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Studio V

Photo by, Ashley Millar Studio V is a student journal of Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph. SV aims to support, stimulate and showcase excellence in LA student and faculty work.

2018/2019 1

Photo by, Carly Balestra

Disclaimer: Studio V is coordinated by students of the landscape architecture program. The journal wishes to provide readers with useful and inspiring resources and information. Studio V and University of Guelph assume no liability or responsibility for any inaccurate, delayed or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon. The information contained about each individual, event or organization has been provided by such individual, event organizer or organization without verification by us. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Studio V or University of Guelph. Inquiries: All inquiries may be directed to Studio V Journal via email or by writing to Studio V Journal, Landscape Architecture, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1 2018/19 Editorial Team Carly Balestra, Lauren Dickson, Rachel Fraser, Tamara Freeman, Winona Khuu, Emma Kirk, Jeryn Mackey, Claire Merrick, Ashley Millar, Rachel Nault, Nathan Perkins, Carleigh Pope, Siena Turnbull and Victoria Ventzke This journal was printed in Guelph, Ontario on paper with recycled content.


Editors’ LETTER It is with great pleasure that we present you with this latest edition of Studio V. This edition marks the third publication for our journal and we are thrilled to once again highlight the innovation and creativity of University of Guelph Landscape Architecture students. From its humble beginnings three years ago, Studio V has grown to truly represent the talent and prestige within U of G’s LA program. Within this issue you will find student work from all levels of the BLA and MLA programs that exemplify the diversity and interdisciplinary profession of landscape architecture. As you pore over the pages in this journal we hope that you are inspired to challenge perceptions, push boundaries, and re-imagine landscapes just as our contributors have. As this year’s co-editors, we would like to sincerely thank all of the hard work of our editorial board and the generous support from U of G faculty, namely Nate Perkins, for his infinite supply of anecdotes and sage guidance since the start of Studio V. We also wish to thank the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects for their generous support that allowed us to print the journal you are now holding. And of course, we wish to thank all of the U of G LA students who submi�ed their work for publication in this edition of Studio V. Even with the hard work of an editorial board, faculty, and financial benefactors, this journal could not have been possible without the exemplary student work to fill its pages. Kind regards,

Carleigh Pope & Jeryn Mackey



Photo by, Brendan Stewart




Backpacking Before Exchange

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The Sprout

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We T h e N o r t h

The Current and The Cascades: A Rainwater Celebration

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p. / 1 0 JAMES HUGHES Fr e n c h Fo r m a l G a r d e n s : A S y m b o l o f N o b i l i t y

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T h e Fa m i l y B a ck ya rd

I n f o r m a t i o n A n x i e t y, A p o c a l y p s e P o r n a n d the Decline of Community

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VICTORIA VENTZKE Meaford Harbour Winter Revitalization

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p. / 3 4 CLAIRE MERRICK Patarei Museum Comple x: Re vitalization of a Post-Militaristic Landscape to a Mixed-Use Cultural Space

p. / 3 5 INTERVIEW With Brendan Stewart by Claire Merrick


p. / 4 0 JERYN MACKEY Room for Ever yone: gender sensitive design i n Fo r t S t . Jo h n , B . C .


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Segmentation Wan Zhang // 4th year BLA Course: LARC*3050 Landscape Architecture I Instructor: Patricia Lynes

The project is inspired by Roberto Burle Marx’s design principles. The design brings an abstractionism artistic style into the site. This segmentation plaza project utilizes straight lines to separate the space and presents the sense of balance in space. The segmentation plaza, located in downtown Guelph, creates different activity spaces for community and potential tourism use. The plaza is both aesthetically pleasing and multi-functional.



The Sprout Brennan Guse, Kimberley Beech, Sita Ganesan, Samuel Heaman // 2nd year MLA Course: LARC*6440 Community Design Instructor: Brendan Stewart The team worked collaboratively on the plazaPOPS project — a research/design/build installation inspired by thesis work completed by MLA grad Daniel Rotsztain. The main goal of the project was to create an engaging gathering space in a strip mall parking lot through a series of neighbourhood analyses and consultations with members of the Wexford Height community located in Scarborough. The Sprout’s mission is to simultaneously celebrate the natural beauty of local green spaces and engage the people of Wexford in a community gardening exercise. Through a modern, representative design, our team hopes to bring nature back into the city, while educating the public about plant care and the power of creating connections with nature. Based on a variety of planting programs, participants can choose to take the plants they have cared for home or to plant them in a nearby conservation area such as the Meadoway. The Sprout acts as an oasis in the city, a paradise at the heart of the pavement, and allows visitors to enjoy an environment that surrounds them with the sublimity of the natural world.


The modular design is made up of sono tubes painted white that allow for a variety of plants to grow in pots within them. Taking inspiration from the starry night sky and the aurora borealis, LED lighting will be installed in various sono tunes to create an enriched visitor experience, increase nigh�me safety, and enhance the beauty of Wexford Heights. The instillations will also include a rotating planting theme that will change every month. Some of the planting themes can include edible plants coinciding with the Taste of the Lawrence Festival, Native Seedlings that can be replanted in local ravines, and Meadoway Array where pollinator species can be replanted in the nearby Meadoway.


