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Pushing to Improve Sustainability in Aquatics

by Josh Martin, President, Aquatic Design & Engineering

Aquatic Design & Engineering (ADE) was founded 28 years ago to provide sound engineering for aquatic features. Over time, we have refined and focused in on what our mission and values as a company should be — specifically with regard to developing enduring engineering solutions. As we moved toward those goals of sustainability and innovation, more and more our company’s mission became aligned with that of the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), and now in retrospect, it is no surprise to me that we found a home with this organization.

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At its core, the Landscape Architecture Foundation is a community of thought leaders who are passionate about elevating the practices in our industry. ADE became involved through LAF board members reaching out to their development partners, consultants and clients. I got a phone call from then- board member Gregg Sutton of EDSA telling me that LAF was something that ADE had to be a part of. He was right. I think that Gregg and others saw that ADE was interested in sustainability, but had yet to be challenged to really elevate its practices. Being involved with LAF has stretched us to do that.

While our company focused on delivering engineering that placed an emphasis on high-performance systems, we had not engaged fully with the industry’s movement toward sustainability. One of the main reasons was presumed additional costs for developers. Through our discussions with LAF board members and using the resources of LAF’s Landscape Performance Series, we have been able to develop life cycle costing for key components and provide sustainable engineering practices. The inspiration and passion of those board members encouraged us to continue improving the way water features and aquatic facilities are engineered.

ade-polytechnic-600wADE provided the hydraulic, pneumatic, and electrical engineering services for Florida Polytechnic University's lakes, which include air pods, an aeration system, and special technology at the litoral shelf.

ADE has placed a focus on innovating new, sustainable systems for our aquatics over the last few years in a fresh way. To echo the sentiments of LAF, we believe that water is a precious resource, but also a resource that can help create more engaging environments and amenities. Eliminating water features altogether in the name of sustainability would have a negative impact on future projects like community parks, public plazas and commercial developments. Instead, we focus on engineering these features in a sustainable way, thus enhancing the environment and helping the community as a whole.

An example of sustainable aquatics is a project ADE is working on for Walt Disney World’s multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, a vibrant district that celebrates the turn-of-the century lakeside towns that dotted the Florida landscape. “The Disney Springs” is a water feature that will utilize the highest performance technology available. ADE has implemented filtration technology that creates as much as an 80% reduction in water lost to waste.

Outside of our work with Walt Disney World, our team is designing low-chlorine fountains and pools that use only the minimum required amount of chlorine. We also place a strong emphasis on incorporating design methods to reduce water lost during non-peak hours. These are just a few of the ways that ADE is innovating to improve sustainability in aquatics, and LAF has been a source of support and inspiration for that growth.

Josh Martin, MBA is the president of Aquatic Design & Engineering in Orlando, Florida. ADE specializes in sustainable, innovative aquatic features that create engaging environments for the community.

2015 Landscape Performance Education Grant Recipients Announced

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As landscape architects are increasingly engaged to address complex challenges like climate change, urbanization, and public health, it is critical that they be able to communicate the measurable benefits of design solutions. Therefore, landscape architecture students need awareness and the technical skills to predict outcomes, assess alternatives, defend design proposals, and evaluate the environmental, economic, and social performance of landscape projects.

LAF’s Landscape Performance Education Grants allow select university faculty to develop and test models for integrating landscape performance into standard landscape architecture course offerings. Five $2,500 mini-grants were awarded to these faculty members for the Spring 2015:

  • Kenneth Brooks, FASLA, FCELA, PLA, Arizona State University
    Advanced Landscape Architecture Studio IV (MLA Studio) and Special Topic: Design Performance (MLA Seminar)
    In the studio course, each student will develop a systematic performance assessment of their design to illustrate how the proposal accommodates a program and site. In the seminar course, students will use their studio projects as the basis for developing and demonstrating design performance assessment.
  • Ellen Burke, PLA, LEED AP, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
    Project Design and Implementation Focus Studio (BLA Studio)
    This upper-division studio will teach an understanding of landscape as a living system. Through a combination of research, program design and quantification assignments, students will be asked to choose and design a ‘performative’ landscape and to understand and describe their proposals through the lens of landscape performance.
  • Reid Coffman, PhD, Kent State University
    Urban Ecological Systems (MLA, MArch, MUD Joint-seminar)
    In this cross-disciplinary graduate seminar, students will conceptualize green infrastructure applications and, using various calculators, determine before and after scenario performances in various categorical areas: hydrology, energy, nutrients, biological diversity, and human health.
  • Yi Luo, PhD, Texas Tech University
    Landscape Architecture Design Process
    (BLA Studio and Lecture)
    As the first BLA design studio course at Texas Tech, it familiarizes students with the typical design process of a landscape project. Background information on landscape performance will be taught, followed by the design process of a landscape, and concluding with student projects that utilize methods learned and quantify potential performance benefits.
  • Emily Vogler, Rhode Island School of Design
    Site Analysis and Planning (MLA Seminar)
    Through weekly lectures, workshops and field exercises, this course will cover both the theory and techniques of site analysis and planning. Students will learn how to measure, analyze and map physical, biological and social attributes on a site, as well as synthesize site specific data into design solutions.

Grant recipients will work with LAF throughout the duration of the classes and use formal course evaluations to determine the success and replicability of the teaching models used. Course materials developed through the Landscape Performance Education Grants will be added to the Resources for Educators section of LandscapePerformance.org, which offers teaching tools like syllabi, reading lists, and assignments for faculty members interested in teaching landscape performance to the next generation of design professionals.icpifoundation-new

The Landscape Performance Education Grants are made possible with support from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute’s Foundation for Education & Research. A total of ten $2,500 grants have been awarded in 2014 and 2015.

Thanks for an Extraordinary Year!

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) invests in research and scholarships to increase our collective capacity to achieve sustainability and cultivate the next generation of design leaders. In 2014, LAF marked an important milestone, having awarded over $1 million to over 500 students since 1986. During this same period, LAF also invested $2.2 million in research initiatives.  

As 2015 gets underway, we’d like to send out a big thank you to all of our friends, donors, and partners whose support helped us accomplish the following in 2014:toast-crop

  • Awarded $122,500 to students.
  • Launched the next-generation Landscape Performance Series as its own website: LandscapePerformance.org.
  • Produced 20 new LPS Case Study Briefs through the Case Study Investigation (CSI) program with 7 faculty-student-practitioner teams.
  • Recognized 75 new Olmsted Scholars, including the $25,000 graduate and $15,000 undergraduate national winners.
  • Awarded $12,500 in mini-grants to faculty to develop and test models for integrating landscape performance in design education.
  • Launched a new “5 Questions with…” interview series with top leaders in landscape architecture.

This year, LAF will continue to build on these transformative initiatives with new website modules, enhanced communications, and expanded outreach. Look for our much-awaited guidebook on evaluating landscape performance, a powerful new clearinghouse of teaching tools for landscape architecture faculty, and even more resources to help you design better and make the case for sustainable landscape solutions.

We couldn’t do what we do without our many supporters! As another ambitious year gets underway, please consider investing in the foundation by making a contribution online or learning about the many ways to support LAF.

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