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1722 in architecture

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The year 1722 in architecture involved some significant events.

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  • ✪ Thomas Woltz, “Threatened Landscapes: Designed Countermeasures of N. B. W. Landscape Architects”
  • ✪ Megalithic Robotics, Spring 2015


Hi, everyone. Good evening. Thanks for coming. Nice turnout tonight. Gary Hilderbrand, Peter Hornbeck, professor in practice and landscape architecture, and it's a pleasure to welcome you and also to welcome Thomas Woltz to the GSD to discuss some of his firm's recent work. Thomas's firm, Nelson, Byrd, Woltz, originated in Charlottesville, Virginia, with my good friend and his mentor and eventual partner Warren Byrd, who was a visitor to this school for a long period of years before his practice made him go elsewhere around the world more than it could be in Cambridge. But the firm over the last decade has been a really significant presence in New York City and Virginia, and their work has really taken them all over the globe. And of course they won broad acclaim in many categories of practice, accolades too numerous to cover though I like one of them really a lot, which is the Wall Street Journal's Design Innovator of the Year. Wow. They don't give a lot of those away, so that's pretty great. I'm really pleased that Thomas will place at least some emphasis tonight on his works that originate in the firm's conservation agriculture studio, which I think is unique in contemporary practice. Really I don't know anybody who has that. So I want to just try to contextualize that for a minute for that leaning. The critical conservation of land resources is a topic that really deserves greater attention here at the school and really also across the disciplines. So we're really grateful to hear about that tonight. My colleague Charles Waldheim has said with characteristic aplomb that landscape architects are the urbanists of our time. I stand with Charles on that. I think his position well argued in the past two decades refers to the idea of the living landscape surface as a driving force of change in our cities, and that's evidenced all over the place now, especially like projects like the one out in the Druker Design Gallery just now, the one and only Highline. This position, the landscape surface as the important place to work in the city, is also in some ways a reflection of the emergence of a professional culture in landscape architecture amid the desperate need for reform in the 19th century industrial city in the states. That history is well documented and maybe fully imbibed by now in our larger cultural project. But landscape architecture as a discipline has other deep historical groundings. It has roots in the mechanical arts as they like to call it, in building, in the common patterns and infrastructure of early settlements and regions. Perhaps its most primary and even primordial root lies in the cultivation of land for production. Our patterns of gardens and settlements worldwide have surely informed-- been informed by agrarian practices and herein lies one of Thomas Woltz's deeper interests. The American conservation movement emerged in part from changes in agricultural practice and land tenure after the Civil War in New England and its near Western territories, most of the northern United States at the time-- New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and so on. And some of the pivotal figures in East coast and Midwestern landscape architecture at that time, including Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., Robert Morris Copeland, Morris Cleveland, Charles Elliot, figured prominently in the pioneering movement to conserve our rivers and hills and whatever portions of coastline were not already overdeveloped. And here is where a land ethic and the myriad problems of urbanization began to be synthesized by a new approach to urban infrastructure projects amid the expansion of the city. Writing about this in his 1972 treatise, American Space, JB Jackson, who taught here for many years, said this, quote-- "It was amid the calm and spacious beauty of a pastoral New England farmland that Olmsted in Cleveland and Elliot and Copeland had passed their childhoods. And it was this that they unconsciously sought to reinterpret in their urban parks when they were middle-aged men." Interesting quote. If you focus on the visual characteristics of those landscapes that Jackson is talking about in his postulation, as some historians have wrongly I think, you will see that nostalgia for pastoralism but maybe missed the real meaning I think Jackson's frame really extends further toward the inclinations of the keenest observers of the rural and the agrarian. In this way Olmsted and others critically regarded these landscapes-- in these landscapes the cultivation of a land ethic, cultivation of a ethic of management, an understanding of systems landscapes as systems, a negotiation with the vicissitudes of soil formation and surface geology, practical economy and the application of labor and resources, capital intelligent responses to weather and climate, and the embrace of change over time. This is what farmers did, whether they knew it or not instinctively and pragmatically, because they did it in order to survive. Then landscape architects figured out that if they had that way of thinking about resources, about land, about water, then when the recuperation of our cities ultimately called on them for similarly focused tactics, they could deliver them with similar conviction. Thomas has said that in his work, with large degraded agricultural systems, it draws on diverse but crucial vectors from conservation biology, restoration ecology, soil science, agronomy, and civil engineering. And he argues further that the work that derives from hybridizing these practices on large landholdings-- and some of these that he'll speak about are enormous-- also directly informs his work in parks and cultural landscapes in the city. JB Jackson framed it thus, and Thomas is here to prove it. So I'm excited also about his lecture title-- "Threatened Landscapes, Designed Counter Measures." Please welcome Thomas Woltz. [applause] It's such a pleasure to be here tonight. Thank you for inviting me, and thank you for that very generous introduction. The idea of threatened landscapes that gave this title is not perhaps what you might presume at first of the threats of the ecological devastation that we might face in the agrarian landscape. There's something else that's at threat. I think the threat in our landscape right now is authenticity, a deep sense of authenticity that we cannot only look at the scientific and ecological aspects of land but we have to also dig and find the cultural aspects that have shaped the landscape wherever we're invited to work. All the science in the world without observing the deep, deep stories of culture that has shaped that land fall short in our duty, in fact, perhaps our moral obligation to the land itself. I wanted to acknowledge-- I'm so glad you mentioned Warren. I wanted to acknowledge Warren Byrd who had-- was my teacher at the University of Virginia, and the year I graduated, he offered me a job because just one year prior, he had hired his first full-time employee. And so out we went with a few Xerox's and no built work and had a wonderful long collaboration together as business partners. And Warren retired fully five years ago but was the best teacher I ever had and really focused on something else that I think is endangered and that's a passion for horticulture and plants. I think we're in a bit of a crisis in the profession right now where horticulture has not been emphasized in so many-- is being deemphasized in so many programs. And it's not that we must know the horticulture of the place we study. It's that we must know the horticulture wherever we go. And learning how to learn is a really important part of school. We named the book we did with Princeton Architectural Press Garden Park Community Farm, mentioning the four chapters of the work that we had done to date. It's funny doing a book-- you've done so many beautiful books-- but you finished the work, you've let it mature for five years, and then Princeton starts documenting and writing. So by the time the book comes out everything is so old, you don't want to talk about it anymore. So we're about to do a new one. So please watch the presses. I did want to start with the most important asset in my life personally are these human beings with whom I get to do this work. I'm incredibly fortunate to have been able to gather together extraordinary minds. We are diverse in ways that are not apparent in this slide, and we are working on the ways to be diverse that would be more apparent in this slide. But trust me that the hearts of these individuals range wide, wide like the ecologies that they work in. I thought I'd introduce ourselves by mentioning the states in which we have worked and then the countries in which we've worked just to-- just a tiny start in global domination through landscape architecture. [laughs] But tonight I wanted to respond to Anita's call. I was in Western North Carolina actually on the land of my ancestors that has been in my family for a couple of centuries and got a call from Anita. And she said, will you come and speak, and she said when you do I'd love for you to talk about agriculture. And it was such a wonderful moment to be invited to the GSD to talk about agriculture. And I said, well, I'd love to do that, but I'd like to frame it in parallel with our commitment to the civic realm and to the public park work that we're doing. So