The Current and The Cascades: A Rainwater Celebration Kevin Todd and Sima Kuhail // 2nd year MLA Course: LARC*6440 Environmental Design Instructor: Robert Corry In order to mitigate the ecological impact of rapidly urbanizing regions such as Southern Ontario, safe and effective management of stormwater runoff is critical. In Guelph, water systems are a significant aspect of the city’s identity not only because the downtown core showcases the confluence of the Speed and Eramosa rivers, but more importantly because the town’s water supply depends largely on aquifers. “The Current and the Cascades” rainwater infiltration project is designed to improve an aging region of the University of Guelph campus by implementing stormwater infrastructure while visually acknowledging and celebrating the rainwater cycle. The redesign of this space will showcase the capture of stormwater runoff and result in a landscape that encourages engagement and education. The site itself has great potential to be highly valuable to the campus as a research demonstration project and as an element of pride for the institution.


French Formal Gardens: A Symbol of Nobility James Hughes // 4th year BLA

Essay Excerpt Symmetry, water features, topiary and were all methods used to impose order on the natural landscape and they have now become defining characteristics of French formal gardens. French formal gardens are unique as they combine aspects of from both art and engineering. To first understand the French formal garden as a whole the overall layout and land division must be understood. The division and overall layout of French formal gardens is a key identifying feature of this style. The land is separated through the use of hard dividing lines, branching off from a strong central axis, the land is then further divided into an informal grid pa�ern. These grid areas are then further divided though the use of symmetrical shapes such as squares or diamonds. Unlike gardens from the East, French formal gardens were easily navigated, with clear paths outlined by the central horizon line. The use of a central axis created a central corridor that would run the entire length of the garden. This central corridor would be gradually narrowed, very subtly and would go unnoticed by those walking it. Topiary, the shaping of trees, was a gardening technique used throughout French formal gardens. It was used to create areas of privacy and seclusion.


Seen here is Siena Turnbull (top left), a 3rd year BLA student making lifelong memories as she backpacks along Southeast Asia before heading to her exchange in Australia.


Backpacking Before Exchange Siena Turnbull // 3rd year BLA

My lifelong dream has been to travel the world. I have always had a love of learning about new cultures, trying new foods and immersing myself within the unfamiliarity of the different countries I visit. With our busy student lives and living on a student budget, it has been hard for myself to do any extensive travel. However, when I found out about the opportunity to go on exchange within the BLA program I immediately jumped on this opportunity to do some travelling.

I picked Australia as my destination since classes would not start until March and therefore, I could travel elsewhere before se�ling in for a new term. I organized a trip alongside three of my friends (also going on exchange) to backpack five different countries throughout South East Asia including Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia. Before embarking on my journey, I experienced fear of the unknown as I selected five different countries

about which I had no prior knowledge. Jumping in with both feet, I lived out of a backpack, hostel-hopping and spent hours on night busses and cheap airline flights to make it to everywhere I wanted to go in such a short timeline. I met so many different people from all over the world. Something I recognized and appreciated when travelling is this universal respect and admiration for natural beauty.


People come from all over the world to see these foreign landscapes. The first feeling of awe I had while travelling was a hike we did in Hong Kong called Dragon’s Back Trail. We hiked to the peak of the mountain and saw an uninterrupted view of the soft, lush peaks sprinkled in chalky sand with the light blue sea below us. It was just three of us on the trail at the time and we all stopped for a moment of silence to take in what we were experiencing. This allowed me to be fully encapsulated within the moment I was in. I had no other thoughts; I was simply present. Something about the natural, untouched beauty grounds an individual, appreciating the simplicity in life. I adopted this mentality throughout the rest of my travels, stopping to take a moment out of every day to really take in what I was experiencing. As I continued my travels, I began to compare the different landscapes of each country, appreciating the identity of country each landscape displayed. Though close geographically, each of these countries were vastly different; seeing a range of landscape from the steep, barren and rocky terrain of Vietnam to the red, dry


flatlands of Cambodia. The excitement of seeing something I had never seen before made me feel like a kid again, grinning from ear to ear and becoming almost giddy every new moment I was experiencing. Each landscape told a story of its country’s history. From the ancient city of Ankor in Siem Riep, Cambodia, the rice fields of Indonesia to the islands of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, each landscape was home to temples, residents and vegetation that formed the identity of each country. Pertaining to my career, I want to foster this feeling of encapsulation I felt in these foreign landscapes and create spaces that fully immerse the visitor in their immediate surroundings. My travels have inspired me to design places for people to take a pause from their everyday lives, sparking interest in urban design. Our westernized society lives such a fast-paced lifestyle, rushing from point A to point B and this is reflective on the way our cities have been developed. My travels have taught me that in order to create spaces that truly captivate the visitor, the space needs to be quiet and

untouched yet tell a story and offer many things to discover; creating a space for a person to both explore and escape to. I am inspired to create an influx of green spaces for people to use within our major cities, redefining the structure of city living and to promote a slower, more appreciative way of life. I want to create spaces that form an identity for the city/ province/country that it is located in. My biggest piece of advice would be to take any opportunity you can when it comes to travel. I have not only learned so much about different cultures cuisine, lifestyle and tradition but I have also learned a lot about myself and have grown as a person on account to my trip. As scary as it is to book a flight across the world to a place you’ve never been before, it is so worth it to just go and not look back. Travelling has inspired me as an aspiring landscape architect to create spaces of retreat for people, designing quiet and natural landscapes that invoke both exploration and relaxation. Travelling has made me fall in love with landscape architecture all over again.


