD IS THE GREENSPACE COLUMNIST FOR SPACING MAGAZINE, OF WHICH HE IS A FOUNDING EDITOR. MIKE PEISTER IS THE CONSTRUCTION MANAGER FOR ALDERSHOT LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS, ONE OF ONTARIO’S LARGEST AND MOST RESPECTED LANDSCAPE AND SITE DEVELOPMENT CONTRACTORS. HE HAS MANAGED THE CONSTRUCTION OF MAJOR LANDMARKS IN ONTARIO, INCLUDING THE TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDEN, SQUARE ONE IN MISSISSAUGA, AND TORONTO’S ROUNDHOUSE PARK. BARRY SAMPSON BECAME A PARTNER IN THE FIRM BAIRD/SAMPSON ARCHITECTS IN 1982 AND HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN A WIDE RANGE OF ARCHITECTURAL, HERITAGE, URBAN DESIGN, AND PLANNING RESEARCH ASSIGNMENTS UNDERTAKEN BY THE FIRM. LOLA SHEPPARD IS ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ARCHITECTURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO AND A PRINCIPAL OF THE FIRM LATERAL ARCHITECTURE. SHE HAS WORKED AS AN ARCHITECT IN PARIS, ROTTERDAM, AND LONDON. PHILIP WEINSTEIN IS A PLANNER, URBAN DESIGNER AND PARTNER WITH THE PLANNING PARTNERSHIP. HE HAS MORE THAN FORTY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE DESIGNING COMMUNITIES IN CANADA AND INTERNATIONALLY.
Lola Sheppard (LS): Could you tell me about particularly fruitful collaborations with a landscape architect or firm? Jim Dougan (JD): I started out working as an independent ecologist, and then in the early 1990s needed help. It was landscape architects I started to connect with because of the range of skills they brought to projects. Now it’s typical for me to employ three qualified landscape architects. All of them come out of an ecological background and have gone into design. Christian Bellini (CB): As a structural engineer, we tend to work more with architects than landscape architects. The most fruitful and the smoothest-run projects that we’ve been involved in with landscape architects were ones where we had collaboration. One thing that tends to happen is that you get caught up in the building, and the landscape architect is busy doing their thing for the landscape component. By the time we take a look at what they’re proposing, we’re usually able to come up with a solution that works, but had the landscape architect come in earlier, we would have had the ability to explore things that are a little more unusual. Phil Weinstein (PW): I’m lucky enough to have some brilliant landscape architecture partners. I don’t understand any kind of land design without involving a landscape architect. LS: What kind of skills do you think landscape architects bring? PW: The most interesting aspect of it is that they’re not hung up about the various little details. Their concern is much broader and they look at the entire site and all of the things that are impacting the site.
LS: The role and scope of projects that landscape architects are involved in is changing. Todd, as an arborist, do landscape architects seek you out, or do you always seek out landscape architects? Todd Irvine (TI): Well, arborists come after landscape architects usually, which is unfortunate because the trees have usually been there for more than 200 years in some cases, so I think that we should be starting with them. Unfortunately, I’m given the duty to get rid of those trees that don’t fit in the blueprints, which is often the situation, but that’s changing. Our current work with one firm could be an example. We have some large beautiful old oaks, and there’s this church being converted into condos. One of the requirements is that we need parking. These oaks have probably been there since before Canada existed. We actually managed to come up with a new treatment for the parking lot. Instead of packing the soil, we’re going to install the parking lot on top of the existing grade, so that we can save the trees and have the parking that is required. Because of the City of Toronto’s ravine protection and tree protection by-laws, now we’re being called upon very frequently because developers can’t get their permit without us. But the mindset is still “here’s the plan, get us a permit.” But I’ll say, “Well, your plan can’t allow the severing of the roots of all of these trees.” More and more of my clients are coming to us earlier because they’re recognizing that. And I think landscape architects are as well. One aspect of landscape architecture, to my mind, is that they’re often a jack of all trades, but master of none. I’ve found myself surprised by decisions made by landscape architects about trees, because I would have thought that they’d have more of an appreciation for trees. Sometimes there’s incredible sensitivity to landscape, depending on the landscape architect. And sometimes it’s incredibly slanted towards the design that they’re trying to obtain.
