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Remember LAF in Your Year-End Giving

Through its leadership, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) continues to expand awareness about the value of landscape solutions to create healthy, resilient, livable places. LAF’s research and scholarship programs increase the capacity of not only the landscape architecture profession to create change, but also the many professionals and advocates who share LAF’s mission and are critical to its success.

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In 2014, LAF celebrated these key milestones, which would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors and sponsors:

  • Awarded over $1 million in scholarships to over 500 students since 1986
  • Recognized over 300 Olmsted Scholars since 2008
  • Launched the next generation of the award-winning Landscape Performance Series: LandscapePerformance.org

2015 will be another ambitious year for LAF. Your support of the Foundation by year-end will help us to continue to deliver innovative programs and expand our impact. Show your commitment and give back to the profession by making a tax-deductible contribution online, making an honor or memorial gift (you’ll get a printable certificate to share), or learn about the many ways to support the Foundation.

LAF is a tax-exempt organization under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your charitable contribution is deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

Welcome 2014-2015 Board of Directors

The 2014-2015 LAF Board of Directors began its term on November 21 at LAF’s Annual Board Meeting in Denver. Mark Dawson, FASLA of Sasaki Associates took the reins as President, succeeding Jacinta McCann, FAILA, FASLA of AECOM, whose international and multi-disciplinary perspective helped LAF to broaden its focus and reach. Kona Gray, ASLA of EDSA became President-Elect.

2014presidentsPresident-Elect Kona Gray, Immediate Past President Jacinta McCann, and President Mark Dawson

Director Jennifer Guthrie became an officer and Laura Solano assumed a new role, with three other officers continuing in their positions on the executive leadership team.

  • Vice President of Finance:
    Jennifer Guthrie, FASLA, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
  • Vice President of Communication:
    Laura Solano, ASLA, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
  • Vice President of Education:
    Kristina Hill, PhD, Aff. ASLA, University of Virginia
  • Vice President of Research:
    Forster Ndubisi, PhD, FASLA, Texas A&M University
  • Vice President of Leadership:
    Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, OLIN

Bill Main, Hon. ASLA of Landscape Forms retired off the Board after six years of service, including a term as President in 2012-2013 and a year as Vice President of Communications. Nate Cormier of SvR Design Company left the Board after four years, two of which he was Vice President of Communications.

Director and Past President Chip Crawford, FASLA of Forum Studio left the Board after ten years of extended service, but will transition to head the LAF Board Emeritus group. Ginger Murphy, ASLA of the United States Department of Agriculture finished her four-year term as a Director. David Malda of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol rotated off after serving a two-year term as past Olmsted Scholar representative, and Thomas Tavella, FASLA rotated off after serving for a year in an Ex Officio capacity as an ASLA Representative.

Seven new Directors joined the LAF Board, bringing experience and insights from landscape architecture practice, the development sector, industry, and academia. Kate Tooke, LAF’s 2011 National Olmsted Scholar, was selected for the open Director position for past Olmsted Scholars. ASLA Immediate Past President Mark Focht, FASLA will serve as the ASLA Representative. Welcome to the new Board members:

  • Gayle Berens, Urban Land Institute
  • Susannah Drake, ASLA, AIA, dlandstudio
  • Mark Focht, FASLA, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
  • Richard Heriford, Landscape Forms
  • Peg Staeheli, FASLA, SvR Design Company
  • Kate Tooke, ASLA, Sasaki Associates
  • Richard Weller, University of Pennsylvania

The vision, passion, and thought leadership of this group was evident in the three days of lively meetings and events held in Denver. We look forward to their active participation to help LAF increase impact and prepare for the foundation’s 50th anniversary in 2016. Thank you for your service!

