Publish your thesis on Landscape Architecture Resource

I want to publish your thesis work here on Landscape Architecture Resource. Yes, I know you are busy with school, going to LABash, and looking for a job. But if you’re working that hard on your thesis, don’t you want the world to know about it?

The central body of theory that defines landscape architecture has been developing for a very long time. It has borrowed from art, architecture, ecology, horticulture, psychology, geology, civil engineering, cartography, geography, sociology, and many other diverse fields. People have been doing landscape architecture since before the profession had a name and even before it was a profession. Creating human habitat is something our species has always done.

But as professionals, we are still at a point that the medical profession was at about 100 years ago. We rely perhaps more hypotheses, dogma, habits, and styles than on a solid central body of knowledge that we all agree on. The design process is central to what we do of course, but the body of theory with which we make our decisions is still rather young. The nucleus of the landscape architecture world view is there, but it is still maturing.

I’m not suggesting that we don’t know what we’re doing or what the outcome of our work will be. I’m only suggesting that their is still a gap between research and application.

Don’t worry about losing the opportunity for creativity. Having a stronger foundation of facts and statistics to justify our decisions won’t remove the need for us to make decisions. Design will still be an interesting journey. Each project will have its own unique challenges, as always.

But when we are wondering if a park will really work, or exactly how far apart the street trees should be we can rest on hard, tested and proven numbers. What makes a successful zoo exhibit? How much maintenance will my planting design really require? Will my park design really serve the needs of the community? The answers to these questions are out there. But new work is being done all the time that can improve our understanding of the problems we face and give us better tools to solve them. And it’s important to keep up to date.

That is why I want to publish your thesis research on Landscape Architecture Resource. Isn’t science all about sharing knowledge and discussing ideas? Get in touch with me at dan at LArchRes.com. Ideally we could post your abstract with links to the rest of the thesis and maybe your other work as well. Check with your advisor about any copyright restrictions on your work.

Use the right font

When someone is reading your writing, one side of their brain is decoding the written words into meaning and ideas, while the other side of their brain is decoding meaning from the lines, form, color, size, and shape of your writing. Take a look at the text in any magazine or billboard ad and you’ll see what I mean.

Every aspect of your design presentation says something about you, your vision, and your work. Choosing the right font has a impact in setting the mood of your design. Don’t just slap on the basic arial, times new roman, or verdana font because it’s the default in photoshop, inDesign, or whatever software you’re using at the moment. And for heaven’s sake don’t ever use AutoCad’s default font unless you’re a civil engineer.

Pick a font that embodies the theme of your design. You may not think it’s a big deal, but fonts send a message. So does your use of capitals. Choosing a great font can be the finishing touch that makes the whole page sing, or a starting point for designing your slides, panels, or drawings.

You should also give a great deal of thought to the fonts you use on your letterhead, business cards, website, and other communications. Think of your typeface as one of the materials you are using to build your brand.

Two of the best sources for fonts online are Linotype and International Typeface.

If you are looking for a font that gives a real hand-drawn feeling, then make your own! YourFonts.com is one of the coolest things I’ve found online lately. You can quickly and easily make your own hand-drawn font for free, and then use it in your work.

On the Recession and Landscape Architecture

Most of the discourse about the current economic situation is that of doom and gloom, with no one really willing to say when things will get better, just that we should give it some time and things should to improve. Real estate and the housing industry have taken huge hits and construction projects all over the place are being put on hold or simply walked away from. Unfortunately, architecture and landscape architecture are closely tied to the housing market. Both the AIA and ALSA have reported noticeable decreases in billable hours and projects. Job opportunities are closing up and some firms have had layoffs. While US News proclaimed landscape architecture as one of the top 30 professions for 2009, it is starting to sound like the wrong time to be looking into landscape architecture.

But what if it’s not? What if the economic crash is a great opportunity for design professionals?

A rousing Boston Globe editorial I discovered via ArchDaily suggests that the recession is indeed an opportunity. With budgets becoming even more of a limiting factor for projects, designers will have to come up with innovative responses to get the most of the project while staying within the budget constraints. The editorial notes that the design professions are uniquely suited for this because working within budgetary constraints is just one aspect of the business.