tonight is not in any way a survey of our portfolio. We have probably 45 or 50 projects under construction right now, so that would be a nightmare for all of us. Instead I wanted to just walk you through two very contrasting public landscapes and then the arc of the Conservation Agriculture Studio and then hopefully bring those two different aircraft in for a landing in tandem that will hopefully make some sense to you. Just to mention what's on the boards right now and under construction, Cornwall Park on the lower right is a 600-acre park in the middle of downtown Auckland. I should mention that we have of primary offices in New York City and in Charlottesville, Virginia, and then field offices in Houston, Texas, and in Melbourne, Australia. The upper left is Karen Cragnolan Park, a former car dump and toxic site on the French Broad River, the third oldest river on the planet Earth that runs through downtown Asheville, Centennial Park in Nashville, the Georgia 400, a new park being built on a platform over a major highway. But tonight I wanted to talk-- begin with talking about Memorial Park. This has been an extraordinary journey. It's the largest park we've ever worked on and the largest commission we've ever had. It's 1600 acres in the middle of downtown Houston. And when we began the project, it was the result of a shocking ecological phenomenon. This was Memorial Park in 2010, basically a forested park, very depauperate forest, mostly invasive exotic plants, a giant 1920s golf course cut out of the heart of it. And it had suffered from a bit of the plop and drop that you see in many parks. And it never received a master plan of any sort. It has an interesting history that very few people-- by the way, there were 3,300 Houstonians who weighed in on the design, so that's a big client group. We were hired because the park went from this to this in four years of drought. All of 80% of these trees died. So you can imagine the erosion, the fire potential, the absolute devastation of this park. So a conservancy formed to rebuild the park, and we were hired to do a master plan with a year of public engagement followed by a year and a half of design production for the master plan. And it ended in-- there's a lot of contention around this park-- but it ended with a unanimous vote from city council and supported the mayor. So we're very fortunate to have preceded. The subsequent mayor felt that there were different funding needs in Houston that needed to be met and decided to not fund the park. We thought were at risk of this one sitting on the shelf. And a private donor stepped up a few months ago and said, I will write a check for $70 million to make this park happen if the city will give 50 and the conservancy will give 40. So out of the gate have $160 million to begin this park. And it is because I really firmly believe in the depth of research into the culture and ecology that shaped this place we perhaps looked so deeply because of the influence of the Conservation Agriculture Studio on the life of the firm. So these two bodies of work are absolutely interwoven. Just to give you a scale check, that's the Greensward Plan dropped on top of Memorial Park two times, topping out just under double the scale of Central Park. The first step in many of our projects is to have a bio blitz, a biodiversity survey where we bring in many conservation biologists and different specific sectors of conservation from soil scientists to ichthyologists, herpetologists, and we build a very complex map of the life of a site. This gives us a baseline condition from which we can develop the goals of the site. Often it's within the soil that we learn so many of the ecological stories. And this became-- by racing the roads and the amenities, this became the master plan goal for the various ecologies authentic to Houston, Texas. A lot of people were interested in big lawns and a pastoral park, a little bit more like Herman Park. And we replied with why not invest because this was the subject of drought the victim of drought and then subsequently after Harvey the victim of devastating flooding. Why not invest in the authentic Texan ecologies that were resilient for thousands of years before we intervened and built the city? And that-- you can prove anything is truly Texan that gets a kind of resounding approval in Texas. And so here we go investing in these complex ecologies. But the cultural story is equally important. No one really knew why it was called Memorial Park, and so we realized we needed to uncover for ourselves and for the people the deep history of the site. So we went back to this linguistic map of the languages of Native Americans from 1528 to 1722, and it was the conqueror Indians that managed this landscape by fire. So it was not the last fragment of the great thicket. It was not a native forest by any means on the still take plane. And this series of soil tests revealed parallel layers of ash deep in the soil about 8 feet down. And we understood then that the [non-english] had been managing this landscape for large-scale herbivores for hundreds and hundreds of years with fire. Subsequently, the land was taken over by pioneers. The Reinerman family owned the tract next. They had a logging operation, a timber farm where they would replant pines and cut them down, a fruit production. Sixteen hundred acres of the park is a tiny fragment of the Reinerman tract. Grazing land, a brick kiln, so it had an industrial heritage and agricultural heritage. Afterwards at the beginning of World War I, the site was acquired by the federal government and turned into a training camp for soldiers. Thousands and thousands of people were trained here. At the end of World War I, one citizen, Ima Hogg, the daughter of the man who discovered oil at Spindle Top and the wealthiest woman in Texas if not the United States, acquired the 1600 acres and struck a deal with the city that they would buy it back from her over time to create a park that she would name Memorial Park. The Great Depression hit, World War II came, Ms. Hogg passed away, and no master plan was ever executed for Memorial Park. So a few years ago, we delivered this document, and I'll walk you through only the briefest initiatives. But it's Houston, so there's an 18-mile-- 18-lane freeway to the north, a 16-lane freeway to the west, a 6-lane parkway dropped through the center, and a number of roads that we've since been setting about moving. The park was really bisected in-- more than bisected, multi-sected. There was a road that went straight through here and subdivided this area, so we proposed to move it to the right to reunite. So it was almost like discovering 200 more acres of Parkland. We took all the sports fields, parking lots, and lights and moved them up to the north against the I10 freeway and have all the celebrations and noise associated with all fields but also that can share maintenance equipment, share concessions. It's a real logic to this world class sports park to the north. We then proposed a rather audacious 1800 feet of tunnels that would span the northern and southern halves of the park allowing this wet prairie to rise up, be a dry prairie, offer prospect over the entire park and to downtown and uptown to either side of the park and then lower you back down. It is the park triumphant over the highway. Another thing that for those of you sitting in the back you may not be able to see, but there is an arc that crosses-- it crosses five barrancos. So people think of Houston as flat. These are deeply incised gorges or ravines that structure the site and reveal the hydrology and the complexity of these different ecologies. This is a way-- this one level boardwalk one mile in length, that little arc is a mile long, absolutely level. If you're in a wheelchair, you can experience all of the different ecologies of this park and have prospect over the only river in Houston that is not in a concrete channel to this day. It's the Buffalo Bayou. This area we call the Eastern Glades. This was a nod to the [inaudible] sketch that has survived where basically the master plan said native woods, golf, and garden. So I don't know what they were paid for that master plan, but it did have this circular shape to the right. So we thought, well, that's an interesting piece of this history, so we're looking at management methods of Native American history, looking-- remembering the agricultural and productive landscape of the site, acknowledging the landscape of war here and what we're calling the Memorial Groves. If anyone has read your current issue of Harvard Design Magazine, Robert Polk Harrison was asked to update his book Forests-- The Long Shadow of Civilization, and he said that the addition he would make to his book 20 years later would be this piece of the project. So I thought I would show you that tonight. So just a quick walk through the southern arc to experience all these different ecologies. With all the ball fields moved to the north, this will be a completely dark 1,000 acres of ecology along the Buffalo bio. This is a rendering where you see the eastern overlook through dry prairie, wet prairie, post oak savanna, riparian corridor, dry prairie again, and the western overlook, and that's uptown Houston in the distance. The scale here is pretty mind boggling. This is the sports park to the north, a rendering showing that we-- how we were reorganizing all the fields, a rendering explaining this idea of the land bridge that would stitch the northern and southern halves of the park together and allow the pedestrian and the cyclists to not play Frogger on a six-lane expressway that ran through the middle of the park. Is anyone old enough to know what Frogger is? Just-- OK, thank