Landscape Architecture

September 9, 2010 Posted by Home and Fashion
 Near and Far
Here's a somewhat recent article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that toys with some of the ideas of this class. Youth, Greening, Education, and Landscape Architecture.
San Francisco landscape architect wins contest to remake Allegheny Plaza
Friday, November 09, 2007
By Patricia Lowry, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Andrea Cochran's vision for Allegheny Plaza.
A San Francisco landscape architect has won the competition to make over the North Side's Allegheny Plaza with a child-focused design inspired by the history, form and ecology of Pittsburgh's rivers and riverbanks.

Andrea Cochran's plan calls for a green landscape bisected diagonally by a dry, undulating river of long, rectangular concrete pavers. Many of the design elements are modeled after the movement of water in waves, eddies and shallows. The concrete river, for example, will lap over the edges of the park onto the sidewalk.

Water in three states -- steam, water and ice -- also will play a significant role in the park, with a steam sculpture by Ned Kahn, 76 jets of water and a stage area that can be frozen in winter to make a skating pond.

The Children's Museum, which sponsored the design competition, views it as the necessary first step in replacing the existing multi-level concrete plaza across the street from the museum with a children's park that is green in both senses of the word, providing a lush and sustainable landscape.

The six competing design teams were given free rein in interpreting the park's sustainable aspects. The winning design uses recycled materials, permeable surfaces and, to power the park's lights, solar collectors in the wings of tall dragonfly sculptures. The park also is meant to be a learning lab for environmental education.

"One of our primary goals was to create a design that resonated with the museum, the surrounding neighborhoods and the region at large," Ms. Cochran said. "We believe that the park provides a wonderful opportunity to create a green space, and collaborate with artists to develop interpretive experiences that can teach sustainability and the history of the area."

The park also will accommodate open space for events, terraced seating and a flexible area for varied programming.

For children, Ms. Cochran's scheme will provide a backdrop for unscripted experiences of a river and its banks, with reclaimed locust planks suggesting driftwood making a path through meadow grass, and large boulders where the dry river meets the street. Artist-made renditions of craft that once plied the rivers, such as canoes, keelboats and flatboats, will be tethered to docks extending like fingers into the meadow grass. They'll be made of a nontoxic material that combines recycled plastic and reclaimed wood.

The winning design also features a phased plan to reconnect East Ohio and Federal streets through Allegheny Center.

The work is scheduled to be completed in fall 2009.

Ms. Cochran's 12-member firm, established in 1998, has been much praised (numerous design awards) and published (in Dwell, House & Garden and others), partly because it uses native plants in inventive, sustainable ways. Ms. Cochran also is chair of the San Francisco Arts Commission's Civic Design Committee.

The 10-member jury selected La Dallman Architects of Milwaukee as the second-place winner and landscape architect Paula Meijerink of Boston as the third-place winner. They were among six finalists whittled from a field of 25.

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