While the article illustrates its point mostly through architecture, landscape architecture will surely play a role as the pendulum swings back from lavish projects of the “Bilbao Effect” to focus on more pressing public and environmentally aware projects. Interest in more livable cities (as opposed to drivable cities) and public transportation is growing, which are areas of Landscape Architects’ expertise. So is creating and improving urban spaces that everyone cam use and enjoy.

Our society’s growing awareness of our environmental impact means ecologically driven restorative designs will continue to increase in importance in coming years. This is another area of expertise within landscape architecture.

And hopefully budget constraints will result in new cost-effective approaches to designed landscapes. Such innovative solutions could then become widespread and play an important role in improving our ecological impact, economic reality, and many other areas of our lives. Others have written here about how well-designed landscapes can save money, for example (Editor’s note).

Perhaps the recession is part of a pendulum swing that will help push our society towards reducing our environmental impact. The challenges born out of this recession may leave us with improved tools and ideas for shaping the world. As a student learning about landscape architecture, I certainly hope that these things are true. It will make for an interesting, challenging, and rewarding time to be entering the profession.

Design Collaboration Made Easy

ConceptShare.com is a remarkable online collaboration tool that I’ve been using in my landscape design firm.

Here’s how the ConceptShare website explains their service:

“Get better feedback on your design projects…ConceptShare is a simple, cost-effective tool for gathering feedback from team members and clients…Easily share media and invite others to add and reply to comments, approve work and markup visuals.”

Here are some potential uses for landscape architects and designers:

Client reviews- This would work well for small projects as well as for construction details.

As a collaboration tool for designers who work in “design teams” on projects.

Collaborating with other design professionals and contractors.

Communicating with inaccessible clients- Maybe you are designing a vacation home or second home and the client is rarely accessible.

For designers who collaborate on projects together. This is how I’ve been using ConceptShare. I live in Michigan and the landscape architect who does all of my perspective and color rendering lives in Georgia. We use ConceptShare to communicate throughout the process.

So how does ConceptShare work?

1. Upon signing up, ConceptShare assigns you or your company a unique workspace and url. For example-https://YourCompanyNameHere.conceptshare.com

2. You upload drawings, photos, etc. into your workspace. The workspace shown below contains 3 “concepts”.

3. You invite others to join the workspace where they can review, comment and mark up your design. The invitations are actually sent automatically via email.

So what does this handy tool cost?

I’ve been using ConceptShare absolutely free for the past 10 months because they offer 1 workspace for free. As I use this service more I will need extra work spaces so I’ll eventually need to upgrade.

The next option is $19/month which gives you 25 workspaces and unlimited users. I think this is a great price if you can learn to maximize it’s capabilites for your specific situation.

Free Screen Capture Program Aids in Communication

Jing is a very cool screen capture program that I use to communicate ideas quickly to clients, contractors and other design professionals.

This is a unique screen capture program in a couple of ways. For one, you can capture images on your computer screen as well as video from your screen.

What really makes Jing unique is that you are quickly able to share your screen captures. You don’t have to e-mail really large files. Jing gives you a link to send your client where they can view your screen capture.

This is really easy to use. I had never used a screen capture program before finding Jing. It took me about 5 minutes to download the program and another 5 minutes to figure out how to use it.

You can download Jing for free at www.jingproject.com

Below is a video showing exactly how I use Jing to communicate ideas as part of my workflow.

Social Media for Architecture Business, Could It Be Worthwhile?

Should you operate a small architecture company you’ve most likely spent a while establishing a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account. Maybe you have requested yourself why? Could it be even well worth the effort? Rapid response is yes, but you’ll need a plan as well as an approach which works for you as well as your business. What services or goods would you sell? Will they translate well to the net? What’s the best platform for the business?

The Social Networking brand list just get longer every single day and includes websites like these as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumbler, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Digg, reddit, Google+ and Bebo. Right now Pinterest has taken everyone’s attention but moments are fleeting and you never know who the brand new social networking darling is going to be in a few days.