you Hugh. This was the [inaudible] plan. There it says bridle paths and walks through native woods. So that was the master plan. But this really struck our attention as this idea of a cultivated garden. We thought what is missing at Memorial Park? A large glade where you can have passive recreation. There's lots of ball fields, lots of restoration ecology happening in the park. But the idea of this large green with dappled light-- again, this is a rendering-- but could we excavate enough lakes to offset the 65 million gallons of treated drinking water that were going on the ground as irrigation. And the answer is yes. Looking at the rainfall, we enlisted the help of Sherwood design engineers to create this project. And this was a rendering of the lake with very high ecological value getting students, the public engaged with the wet edges. And then that is the scale of the elliptical Memorial Groves with an overlook. We cut the ribbon a year and a half ago, we finished phase 1, phase 2 is beginning, and this is a drone shot. It required removing this road. So this has been allowed to continue while we built the new arcing road. You can see that's the edge of the park so getting the parking and the circumnavigation to the edge. This will become the glade, and then the lake is just off the slide. And that's another drone shot of it under construction. The last bit of this park that I wanted to show you is this memorial piece. When the city didn't recall why it was called Memorial Park, that was a sad moment, and it is a reminder that the soil beneath our feet carries our history. To me this is infinitely fascinating. All the pattern making and cool form laid down on top of the ground is only so satisfying when after the fact you discover that those who trod there before May, have powerful, powerful stories that are yet to be told. Again this goes back to a sense of obligation to not just the ecology of a place but to the culture that shape it. This is an image of the remount station called Camp Logan. Again 1600 acres of pretty much cleared land after the right-- it was bought from the Reinerman family. This debunked a lot of the folks who said, oh, this is just a very ancient forest. Don't touch it. No one ever wants you to touch a park. But now they're pretty excited about all the different things that they will be getting. We engaged the help of archeologists who knew the site well, and they revealed carefully and timidly that there are few archeological remains of this settlement during World War I. These are latrines and shower buildings, very modest in nature but they're authentic. They are the real artifact, and they bear being woven into this story. And their location is what guided us to where the 90 acres of the Memorial Groves would end up. This is an aerial of this tent city with thousands and thousands of men in training in an ephemeral canvas city. This outlines the area that we selected for the Memorial Groves. The archeological remains are along the rail line that would take the soldiers to the coast to Galveston where they would be deported-- sent to France to battle. How do you remember the collective loss of so many lives? As we looked at historic photographs of Camp Logan and the soldiers in formation, this Michael Kenna image of a forest in Japan of these trees marching through snow really struck us as perhaps a very simple and elegant way to recall the seriality of humanity and the scale of humanity. So we selected-- we felt that 90 acres could get us close to that. And so we started to look to what are the maintenance regimes. Is there a maintenance regime that could lead to this memorial? Is there something in the way you care for it that is the act of memorial itself? So we look to the loblolly pine productions for the timber and pulp industry in Texas. This is a reality. We all use paper every day. Not one of us likes to think about where it comes from. Nonetheless it's also part of the history of the site having been a logging operation. This led to this design where any of the post oaks that remained that did not die in the drought would be preserved, greens, areas around the archeological remains, and then 90 acres of a perfect grid of loblolly pines 15 feet on center, which was the spacing of the canvas tents. And that would yield this as a memorial landscape, the Eureka Rail Line still intact, the Memorial Groves with these open glades. This rendering is to explain the feeling of being in the Memorial Groves, the human experience after the trees have grown. So these endless cathedrals of space across the 90 acres. A docent is explaining-- pardon me-- a docent is explaining to students or children the history of World War I and the remnants of these very modest but authentic remains to allow us to briefly hold hands with history and understand what came before. Critical to this memorial landscape is the understanding that in production forestry, the mature age of loblolly pines is 25 years. Unfortunately, the average age of the men trained at Camp Logan who died in World War I is also 25 years. Essential to understanding this memorial is that 25 years from now after the glades are planted, 1,000 chain saws will come in on Memorial Day to one of the sectors corresponding to one of the regiments of soldiers. A thousand trees will be felled ceremonially. If you see this, you will not be the same. It will be a devastating and gutting loss that will be an emotional scar. It is a memorial. Memorial is remembering and being empathetic to the loss of others. The land will be cleared and prepared in that one regimental slot. On the 11th of November on Armistice Day, 1,000 Houstonians will come together to plant back the next generation of this perfect grid of 1,000 trees. The logs removed will be cured, dried, sawed, and be gifted to Habitat for Humanity to be in service to those in need, those who do not have agency within the city. Five years later, another regiment will be felled. This will be a memorial in perpetuity, constantly regrowing itself and reminding us of the human condition of life and death and sacrifice. It's unusual for a firm so committed to conservation to be envisioning cutting of trees. But the power of this idea is something that has really caught on to the people who are the stewards of this park, and they are willing and have raised the funds to make this happen. So I thought I would start with a troubling issue that we can discuss later, but I wanted to present to you this. And when Robert Polk Harrison-- I was lecturing at Stanford-- and when he heard this, he was very emotional in his response to this, and that's why he wanted to write for Harvard Design Magazine about this project. What could I show the students at the GSD that would be more different than this? How about Hudson Yards? Let's just lighten it up for a second. What I also like is that this is a tiny project. Now I wouldn't say that to the developers who are our client, but I do enjoy going from 1600 acres of a public park to six. But the entire Hudson Yards project is 28 acres, and we were hired five years ago to do the Hudson Yards. You'll notice in each of my slides instead of listing a lot of people that you may not know, I put their pictures up with their names. And there three or four GSD graduates here on the screen. So this is our little park project. Our office is right there. So this is this 28-acre development over the rail yards that service Penn Station. So how is this park different from our other public landscapes? It's not so different in process, so I thought I would walk you through that. We began with the Mannahatta Project, 1609, the Mark Lee Boyer and Eric Sanderson, incredible work of envisioning how many Manhattan evolved over hundreds of years. Indicated on the screen are the eastern yards and western yards, so you can understand that Manhattan was filled all of this distance. This is a wet meadow, a confluence of creeks and streams. Perhaps this ecological reading allows us to understand why it later became rail and docks. It's exactly level with the city, no bluffs, no palisades, and not healthy land to develop for housing. So this Hell's Kitchen site is there for a reason. And with the invent of rail, here is that toothy comb of the docks along the river. So our office is right there. We also dug in to the cultural history of this site. And we invited Jill Jones, the author of Conquering Gotham. It's a fantastic book on the civil engineering that shaped New York City and the construction of rail and tunnel. I'm not kidding. It's a civil engineering cliffhanger. It's like you'll stay up all night long reading Jill Jones's book. And she led us to go to the Museum of Industry at Hagley in Wilmington, Delaware. And we came to understand that one of the greatest feats of civil engineering that had ever occurred and the beginning in 1900 was on par-- seen on par with the Transcontinental Railroad and the Suez Canal was the construction of the tunnel that would link Manhattan to the rest of the United States for the first time. It was the great head shield, this piece of equipment that would advance 30 inches, all the soil scooped out, and then advanced again and flange is 30 inches wide of steel would be riveted all the way around in a hoop. And it advanced the mile and a half under the river to aiming at each other beneath the river. This was very useful to start to understand why it was so audacious. The granite bottom of the Hudson River is 450 feet down. The Hudson's not very deep. It's full of silt of this glacial till. It's a rubbery material to which you cannot anchor a tunnel in typical fashion. So they hung it suspended from one anchored to the granite in Weehawken and the granite in New