Mike Peister (MP): As a contractor, I work with many different landscape architects. I don’t think landscape architects are brought in enough for consulting. They’re often brought in at the tail-end. Budgets are slashed on the landscape portion all the time because it’s the last item. Sometimes that puts us in a bad situation with the landscape architects, because we’re asked by the owners and the general contractor to provide value-engineering, which means we’re leaving the landscape architects behind. We’re asked to do it by the client; now the landscape architect has their back up against us. This can cause problems for us and, of course, cause disruptions for the project. LS: Do you think that’s changing? MP: I don’t see it yet. JD: I think it’s partly because of the project’s structure. I don’t think landscape design has been fully resolved with the client, what their capability is with a reasonable budget. LS: Do you think landscape architects should learn how to defend their projects better? JD: Aggressiveness is definitely a part of the solution, but also dealing with the practicalities of getting clients to think in real terms of what they want and what they have available to work with. LS: Do you think that if landscape architects were brought in from day one, their work would be seen as more essential? CB: I think that’s part of it, but I think that the other part of it is that the architect is often the consultant for the client, and they have a direct line to the client. When the value-engineering time comes around, because of the prioritization of it, architecture takes priority over the landscape. And that’s often how the client sees things as well. But these priorities can change
depending on how well the client is educated on the project. Barry Sampson (BS): Because my firm does a lot of public space design, as well as building, we have over the years had a lot of different experiences with landscape architects, from projects where we collaborate from the beginning, like Nathan Phillips Square, to ones where the landscape architects are hired later on as subconsultants. The experiences we’ve found best were the ones that were collaborative and where the landscape architects bring to the table levels of expertise in respect to performance that complement those of our own. For example, we’ve been on several projects where we’ve been frustrated that landscape architects haven’t had as much knowledge of the performance of plant species and bioremediation as we’ve expected. They’ve been more interested in decorative issues as opposed to performance issues. On the other hand, I’ve had experiences with landscape architects where they’ve brought to the table an extraordinary depth of experience. For example, when we did the butterfly conservatory for the Niagara Parks Commission, the landscape architect had a huge depth of knowledge of exotic plants and tropical plants that were required in this particular environment, and a very rigorous approach to sourcing them, selecting them, ensuring that they were properly prepared for the installation, and it went very well, in terms of the performance that we were expecting. My most disappointing experiences with landscape architects have been where essentially we’ve butted heads in formal and methodological systems. The best experiences I’ve had are ones where it’s been collaborative and where we’re interested in each other’s area of expertise and we can mutually produce, and mutually define, the project beyond our individual hands.
PW: Are you working with landscape architects whom you’ve chosen to work with? Or are these people thrust upon you? BS: In some cases they were proposed; in some cases we proposed to work with them. PW: I had a partner who once said, “if I leave a job, and no one knows I’ve been there, then I’ve done the right thing.” And I had a partner who once said, “if I leave the job and no one knows I’ve been there, I’m a failure.” I think landscape architects seem to exhibit a kind of minority group complex. It’s possibly even taught that everyone’s going to be tough on you, no one is really going to listen to you, you come along late, there’s no budget… Everyone seems to come out of landscape architecture with a sense that they’re going to be skunked on and stepped on if they don’t speak up. LS: What are some of the frustrations that you’ve experienced in your working relations with landscape architects? And how did you improve upon those types of working relationships? TI: Maybe this whole idea of being the last one to take a kick at the can instills a sort of notion that they’re not important because they’re always left to do these last features, with not many resources left. BS: I think that the changes in circumstance in landscape architecture between some years ago and now is that until recently the landscape elements of a project were not seen to be perhaps central to its cultural or social performance. The landscape seems to be much more central now in terms of what it contributes. Landscape architects are playing a more central role in regards to that, in both large- and small-scale projects. And that’s why it’s important that all the disciplines become much more knowledgeable about how their various areas of expertise interact as a kind of integrated package
and make it much more difficult to valueengineer out. We work more as partners as opposed to the landscape architect providing a sort of decorative service, which amplifies the overall appearance of the project but is in no way central. It makes for a more exciting team relationship where you are really trying to define problems that are beyond your previous experience, and you’re really trying to do things that are truly creative and make a significant contribution to society. LS: Do you think that the role of landscape architects changes based on the scale of the contract, that they have a more significant role in a larger project, for instance? MP: In local park projects, landscape architects are the prime consultants. It is in the larger-scale projects that they are often pushed to the back burner. And when I’m saying that their budgets are slashed, I’m not saying that the architect overspent. Often, the budgets are there, but things always come up in construction, we all know that. Other things have spent the budget and there’s nowhere to slash. Budgets are budgets and there are always contingencies, but they have to slash in the end, which is usually the landscape work. I feel it’s more in the larger projects that landscape architects are often ignored. I’ve seen it in meetings where the landscape architect will try to express something and be immediately shut down. LS: And this brings us back to the concept that landscape architects can bring in very specific expertise, a kind of technical knowledge as well as a design agenda… MP: Some of them don’t really have the technical background. They might have a terrific design flair, but if they don’t have the technical background, then they can’t speak to it. And that’s the downfall of it all.