Facebook is undoubtedly the greatest player in the overall game with more than 900 million customers. Just make sure you pay great attention to the security of your architecture business Facebook account and protected the account from being hacked by those who use Facebook password sniper. Twitter is really a distant second with roughly 220 million customers. The majority of the other platforms offer some type of specialized media discussing and do not necessary permit just as much customer engagement as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or Bebo. Listed here are five top reasons to pursue a social networking advertising campaign regardless of what business you’re in or the number of employees you’ve:

It ought to be noted that although a number of these platforms have the freedom time it requires to setup and keep a merchant account isn’t. That’s why you should keep the social networking plan simple by concentrating on the a couple of platforms that is useful for your architecture company. Maintaining just one account for example Facebook for the architecture business may take between 4 to eight hrs per week if done correctly. Twitter demands that you simply publish regularly to be able to gain fans which may also be time-consuming.

The advantages still greatly over-shadow the disadvantages and social networking may be worth going after for just about any smaller businesses looking for more exposure. To become effective you need to keep the social networking plan simple, publish regularly and make significant content. Developing a social networking calendar is another must to be able to stand above your fans and fans. If you’re searching for maximum return having a minimal investment for the architecture business then social networking is essential.

Paradigm shift for Landscape Architecture? Where is Technology taking Design?

I’ve been reading The World Is Flat lately and it has catalyzed a lot of my thinking on the future of landscape architecture and design.

Last century, Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Engineering, and other spatial design professions worked in 2D on paper (and mylar, vellum, etc.) This was the dominant medium that they used to explore ideas, collaborate, record and distribute their work. It’s hard to imagine something more durable, economical, and useful on a construction site than a paper set of drawings. But is paper the best way to do the design? Does it really make sense to be designing a 3D space in the confines of a 2D medium? Even 2D CAD?

Sure they built a lot of models–real world physical scale models out of wood, clay, foam, etc. These are great tools to explore how a design might work out (at 1/8th real size), but very expensive, fragile, difficult to change, and hard to show to anyone who’s not in the room with you–all the disadvantages of a thing that takes up real-world space.

Technology has come such a long way in such a short time, that I wonder if we’re in the final stages now of “the old way” of doing things in the design business. I think we’re on the cusp of a new paradigm in spatial design.

Hand drawing won’t go away. Hand drawing will always be a valuable and effective way of expressing one’s self. But there will be (and already has been) tremendous change in the way designers work. Technology has already revolutionized industries such as animation, journalism, accounting, graphic design, and computer programming. Undoubtedly we will see more and more change in the way landscape architects, engineers, and architects conduct their businesses.

I can imagine a future, not too far away, where the bulk of design work is done within an immersed 3D digital environment. If you think this sounds silly, then you haven’t seen SketchUp, MicroSoft Virtual Earth, or SecondLife yet. It’s already happening.

How will these kinds of technologies change the design professions? When will the revolution begin?

With a powerful web-based project management interface, a designer could take clients and stakeholders on a virtual tour of the project before shovel ever hits soil in the real world. It would be as easy as having a meeting in Second Life. Designers could prove how good their work is in cyberspace before anyone spends a penny changing meat-space (the real world). Clients and stakeholders could see that their money is being spent on building excellent 3D environments, not just on great renderings and pretty pictures.

How will construction documents and specifications be produced from the 3D models? This I’m still not sure of. I would love if someone figured out how to do away with specifications, contracts, and all the other admin work we have to do just to get something built. I’m so jealous of web designers and graphic designers. For them, the pretty picture is 90% of the work. For us the pretty picture is the end of the fun part and the beginning of 90% of the job: administration.

Ideally it would be: “Here. This is the virtual site. Now copy it into the real world. Just set up your mesh-work of laser levels and GPS devices, and they’ll project the model into the real site. Then just colour inside the lines with brick, steel, mortar, stone and plants.”

How will the technological advances that are happening all around us right now change the world of design? What kind of work will you be doing in five years?

Petronas Towers – The most famous architecture of Malaysia

PETRONAS towers as mentioned in the last article – one of the most beautiful architectural designs around the world – are the iconic landmark of Malaysia. Designed by Argentine architects Cesar Pelli and Achmad Murdijat together with Deejay Cerico and designer Dominic Saibo under the consultancy of JC Guinto, this pair of skyscraper buildings was completed in 1998 after 7 years constructing and then became the tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004.

The architectural design of PETRONAS twins towers was took part in by the number of designers, engineers, building contractor management that equal with the number of construction workers. About 7000 construction workers and 7000 design workers who work together for 7 years to create this famous architecture.