York. And the poor pressure on all sides of this muck keeps it from deforming. It is by the way the tunnel that you still use going to New Jersey, not to make you too anxious. But inherent in this 30-inch flange is a little bit of flexibility, which is also the secret to its long-term success. We love this photograph, all these gents and their boulders and excellent hipster facial hair and noticing this building destroyed. And it's the drilling of the first tunnel. So this was the tunnel-- sorry-- just one thing to highlight. This is the shaft way of the Manhattan shaft to drop the great head shield and drill under the river. Lower right hand corner, let's blow that up, 32nd Street and 11th Avenue. My god, that's the middle of our plaza at Hudson Yards. So I thought let's commemorate this. We're looking-- everyone said, what are-- you guys who love culture and ecology and that interplay of those two what are you going to do 25, 30 feet the air with no soil, no there there. It's like, oh, there's a there everywhere. I guarantee you, there's something to be discovered. So we're very excited, and we thought let's celebrate this. Let's make a monumental maybe six stories, and we started to imagine this double helix stair like Leonardo da Vinci's stair at Chambord that goes up six floors and comes back down. So you erase the stigma of ADA accessibility because everyone's using the ramp and the view becomes greater and greater as you move up. There's a history of people liking to get up a little bit and look out. And so this was our competition. We were invited amongst two other firms to work for one month. At the end of the month, each firm presented to related, and Nelson, Byrd, Woltz was very fortunate to be the selected firm. And I think this idea of really connecting to the history of the site of a place that was being invented out of thin air was very appealing. We also said this platform 28 acres suspended over rail, this is absolutely an audacious 21st century civil engineering feat. So this is in keeping with the powerful history of the site. So this-- in a competition, you're doing sketch renderings. So this double helix was the tower that we have proposed to also be the gravitational pull. Remember our only tools-- water, pavement, trees, and site furnishings-- we're up against 1,000-foot shards of glass and steel. Where is the human body in this space? How do we hold and nurture our humanity in such a hostile environment? Part of it is by embracing people within horticulture. Now under your feet, you have a seven-foot thick sandwich, on average seven feet. That's structure, sewage, soil, high-voltage electricity, ventilation shafts for exhaust. It's everything that you need to have to create a landscape. I will never again take for granted being able to work on real earth. It has been an incredible experience to learn how to build a project like this and of course we are the coordinators between so many different engineers. We are certainly not responsible for this. This is an incredible collaboration. But what you're seeing is the result of the design as each of these white blocks is one of the towers. And we started this idea of these elliptical forms all anchored by the tower , a large sculptural object but each reaching out to a building. This goes to the number seven. This goes to the SOM tower, the Diller Scofidio Renfro tower, and then a cafe. We call this the porch. It's two rows of trees and an arc and 120-foot long bench, so you look out from under the trees. This column-- I grew up in the South and that's just all you had to do after dinner was sit on the porch and watch fireflies. And then all of the technical aspects are criss-crossing in a maze beneath your feet. That's why we were at the table. It was really a new role for us as landscape architects to be convening these conversations and coordinating so much of the engineering. And then this is the north garden. This was one place we could elevate and get enough soil to really have an immersive horticultural experience. This just shows you the expanded section from the tunnels that go to New Jersey, the pylons that carry the structure, the utilities threaded through the structural steel, the breathing apparatus in the event of fire and the trains below. Remember 28 active rail lines during construction so don't drop a hammer. It's not going to go well. It's just amazing to creep this site out over the active rail lines. And then the soil and then the only thing the public will think we had anything to do with is probably picking the plants, having been in this right from the very beginning. This was a really useful article that came out, the public square the smartest park in town. But this section that we did not do really shows the ventilation shafts, the 60,000-gallon tank of water that captures all the rainfall in the site, sends it back through fountains, irrigation. And here's our construction site for having grown up on a cattle and tobacco farm in North Carolina. This is not the construction site that I thought I would end up in, but it's pretty exhilarating. This, if you can see the pointer, over the rails is the eastern yards up to 11th Avenue at the far left of the screen. And we're currently in schematic design for the western yards, which will take us the rest of the 20-- I think we're up to $25 billion of construction all the way to the Hudson River and the highline. This is just to mention the north garden, the idea of this immersion in the forest ecology of the Hudson Valley. I say forest ecology because Thomas Heatherwick was hired to design this vessel. At the center, as I mentioned, we had this idea of this tower that would anchor the center of the plaza and be the focal point. It's much, much larger than what we'd envisioned. And even though it's porous because of the angle of the sun, it casts long shadows to the north, so we're looking to the deep forest ecology of the Hudson to create this immersive experience. And here it is a couple of weeks ago under construction. So you can start to see the arcs of the north gardens. And the number seven subway is right up here at the top of the slide. That's the cross section. This is, again, construction shots, the trees going in. The far left, you can see our tiny plaza and the very big vessel that is now completed by Heatherwick. This is the rolling building, the Dylan Scofidio Renfro designed that's called The Shed that covers a plaza. Please come visit. Our office is close by. You're all welcome to come by. We'll take you over. It's a very exciting construction site to walk through. The pavement is finally going down after six years. Each one of the ellipses, wherever they overlap, has a lighter mix. So ever-- so you start to have a transparency within the pavement as it's going down. There you can see the culture shed and the Heatherwick vessel fighting it out. This is a rendering of the cafe. And this was what we were after. How can we create in this glass and steel environment-- and even though this isn't the next shot is not a beautiful one, certainly not rendering quality-- couple of weeks ago we realized, oh, it's starting to happen. We can make this grove, this ceiling of horticulture that will allow our human bodies to relate to one another as we explore the newest piece of Manhattan being created. The next thing I just wanted to mention, I'm-- wanted to talk about public parks and then I'm going to talk about agriculture. But right in the center, I want to just offer this little sliver because it's become such an important arc in the development of our practice over the past-- I'd say really over the past 10 years. And that is-- as something I mentioned earlier-- that our histories of our species is really beneath our feet. It's buried in the land. Too often the victor has told history, and it's put down a layer that erased the voice of other people. I think our work with respect-- as a nation, with respect to the Native Americans of this country-- there is so much to be done. It was essentially a genocide and the great removal of the Native American populations to the West, and we have not reconciled that. We haven't even admitted it. And these were the stewards of these lands for thousands of years before European settlement. So a selection of these-- this project led by Warren Byrd, the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a half-mile diameter of red maples with dark green foliage was planted in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where Flight 93 crashed on September 11th. And typically the first frost in Pennsylvania is the first week of September, meaning that the scarlet red foliage change happens just about the day of September 11th. The upper right is a lynching memorial in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a competition that we entered. The lower right is one of the largest burial grounds of enslaved people in the state of Virginia. Hundreds of bodies there now remembered that had been forgotten. So that is of a small but growing body of work that we are very, very committed to. But to respond to Anita's request to talk about agriculture, which is a delight, I thought I would just walk you through the arc of how the Conservation Agriculture Studio that Gary mentioned in the introduction has formed over the past 20 years. I'll then bring it home to show how this is now marrying public parks and the public landscape. That's just farm porn for you to enjoy. I hope you are enjoying it as much as I do. Upper right corner is a organic biodynamic winery in Sonoma, California. The lower right a project in New Zealand, lower left Bok Tower Gardens, a botanic garden in Florida, Virginia farms and New Zealand farms. It really began 