Mountain Prairie Maritime

Kimberley Beech and Skylyssa Carville // 2nd year MLA Course: LARC* 6470 Integrative Environmental Planning Instructor: Rob Corry


Located in the southeast corner of the University of Guelph campus, the site is nestled between Stone Road, South Ring Road, and the University of Guelph bus loop. Currently this site has poorly designed green space, with slopes that are causing flooding in high traffic areas. Within the site stands South Residence, a building that put the University of Guelph on the map in 1968 when it was declared the largest single roomed residence of equal size in North America. South Residence consists of three halls, Mountain, Prairie, and Maritime, each hall having its own courtyard within it. Although there are challenges throughout the site the focus of the design was the three courtyards. The goal of the design was to improve the rain water management; create functional spaces that enhance identity, culture, and value of the campus; and improve biodiversity, ecosystem services and campus microclimate. The intention of the design is to mimic the water management techniques found in the three Canadian landscapes (mountain, prairie and maritime) and implement each landscape into the designated courtyards. Through the use of conveyance slopes, infiltration areas, new prairie grass species, and permeable pavers, the proposed site design is capable of infiltrating all of the water within a 48 h after a 33mm rain event. This project is a mosaic of styles. First we used AutoCAD to lay out our master plan, built a physical model to understand the movement of water, then Photoshop, hand sketches and Illustrator to bring our design together.

About Kimberley

About Skylyssa

Kim completed her Bachelors of Arts and Science at the University of Guelph, triple minoring in plant science, agriculture and geography. Professionally, Kim has previously worked for the Region of Peel as a student designer for their Water Smart Fusion Team, and as a greenhouse associate at Terra greenhouses for 5 years. Her research interests are in cultural heritage, and trail development.

Skylyssa has a degree from OCAD University in Environmental Design and is currently completing her second year of her masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph. Sky has worked as a landscape designer for several residential landscape companies throughout the GTA while also running her own design business with two other business partners. Her research interests include sustainable design, sustainable lifestyle, art, innovative design solutions, biomimicry, fringe cities, community design, and women’s rights.


We The North Quinn Howard // 2nd year MLA It is a land at the edge of our conscious, integral to who we are and how we define ourselves as country. Driving through Downtown Toronto the Raptors slogan is emblazoned on buildings. We the North. The North over Everything. And it makes me angry. We are not North, we do not know North. We wear our Canada Goose through the city streets, bemoan salt stains on our shoes and an early sunset. If we were the North, we would celebrate our lake ice and late snow falls. Happy that they exist at all. Because the North, the capital N north, is disappearing before our eyes. The Canadian Arctic is warming at twice the global rate, well past our +2°C Paris Accords target the changes to the Arctic landscape are likely irreversible. We in the South are responsible for this change. As a profession we program value into public space. The design decisions we make are just that –decisions. As young professionals we have the responsibility to understand technology and landscape solutions which will allow us to live sustainablilty on the planet and to advocate for them at every turn, in every political climate. I genuinely don’t know how this is going to go, how we are going to get through climate change, mass species extinction, a climate refugee crisis. I will admit to being terrified, to being heart broken. But small action is be�er than in-action. The pen is mightier than the sword. And if I know you, you have about 50 of them.

About Quinn Quinn is a second year MLA student. Ge�ng to ‘North’ has been a long held dream of hers and in the summer of 2018 she spent 4 months in the Canadian High Arctic working in the tourism industry. Over the course of the summer she was exposed to early sea ice break up, record fog and rain precipitation delaying flights and supplies and abnormal beluga migration pa�erns.