The towers were designed and built look like the letter “M” for Malaysia. The architects also highlighted the strong cultural values of Malaysia through the jagged outline subtly resembles for one of Malaysia’s famous traditional handicraft – basket waving.

This famous structure stays inside a massive land of 100-acre site in Kuala Lumpur with a lot of modern office buildings, retail center, hotels, gardens, lakes, residential buildings and substantial public parks. The twin towers are high 451.9 meters with 88 levels consists of 216,901 square meters of total floor space. The towers are connected by a sky bridge on 41st and 42nd floor, which is the highest 2-story bridge in the world. This sky bridge is not directly bolted to the main towers but is specially designed to slide in and out of towers to prevent from breaking during the high winds.

The triangle that symbolize the sky bridge which has role as a fulcrum that balance Malaysia’s past and future, local values and global outlook, multi-cultural background and united 1Malaysia concept.

Nowadays, this famous architecture allows tourist to visit the sky bridge and observation deck on level 86 at the height of 360 meters over the ground with only RM80 for adults and RM30 for children. The tickets are limited issued with 800 tickets are being sold every day. Operating for more than 15 years, PETRONAS twin towers still a pride to Malaysia’s people and become the place you have to come for tourist who go to travel in Kuala Lumpur. There usually is a long queue in the early morning everyday with people who want to visit this beautiful architecture.

In conclusion, PETRONAS towers now may not the tallest building in the world anymore, but it still a famous architectural design that it not only can give inspiration to any architect all over the world but also an interesting place for people who love travel.

“As an internationally recognised landmark, the PETRONAS Twin Towers symbolise the courage, ingenuity, initiative, and determination, energy, confidence, optimism, advancement and zest of a nation.”Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad – Former Prime Minister of Malaysia (1981-2003) said.

Lanscape Water Use – No Longer A Secret…

Recently American President Obama’s transition team recommended the use of technologically advanced irrigation controllers in an effort to reduce irrigation water consumption in residential and commercial landscapes.

Today water conservation has become a huge issue all over North America, however the fact that the new American government is specifically looking at irrigation efficiency should tell all of us in the horticultural industry that landscape water use is no longer flying under the radar.

Recently research has been done and studies are ongoing (in the U.S. as well as right here in Canada) as to how much water we actually use outdoors to keep our turf and landscapes green. In a recent study published by the OWWA (Ontario Water Works Association,) it was found that outdoor irrigation accounted for up to 50% of water used on properties during the summer months.

So why do we use so much water on our landscapes?

In the past, and still very much today, when an irrigation designer or contractor is approached by an landscape architect or another client they were simply asked to make sure that everything on site was watered and stayed green. The only concern irrigation designers and contractors had, was that there were no dry spots left on the property anywhere.

A large issue with how much water is wasted in irrigation has a lot to do with design and installation as well as the rapid pace at which we install construction projects.

In many cases a great landscape design will be produced and installed well, unfortunately, the irrigation contractor or designer is often not brought in on the project until the very end of construction or after the project has been completed. This results in irrigation being designed and installed as quickly as possible and with a minimal budget. The fallout of this practice is that corners are cut and the resulting irrigation system, while it currently may meet “traditional” installation quality standards, can in no way effectively use less water without additional upgrading.

Irrigation contractors and designers are not often given any information on plant and turf water requirements, and create designs and watering schedules that are appropriate only for the turf or plant species on site that they assume uses the most water or are the most susceptible to dying from under watering. As we saw in the previous section, the irrigation on a project is given the smallest portion of the total project budget (time and money) as a result a contractor or designer will try and create and zone an irrigation system to meet the budget rather than the landscapes needs. This practice results, in an irrigation system that will typically water the parking lot, sidewalks, buildings and while the grass stays green, the trees and shrubs on site will usually receive too much or not enough water.

