10 Dec 2010


This is my most recent purchase in a new resolution to create a mini "library" of Landscape Architecture & Design books, in order to help my progression as a designer.

This book contains all the major topics from soft & hard landscaping to planning, legislation & British Standards. As I progress it is important my professional knowledge does too. Small & handy book to keep at hand at all times!

8 Dec 2010

Urban Tree Planting Scheme Launched in the UK

The government have launched a £4.2 million project in which 1 million trees will be planted in urban environments over the next 4 years. Led by Defra, this is the first tree planting campaign from the UK government since the 1970's.

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Will it work??

"Plant a tree, change the future and the future will thank you for it” Griff Rhys Jones, President of Civic Voice

Shared Space Streets

Came across this article about the UK leading the way with joint usage streets for pedestrians & vehicles. Something the US is not ahead of us in.

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(image sourced from article)

Invisible Streetlight

Korean designer Jongoh Lee has come up with this new design concept; artificial leaves that can be wrapped around trees, branches or any other natural material, producing light at night but remaining more or less invisible during the day. The 'leaves' mingle in with the branches of a tree during the day, collecting & storing sunlight, & then at night light up using the stored sunlight, providing an alternative to traditional streetlights, which purely functional & are set to a fixed height.

The 'invisible' lights are made from a double injection of silicone & aluminium; these lightweight materials enable the lights to have flexible movement, enabling them to be wrapped around most solid things. The silicon protects the leaves from water with its high thermal conductivity property, & its semi-transparency allows the LED lights within to shine through in the dark. Inside the silicon & aluminium outer casing is a "photocapacitor", which converts the solar energy from sunlight into electricity, which is then stored in a nano-wire battery. The high technology device is able to utilize indirect sunlight even on rainy or cloudy days, allowing usage every night.

An ingenious new design concept which could be the future of streetlighting in parks & small streets. The lighting, as the design stands, could not be used for inner city roads as not enough light is produced to illuminate large areas sufficiently to provide safe driving conditions. However, it could be progressed to provide a new form lighting to replace the boring functionality of the traditional streetlight.

(images sourced from Why Design Now)


Here are some possibly thought provoking or inspirational quotes from some well known architects:

“Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”
(Frank Lloyd Wright)

“Space and Light and Order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.” (Le Corbusier)

“God is in the details.” (Mies van Der Rohe)

“More is more.” (Robert Venturi)

“When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” (Richard Buckminster Fuller)

”When you look on one of your contemporary ‘good copies’ of historical remains, ask yourself the question: Not what style, but in what civilization is this building? And the absurdity, vulgarity, anachronism and solecism of the modern structure will be revealed to you in a most startling fashion.” (Louis H. Sullivan)

“Society needs a good image of itself. That is the job of the architect.” (Walter Gropius)

“Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context - a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.” (Eero Saarinen)

Reading Material

I have ordered this book to help me progress my digital skills. The book contains step by step guides on how to use a variety of software, including photoshop & illustrator, to form landscape architecture digital drawings, visualisations, plans, sections, etc.

Researchers Developing A Living Skin For Buildings

Research is being carried out at the University of Greenwich into a new carbon negative living material that will be used to protect structures & fight against climate change. The material has been made from protocells - very simple cells that only have the basic elements of life, however are still able to grow & multiply. The cells will capture carbon from the air in their membranes, causing them to grow & eventually form a hard, coral-like armour around buildings. The cells could even be used to support buildings by hardening & securing their foundations, places like Venice this come to great use & importance in the future. The researchers invisage a future where buildings are no longer static structures, but ever growing & strengthening elements, that also remove carbon from the air, helping the fight against climate change.

Read more: Researchers Developing Coral-Like Living Skin for Buildings

Jason Bruges Studio

The Studio was founded in 2001, "We create interactive spaces and surfaces that sit between the worlds of architecture, interaction design and site-specific installation art" (JBS)

The studio comprises of architects, lighting designers, specialists in interaction & industrial design & project managers. Their work ranges from large scale; builiding facades, public art; to interactive lighting; interior environments & products.

The latest installation from JBS is the virtual wall at Sunderland Station. The piece is a 144 metre virtual platform with moving travellers within a glass block wall. The wall has been transformed into a low resolution (755x15 pixels) video matrix. Behind the wall is a disused track & platform, hidden from view for several years, the wall has now become a virtual platform opposite the fully function platform on which travellers stand & watch the ghost-like figures moving behind the glass.