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Mea Culpa Dr. Martin Holland When I was settling into my office in the Landscape Architecture building in the summer of 2017, I was approached by the university press office to offer my thoughts on the awful events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia as a result of the “Unite the Right” rally. Charlottesville was my home while I was a graduate student at the University of Virginia, and the request was on a topic that I have explored through my scholarship, namely how historical and cultural values are interpreted and expressed within the larger built environment. A�er an hour long phone interview, followed by a weekend of corrections, the piece ran on the University’s website for anyone curious enough to click on the link. I received supportive messages from my new colleagues within SEDRD, and even a handful of thoughtful messages from the general public. That, I thought, was that. I was mistaken. Regarding the controversy over confederate monuments in the United States, I stated that “I don’t think we are in any danger of the monuments to George Washington or Abraham Lincoln in the U.S., or John A. Macdonald in Canada coming down anytime soon.“ I still wince when I read that sentence. Nearly to the day, just a year a�er my interview, Mayor Lisa Helps of Victoria, B.C. had the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald removed from their City Hall. How did I so fundamentally misread the situation? How did I get this so wrong? Living in the United States for twenty years highlighted the differences between American and Canadian cultures for me, and while I was confident in offering my American friends and colleagues a “Canadian perspective” on a host of issues ranging from socialized medicine to land use policy, I had missed critical


debates that were occurring north of the border. Most notably, I was only vaguely aware of the important work the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was performing to address the painful legacies of the residential school system and its longstanding impact upon Canada’s indigenous peoples. In the United States, the “founding fathers” of the nation remain deified to the point of near infallibility. They are referenced repeatedly in the courts, with legal scholars trying to parse the founding fathers’ constitutional intent into a coherent political and social policy for the 21st century. In Canada... well, we seem to have a different a�tude towards our founders. I was aware of Sir John A’s political achievements, and even of some of his personal vices, but his a�tudes and beliefs regarding indigenous peoples evaded me. I was certainly not taught them in school. Disappointed at the holes within my own education, and realizing how selective his biographers were in addressing his shameful beliefs, I started to investigate Sir John A. MacDonald and his legacy. I was shocked to learn that the last residential school closed only one year before I departed to live in the US in 1997. I have explored the parallels between the tearing down of confederate monuments and the official removal of the statue in Victoria, British Columbia. The toppling of monuments and the removal of statuary from our public realm are both strategies in a process of modern day atonement. Perhaps one of the most persistent tropes about Canadians is our seemingly unlimited need to apologize. However, we have much to apologize for when it comes to the past treatment of our indigenous peoples and the willingness to ignore generations of evidence regarding the harm inflicted.

The Family Backyard Winona Khuu // 1st year MLA Course: LARC*6030 Design Studio II Instructor: Dr. Martin Holland Located in Ingersoll, Alexander Hospital has an unused balcony that is ready for renewal. This third-oor balcony is very geometric with a limited amount of space and sunlight. The staff, patients and family members are lacking a functional and new space where they can relax and wind down. This project renewed the unused and old balcony at the Alexander Hospital into a space for patients, family and staff members. This design gives patients and family members the sense of control that they have been lacking as it provides patients, family and staff with the opportunity to choose what they want to do in a comforting escape. Most importantly, it accommodates people of all ages to spend time together like back at home. There is an enjoyable play area for children with seating available for parents and grandparents. The patients can enjoy owers planted by others in the planters and a nice view as they walk around and find new stimulus at each corner. There is also an option for privacy with the movable screens. The all-around wellness of patients, family members and staff will improve with these options to relax, exercise, heal or focus.



Facing the entrance to the balcony.

About Winona Winona entered the University of Guelph with a background in urban planning from the University of Waterloo. She is interested in creating landscapes that are educational environments for people to learn more about the natural environment and what we can do to protect it.



LA PHOTO CONTEST Following in the colorful tradition of Studio V, our annual photo contest asked landscape architecture students to capture all things YELLOW around them. We received many outstanding entries and would like to sincerely thank everyone who participated.

Prairies // Carly Balestra


Melk Abby // Calum Molitor-Dyer

Trip to St. Petersburg // Skylyssa Carville


Yellow Lab // Nathan Perkins

Ragweed //Cassandra Macedo


Buller Brewing Company // Jessica KaraďŹ lov


Yellow Village //Cassandra Macedo


Medieval Stockholm // Brendan Stewart


In the Streets of Vietnam // Siena Turnbull


Bees on Sunower // Carly Balestra

Palace //Cassandra Macedo


Fall on the Sidewalk // Skylyssa Carville


University of Manitoba // Carleigh Pope


Congratulations to all students and graduates of the SEDRD Programs at the University of Guelph! Visit the OALA website to learn about membership options, access resources, job postings and upcoming events. Membership is free for all students studying landscape architecture in Ontario.

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Wave Wan Zhang, Phoebe Solomon, Julia Jerzyk, Kristopher Zee // 4th year BLA Course: LARC*3070 Landscape Architecture III Instructor: Nadia Amoroso and Larry Harder

The design theme for this project was inspired by the water wave and attempts to use the wave line to connect public space and private space, green space and urban constructed space. The goal of this design is to provide commercial-residential urban land at East Bay Front in Toronto.