TI: I don’t envy landscape architects because they have this incredible breadth of issues that they have to consider. I’m really excited to see that we’re moving more and more towards integration of the environment. Sometimes the environment isn’t quite as sexy in the sense that you put some big cubes in the middle of a park and people see and recognize that as a presence. But whether the soil allows tree roots to grow isn’t something a lot of people consider. So the fact that we’ve started shifting that way is wonderful. My question is, are landscape architects ready for that? Many of them seem to have more of a design mindset that hasn’t necessarily made the transition to a more ecological base. LS: Going back to a previous comment, Todd, you mentioned before that landscape architects were like a jack of all trades and master of none. Do you think that your disciplines are using landscape architects to their full potential? TI: In my experience, I’ve been a wrench in the works, because I’m the one who says, “Oh, you can’t do that, because a big tree’s there.” I have more experience with this with architects. With landscape architects, I’d like to turn to them and say, “Here’s what I would love to see, can you do it?” And some say, “yeah, let’s get to it,’ and with the ones who get to it, it’s amazing what can be accomplished. CB: For structural engineers, our role is very much a support role with architects or with landscape architects: our position is to see what they want to do and make it happen—at least, that’s the way we like to look at it. There’s always a perception that
structural engineers are the ones who are going to say, “yes you can,” or “no you can’t.” But we don’t like to do that; we like to see how we can make it happen. We have developed great relationships with architects where we’ve sat down and found out how to make unlikely things happen, from a building point of view, and we think it would be really great to do that kind of thing with landscape architects—to help make landscape architects aware of unlikely things they might be able to do but that they haven’t even thought of. LS: Once performance becomes a driving factor, you find ways to design that support that performance rather than competing among the various disciplines. BS: It could be said that in the past, landscape was seen as a luxury. For example, in a school building project, you could always cut the landscape budget because it would be nice to have more trees and more shrubs and so forth, but if you can’t you can’t, it’s not going to ruin it for the kids in the school. Now, you understand that you have to have shade for kids, you have to deal with water quality issues on site, you’re making some contribution or not to biomass, the roof is now contributing to heating or cooling the environment, and so forth. So it’s a much richer situation now, in which landscape issues are inescapable. Now it’s understood that the environment is sheltering us, and so it’s redefining a lot of these issues and roles. LS: Two of the key issues that keep coming up from this discussion are the question of early collaboration and this idea of performance. What is each person’s role: the engineer, the arborist, the architect? When it becomes a kind of performative question and not just an aesthetic one, there’s an
inherent mutual respect that’s built-in between the professions that allows them to work together much more fruitfully. PW: Well, there’s something we haven’t talked about: public policy. Public policy will also have an effect—for example, green roofs are going to be a public policy. Site plan control is now a common requirement for any project of any significant size, and it always requires a landscape plan, and typically we’re doing site plan control submissions earlier and earlier on projects, which means the landscape architect has to be on board earlier. And as public policy stipulates landscape elements and performance more and more, the inter-dependence of the disciplines in the design process will be established and that will just be the way things are. THIS ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION WAS ORGANIZED BY NETAMI STUART, ASSOCIATE MEMBER, OALA. SAMANTHA ENG AND LISA MACDONALD, ASSOCIATE MEMBER, OALA, PROVIDED THE TRANSCRIPTION. .