20 years ago with our very first client of scale on this project, hand colored right out of graduate school figuring out the master plan for this property. We weren't hired to work on the whole property. We had a very small scope right around the house. But we were so grateful to have this project, and it was very exciting. In talking to the owner, we asked what are you doing with this larger landscape. And the response was probably getting a farmer to hay it, not really sure, not interested in having livestock. We thought, well, what if we farm biodiversity, and what if we start working on installing warm season grass meadows and trying to understand the most rapidly disappearing ecology in America? He said sure. I said we could mess up. He said I understand that, but you'll be careful. I can tell. And we were. And so we began a kind of living laboratory on this property of establishing different kinds of grasslands, different seed mixes. It was-- we researched everything we could find, but we had-- Larry Weiner had not risen to a god status yet, and we didn't know him yet. So here we are trying to do the best we can, made some mistakes, but it yielded a pretty extraordinary landscape of water and grasslands stewardship and forest ecology thanks to private patronage. And if you think landscape can stand separate from patronage, you just need to dig a little further, and you'll find patronage is in there somewhere. So I decided I wouldn't resent patronage, but instead I would say, hey, patronage is pretty cool because of the aspect of the living laboratory that we could advance and then lend to the projects that did not have the budgets that some of these experimental grounds would offer. So I stand in great gratitude to the idea of patronage in landscape. I wish we all paid our taxes and we had big budgets and the federal government would take care of the national parks. Now that would be a pretty good result as well. But in the meantime, we have public, private partnerships that are getting us through. We restored streams, brought a tremendous amount of biodiversity to this property. And it was all well and good, again just a really exciting transformation of overgrazed, impoverished land. And the experiments went further. We went to the owner and said can we set your place on fire? And he said go for it. That sounds great. And here we go, looking to the Monacan and the Cherokee and their land management strategies. This is an absolutely sublime landscape. I just had Elizabeth Meyer studying modernist landscape theory and the sublime, and I'm standing in this burned field with iridescent purple black all around me and the smell of char and the steaming ground. And I go back days later, and this chartreuse-- the warm season grasses are starting to like bud and poke through and it's just the most exhilarating ecological sublime. And then this happens, this pastoral beauty. But it's not about just the aesthetics. The aesthetics are secondary in my opinion. It's about the ecological function. Again this is the arc. We're right at the beginning of this kind of work. And then you get this in early fall and this and full summer. So, yes, admittedly painterly but with a deep commitment to trying to bring biodiversity to this land. The next door neighbor is a lovely person, and she called me up-- and I'd known her for a few years-- and she said whatever you're over there doing to them, I want you to come do it to me. She meant warm seas in grass meadows, and sure enough she has been extraordinary patron and steward of the land. And then her neighbor asked us to come by and then the next neighbor and the next neighbor. And it went from the first 150-acre project to 2,800 acres of connected agricultural lands managed in this sustainable way. So never turn down the opportunity to do even the smallest piece for ecological benefit. So great. That was fun. I then meet this guy, Dr. James Gibbs. He's the head of programs in biodiversity at the School of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. And he had heard about this work. He came down to visit. He said this is fantastic. I said oh, yeah, we have so many birds and salamanders and fish, and it's just amazing. He said how many? I said, oh, I have no idea. And he said you didn't do a baseline biological survey before you started years of this work? I said no, sir. I'm sorry. And he didn't say how dare you. He said let's work on this together. Now having this guy, who is a global rock star of conservation, who introduced the two recent Galapagos tortoise species to science a few years ago-- I'm sure you remember the news-- to reintroduce the Madagascar spray toad, the Siberian wolf reintroduction program, this guy is a global rock star. I said, James, why do you come on every bio blitz we invite you to do? Why are you partnering with us on a dozen projects. And he said this is why. This is a map of the percentages of non-government land. Red is 81% to 100% private ownership. He said if we don't get conservation right on private land, we will fail. Every farm, every enlightened landowner that you're dealing with is critical to the success, and we have to spread the word. You have access to maintenance regimes and management tools that our national parks don't. You have better budgets than the federal park system. Let's do it. So we began really exciting work with scientists every summer for the past decade. We've had a bio blitz on a different property. And that generates data that informs the design process and then can be shared regionally with other projects that could never hire 20 scientists, PhDs, or landscape architects. It's also exhilarating work at the edge of danger. And that is what you think it is. Bat surveys, bats are really the canary in the mine shaft of health. The animals are tested for their health. This is a sheet at night that's collecting moths and insects. These guys stay up all night to get the moths and then all day to count them and identify them. The data is actually very, very important to guide us in what we're designing and how. Conversations like a client may say, oh, we love the fern glade, and then you realize that's fern glade because of deer pressure. It's the only thing the deer won't eat, and there's no recruitment in the forest. Or this that someone might not like, and you realize this is a very valuable vernal pool, essential to the survival and connectivity for amphibious life. All this is so exciting. Why make something up for design when you can start to deal with all of these systems, particularly when they've been deeply damaged? So we don't try to restore to pre-existing condition. We will actually modify and make a living work of art. And I'll show you that in the New Zealand project that Anita specifically asked me to address. I also believe that these need to be productive landscapes, and designing that is also exhilarating. This is Zach Wolfe, a very good friend and partner in a lot of these projects. He is a conservation biologist who became the director of the Young Farmers Training Program at Stone Barns in New York. The soil tells us what to plant, how to plant, what to graze, what not to graze, and what those crops can be. So when you've based it on the scientific framework of a site and the agricultural soils, you start to build the carrying capacity based on these values of the productive landscape. I think the land that can still earn an income and do it sustainably is going to be a kind of preservation for a tremendous amount of our landscape. When I graduated from graduate school 20 years ago, a lot of the press was that agriculture was the largest contributor to none point source pollution in America. So the way we're growing our food is killing us. These are healthy and diverse landscapes that produce extraordinary results. And we've also been looking with scientists and farmers and animals as agents for restoration ecology. Carefully managed, this can be an extraordinary way to start to rebuild broken ecologies and maintain the productivity. So I wanted to walk you through one project. This is in Northwest Pennsylvania. You don't know who's a scientist, a landowner, a designer. We begin with the typical landscape approach of solar aspect and soils and ecologies and slopes. But here we had the reminder of an important cultural landscape. This was a farm called Overlook that had been designed by the Olmsted Firm as a pleasure garden, a pleasure landscape for carriage riding and horses. A descendant of the original builder was able to acquire all of the parcels back from family members and hired us to bring a new vision to this landscape. Not interested in horses, they said what could be a higher purpose of this land, and could we bring agriculture into it. So the images you've just seen of the scientists on the site bringing back data, our research into Olmsted. This is Geoffrey Long Henry and our senior associate in the New York office. We were drawing. And it took a year to develop this master plan, but we were at the farm real time with scientists and designers camping together, working in this way. And this was the master plan that was yielded with new experiments, agricultural production. I won't go through all of it, but things like the emerald ash bore pressing down. We know we're going to lose our ash trees. What do we do? Can this be a laboratory or something that public parks or national parks might implement or how to replace the loss of the ash? So just to walk you through a couple of the interventions. According to the best soils of the entire site, this became the productive vegetable gardens. Of course-- not of course, but this is organic and no chemical inputs, production greenhouses, a CSA has