31 Jan 2011

What is Landscape - Sam Johnston

Thursday 27th January was another afternoon of lectures from guest speakers.

Sam Johnston - Gustafson Porter

Landscape is...
  • ..." everything under the sun" Neil Porter (Gustafson Porter)
  • ... Out there; an understanding of the other
  • ... In here; an awareness of self
Sam talked about some of the projects he has/is working on:
  • Lake Balaton: Create a new public space/park by the side of the lake. Elements used in the concept; Heart, Body & Mind
  • Hooke Park: Human consciousness; reality vs. imagination
  • Milan City Life: New central park. Three architects created central tower blocks surrounded by a residential area, the new park weaves between these structures
  • Woolwich Squares: Two square nodes between the river & the common. The two themes for the areas are 'Ballroom' & 'Gardens'. The 'Ballroom' is a hard landscaped area where there is a market, the 'Garden' space is a soft landscaped area designed to create an inner sity garden effect

What is Landscape - Will Sandy

Will Sandy - Three Green Dots
  • Focus on social theory & communities
Will talked about how the world today is changing for the bad, he used several examples to show how this is happening:
  • Automation: this is taking away social interaction; the use of things such as oyster cards, self service checkouts, online banking, all of these which reduce the need for human interaction. Soon it will be possible for us to go through a whole day without needing to talk to anyone.
  • Reduction of public trust: public spaces are no longer really "public" due to constant CCTV coverage watching everyones every move, private security companies patolling public spaces with the authority to ask people to leave without question. All of these things reduce the enjoyment & feel of trust that we have as a "public" body
  • Tesco vs. Denmark: Will showed a clip of a video that has been produced as a comical, but true representation of companies becoming monopolies, reducing the ability for small businesses to become successful.

How Many Stops??
This was one of the projects Three Green Dots did in London. It was a observational project to see if they could influence the way people use public transport vs. walking. They wanted to see if they could change peoples' daily routines by simply adding signs to the bottom of bus timetables. The installations were cocky & could be considered rude by some, but I think they were very clever & hopefully did encourage some people to choose to walk instead of hopping on a bus. The stickers lasted about 2 months in central London (along Oxford Street & nearby streets), & some in other areas lasted more than 6 months

Parking Tickets
Another of their small projects was "parking tickets". They produced 200 "tickets" & placed them on cars around the Kensington area. The tickets looked legit, they were contained in a plastic sleeve & had the same text & print as normal parking tickets, however when the car owners opened them, instead of being faced with a fine, they were congratulated for their good parking, & other things. The project was done to bring a surprise smile to people's faces when they would normally suspect the worst. We are constantly being condemned for doing things wrong but we are never congratulated for doing things right. Three Green Dots are trying to turn this around for the few people that have experienced their projects.

Three Green Dots encourage people to think outside the box & be creative in a way that will make people smile!!

25 Jan 2011

What is Landscape by Heather Ring

Today we were lucky enough to have an afternoon of lectures from some very interesting & inspiring people, representing their companies & giving us a look into their work. The question raised was 'What is Landscape?' All the guest speakers gave their own interpretation of what they believe Landscape Is.

Heather Ring - Wayward Plants

  • Plant Exchange: unwanted plants to create gardens.
  • Plant adoption: ability for the public to "adopt" unwanted plants
  • Guerilla Gardening: Planting/creating gardens without permission. Wayward Plants created a Guerilla garden on the corner of Upper Street next to the infamous Foundry.
  • The Union Street Urban Orchard: created using all recycled materials (ie. palettes), contained a number of interactive elements, including; cider making shed, greenhouses, outdoor cinema, plant exchange & much more. There were a number of people who actually lived on the site in "eco-pods", these people helped manage & look after the site.
  • Garden for medicine: another interactive garden to promote the history & information behind plants used for mecidinal use.
  • Algae Garden (proposed): algae is a potential bio-fuel, this garden will celebrate the beauty of algae which main people do not realise.
  • Little known history of Kensington Gardens - Camoflague: the use of plants & natural processes as a camoflague.
A brief rough quote from Heather on her views of What is Landscape? - "Landscape is an exploration at small scale...a way to see how people interact. Due to the economy small scale & temporary is often all you can do, are allowed to do."

I found Heather's presentation very interesting, it really opened my eyes to the way that small scale, temporary projects can really make a huge difference & attract such attention. I had seen the Union Street Urban Orchard on a website last summer & had fully planned to go....I'm now upset I let it slip my mind. I think she will offer a lot of inspiration to a lot of us, who maybe have worried about the prospect of working in an office with several layers of superiors, never feeling you are working towards what you really feel drives your enthusiam & inspirations.

Click here to find out more about Heather & Wayward Plants' work

What is Landscape - Christian Spencer Davies

Christian Spencer Davies - AMODELS
  • Architectural model makers: majority of their work is for contemporary architectural companies
  • Unconventional model making: no realistic models, no white models, no "model railway style" models. They do not like to work as conventional model makers who create life-like representations, their work is individual, creative, imaginative & abstract
  • Models by AMODELS can be made from a variety of materials, including: timber, metal, embroidery, perspex, paper & many more. All of which are quite conventional model making materials, however AMODELS use the materials in ways that others do not.
  • They often work with big names, such as; Gustafson Porter, Zaha Hadid, Will Alsop, working with these designers to create individual & striking pieces.
  • Projects they have created models for include; 'Diana Princess of Wales Memorial' in Hyde Park, 'Gardens by the Bay' in Singapore, models for films, including a huge model used in the 'Landscape Architecture studio' of Jude Laws in the film "Breaking & Entering"
Below are a couple of my favourite models by AMODELS:

Christian had very interesting & inspiring views on his client relationships, which really stood out to me. He has little interest in being told what to do throughout a project, & prefers to be allowed artistic licence of his own to create a beautiful model of what he has interpretted from the architects/designers ideas.