TEXT BY NANCY CHATER, ASSOCIATE MEMBER, OALA
Salt of the Earth
Increasingly, landscape architects are specifying the inclusion of compost in soil mixes because of its capacity to alleviate soil compaction, reduce erosion, improve water retention, and reduce dependence on chemical fertilizers. However, the increased organic matter of compost is often tied to higher levels of soluble salts in soils, which can be detrimental to plants. Higher levels of organic matter in compost bind with and “hold onto” salt. Sources of salt in compost include various “feedstock” ingredients such as animal manure, leaf waste contaminated by road salt, spent mushroom waste, among other sources. Immature compost, not fully decomposed to a stable point, or “finished,” often has very elevated salt levels. Thus, when compost is specified in a soil mix, it is especially important to test for total salts and to evaluate the types of salt that comprise the total. As I learned through the arduous experience of having to evaluate engineered soil mixes (which included compost) with high salts, the world of soil testing is complicated. My salty tale was an eye-opener, demonstrating that while landscape architects can draw on soil experts, it’s helpful to understand the guidelines and language of testing for salts to achieve optimum results.
Soil Testing: Units and Methods In Ontario, the standards for acceptable levels of total salts are set through guidelines developed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). Anything above 0.45 mS/cm (millisiemens per centimetre) is high and “may reduce emergence and cause slight to severe damage to salt sensitive plants.” Ratings of 1.0 mS/cm and above are excessive and “expected to cause severe damage to most plants.” While the OMAFRA guidelines are stated in millisiemens per centimetre, accredited labs present their results in various units of measure. For example, you may encounter reports that present total salts in millimhos per centimetre (mmhos/cm). There is conflicting information in circulation about conversion rates between the two units, but in fact they are numerically identical. Beware though: there are yet more units of measure in use and some do require a conversion factor. Note, as well, that the “total salt” reading is also identified on lab tests as “electrical conductivity” because salinity is assessed by measuring the electrical conductivity of a water extract of the media. Testing methods also affect the stated level of total salt. Topsoil mixes, which may include compost, are typically tested as field soil using one method, a 1:2 soil water ratio extract, while greenhouse soils are tested with another method: saturated paste. The 1:2 ratio method produces lower salt numbers than the saturated paste process. Because the OMAFRA guidelines are to be read in relation to the 1:2 ratio testing method, it is important to verify the testing process of the lab. A greenhouse soil may be acceptable with much higher levels of salt than topsoil because of this difference.
Finally, there can be differences in laboratory reporting styles. For example, in their reports, Agri-Food Laboratories in Guelph multiplies the total salts reading by a factor of two, so a conversion is required to compare the salt level they report to the OMAFRA guidelines. As one soil expert told me, it’s best to find a lab, understand its methods of testing and presenting data, and stick with it. Comparing results between labs is confusing, even for experienced soil consultants. Interpreting Test Results While the total salt measure is key, examining the levels of both naturally occurring “good” salts (calcium, magnesium, and potassium) and “bad” salts (sodium and chloride) within the spectrum of salts is relevant to analyzing the soil mix. For example, if sodium is high within an overall high total salt reading, it’s worse news than high calcium in a similar elevated total salts reading. Which standards do we follow when interpreting tests? Public Works and Government Services Canada’s National
01 Visit: www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/resource/soillabs.htm for a list of accredited soil testing laboratories. See: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/pub811/2fertmat.htm#table229 for OMAFRA guidelines.
High levels of salt in soil may damage plants
DCS Agronomic Services
Master Specification on topsoil states that “soil sampling, testing, and analysis [should] be in accordance with Provincial standards,” thereby pointing to the OMAFRA guidelines. Most practicing soil consultants such as agronomists and soil scientists rely on the OMAFRA guidelines when interpreting soil testing data and making recommendations to landscape architects. However, to make the situation even more complex, there are some experts who deem the OMAFRA guidelines conservative, specifically in terms of acceptable salt levels, and they note that more research is required in this area of soil science and salt sensitivity of plants. Other factors to consider include the condition of sub-soil and drainage characteristics of the site. While rain will flush salts over time, if the subsoil is fine-textured and compacted, salt can concentrate in a layer just above the compacted sub-soil and, during dry spells, be drawn back up into the root zone by capillary action. Salts tend to accumulate in drainage depressions; thus, the installation of drainage tiles at selective points may be required to offset accumulation of salt. To be on the safe side, it is advisable to include a maximum level of total soluble salts in your soil specification, using the OMAFRA guidelines, and to be aware of the issues I have outlined in testing and interpreting tests. NANCY CHATER, ASSOCIATE MEMBER, OALA, IS A DESIGNER AND PROJECT MANAGER WITH MARK HARTLEY LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS IN TORONTO, AND THE TECHNICAL CORNER COLUMNIST FOR GROUND.