Patarei Museum Complex: Revitalization of a Post-Militaristic Landscape to a Mixed-Use Cultural Space Claire Merrick // 4th year BLA Course: LARC*4710 Integrative Design Studio Instructor: Sean Kelly and Nadia Amoroso






The site I chose for my final capstone project is located in Tallinn, Estonia and was former Russian army barracks until the revolution when it became a prison. It has been abandoned since 2005 and the Estonian heritage committee has been trying to raise the funds for it to become a cultural centre. The landscape and buildings bear the imprint of four socioeconomic time periods as it has been occupied by Russia, Germany, the Soviet Union and Estonia. The main challenge with this project was to create a space for modern use, while still acknowledging and being respectful of its historical past. As part of the revitalization, I chose to include a memorial for all of those that have previously suffered on the site. Four structures, (one for each period Russian, German, Soviet and Estonian) are in rectangular forms, mimicking the shape of a prison cell. As you travel through the structures, you will follow a chronological timeline, either past to present or present to past. The interiors of the structures have slate artistic etchings, corresponding with the struggles of each regime. The walls at the entrances are relocated brick from the original prison walls, tying the memorials materials to the history of the site. Topography levels and entrance walls slowly increase in height to evoke feelings of isolation and loneliness, associating your present feelings with the prisoners of the past. The museum complex as well as the memorial provide an important educational opportunity for people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities.







About Claire Claire is graduating this year from the BLA program with a Minor in Art History. She has worked as an intern at Nak Design Strategies in Ottawa and will be working for IBI Group in Hamilton this summer. Claire’s research and interest lie within the historical revitalizations of landscapes and architecture and she hopes to expand her knowledge in this area in the future.



Interview: Prof. Brendan Stewart with Claire Merrick Prior to teaching for the University of Guelph, you worked for ERA architects focusing on heritage conservation, design and planning. I’m interested to hear about heritage conservation from the perspective of a landscape architect. What kinds of projects does it encompass? Heritage conservation, design and planning focuses on places that have significant cultural meaning for different communities. Traditionally it’s been a practice area involving sites that have an important design history or that are associated with historical events, people or ideas, but increasingly it’s also being understood as an integrated design approach applied to the evolution of everyday places. In some cases a project might involve restoration, but typically we work on a landscape because some sort of change or new use is being proposed.

Most of my work with ERA has been in Toronto, a city that has been undergoing a dramatic amount of growth. This intensification pressure has elevated the conversation around the quality and function of all aspects of the built environment from parks to streets and everything in between. Every project involves thinking about how a greater number and diversity of people will make use of a finite amount of space, all while repairing urban ecological systems. Importantly there’s the question of the quality of the experience: how does the landscape enhance people as individuals and enhance our collective culture? How do you go about preserving a historical landscape, since they are constantly evolving? I see heritage conservation and design as very interrelated and I see this work as an approach to landscape architecture as

opposed to a niche area. We may use the phrase ‘heritage approach’ to describe it, but to me it is just context sensitive landscape architecture. To do anything on a culturally complex site you need to be thoughtful and I think landscape architects have been approaching work this way for a long time, we just haven’t used this terminology to describe it. We just talked about it as sensitive and thoughtful design. In my practice, I’ve long been interested in what I call a cultural landscape approach to design. This approach understands that landscapes are constantly evolving, and are layered with meanings and values that act on us, for good and for bad. The goal of a design intervention is always to identify and then harness important existing values, and integrate these with strategies that respond to contemporary needs. It is an act of creation that understands that landscapes are not benign. The landscapes we create today will play a role in shaping the culture of tomorrow. As designers how can we manage a balance between acknowledging a sites historical past, while still designing for modern functions? That’s the creative tension of designing interventions in complicated existing places. It involves a process of determining what is most valuable and what is less so. Historically meaningful qualities have to be paired with contemporary lifestyles and goals. You’re trying to build on what is most valuable while breathing new life into a site in order to serve communities to the fullest capacity. Everything you are doing has to have a foundation built on a consensus understanding of what to conserve from the past and why. Identifying what is most important requires research and analysis as well as community consultation. It requires effort to bring everyone to the table, to create room for


voices who maybe aren’t as frequently heard, and to build a collective vision for the future through a strong design rationale. Do you see heritage conservation becoming more prominent in years to come? Yes, absolutely. Policies such as the Growth Plan and the Greenbelt Act are encouraging intensification, which is focusing development in places that people already live in and care about. This implies that we are working on places that are complicated and have existing values. So, I think this type of work is going to become more common. The ‘easy’ sites are not going to be available anymore. Are there more advantages along with cultural values to preserving and revitalizing heritage sites? Yes, I think that there are sustainability and climate change resiliency benefits that are deeply connected to the cultural advantages of revitalizing heritage (and everyday) sites. On one level, we are working with resources we already have so it is more efficient to reuse and reinvest in existing places. From a broader perspective, having really important cultural places is an opportunity to help reinforce the cultural

values that we think are important to face the challenges of the future. We need to think about how we create spaces that allow for richer community and public life, that improve mental and physical health and wellbeing, and that encourage cooperation and a culture of healing and stewardship of the landscape. I think these are the sometimes overlooked social and cultural aspects of sustainability. I understand that you have a masters as well as an undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture. Do you have any advice for students who are debating between pursuing a master’s degree or entering the work force upon graduation? I think pursuing a master’s is an amazing thing to do, but in general, taking time to work and live and grow between degrees is what I would advise for most people. Your biggest resource as a designer is the depth of the life experience your work draws from, so it follows that I think the more you bring to grad school, the more you’ll get from it. You learn a ton in practice. Some of this is technical and practical, but its also a chance to develop a stronger awareness of how the world works and to be exposed to how people navigate it and build careers.

