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LAF Executive Director, Board Member Named as ASLA Fellows

fasla-deutschBarbara Deutsch, ASLA

Congratulations to LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch and LAF Board Vice President of Research Forster Ndubisi, who were named Fellows-elect by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). They are among 33 ASLA members designated as Fellows in 2012, in recognition of exceptional accomplishments over a sustained period of time. 

The group will be officially inducted into the ASLA Council of Fellows on Sept 30 during the 2012 ASLA Annual Meeting & Expo in Phoenix. Being named a Fellow is among the highest honors a landscape architect may receive. Fellowship recognizes contributions to the profession and society at large based on their works, leadership and management, knowledge, and service.

fasla-ndubisiForster Ndubisi, PhD, FCELA, ASLA

Barbara was nominated by the Potomac Chapter in the Leadership/Management Category for her efforts to put the profession at the front and center of collaborative sustainability. Forster, Professor and Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Texas A&M University,  was nominated by the Texas Chapter in the Knowledge Category for his role in finding interconnecting threads in the current cross-disciplinary body of knowledge on sustainability as a scholar, educator, academic practitioner, and distinguished administrator.

Congrats to all 33 Fellows-elect!

2011 Sweepstakes Winner Returns from China Trip

Last fall, Cara Smith, ASLA of Alexandria, Virginia won LAF’s 2011 Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes and an all-expense-paid, week-long trip for two to EDSA’s Crosswaters Ecolodge & Spa located in the Nankun Mountain Reserve in Guangdong Province, China. She traveled to the resort in April with her boyfriend Brian, also a landscape architect, and had the following trip report. The two also compiled a slide show capturing their experiences.

crosswaterstrip1“While this was my first time in China, I think it is safe to say that the visitor experience at Crosswaters Ecolodge is highly unique to the region, if not the country. Brian and I were able to extend our stay in China for a second week to travel north to Shanghai, Suzhou, and Beijing, and though our time to explore was limited, in none of these places did we find or appreciate a similar kind of eco-luxury or very much ‘eco’-mindedness at all.”

“At Crosswaters we could connect the dots between people, place, and natural processes — we could see the garden from which our dinner was plucked; hike through a bamboo forest knowing that this local material played a major role in sustaining the community, as well as providing us with a stunningly crafted villa for seven nights; and we could and fall asleep to the sound of chirping frogs and a churning river just feet away. Crosswaters was the first ecotourism destination in China, after all, and it sets the bar high. (The luxury resorts that seem to be taking over a neighboring valley in Guangzhou pale in comparison.)”

crosswaterstrip2“The sustainable design philosophy, spearheaded by an ecotourism development company and  EDSA, resonates throughout the site. Crosswaters is nestled in a valley surrounded by bamboo forest, so the connection between architecture and the environment is quite clear. Bamboo is used extensively and elegantly in the architecture, as are river rock and reclaimed materials, such as roof tiles. The architectural details are stunning — from the delicately woven bamboo screen covering the roof inside of the villa, to the intricate river rock-studded medallions in the walkways. We learned that collaboration with the local Keija people living in the Nankun Shan Mountain Reserve was a priority from the very beginning of the design process, and they were involved in its construction, incorporating local building methods and learning new ones to take back with them. Principles of feng shui played a role in the site design, and though I am not well versed in feng shui, I can attest that there was an uncanny sense of balance, peace, and harmony flooding the space, much like the daily fog, that rose and sank over the valley.”

crosswaterstrip3“The staff at Crosswaters treated us like royalty.  They made sure that our tea cups were never empty and made every effort to keep us comfortable, entertained, and happy. The reception manager even took us on our own private tour of the local town and surrounding parks. Restaurant staff was extremely patient when it came time for us to order our meals, and we could not have been more pleased with the Cantonese and Hakka cuisines they prepared.”

“Needless to say, we are still riding the high of probably one of the best vacations we have ever had, and cannot thank LAF and EDSA enough for this opportunity. I believe that this experience will stay with me for a long time and provide a wealth of inspiration professionally, personally, and spiritually.”

Cara, a 2010 graduate of Virginia Tech’s MLA program, works for the firm Lardner/Klein Landscape Architects in Alexandria, VA. Cara’s name was drawn from nearly 200 sweepstakes entries, which raised over $12,000 to support LAF’s research and scholarship programs. Special thanks to EDSA for generously providing this prize package. Look for details on LAF’s 2012 Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes soon.

Setting the Stage to Evaluate Performance: Chatham's Eden Hall Campus

Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus will be the first sustainable university campus built from the ground up and the home of the university’s new School of Sustainability and the Environment. As part of the 2012 Case Study Investigation (CSI) program, researchers at Chatham are working with designers at Mithun to collect baseline data and setup research protocols to evaluate landscape performance over the long-term.