Notes: A Miscellany of News and Events
Ontario inukshuk holds Guinness World Record
Allstone Quarry Products Inc. Canadian team wins second prize in the 5 - 12 Sichuan Earthquake Memorial Landscape competition
Van Thi Diep Award-winning green roof projects profiled in new book
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities
events The 2009 OALA Annual General Meeting will be held on Friday, March 6th, 2009 at the Grande Hotel in Toronto. Further details to follow (see www.oala.ca), but please reserve the date. Canada Blooms will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from March 18 to 22, 2009. See www.canadablooms.com for more information. 01
Schomberg, Ontario, is home to the tallest inukshuk in the world, constructed by Allstone Quarry Products Inc. Measuring 39 feet, weighing 90 tons, and consisting of 11 pieces of granite gneiss, the stones were extracted from an Allstone quarry near Sudbury and now tower alongside Highway 27 in Schomberg, where Allstone runs its business. The stones from which the inukshuk is made are among the oldest geological formations in the world.
LIUNA Local 183 has announced that five irrigation contractors have recently become members of the union. There are now six unionized irrigation contractors that can entertain work on projects requiring union membership by subcontractors. The increased selection will mean more competitive bidding by landscape contractors on union projects. The following irrigation contractors are now unionized: D.J. Rain; Water Works Lawn Sprinklers INC; Burtro Lawn Sprinklers Co. Ltd; CIC Irrigation; Canscape Irrigation; and TMT Irrigation.
schools The University of Toronto’s architecture faculty has been renamed the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design in honour of a Toronto real estate developer’s $14-million gift to the school. John Daniels’ gift is the largest ever to a Canadian architectural school and will be used to support a $21-milllion renovation and expansion being planned for the building at the corner of College and Huron in Toronto. As well, $5 million will support new scholarships—the John and Myrna Daniels Scholars—at the faculty.
honours Cathrin Winkelmann, a University of Toronto landscape architecture graduate, has won the Analysis and Planning Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects for her thesis project “Rethinking the Limits of Public Space.” John Danahy, OALA, acted as faculty advisor for this thesis project—the third year in a row that one of Danahy’s thesis students has won this prestigious ASLA award.
projects in the book includes a descriptive text outlining project details, challenges, and technical specifications. While the photos provide much inspiration, it is the candid exploration of unexpected problems—and how these were overcome—that will prove most useful to practitioners. (“The general public loves the park to death” is one of the more poignant problems faced by Millennium Park in Chicago; “strict maintenance protocols” were the solution.)
awards Congratulations to Van Thi Diep, Associate Member, OALA, and Zhi Xiao, for their award-winning submission to the International Conceptual Design Competition for the 5-12 Sichuan Earthquake Memorial Landscape. Their entry, titled “Life Lines,” was one of two second-prize winners in the competition and was selected from 120 entries from around the world. “Life Lines,” along with other winning entries, was featured in the August issue of Landscape Architecture Journal. 04
green roofs Green roofs are becoming increasingly popular, and there has been a corresponding increase in the number of resources available on the subject. The non-profit organization Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) has been leading the way—organizing annual conferences, disseminating reports, publishing a magazine, and advocating for greater awareness of green roof benefits.