It is a huge advantage to go back to school when you have a broader perspective of the world, and a clear sense of what you want your studies to focus on. Think of grad school as a huge investment in yourself and it’s about the quality of that experience, not how quickly you earn the degree. Can you speak a little bit about the transition between being a student here to becoming a professor? At first it was a bit surreal. I think it’s always strange to come back to places associated with earlier phases of life when you were effectively a different person. It’s a similar feeling to the experience of visiting your old elementary school and noticing how tiny the chairs and drinking fountains are, and this isn’t how you remember them. It’s both familiar and a bit odd. The building hasn’t change much, but I have, so it’s been a process of forming a new connection. The culture and energy in the building is very similar to how I remember it, though, and that’s a very good thing. It’s also a very interesting process to form new relationships with my colleagues, some of whom were once my professors and mentors. It’s been a rich experience, and I’m very happy to be here. How do you feel the experiences you have had as a student, professional and professor have shaped you as a landscape architect? What have you learned from these three different experiences? It didn’t take me long as a BLA student to feel like I’d discovered my calling. I was pretty much hooked on LA from day one. There is so much to the field and what I really took away from school is a belief in the possibilities of landscape architecture.


In practice, I had access to amazing mentors and collaborators and learned how to be a professional and how to manage projects and clients. I also learned that you have agency to create the kind of career that you want, and that there are many different models of practice to experiment with and learn from.

is like to not know how to do something and figure out how to introduce concepts and then create space for students to learn for themselves and with each other. I’m finding that teaching design is a very challenging but enriching process, and I have no doubt that like learning to be a designer, it will take years of practice to figure out.

As a professor I am learning so much every day. One focus is (trying) to learn how to teach design. Design is not something that you can learn from reading a textbook and the only way to become a designer is through passion and lots of practice. Over time, design begins to become intuitive, and this intuition, I think, is like a muscle that you develop that knows what question to ask next, or what analysis to undertake… it’s developing your own internal design critic that helps you do ‘design thinking’. In teaching design, (like teaching a child how to read) you have to imagine what it


Confabula Carly Balestra, Kendra Cheeseman, Quinn Howard // 2nd year MLA Course: LARC 6120 Community Design Instructor: Brendan Stewart Confabulation: a memory error, the production of fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive. Home is a tricky thing. Where home is and what home means shifts with economic status, mobility and rental stock. In the uncertain housing market, ‘home’ in its most traditional sense is likely something many millennials are questioning. A commentary on suburban transition and the future densification of Scarborough, Confabula creates ‘home’ in the most unlikely of places, a strip mall parking lot. Confabula engages individuals in Wexford to listen and be heard in their community. Getting to the heart of community and connection, Confabula celebrates the story of Wexford crafted by Wexfordians. Blending Digital and analog platforms Confabula links Wexford across generations, bringing letters to life and democratizing the museum.


During the day the space’s multifunctional seating allows for easy transitions from casual seating to performance space. The theme of home was explored through the use of found antique furniture and common household furnishings.


A comment of the future of Scarborough’s stripmalls, the interlocking frames of Confabula correspond with common housing types in Wexford. Moving through the frame visitors are encouraged to question the different scale of home, begging the question – how much space do we need and what will that space look like in the future?




Room for Everyone: gender sensitive design in Fort St. John, B.C. Jeryn Mackey // 4th year BLA Course: LARC*4710 Integrative Design Studio Instructors: Nadia Amoroso and Sean Kelly


While public space is intended to be for everyone, the perspectives of women and girls are often overlooked in its planning and design. This – in combination with a number of other historical and societal factors – has resulted in a gender divide in the way that people use and navigate public space, with many women experiencing a fear of violence or harassment. The goal of this project was to redesign the city of Fort St. John, BC following the principles of gender sensitive design in order to make it safer and more functional for everyone, regardless of background, ability, or identity. This included redesigning the public transportation system, constructing public washrooms, redesigning existing open spaces, and designing areas of mixed-use development. The city bus loop was redesigned to improve circulation, site lines, and comfort, and planted islands were added to the parking lot where there was previously no softscape. The bus stops were designed to allow people to choose between different levels of enclosure while waiting for their bus. A new multi-season open space – surrounded by new mixed-use development – was designed at the edge of the downtown core to provide opportunities for activity and recreation all year long.

About Jeryn Jeryn is a fourth year BLA student originally from northeast B.C. She recently completed her undergraduate thesis and capstone design project on making spaces safer for women and female-identifying people, and after graduation will be returning home to British Columbia to work at Urban Systems Ltd. in Fort St. John.


