The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) is a joint project of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to generate and test a set of guidelines and benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance, much as LEED ratings are given to buildings. Accreditation would be voluntary but would incentivize sustainable development practice for sites both with and without buildings.
After assembling a rating system through the partnership of dozens of sustainability experts and hundreds of organizations, the program selected 175 sites compiled through a call for submissions to serve as pilot projects to test the system. Cultural institutions, educational facilities, transportation corridors, industrial complexes and private residences are all among the list. The Dirt reviews how the ratings will operate:
The SITES rating system includes 15 prerequisites and 51 different credits covering areas such as the initial site selection, water, soil, vegetation, materials, human health and well-being, construction and maintenance – adding up to a 250 point scale. The rating system recognizes levels of achievement by obtaining 40, 50, 60 or 80 percent of available points with one through four stars, respectively.
The program will be vetting and receiving feedback from pilot projects until June 2012 and expects to release the final rating system in 2013.
The New York City Department of Transportation has announced the winner of its reNEWable Times Square design competition, aimed to temporarily “refresh and revive” the streetscape of newly pedestrianized Times Square while plans for permanent reconstruction proceed (construction is slated for 1012). Brooklyn artist Molly Dilworth‘s Cool Water, Hot Island was selected from 150 submitted designs for the pedestrian zones along Broadway from 47th to 42nd Streets. The piece is a large-scale painted installation abstractly interpreting—and mitigating!—Manhattan’s heat island effect. From NYCDOT’s release:
The proposed design’s color palette of striking blues and whites reflects more sunlight and absorb less heat – improving the look of these popular pedestrian plazas while making them more comfortable to sit in. The color and patterns evoke water, suggesting a river flowing through the center of Times Square, and they also provide a compelling visual counterpoint to the reds, oranges and yellows of the area’s signature marquees and billboards.
Tatiana Choulika—Project Design Manager at James Corner Field Operations for our upcoming project in the southern portion of the Freshkills Park site—gave a great presentation on that design two weeks back at the Arsenal. Our thanks go to her and to the large crowd that came out to learn about South Park. We’re very excited about this section of the park and FO’s design for it, which responds to a variety of expressed local and regional needs and desires while carrying through the principles set out by the 2006 Freshkills Park Draft Master Plan.
Quick on the heels of the springtime public opening of Pier 1, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation opened the Pier 6 section of the new park this past weekend. The $55 million area features a 1.6-acre playground with a water play space, 21 swings, slides, a 6,000-square-foot sandbox, a marsh garden, a dog run and bikeway and pedestrian promenades. It’s a very spectacular play space. The pier also features a dock that offers free weekend ferry service to Governors Island, which is also now open to the public for the summer season.
Three sand volleyball courts and additional lawns will open up at Pier 6 later this year, and a restaurant with a roof deck will open next year.
The University of Buffalo has commissioned landscape architect Walter Hood to design a 5,000-panel solar array to be sited on 6.5 acres of its campus and to function as a signature piece of land art. The Oakland, CA-based Hood won out over proposals by Vito Acconci and Diana Balmori with his proposal for a fragmented grid, meant to recall DNA, supported on posts and suspended over low-maintenance grasses, crab-apple shrubs, ornamental lindens, trees and an existing creek, all of which will be publicly accessible. University officials were keen on commissioning a design for the array that would transcend the banality of most large-scale solar installations.
The project will be funded by a grant from the New York State Power Authority and will feed into the university’s grid, supplying on-campus housing with enough electricity for approximately 700 students.
Quick on the heels of our terrific if rainy lecture this past Tuesday, we’re thrilled to host another lecture in our Freshkills Park Talks series this upcoming Wednesday evening, May 26th—this time at the Arsenal, on Central Park. We’ll be joined by Tatiana Choulika, Senior Associate at landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations, who will be presenting and discussing the design for the first phase of the Southern quadrant of Freshkills Park. This area of the site hosts some of the most beautiful overlooks and variations of landscape of anywhere onsite, and the design that FO has developed for it is really dynamic and exciting, meeting a host of community-expressed priorities as well as accommodating some of the particular challenges of developing on a former landfill site.
This first phase comprises 20 acres of the full 425 acre-buildout of this quadrant of the park, and it has been designed as a connected series of overlooks, meadows and recreational facilities including walking and biking paths, softball fields, play areas and event spaces. It will also be the first project allowing public access to the top of one of the site’s mounds, with expansive views of Staten Island and beyond. We’re excited about this project and hope you’ll join us to learn more about it and FO’s process in designing it.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | 6:30-8pm
The Arsenal, Central Park, 3rd floor gallery
830 Fifth Ave, Manhattan
An illustrative lecture by William Reed AIA, an architect at the Integrative Design Collaborative as well as Regenesis, Inc. and Delving Deeper who is a nati0nally recognized expert on the practice of sustainable design, delivered in March as part of the Boston Society of Architects lecture series. Reed speaks about the need for “whole-systems design,” the design of built projects that aims for both integration and co-evolution of built structures and natural systems in given development site, community or region.
Two new discoveries that offer podcasted ruminations on landscape architecture practice and projects: LANDCAST is a collaboration between landscape architect and blogger Christian Barnard and documentarian Adrien Sala and positions itself as “the voice of contemporary landscape culture”—an NPR-like program about emerging topics in landscape issues; Terragrams, hosted by landscape architect Craig Verzone, is a series of long-form interviews with prominent landscape architects about their work and the ideas that inform it. One of the early episodes is a 2006 interview with James Corner, principal of James Corner Field Operations, that focuses on the firm’s work on the High Line and Freshkills Park.
Recent collaborations between architects, artists and landscape architects have begun to blur the boundaries between architecture, art and site. What does it mean to intervene in the environment with these projects? What differentiates or unifies spatial form, sculpture and landscape?
Panelists are Alice Aycock, Sculptor; Signe Nielsen, FASLA, Principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architecture; Dennis Oppenheim, Installation Artist; Christopher Sharples, AIA, Principal, SHoP Architects.
Monday, May 3rd, 2010 | 5:30-8pm
@ The Center for Architecture
536 Laguardia Place, New York, NY
Free for AIA members; $10 for non-members
Through an agreement with the State, the City of New York now has sole custody of Governor’s Island and has released its park and public space master plan for the $220 million redevelopment of the 172-acre site. The tantalizing plan has been prepared by Dutch urban design and landscape architecture firm West 8 in partnership with Rogers Marvel Architects, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, SMWM and Urban Design+ and features a 2.2 mile waterfront promenade, picnic and event lawns, a grove of trees hung with hammocks, man-made marshes and steep, artificial hills that will help to create dramatic overlooks and vistas of lower Manhattan. Also part of the plan are two large-scale development sites for which a deal has not yet been announced (a satellite campus for NYU is one rumored possibility). The City has committed $41.5 million of the $220 million park and public space development price tag thus far. The first phase of construction is expected to begin in 2012.
275,000 people visited Governor’s Island last summer alone, even in advance of park development. This is going to be a hugely popular destination.