Finally, over the years a misconception of irrigation systems has developed. We just assume that after the irrigation system is installed and the controller is set to “Auto” that we no longer need worry about the irrigation system or the plant material. As most landscape architects are aware of, turf and plant species require more water when they are initially installed and after they are established the plant material will need to use less water. This also applies to different times of the year. After turf and plants are established in a landscape their water requirements will change as the season does. When an irrigation system is scheduled on a new project it is scheduled for new plant material and it can often take a few seasons for someone to get around to changing the irrigation schedule to reflect that the turf and plant material has become established. Very often this never happens and because of this “set it and forget it” attitude most irrigation systems apply the same amount of water all year round. If we write an irrigation schedule based on hot dry summer months we will be over watering during the spring and fall.

Over watering contributes to plant/turf diseases and death, property damage, and with the rising costs of potable water can greatly inflate monthly operating expenses. If we take a birds-eye view of the process of landscape and irrigation design, installation and maintenance we can see that something is wrong. When we cut corners and rush at the design and installation level we will be using far more water than we need over the lifespan of the landscape and will increase maintenance costs for years to come.

So what is the solution to all of this?

Many of the new breed of irrigation professionals and consultants are working hard to get involved in landscape projects from their very inception. If we take a holistic approach to landscape and irrigation design and consider not just the new installation, but also the future maintenance, we will use less water. We can design quality irrigation systems that better reflect different plant species water requirements. We can manage and monitor irrigation systems remotely and make necessary schedule changes when they are appropriate. We can also look harder at advance irrigation control products that use data gathered from weather station networks and will make automatic adjustments based upon accurate plant species information and weather data.

There is no one single thing that will help us reduce water use in landscapes but there are many tools we can use and practices that we need to change.

In coming articles we will take a closer look at the problems associated with over watering, “conservation based” irrigation design principals and exciting new water saving technologies available to reduce our water footprint in the landscape.

Matthew Sandink is the Conservation Solutions Specialist and is responsible for Marketing at SMART Watering Systems. SMART Watering Systems is a water conservation & rainwater harvesting consulting firm with it’s roots in the landscape irrigation industry.

The Sydney Opera House – One of the most famous architectural designs all the time

From the demand of a huge place for plays and music shows in 1940s, when other opera houses cannot adapt, the president of New South Wales State – Joseph Cahill – hold the competition to find out the design for The Sydney Opera House. From 233 design draws from 32 countries, with the innovative and unique idea, John Utzon won the competition to design the Sydney Opera house in 1956 and got £5,000 for his design

The-Sydney-Opera-House (2)This famous building was built on the land of 1.8 hectares with the roof cover at the weight of 161,000 tons. Annually, the Sydney opera house attracts around 7 to 8 million visitors who come to enjoy the beauty of this unique architectural design. This famous architectural design was internationally recognized as the architectural icon of the 20th century. This also the world’s largest art performance place with the high technique in sound, light, natural harmonize and modern life development. This is also the headquarter of Sydney Theatre Company and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The-Sydney-Opera-House (3)The amazing architecture is located at the Bennelong Point at Sydney Harbor, closed to famous Sydney Harbor Bridge, which create the characterized image for Australia. This building was designed by the Danish architect John Utzon. The architectural designs was inspired from 1950s architecture and officially opened in 1973. The expected cost at the beginning was only $3.5 million but then increased to $100 million. John Utzon then was chased out of Australia since he did not accept the cheaper option in construction and he never come back to Australia to look back his brainchild. The Sydney Opera House was built for 16 years; from 1957 to 1973 is a building of modern architectural style that show the amazing design, engineering and construction technology of Australia. The famous building was designed innovative with the white roof shell as the sails on the huge red platform made of granite. With the unique sculptural design that can be viewed from all sides, The Sydney Opera House is the attractive destination for tourists when they come to Sydney Harbor.

Opening in 1937, it was known as the most beautiful architectural of all time. Viewed from the harbor, this is a great structure that glistening in the sunlight and invitingly aglow at night.

The Opera Sydney House consist of 6 theatres, 5 recording studios, 2 main halls, 4 restaurants, 6 bars and some retail outlets.The tourist can book the guided tours to learn more about this building that include a frequent tour that give you a look from the front of house spaces and a daily backstage tour that give visitor opportunity to visit some special area for performers and crew members.

The-Sydney-Opera-House (4)

In 2007, the Opera Sydney House became the youngest structure in the World Heritage List. With many people, this amazing architectural design has the same stand as Taj Mahal in India, Eiffel Tower in France that can be seen as one of the most famous building all over the world.