The Wex Flex Hub Skylyssa Carville, Kevin Todd, Sima Kuhail // 2nd year MLA Course: LARC*6120 Community Design Instructor: Brendan Stewart When strip malls are a dominant architectural form in your community and house vital and beloved local business, you embrace and celebrate and enhance them! The Wex Hub makes the most of underutilized strip mall parking lot space in Wexford Heights, Scarborough to create a plaza and gathering place that highlights the liveliness of local business and provides the community with a place to meet itself. Inspired by the cultural fabric of the neighbourhood, the design for The Wex Hub comes from the idea of a “mosaic of diversity” and of people creating a unique mosaic formation each time they gather. Hexagonal geometry anchors the design and a vibrant colour palette inspired by spice markets of the world pays tribute to the diverse makeup of the community. The Wex Hub is designed with modular furniture that is adaptable to different site locations and a variety of programming. Depending on what is happening on a given day, visitors can expect to find the plaza in “Passive State” (it’s most common arrangement for regular plaza days), “Spice of Life” (on market days and nights) or “Kaleidoscope” (for theatre and musical performance).


Hexagonal geometry anchors the mosaic design of the Wex Flex Hub. The hexagon was chosen because it is the most efficient, least wasteful shape found in nature. This installation must provide a variety of functions and areas in a limited amount of parking lot space. The hexagon provides interesting seating arrangement possibilities (inward and outward facing options, for example). Inspired by the way that bees create honeycomb and work together, use of the hexagon also represents community.

∀匀瀀椀挀攀 漀昀 䰀椀昀攀∀

Colour Palette: While exploring the theme of ‘diversity’ in Wexford, the team initially drew inspiration from international food, the spice markets of the world and the idea that people of Wexford Heights create a true “mosaic of diversity”.

䌀漀氀漀甀爀 倀愀氀氀攀琀  䤀渀猀瀀椀爀愀琀椀漀渀


Kit of Parts: From the beginning of the design process it was critical that the Wex Flex Hub be relatively simple, buildable and flexible. The minimal “Kit of Parts” that is used to create this design uses movable site furniture (displayed in orange) that can be shifted to create the three arrangements, accommodating a variety of programming needs. The simplicity of these components would allow them to be reused for a future installation or even spread throughout the BIA after the installation is taken down. Imagine a brightly coloured ‘legacy’ bench seat in front of The Wexford Restaurant in the plaza, or a few tree-filled planters in various parking lots in the area that continue to represent the neighbourhood’s plazaPOP installation.


Passive State Under Development : The exploration of that concept led us to the idea that site visitors would create a new and unique mosaic each time they came together in the space and we wanted to work with mosaic on a physical level as well. The design for the Wex Flex Hub is based on a mosaic grid that informs this specific site layout but could also be adapted to other locations.

Spice of Life: “Spice of Life” is a burst of cultural and social exchange, that aims and encourages people of the community to express and share their traditions openly. The arrangement of the space replicates that of a market or meeting place. The “movable parts” can be set up so that local businesses, food vendors and community members can exchange goods and socialize with each other in an inviting way. The goal of this space is to engage locals and newcomers, share stories or craft, and to create a strong and vital space for the community to connect harmoniously.

Kaleidoscope: “Kaleidoscope” is as vibrant of a space as it sounds. Patterns of furniture and people revolve around the performances and social gatherings that can transpire throughout the space. Musical performances, creative skits, poetry routines, guided meditations, yoga classes and art festivals are just a few of the examples that this space can showcase. “Kaleidoscope” can encourage both daytime and evening get-togethers and ultimately aims to be a space where memories are made.


Information Anxiety, Apocalypse Porn and the Decline of Community Dr. Nathan H. Perkins* A decade or so ago I began to notice a change in how young people I interact with saw the future and their role in crafting or shaping that future. What I heard in countless small conversations was malaise and ennui, masking a vague, but felt, fear that the world as we know it is ending and that this existential crisis was all but inevitable. Peppering these doomsday observations was exasperation, and the feeling that something could be, must be, done if we are to survive. But interesting things happened, almost always concurrent with the pessimism, and these were small and often trivial acts of engagement and activism. This discordance of belief and behavior merits examination because it speaks to the fundamental and pervasive dissonance between an imagined future and the reality of the present. If we accept that pessimism about the future based on the present is a hallmark of each generation then what I have noticed is simply a generational repeat. But I think this one may be different and the causes for the angst might be due to a fundamental change in how we now interact with the world and each other compared to earlier generations. It is my contention that information anxiety fueled by apocalyptic visions and an altered scale of community are drivers in this new age. The constant serving of ‘news’ ranging from climate change catastrophes, peak oil, nuclear war, environmental collapse, plast!c, species extinction, etc. creates what Wurman (1989) termed information anxiety – the inability to find the signal because of noise. The daily deluge of information, much of it impossible to process and act upon, must surely be taking a toll on our spirit. When the news buffet is mostly bad - leaving only the trivial and negative to consume - is it any surprise that people need ‘apps’ to disconnect and reminders that sometimes no news is good news? Adding to this constant urgency in news is the widely available apocalypse porn in entertainment. The end of the Earth has never been so beautifully rendered and wildly popular in print, film and streaming content. Zombies, wayward asteroids, aliens, plagues, survivalists, evil technology, extreme weather and more seem to feed our cravings for an imagined future devoid of hope. And we love it!