formed, chickens actually managing microstegia. By moving these fences around this incredibly invasive plant can actually be managed. The CSA is thriving. We're also using pigs to get out invasive plants, and here you're seeing the hotwire that holds them in. That needs to be moved a lot. These are jobs for farmers. This is hands on. You're engaged with the land. You're engaged with the animals. Sometimes we get animal on animal action that might be less desirable. This is off because of bears. There are a lot of bears here that are coming for the honey. But also building the ecological landscape, this was the idea of a thin line that would be a sinuous boardwalk through constructed vernal pools along the edges of this lake. So we began construction on these, and just a year later you have these incredibly rich ecologies forming. The boardwalks through the forest are the favorite destination of visitors. And you can read the agricultural and the ecological landscape together through these fine lines of design and intervention. The punchline doesn't look like much of a joke, but this is the stable that was the carriage stable and the horse stable for this property. And the owners became so connected to this process of making this pleasure landscape into a productive and ecologically diverse one that they funded the Fuller Center for Productive Landscapes and have taken their private place and made it an institute for learning. So landscape architects come from the University of Oregon every summer. Students from the School of Environmental Science and Forestry come and farmers come to learn at the intersection of science, design, and agriculture. It's a-- for me it's a almost teary result of a project. It was a great pleasure working with wonderful clients, and their mission shifted along the way. Thanks really to Roxy Thorin, who's a professor of landscape architect at the University of Oregon who had gotten to know them and introduced me to them. And it's just been a very exciting thing, so another place I'd love to put on your list to visit, the Fuller Center for Productive Landscapes. The project that Anita had mentioned was this project. And some of you might have seen this. There's a Ted Talk about it that I did a few years ago, so I won't do an exhaustive recap. But for those of you who have seen it before, this is called a rango station. It's a 3,000-acre property we began 17 years ago on the Northeast-- North Island east coast of New Zealand. I just had some recent photos, so for those of you who've seen it before, don't worry. It's not going to be too much of a repeat. But for those of you who've never seen it, this is what a client of ours from New York that we'd already worked for purchased in 2001, 2002 and was very excited about this gorgeous paradise on the Pacific Ocean and New Zealand. And what we very quickly realized was that he had acquired essentially an ecological disaster. The natural landscape here would be temperate rainforest. It's not a tree on it, overgrazed for a century, all the wetlands drained to the Pacific Ocean, every tree cut down, horrible erosion problems. It was in fact a devastated-- absolutely devastated ecology. So 17 years later, we have an extraordinary result, but along those years many people have-- in New Zealand have said why did you pick the hardest possible place? I said do you think I picked anything? You don't choose where your client's going to buy property. You go when they call you. So I think if I were smarter and knew better, I would never have been able to engage in this. But with the deep faith that my staff and I have in the power of this ecology to come back, we embarked upon a life-changing project. The same process applies, understanding the cultural landscape of the [non-english],, the Maori people that occupied this land since 1,300 with the arrival of the [non-english] canoe. The farmed landscape of this property and then the landscape of restoration ecology. So again this culture and ecology and the interplay of all, most of which had-- all of which had become invisible, save a few archeological remains of the Maori occupation. It yielded this master plan that was roughly making a linear forest along all of the edges-- an ecological preserve for the reintroduction of the tuatara, one of the most endangered planet-- animals on the planet. You have to know-- for anybody who doesn't-- New Zealand I think is the largest landmass on the planet that evolved without any mammals. That's including humans. So it is only with the Maori arrival from Southeast Asia in canoes, they came in 1300. And then James Cook discovered New Zealand in 1770-- 1769. So this is very recent intervention. So birds diversified to fill the ecological niches that lions, tigers, bears, humans, dogs, cats, weasel, stotes, possums, anything with fur, and milk didn't exist here. What an extraordinary laboratory. If Darwin had just bumped around here more before going to Galapagos, he would have figured out the same thing. There are 12-foot tall birds, the moa, and then divaricated tree species. This is-- you got to love plants. People come on. Divaricated trees species that only when they get to 12 feet after 30 years of growth, do they go from just a mat of spines to big broad leaf evergreen trees? Takes 30 years and it's only when they outreach the beak of the moa-- well, the moa's been extinct for 400 years. Nobody told the trees. They're still doing what they do. So the extraordinary thing-- so these are recent photos where that cliff face that you saw a few slides ago that was just that barren white chalky clay is now reforested, and you're seeing this ribbon of dark forest running down the coastline. It's an absolute transformation in under 20 years. This is the wetland that had been drained by previous farmers, and we constructed this intentionally as an artificial landscape. Working closely with Steve Sawyer and other scientists to understand the ecological services of this wetland, we could recreate those through grading, but rather than naturalizing it, we look to paintings of Roberto Burley Marks and these naturalistic forms and made a giant composition that changes as it dries out. There's significant grading that much of [inaudible] is under water, and as it dries out, the forms shift and change. So you have this living, fluctuating, massive ecological painting at the scale of 80 acres. This is what it looks like from the point looking south across the rest of the land. This was a few months ago. So you can see all the trees on the island are growing up. And you can see the scale of the reforestation in the distance. This remains a grazed landscape of very productive financially lucrative project that has retired only 17% of its productive land to make one of the richest and biodiverse ecologies in the region. We also organized the citrus production along this river, reforested the band to the river, and then planting hedges that prevent freezing from killing the blossoms of the oranges. And this is what it has evolved into about 15 years later, also a very lucrative crop. But who gets to do this? This is contemporary landscape architecture but using these giant scales and hedges and agriculture. And all the shapes are driven around the turning radii of picking trucks. It's just give us something to work with. The geometries emerge from reading the land and reading the needs and uses of the farmers. I just love this stuff, getting to work in this way. Also honoring-- we've become very close to the leaders of the [non-english] tribe in Gisborne. And they have asked us to work with them to expand their place of the dead, of their [non-english],, or cemetery. So we've been very honored to be accepted by them, and it's been a life-changing experience also to work with them because the way they feel about the land is more the way I was brought up to feel about the land, that the property line doesn't really matter. It's the contiguous, the ongoing connected body of the Earth as it lives and breathes. They believe that there's a spirit inside the plants, the soil, the water, and the stone and that we are its stewards and that we are intimately connected to that energy. So we place this farm road-- it's 150-foot span bridge that we designed through the middle of the picking of the citrus blocks to a very sacred hill to the [non-english]. So everyone crossing that road has this honorific acknowledgment of the Maori history of the site. So its composition in surface-- in service to an awareness of culture. Here we rebuilt a massive wetland threaded right against the citrus production again, looking at soils. Where does the wetland soil stop, and where does the productive soil begin? So these hybrid ecologies of production become very exciting and beautiful compositions. The Tuatara Reserve is now fully mature, working for 13 years with Steve Sawyer and other scientists to reforest this. You saw what it was, just that white clay at the beginning. This is the predator-proof fence that prevents any of the introduced mammals from killing the birds that come here. Quick note, you have to have the-- several species of seabirds-- city petrel, gray face petrel, fluttering shearwaters-- and they dig burrows. And they lay their eggs down a six- or eight-inch deep burrow in the soil, and that is where the tuatara, this large lizard-looking creature that's actually the only living descendant of the [non-english],, or the dinosaurs. It's the last living dinosaur on earth. Its population is down to something like 68 or 70 in New Zealand. We have been able to-- in partnership with the Maori-- reintroduce the tuatara to this landscape, but first we had to prove the Department of Conservation that we had the birds. Steve