2014boardLAF Board members — current, outgoing, Emeritus, and maybe a few others — at the LAF Annual Benefit

LAF Events at the ASLA Annual Meeting

If you’ll be in Denver for the 2014 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, we hope you’ll join us for one or more of the following events to raise awareness and support LAF programs. We’ll celebrate over $1 million awarded to students since 1986, honor our 2014 Olmsted Scholars, and launch the all-new LandscapePerformance.org, the next-generation of our award-winning Landscape Performance Series.

newheightsNew Heights, LAF’s 29th Annual Benefit
Fri, Nov 21, 7:00-10:30pm
The Studio Loft

Join top designers and leaders from practice, academia, and industry for a lively evening in the heart of Denver’s Theatre District. Enjoy cocktails, fine food, and amazing company, all while raising money to support LAF’s research and scholarship programs.

LAF Booth in ASLA Expo Hall (#1556)
Sat-Sun, Nov 22-23, 9:00am-5:00pm
Colorado Convention Center
Visit our booth to learn more about LAF, register for the Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes, and see the brand-new LandscapePerformance.org.mackerel-beach

Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes
Sun, Nov 23, 4:30pm
Colorado Convention Center
Join us at our booth in the ASLA Expo Hall as we draw the winner of our one-of-a-kind trip for two to Mackerel Beach, Sydney, Australia. You can make a donation to register to win right up until the drawing. Entrants need not be present to win. All sweepstakes proceeds support LAF’s research and scholarship programs.

Stormwater BMP Performance:
What Every Landscape Architect Should Know
Sat, Nov 22, 2:30-4pm
Colorado Convention Center
Don’t miss this Education Session moderated by LAF’s Heather Whitlow and featuring Bill Wenk of Wenk Associates, Jonathan Jones of Wright Water Engineers, and Jason Berner of the US EPA. This session will describe current initiatives to document performance, protocols for measuring performance, ways to design more effective systems, and the challenges the profession could face when levels of performance aren’t realized.

Olmsted Scholar Feature: Rediscovering Colombia's Fucha River

By Viviana Castro, 2014 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

A river that was valued once as a source of life is now channelized to control its contaminated waters, with people fearing it and perceiving it as sewage rather than a natural resource. Rediscovering the Fucha River involves exploring the opportunities of the river as a public space, creating a vision that can change the perception of the river and demonstrate how people can experience its regeneration.

I began this exploration as my senior capstone project with the goal of understating the potential of urban river restoration in Latin American development. Studying this river in particular, however, brought up many aspects that brought a different value to the notion of restoration, where first there needs to be a rediscovery.

fucha01The Fucha River today in the city of Bogotá, Colombia.

Fucha — Muyscubum for “the great female” — was one of the sources of life for the Muysca tribe in the area of Bacata (now the city of Bogotá). The Muysca had a close relationship with the river, seeing it as the place of birth for all life forms. However, as Spanish settlement began to take place, the river was used as a hydraulic source for industries developing in the twentieth century. With this change, the waters began to degrade and the river began to be seen as a source of disposal. Even the term Fucha today can be confused with the Spanish vernacular fuchi, which is a way to describe a bad smell.

The river begins with high water quality as it flows down the steep mountain ranges but begins to degrade as it enters the urban core. By the time it reaches its last stretch, the river has lost its oxygen levels and has received waste from multiple polluting sources.

I interviewed people around the river edge, asking them about their impression of the river. People commented on the constant flooding, contamination, and waste disposal into the river, and compared their experience of the river in the city to the rivers in the countryside, where activities such as paseo de olla (traditional family picnics) take place around the river. How can our culture, and the built environment, contribute to the restoration of the river?

The Rediscovering the Fucha River vision utilizes public spaces as the way to encourage a new attitude towards the river. It takes into account four general scenarios found along the one-mile stretch that repeat along the river edge and illustrates how open spaces, residences, industries, and even how the surrounding truck parking lots can contribute to the restoration of the river.