Since 2002, GRHC has administered a Green Roof Awards of Excellence program, and these innovative projects have now been collected and published in a book, Award Winning Green Roof Designs (Schiffer Publishing Ltd). Fully illustrated with colour photographs, each of the more than forty
Along with award-winning projects, the book also includes many sources for further information and provides a timely snapshot of where the green roof industry stands today. In his introduction, Steven W. Peck, the energetic founder and president of GRHC, outlines and celebrates the rapid growth of green roofs, but acknowledges that “we have only really just begun to explore the magnificent opportunities that green roofs provide.” This book, available in bookstores or directly from the publisher, will help move that exploration forward.
courses The University of Guelph Arboretum offers numerous courses throughout the year, covering topics from plant identification to ecological gardening. Upcoming courses include a Conifer Workshop (January 16), the Art and Practice of Pruning (March 18), Growing Perennials from Seed (March 26), and Ponds: Wet and Wild (April 16). For details and to register, visit www.uoguelph.ca/arboretum.
6% have been members for more than 30 years. 33% have been members for 20-30 years. 22% have been members for 10-20 years. 19% have been members for 5-10 years. 20% have been members for fewer than 5 years.
In 1980 – 1989, 76.3% of 372 OALA full members (not including associates) were male and 23.7% were female. In 2008, 73.8% of 755 OALA full members (not including associates) were male and 26.2% were female.
15% graduated from University of Toronto. 29% graduated from University of Guelph. 8% graduated from Ryerson. 2% graduated from University of Manitoba, University of British Columbia, University of Montreal or Harvard. 6% graduated from other universities There is no educational data for 40% of OALA members.
58% of a total of 66 graduates from all professional landscape architecture programs in Ontario** in 2008 were women. 39% of a total of 44 graduates from all professional landscape architecture programs in Ontario in 1990 were women. 47% of a total of 79 graduates from all professional landscape architecture programs in Ontario in 1980 were women.
Stephanie Jarvis Peter MacDonagh Tina McMullen Jennifer Nagai Christopher Reed Stephanie Snow Jane Tsui * Matthew Sweig Kristina White Joel Zavitz
There were 59 new members*** in 2007. There were 44 new members in 2006. There were 40 new members in 2005. There were 31 new members in 2004. There were 40 new members in 2003. As of September, there have been 39 new memberships in 2008.
demographics DID YOU KNOW…. As of September 2008, there are 1069 OALA Members:* 75.2% of members work in private practice; 24.8% of members work in public practice.
Distribution of Ontario's landscape architects: the larger the exclamation point, the greater the number of landscape architects in that postal code
Edward Emanuel Birnbaum and Martin Cornelius Danyluk Distribution of landscape architects across the Golden Horseshoe: the larger the exclamation point, the greater the number of landscape architects in that postal code
Edward Emanuel Birnbaum and Martin Cornelius Danyluk
*Unless otherwise stated, all statistics include full members, emeritus and full waiver members, associate members and full members on leave. **MLA and BLA Programs at the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph. Ryerson is not included. ***Based on associate start date, unless members came in as full member, i.e., through reciprocity, senior oral exam. STATISTICS COMPILED BY NETAMI STUART WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF KAREN SAVOIE
The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects is proud to recognize and welcome the following new full members to the Association:
Asterisk (*) denotes a Full Member not having custody and use of the Association seal. As at October 15, 2008, the following persons are no longer landscape architects nor members of the OALA due to their non-payment of dues: Lori Eaton John Kristof Walter Kuettel Victor Lee Brian McCluskey James Nelson Paul Nodwell Robert Wright
Interested in being involved with Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly? The OALA Editorial Board is looking for volunteers who can help out with various tasks, such as research, transcription, and writing. Any level of commitment is appreciated, from researching upcoming events for the Notes section to transcribing Round Table discussions... Fun, satisfying work—and the best part, no need to attend meetings! To get involved, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
HISHAM MATAR, ON THE WORK OF ANDREW VASS
"Andrew Vass's margin is the edge of the city, outside its walls. With his principle tool, the line—the line is his language—he traces the barrier. He seems to be asking: How is it to be here now? And embedded in this question there is a multitude of other questions: Where to now? Why do I yearn? And from what, for what? And why the sky? Why the solitude? Why the horizon? Why the city? But most consistently, he seems to ask: Why enter? For indeed Vass's work is contingent on remaining apart from the parade, restricting his meditations to the line until the line becomes an allegory for being, a heart's pulse, a register of life."
The work of Andrew Vass 01/
The discordant geometry of modern urban landscapes represented in the work of artist Andrew Vass