Sawyer made a recording that played out every night at cocktail time across the cliffs and across the Pacific Ocean, and the birds were ready for a drink. And they came in and we have-- and the first new [? ganet ?] colonies in New Zealand, the fluttering shearwater come in at sunset. They had not been on this land for a century. So we have reliable populations. We're able to prove this to the Department of Conservation, and we released individuals-- mature adults and juveniles-- and we now have our first eggs successfully and safely hatched and have a thriving population of tuatara once again on the mainland of New Zealand. I cannot tell you-- I can't imagine more satisfying work than to operate between farming, cultural history, ecological history, nay prehistoric ecological history, and all of this is within our toolkit as landscape architects. This is pure joy to work in these arenas. And I hope that all of you as you move into the next phases of your life will consider ways to bridge the gaps using the extraordinary tools you're being given in this building of thinking and of growing your heart to be sensitive to these cultural stories that are so, so powerful. In the brief two examples in closing, I wanted to bring this back to the public landscape. So we are dealing with about 180,000 acres of agricultural land around the world now. That we opened an office in Melbourne, which is hiring. So is Houston, Virginia, and New York, by the way. Just-- I don't know why it occurs to me to say that here. We've just received a couple of interesting commissions, one of 10,000 acres, one of 50,000 acres of land like the project you just saw. But what about the public landscape and this cultural condition of the productive landscape? This is the park I mentioned earlier that we're working on in downtown Auckland. This is a dormant volcano called Maungakiekie at the center of Cornwall Park. This is the park from the air. And what's happening here-- this was the resulting master plan-- but I just wanted to highlight one aspect of it. This is in the middle of a city of 2 million maybe 300,000 people. It's a 100-year-old park. We were commissioned to do a 100-year master plan. They felt like they were halfway. What's the next 100 years of this-- what a beautiful thought that you're designing for the next century. So again, thanks to our partners at Boffa Miskell landscape architects in Auckland, we had their conservation biology team on site, and they discovered the copper skink. Now this is a sacred animal to the Maori people, and they were in these rock extrusions so as you looked at the rock extrusions, they kind of lined up. Turns out that was the basalt skirt, the edge of the eruption of the volcano from thousands of years ago. And the sheep that maintained this site-- that's the important part-- the sheep that maintained it kept those storms warm. They were never overgrown by grasses. And this is the perfect habitat for the copper skink. So in an urban setting, you have this partnership between agriculture and biodiversity. We looked at where they were, realized these quarters needed to be protected, and highlighted this co-dependency between agriculture skinks, and then the exposed rock walls have this unbelievable lichen diversity on them. So this is a landscape managed by cattle and sheep in a public park in the middle of a city. It is absolutely spectacular. The public knows how to deal with it, in fact, celebrate it. And so to amplify that we've proposed a large farm center to celebrate Maori traditional agriculture as well as Western traditional agriculture. This is a rendering of what that site will look like when fully built out, and you can see the Maungakiekie volcano with the obelisk in the upper left. So bringing these-- this park has been doing this for a long time. And so we learned a lot from their farmer about how we might do this. And so most recently we've been hired to do two new public parks in Nashville, Tennessee. One is 600 acres, and one is 800 acres. This is the 800-acre one and what a spectacular sight. You have the Cumberland River going downtown Nashville and then the Stones Bend circumnavigating this property. Excuse me. High bluffs here terracing down in that incredible limestone geology down to the river and then you can see the kind of sprawling development around it. But it's essentially landlocked back to here. So this has all been acquired by the city of Nashville to become a public park. Nashville's has been remarkable in their land banking strategy acquiring tens of thousands of acres. Their staff at Metro Parks has not grown nor have their budgets grown in many years. This is the next difficult hurdle that we as a profession have to face and that is advocating and fighting for maintenance, maintenance budgets. All the beautiful designs in the world that have not envisioned how they will sustain themselves economically or ecologically will not last for the next generation. We must become experts in tending the things that we design. This was a fascinating community process. The park that had been acquired is in the most racially diverse neighborhood in Nashville. Many, many languages and cultures and the message they sent was we want to grow food. How can we grow food. And we realized here we go. This is the coming together of so many of the things that we care about, their culture finding voice in agriculture in a setting that had been farmed for 200 years. So it starts to become a really hopeful message. Turns out this is all illegal by the way. You're not allowed to farm public parks in the city of Nashville. There are good reasons for that. You can't privately profit from cultivation on public land. However, what if we just call it a maintenance regime, and we use mooers instead of mowers. Look at the hostility of that machine on the right and just the adorable ears on the left. The public's going to love this, and everybody just needs to get over being scared of poop. I mean come on. It's the tie that binds, and it is definitely a beautiful way just evenly spread nutrients without concentrating them and manage these open landscapes. So we've proposed a master plan that would be a partnership with a grassland conservation organization to recede the open space with warm season grasses that can be grazed and making the selections for the ones that are palatable to the cattle. So we're restoring prairie, raising it with livestock, preserving a cultural tradition of grazing on this landscape, and just through artful fencing, creating the public realm. This is not free, but it sure costs a lot less than the typical maintenance regimes of an 800-acre public park. So none of this will happen without creative partnership so also not relying on the city to pay for absolutely everything. But let's get in there, and let's create these hybrid partnerships between something like the Nashville Food Project, who at the table, and the Southeastern Grassland Initiative, who are at the table, to create a result like this. In this site, you have 8,000 years of Native American history, 200 years of colonial history of engaged agriculture. It was a phosphate mine. It was a place where enslaved people were held that had run away from other farms because of its isolation with water. Every piece, it's really an index of the human presence in Tennessee for 10,000 years. What an extraordinary place to have as a public park. And I think the maintenance regime can actually be a key to how you tell that story. I just close with this slide because this is a little bit of the future. The Australia office is embarking on this-- the implementation of this master plan in the coming years. It's a 6,000, about to become 10,000, acre farm in Tasmania, where we will look to the Aboriginal heritage, the Aboriginal genocide of Tasmania. Tasmania was deemed cleansed in around 1895. The British had executed almost all of the-- well, they said all of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. I close here because this is a foreign-- far away ecology, but you can learn these and you can be moved by these. And you can take your tools and put them in service to a much more powerful future that accepts all people's stories and all of the life forms that have trod this earth. Thank you for joining me in this work. Good night. [applause] Thank you, Thomas. You've proven JB Jackson's arc from the rural to the urban. But I also think you've given some proof to our students who are really keenly interested in especially the things in the recent-- in the last few examples. They work really hard on these things, but you have given proof really that those are worthy causes. Thank you for that. Thomas be happy to answer a few questions, so please there will be some mics. Let's have some discussion. Oh, thank you. Yes. Oh. Hi. I have a question about how we as students in a design school can-- that don't have the scientific training and conservation how we can get involved in projects that include conservation or included in our own work. I would be willing to say there is the potential for the conservation aspect in any studio that you're working on in the school right now. And you don't necessarily have to have a scientist on the project. I think developing a sensibility of asking what was the ecological trajectory of that place over time. It's unbelievable what you will find about where roads ended up, where ownership lines ended up. A shift in geology may telescope through the soil to mean where buildings did and did not happen. Though you don't-- I think there's a lot you can do without-- I wouldn't feel handicapped by not having scientists on the job or in your studio right with you. That really doesn't need to be a barrier. It's