By illustrating the river through time, we can show the steps that can be taken to help its regeneration. It can begin by allowing and encouraging the river to be observed, demonstrating its value and potential through art and recreational elements. With time, the river can be approached, and eventually it can be appreciated in its natural state.  fucha03

The Fucha River runs the risk of losing its meaning and natural function if it continues to be treated as it is today. Rediscovering the Fucha River involves understanding its meaning from the past, its role today, and what it will mean for the future. Overall, this vision aims to serve as an advocacy tool towards reconsidering the value of the Fucha River within the current development of the city. This river was part of our historical values and can be restored to bring our close traditional relationship with rivers to the city. In Bogotá, we can also have a paseo de olla. Let’s recuperate our Fucha River.

To see the full Rediscovering the Fucha River report, visit: http://issuu.com/vivianacastro0/docs/resdiscover_fucha

Viviana Castro recently graduated with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Summa Cum Laude) and a minor in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Florida. She is currently working at Dix.Hite+Partners in Longwood, Florida.

Olmsted Scholar Feature: 1936 Olympic Village - At the Intersection of Preservation and Renewal

By Katia Rios, 2014 University Olmsted Scholar

Just west of Berlin, Germany, adjacent to a village in former East Germany, lies an often overlooked yet significant landmark. Essentially an abandoned landscape, the remnants of the 1936 Olympic Village evoke a powerful past that dates back to one of the darkest periods in Germany’s history. The Nazi government conceived and built this roughly 130-acre complex to house the 1936 Olympic athletes, including the legendary Jesse Owens. It was transformed into a military base during the Second World War, and taken over by the Soviet Union as a sports training camp for its military. Finally, after the reunification of Germany, the landscape was abandoned with uncertainty as to its future. Only recently has it been rehabilitated to serve as an outdoor museum and witness to Germany’s past.

olympicvillage03

The 1936 Olympic Village is not only an emblem of Germany’s history, but also a unique example for understanding various topics in landscape architecture. As an abandoned landscape, the Olympic Village is a great opportunity to understand time’s influence on infrastructure and landscapes, in the context of environmental processes, deterioration and decay, and ecological resilience. The site provides the opportunity to explore the issues of cultural and historic landscape preservation, and the unique balancing of preservation and revitalization or renewal. As a public space, issues of community involvement are brought to the foreground and bring to light opportunities for public engagement. The 1936 Olympic Village lies at the intersection of these issues, and allows a unique example for understanding landscape architecture’s role in addressing these site conditions and the issues inherently embedded within this site.

olympicvillage01

My master’s report dealt with this complex site under these premises, bridging the gap between the depth of the past with the possibilities for the future. The design outcome allows history to come to the foreground while simultaneously planning and envisioning a revitalized purpose for the Village. Its intent is to provide visitors with a comprehensive history of the site, allowing them to reflect, process, and understand that history, and ultimately enjoy recreational opportunities within a large, ecologically-rich landscape. The design fosters a sense of exploration, allowing visitors to create their own experience within this unique place that has an incredible potential to become so much more than it is now.

olympicvillage02

Beyond the 1936 Olympic Village itself, the focus on a former Olympic Village site comes at an opportune time, in the midst of discussions around the future of the infrastructure and impacts of the most recent Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The 1936 Olympic Village is a reflection of the challenges of integrating Olympic Villages and Olympic infrastructure back into the folds of community after the Games have left. There is great potential for an examination such as this to answer similar questions for other abandoned Olympic Villages around the world. The uncertain futures of Olympic Villages highlight the issues surrounding redevelopment and reuse of infrastructure involved in such temporal and short-lived events. The discrepancy between the investment of host cities into the creation of Olympic sites, with the short-lived nature and fleeting use of these sites warrants more attention. Landscape architecture, in this context, provides an effective strategy for working through these discrepancies and contradictions.

Link to Master’s Report: http://blur.by/1uDde4Z

Katia Rios (Gedrath-Smith) completed her Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona in May. She now works as an intern at Gustafson Guthrie Nichol in Seattle, Washington, launching her career in landscape architecture.