The research is led by Molly Mehling, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Sustainability, working with student Research Assistant Kaitlyn O’Neill and collaborating with faculty from a number of disciplines. The research team will collect background and baseline information, outline the expected landscape performance benefits, and develop protocols that Chatham can use to measure them over time.

csi-chatham1Eden Hall Campus Phase 1 (Mithun)

The Eden Hall Campus encompasses 388 acres in Richland Township, about 20 miles from downtown Pittsburgh and Chatham’s main Shadyside Campus. The Master Plan for the site, which incorporates state-of-the-art sustainable technology rooted in the principles of permaculture, biophilia and integrated watershed planning, was done by Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell (BNIM) and Andropogon Associates and approved in June 2011. Mithun is providing architecture, landscape architecture and interior design for the first phase of the campus (~100 acres), with construction slated to start this summer.

csi-chatham2Rendering of New EcoCenter (Mithun)

The Phase 1 landscape will incorporate SITES best practices and advanced green infrastructure systems such as raingardens, constructed wetlands, composting toilets, geo-exchange systems, food production and aquaculture systems. The design will preserve and protect soils and support habitat for forest, meadow and agricultural areas. Rainwater catchment and treatment will reduce potable water needs for the project, and wastewater will be treated and dispersed on lot, with reuse of appropriate elements as fertilizer and soil enhancement. Phase 1 also includes 18,000 sf of classroom, office, library, café, lab and gathering space. Each building is designed to meet a combination of Living Building Challenge, Passive House, Net Zero and LEED Platinum ratings.

While the CSI program typically focuses on quantifying the benefits of built landscapes, this collaboration is being used to test and develop guidance for those at the stage in the design and construction process in which there is a completed design that has not yet been built. As part of their CSI work, Molly and Kaitlyn will develop a set of guidelines for designers, clients, academics, and other stakeholders who want to set up longer-term research to evaluate a project’s performance. LAF is thrilled to be part of this collaboration and to help set the stage for years of innovative research on the benefits of landscape at this model campus for sustainable learning and living.

2012 National Olmsted Scholar and Finalists

jackohly500x700Jack Ohly, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, was selected as the 2012 National Olmsted Scholar and recipient of the $25,000 award. Jack will receive a Master of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning degree in May and plans to use the award to build on his previous work in agroforestry and community development in Northeastern Brazil to develop a set of regionally appropriate models for more ecologically and culturally vibrant public space.

Also honored are this year’s four National Olmsted Scholar Finalists, who each receive a $1,000 award:

  • Marin Braco, State University of New York
  • Tina Chee, University of Southern California
  • Tera Hatfield, University of Washington
  • Fadi Masoud, Harvard University

An independent jury of leaders in the landscape architecture profession selected the winner and finalists from a group of 46 graduate and undergraduate students who were nominated by their faculty for being exceptional student leaders. These top students earned the designation of 2012 University Olmsted Scholars and join the growing community of 175 past and present Olmsted Scholars.

The 2012 jury members were: Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, President, LAF Board of Directors and CEO, OLIN; Tom Tavella, FASLA, President-Elect, ASLA and Director of Design, Fuss&O’Neill; Joseph Lalli, FASLA, President and CEO, EDSA; Douglas Reed, FASLA, Principal, Reed Hilderbrand; Joseph Ragsdale, ASLA, FAAR, Interim Department Head and Associate Professor, Cal Poly Pomona; Brad McKee, Editor-in-Chief, Landscape Architecture Magazine; and Kate Tooke, 2011 National Olmsted Scholar and Design Associate at Dodson & Flinker Associates.

Now in its fifth year, the Olmsted Scholars Program is the premier national award and recognition program for landscape architecture students. Past National Olmsted Scholars include Andrea Gaffney from the University of California, Berkeley (2008), David Malda from the University of Virginia (2009), Emily Vogler from the University of Pennsylvania (2010), and Kate Tooke from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2011).

LAF Receives NEA Art Works Grant for CSI

artworkslogo-f3kThe National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced today that the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is one 38 national, regional, state, and local nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Art Works grant in the Design category.

LAF is recommended for a $25,000 grant to support the Summer 2012 Case Study Investigation (CSI) program. CSI is a unique research collaboration that matches LAF-funded student-faculty research teams with leading practitioners to document the benefits of exemplary high-performing landscape projects. Ten research teams will participate in the Summer 2012, and the NEA grant will fund half of the $5,000 stipend paid to the student Research Assistant on each team.

“We are thrilled that NEA is investing in this research to show the environmental, economic, and social value of exemplary design,” said LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch, ASLA.

The NEA received 1,624 eligible applications for this round of Art Works funding. The 788 Art Works grants total $24.81 million and support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Visit the NEA website for a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support.