more take this time to hone the sensibilities to know what to look for and the questions to ask for. Some of the examples of the rural landscape that I was showing that might be beautiful or might be ugly in our lay terms start to really shift. And once you realize you are on terrain that requires expertise, that's the moment that you're at your best. It's not that you need to know at all. You just need to know the questions that should be asked. And I would say absolutely the message tonight is parallel to that. Become passionate about the cultural layers that go alongside those because when you discover this kind of continuum between ecology and culture and the feedback loop that we're in, it becomes infinitely rich to work with as a designer. On a similar note of discovery, could you talk a little more about the process of becoming an expert? If you get a new project in Tasmania and go in knowing nothing, how do you learn all of that? Fortunately there's this thing called the interweb, and that have-- we reached out to universities to research universities, agricultural universities. In Tasmania, we immediately went to Hobart. We met with scientists, professors-- someone had started a conservation data collecting agency as a private enterprise having had a career in teaching conservation biology. And so we just interviewed a lot of people, and it's-- you have to find the right one. It's not just any scientists like so many things. You could go to a psychiatrist, and if that's not the right fit, it's not going to help you. And in some cases, you will find the conservationists who just hates humans and doesn't want a human to ever, ever be anywhere. And that's kind of not our guy or gal. That's not going to go really well because we're dealing with so many hybrids of productivity and conservation. And to me, that's the insurance policy that these places will last. I worry about the future of the preserves. But finding the right universities, finding the right people, and taking the time to go interview them, walk this site with them, you start to feel who your tribe is and who you're going to work well with. And in each project, they're-- a few months go into building the team, finding the right engineers, the right civil in-- the format of a cultural landscape report has been very useful to us. We're not doing exhaustive cultural landscape reports, but we're following that format, the [inaudible] thing is this rehabilitation reconstruction even if it's for an ecology. It's pretty interesting structure to use. This is the question corner. Love you guys. Thank you. Thank you so much for this really wonderful and thoughtful talk. I'm particularly interested in the topic of patronage in agriculture. I've been doing work with two farms, one in France that we talked about earlier and one in California. And they're both very large properties, 6,000 acres and 9,000 acres, where there are owners who have a lot of money that they've decided to dedicate towards sustainable agriculture and how to change it we've done with industrial agriculture. And I'm wondering your thoughts on this given that agricultural landscapes are so often in places with no money, lots of issues in that sense and how you think especially as landscape architects these types of projects with a lot of money behind them can help to change places that don't have the same funds. To answer the question, I think it's about establishing the lines of sharing the data and information for free. And at the beginning of these kinds of projects, talking to the owner and saying you're making this investment. It's of no threat to you for someone else to have this data and share it, and it could be transformative to a regional economy and a regional ecology. So I think establishing that at the beginning of the project that that's your aspiration is to make sure that we create those lines of communication that allow what you discover in one place to be shared with another. The patronage question is one that's a whole talk. I think, but I know. But it's one that I find really, really fascinating and very tricky. One of the things about the kind of land stewards that we work with is that we're looking at farming in a way that requires a lot more people. And so they can become a center for job creation that is I think hugely empowering for a whole other generation. And the work that you do is satisfying in a way that maybe having a considered job creation like a new Walmart Distribution Center may not be as emotionally satisfying as cultivating the earth. I think there's a lot to be said about those jobs that are created. They're very valuable jobs. They may not pay a lot, but as I look across the human condition, the engagement with land is a deeply gratifying one. Hi, thank you. I have a question about language. And it seems a lot of these landscapes that you talk about as memorial, it's not quite a memorial. There's still cultures there and enacted and those rituals enacted that. And in other cases, it's not quite restoration because it's not a return to a former state. So how do you grapple with language and navigating that? Well, one with memorials, I think it was on the slide-- we just call those sites of memory, and that's helped us because we're looking-- we're trying to make or hoping to make something that performs the act of triggering a memory or connecting you to something that has happened in a way that goes beyond names on a granite wall, names of people that you may not know, something that will reach in and hold your heart for a moment. And it might squeeze it a little bit, but it will give you a response that connects you to that moment in time. So sites of memory has been a really helpful term internally to also group different ways of approaching land. We're working on so many right now that are so fascinating-- that's an entire talk in itself. One is children victims of violence. It's children who are killed violently under 18. How do you even start? And so one is on a happier note, the women's suffragists of Tennessee. They were the deciding vote for women to have the right to vote in the United States, and it was an amazing march that happened in downtown Nashville to the doors of the Parthenon as the symbol of Greek democracy. A rousing speech was given by Anne Dallas Dudley. [? feb ?] Burns was in the audience. She wrote to her son, who was debating women's right to vote on the Congress floor. He was a congressman from Tennessee. He changed his vote publicly, and it was the deciding vote. So we're memorializing where this happened. So I think one of the things that we're I think as a profession grappling with is a lack of racial diversity in particular African-American community within landscape architecture. And it's a crisis as well. And I think it's up to us as students, as faculty, as practitioners to get into high schools and colleges because-- I don't know how many of you-- but so many people who are now landscape architects didn't really know that in high school or college. But somehow word got to us, and we realized this is a very powerful tool kit. And if we can get that word to that community, we can start to make a bigger difference. But what's been I think a healthy step for me as a white male regrettably is to have the [non-english] in New Zealand say we would like for your office to design our burial ground. I remember in that moment talking to the elders maybe 10 years ago, but I'm [non-english].. [non-english] is the word for white. And they said we don't care. You have earth in your heart, and that's what we see. We don't really care what-- you can tell our story. You have tools we don't have, so lend those to us. And that was a realization that, oh, I'm not taking their story. I'm not appropriating their culture. I'm actually using my tools to help them tell their story. And I think as we move forward in a profession, that's an attitude that allows us to move forward in very, very difficult conversations. Similarly I wasn't a woman, but these women are OK with us doing the memorial. And I think there's a fear-- and it's a healthy fear-- of telling someone else's story. But in a few of these examples, it's helped me grapple with that realizing that we just would like to lend our expertise and our tools to important things that need to be discussed. Yes. Thanks for a fantastic presentation. I was just curious if you could speak about moments where cultural values sometimes produce tensions with maybe ecological services. You showed a picture of the vernal pool and why that may be a keystone space in the ecology. Maybe it's not one that's desirable by some clients. How do you manage to assign cultural value to ecological services, for example? I think it's the depth of research that allows you to have a pretty good argument with people. When you can establish the importance of that vernal pool or the establishment of a piece of ground that was let's say the Underground Railroad might have come through a place in that it shouldn't be developed. It's when you know so much that you come prepared for that conversation that I find it's really incredibly helpful. So we've gone from doing research on our own to begging clients to pay us to doing research to now saying there's a research phase. There's an-- it's part of the contract because that is the tool that, one, keeps you from missing really important things because you went too fast. And, two, when those difficult conversations come up, you have enough research on all sides that you can really form your own opinion because we don't go in knowing. We go in asking? [inaudible], thanks. Oh, sure. [applause]


Buildings and structures






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