Click here to see more of AMODELS portfolio

What is Landscape - Studio Weave

Studio Weave - Architects

  • Their work includes: public spaces, shelters & cabins, landscapes, play spaces, furniture, structures, art installations.
  • They work in an unusual & individual way; creating stories to inform their designs
  • "We aim to create places through playing into and exploring the narratives of spaces. It is important to us that our projects grow from the unique aspects of a place, through its physical and geographical qualities, its use both currently and historically, as well as its myths and legends. We particularly appreciate the quirky and eccentric characteristics that make somewhere distinctive. We have used stories as a way to personify landscapes and design proposals, and have even realised designs that fictional characters have designed themselves!" Studio Weave.com
  • Studio Weave were the people behind the "Longest Bench" in Littehampton (see earlier post)
  • Another of their projects is 'Freya & Robin' at Kielder Water. This is a few extracts from the story created to inform this project; "Not so long ago, not so very far from here, there lived a beautiful lady named Freya. Freya loved flowers. She loved the Wood Aven with its little strawberry flowers that smell like Christmas and protect against evil. She loved the Red Campion with their hoof-like petals stretching from the tips of magenta pods, decorated with tiny white curls. But most of all, she loved Foxgloves, tall figures dressed in soft bells, some in pink, some in white, and some spotted with the fingerprints of elves. Freya liked to think of the foxes ringing the bells to warn each other of danger and insects sheltering from the rain under their gentle parasols...Not so very far away from her, lived Robin. Robin lived in a wooden hut in the woodlands over the water from Freya. He spent his days walking through the woods, looking after the trees and the animals that lived in them. He liked climbing trees and building little wooden houses for the birds to lay their eggs in. He dashed about the forest playing swift and intelligent games with the deer and scrambled about helping the squirrels find their buried nuts...While she was making the cabin, she noticed that Robin spent more and more time dreamily looking across the water. She was thrilled for she thought he must be looking to see what she was up to. She was so excited that she went and collected as many tall, straight flowers as she could find and proudly balanced the cabin up on a thousand of the tallest straightest stems to be sure that Robin could see it properly. But Robin couldn’t see it properly; he couldn’t see it at all...So at sunset, having loaded Robin’s boat with some more food and Freya’s flower press, they set off on their adventure.
    They didn’t leave very long ago, so they are still away adventuring, but if you can find them, you can see Robin’s wooden hut and the golden cabin that Freya made for him, facing each other across the lake, awaiting their return."

24 Jan 2011

Graphic communication & techniques in Landscape Architecture 'masterclass'

Today we had a 'masterclass' by an employee of Bernard Seymour Landscape Architects. We all created our own renders of an AutoCAD courtyard plan, using photoshop. The 3 hours we had was hugely helpful, taking us through all the stages from exporting the CAD plan to PDF, to creating a finished (almost) render. A lot of the techniques I was already familiar with, but Colum either showed us better ways of creating the same effect, or faster ways to produce the same things.

The image above is my render as done in the 3 hour session, more could be added & altered, but this shows the stage I got to today.

This shows a closer section of the courtyard render I completed today. It uses a combination of images to create a complete image. The trees I created from scratch in photoshop, as a start to a new Image Library I am making to help speed up the process of drawings in the future.

4 Jan 2011


The Cool Hunter website claims to be "the world's most-read culture & design site, a leading authority on all things creative & a truly global hub for what's cool, thoughtful, innovative & original."

The site has organised its first offline event called 'TREELIFE'. This event is set to take place in 2011 in London & is based around showcasing creative, innovative & sustainable architecture , proving that green can co-exist with urban city life.

Below is a list of some of the exhibitions & events that will be occuring during TREELIFE:

Life in the trees: there will be the world's first major public exhibition of tree houses from world renowned designers.

Art Life: Organic, green-themed art installations will surround the treehouses

Silent Cinema: Public, open-air movie screenings, using wireless, sound proof headphones.

Free bikes will be available at each venue to enable eco-friendly transport between sites

Hi-Tea: Green building constructed for refreshments

The Green Room: Off-site hospitality venue

Sleep overnight in a treehouse!

Illuminating Treelife at Night: LED lighting will be used to illuminate trees & there will be a nightly show

The Ecotarium: showcase of new green technologies

Graphic Art Exhibition: 100 Treelife posters, desiged by 100 of the world's best designers

3 Jan 2011


The two images below are both my own, created for Part I & Part III of my current Studio Project of semester 1; The Lea Valley.

The first image was a visualisation I created for Part I; Wayfinding signage project. As you can see the graphics are very crude & basic (partially intentional). This was done using a photograph as the base outline, then in Illustrator tracing the lines of objects/features that I wished to be included, & then colur was added in Photoshop. The image did not take long, although was not a hugely fast process either.

This next image was created after I had bought Digital Drawing For Landscape Architecture (listed a few posts below). The book gives clear, concise step-by-step instructions on how to create renders, visualisations, 3d models, & much more. Using this book I was able to create a far more life-like visualisation of a proposal within the Part III; Masterplan. I am now far more competent at putting together visualisations faster & at a higher standard.