(images sourced from Jason Bruges Studio)


Swiss Cottage Open Space, London; this project by Gustafson Porter in 2006, comprises of a lawned public space with a large central water feature made of granite. The water feature has a sloping gradient so that water can flow from the top end to the bottom, where the water pools. At the head of the fountain there are seven water jets, set to a 30 degree angle, which emit water across the basin of the fountain. At night these jets are lit from beneath by small blue LED lights. The lights create a beautiful sight at night & give the site a new ambience.

Finsbury Avenue Square, London; the £750,000 project in the Broadgate Business area is a 20x20 mtere lighting grid, containing over 100,000 individual LED lights, set in RGB clusters to enable a wide range of colour & hue changes. The square boasts one of the most sopisticated & highly techinical lighting displays in the world. It is hugely popular & people are always interacting with the lights. (image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/grosun/2414245267/)

New Australian Gardens at The National Australian Gallery; very simple design using grass & paving, but very effective, adding more interest to what could have been a plain straight edged lawn. (image from WLA)

ARC International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design Competition

This is an interesting competition for Landscape Architects, Architects, Engineers & alike. ARC International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design Competition have held the first ever international competition to solve the problem of ensuring safe travel for both humans & animals. In the North of the US there are many accidents between vehicles & animals, increasing in occurance by 50% in the last 15 years. These images show the work from the 5 finalists of the competition.

HNTB Engineering with Michael Van Valkenburgh & Associates (New York)

Full submissions from the finalists are available at www.arc-competition.com/finalists.php

Images sourced from WLA


Google Earth now has 3D trees as well as buildings! Available with the latest update; Google Earth 6. This feature is only available in some locations at the moment, including Chicago, Athens, Tokyo, & San Francisco. The screen copy above is from Millenium Park, Chicago.

2 Dec 2010

Landscape Photographer Of The Year 2010


This little exhibition at 1 Berwick Street, Soho was held by POW, Pictures On Walls, a new groundbreaking printhouse who brought to the world's attention the likes of Banksy & Paul Insect. Marks & Stencils is their Christmas exhibition, showing street art from a variety of artists, inlcuding some work of Banksy & Dran.

Banksy is the pseudonym of a unknown British Graffiti artist from Bristol. Banksy's work is often very controversial & satirical, pointing towards current political issues & controversies. His work reflects a variety of social & political themes, including; anti-war, anti-fascism, anti-capitalism, anti-authoritarianism, & anarchism. The locations of his work are also controversial, including inside the penguin enclosure at London Zoo, on the walls of sexual health clinics, the Berlin Wall, the West Bank barrier in Israel & many more. The following three images are works on canvas of his at this exhibition.

The following images are a combination of artists, mainly by another controverisal artist, Dran. His part in the exhibition is named "My Everyday Life", mainly featuring Scribouille, a homeless puppet . The French artist, by the name Dran, is known for his cynically corrosive viewpoint, which he portrays in his artwork. His work is dark, however comical & reflects on what he thinks of the capitalist world that we live in. His work varies from taxidermy animals to delicate, intricate pencil drawings. Often the images seem harmless & show a normal scene, however if you look closer there is always a cynical twist to the art.

A lot of his pencil drawn work is canvassed on cardboard boxes; the images drawn always relate to the text already on the box

Below is an example of his taxidermy work; a badger wearing a Mexican Wrestling mask

The exhibition allowed visitors to commit their own "graffiti" acts by providing pens around the space for people to use & make their mark

The most controversial of all the pieces at this exhibition was by Mark Sinckler, a former 'tube graffiti vandal' . The artist has created a painting, titled 'The Age of Shiva', which incorporates renaissance-style angels flying out of the wreckage of the bus blown up in the London 7/7 bombings. Obviously this image has drawn a huge amount of attention, mainly negative, due to the hugely controversial issues that lie within it. Sinckler made these comments about his painting:
"What I'm trying to do is to make anyone that has a faith, a belief, or an idea they hold close to their heart to think about the impact of these ideas when they leave their heads. I wanted to jolt people into seeing the results of these thoughts put into action."
(BBC News article) Banksy, who is not adverse to a little controversy himself, has made comment on the painting also: "People enjoy shopping more than they enjoy art. So it makes sense to try and disguise your gallery as a home furnishings store. It is a chance for the public to see some less-refined culture after they’ve finished browsing Soho’s adult bookshops". (Sky News article)All in all this was a very interesting exhibition; set in a derelict former shop in Soho, adding further character to the already intriguing & controversial exhibition.

Here is a video of the exhibition's Private Viewing evening:

Marks & Stencils Private View from Butterfly on Vimeo.