I don’t recall in my lifetime there being such an abundance of apocalyptic entertainment. In my youth there was Earth Abides and On the Beach. Today these are tame children’s stories compared to Cormac McCarthy’s chilling The Road. I believe that text and film cater to the zeitgeist rather than create it and the fascination with, and consumption of, the ‘end of it all’ is, at the very least, disturbing. The above means that apocalyptic porn feeds our inherent desires, it does not create them. What is it about the present human condition that makes this attractive? Along with information anxiety and a saturation of bleak, is too little connection with others because the scale of our connections has grown beyond family and clan, neighbourhoods and communities. We are indeed in an era of global connectivity and I daresay the price of global is the loss of local and the deep connections with our nearby. A generation or two ago, the great community disrupter was the automobile because cars broadened our range and allowed us to abstract our experience of place and people by speed and distance. Just as more data often results in less information, a larger scale, by necessity, results in less detail and depth. The automobile extended our range but had the undesirable effect of creating commuters instead of communities. In today’s world, I believe technology, specifically, mobile ‘smart’ phones are pitched as the great connectors and will at some point be seen to be just as damaging as the auto. It’s great to live in the burbs and commute to distant work just as it is wonderful to text or speak with someone hundreds or thousands of kilometers away. But just as autos fractured our communities by removing the local, what have small electronic devices done? All of us have experiences seeing Zombies walking along, oblivious to others and their environment, eyes glued to a small radiant screen (maybe watching the Ne�lix series “The Walking Dead”). This connectability without connection may actually be working against the most important and powerful force on Earth and that is biology. Homo sapiens are social animals. We are the products of an evolutionary history that favours the herd and as such we need others in our orbit of interaction. Biology teaches us that in most cases social animals are safer and more secure and that solitary herd animals are vulnerable and subject to higher levels of stress and other debilitating conditions. Animal welfare scientists have a lot to teach us humans about the necessity of interaction among herd animals and the consequences of barriers to interaction. I have no doubt that apocalypse porn and information anxiety are two of the main reasons that the younger generation feels overwhelmed and, yet, do not know why. Another consequence is that the dark future presented by connected and addictive devises has undermined our basic biological imperative to interact with other members of our species and in the process create community.

A few decades ago I joined two online forums to acquire information and it was a fantastic experience. Those forums, Modern Vespa and Prius Chat, were remarkable ‘communities’ of enthusiastic owners willing to share information and stories. More remarkable still was when I found the intersection of scooter riders and Prius owners. There was something like 80,000 of ‘us’ in the world! After a year, though, the charm wore thin as I realized that sharing information digitally wasn’t really a community, rather it was a specialized information resource. This was the start of my skepticism regarding information, connectivity and the false conception of community. My search for the connection between information and community led me to the work of Claude Shannon, an early pioneer in the science of information (Gleick, 2011). Shannon is well known to digital geeks who would not generally be considered the most empathetic social observers. It is here where I have tried to connect the dots among biological imperatives, the authenticity and limits of information, and the loss of community. Stated most simply, we are addicted to, and inundated with, anxiety inducing information that is not relevant to our daily lives. The sensationalized content of that information is not based on our present state and the noise is louder than the signal. This kind of information we consume, the urgent rather than important, leads us away from slow, deep and meaningful interactions with members of our real community.

I don’t know if there is a way out of this conundrum but my attempts to manage it personally have led me to strange places. I do not own a smart phone and attempt to digest my ‘news’ through print that is at least 12 hours old. I am less successful at avoiding apocalyptic fantasies because they are so much fun. Lastly, I recognize that while conversation face to face takes time, I find the time because this is what community is really built upon. A decade or so into this personal experiment, I think I am managing but with the end of the world looming, maybe it doesn’t really matter. *Thank you Colin H. W. Perkins for sharing your thoughts with me. I would have texted you but didn’t have a postage stamp and envelope. References Gleick, J. (2011) The Information: A history, a theory, a flood. New York: Vintage. McCarthy, C. (2006) The road. New York: Vintage Books. Shute, N. (1957) On the beach. New York: William Morrow and Co. Stewart, G. (1949) Earth abides. New York: Del Ray Books. Wurman, R.S. (1989) Information anxiety. New York: Doubleday. Image:


About Victoria Victoria is a fourth year BLA student. Throughout her undergrad she has had great experiences having taken advantage of extracurricular opportuni�es within the program. In her second year she was a member of LASS as the Winterfest coordinator. During her third year she travelled on exchange to Australia and in her final year, was a member of the Studio V editorial team. She hopes to con�nue to be an ac�ve member within the landscape architecture community a�er gradua�ng.


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Profile for StudioVJournal

Studio V Journal 2019  

Studio V is a student journal of Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph. Studio V aims to support, stimulate and showcase excell...

Studio V Journal 2019  

Studio V is a student journal of Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph. Studio V aims to support, stimulate and showcase excell...