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Landscape Infrastructure: Case Studies by SWA approx. 184 pages with 30 b/w and 250 color illustrations Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-3034605939
ISBN-10: 3034605935
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...the breadth of information makes this a valuable addition to the library of those landscape and urbanists working in these arenas and interested in ways, as Waldheim mentions in wrapping up his essay, to identify 'the discourse around landscape urbanism generally, and infrastructure more specifically, as an entry point into contemporary readings of landscape as a cultural form.'" --Landscape + Urbanism

From the Inside Flap

Landscape planning with a keen sense of the ecological context
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Birkhäuser Architecture; approx. 184 pages with 30 b/w and 250 color illustrations edition (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3034605935
  • ISBN-13: 978-3034605939
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 9.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,979,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What is Landscape Infrastructure?
What types of infrastructure will this book delve into?
Will it extend beyond tired conversations on sustainable water management?

Those were my initial questions, or perhaps even skepticisms, when I picked up this book.
I was happy to find that the well written, succinct prose of the Preface by Gerdo Aquino quickly answered those questions and in fact piqued my interest further to see exactly what ideas would be explored through this book.

The authors' intention is clear:

`...to question the ongoing viability of these single-purpose corridors by proposing that a multifunctional approach is more in tune with contemporary society".
In order to achieve the goals set out, a book of topical essays exploring the different principles, which they define as Landscape Infrastructure, has been authored. After exploring the principles, ideas, and goals of what Landscape Infrastructure could be in the broader field of Landscape Architecture, the authors provide analysis of some representative SWA projects employing these ideas.

The book begins with an essay on "Reading the Recent Work of SWA" by Charles Waldheim, which I thought initially was a curious way to begin...as a book which seemed to stem from a topical idea as opposed to a firm biography. I soon found out that the rich history of SWA positions it well to be an authority on, or at least have a credible opinion on, the topic of Landscape Infrastructure.
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Format: Hardcover
Landscape Infrastructure? What does this term mean?

Gerdo Aquino and Ying-Yu Hung of SWA Group, Los Angeles, investigate the changing role of public infrastructure in our cities and towns and what it means to 'design' infrastructural corridors for the future. They define infrastructure as a system now being integrated within landscape frameworks, demonstrating a new way of understanding the structures and systems that organize where and how we live.

From the preface: "The role of public infrastructure is changing. As large, contiguous systems, these corridors are networked across a vast scale of public and private lands. [...] The primary aim of this book is to question the ongoing viability of single-purpose corridors by proposing that a multifunctional approach is more in tune with contemporary society."

This collection of essays and fourteen in-depth case studies posit that landscape is a medium through which we can understand larger, complex design issues, specifically through the use of networked circulation (read: pedestrian) systems and macro-scale understandings of natural systems. Particularly in the development of new cities around the world, landscape architecture becomes a means to formulate design and planning solutions in a more holistic approach.

Beyond the case studies and essays, Charles Waldheim and Ying-Yu Hung reveal how the work of a firm, over time, allows for the evolution of design thinking through iterative projects and processes. A closer look at the structure and DNA of SWA - an intentionally-small design practice located in 7 offices internationally - tells the story of the origins of the studio practice and the firm's expansion over time into multifaceted design, research and teaching efforts across the different studios.
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Format: Hardcover
"The word landscape, when placed in front of other disciplines--think landscape urbanism, landscape ecology even landscape architecture--quantifies, modifies and even usurps them." So opens Julia Czerniak's essay Foregrounding, one of four thought provoking essays that open Landscape Infrastructure a new collection of essays and SWA projects.

Infrastructure of all sorts is an integral part of the urban condition. We have been building structures, aqueducts and roads for centuries. Landscape infrastructure is not quite as historic as Roman watercourses, but it is not an entirely new concept--the Emerald Necklace a ring of parks and conserved land in Boston was conceived of and installed between 1878-1896. It has seen a resurgence in popularity over the past in the past 15-20 years as both cities and the discipline of landscape architecture have grown. In particular over the past 10 years as the awareness of sustainability has increased, landscapes and ecological systems have gained new relevancy in urban design.

The fourteen SWA project case studies and four essays in this cleanly laid out and well illustrated new book take on the topic of landscape infrastructure in a variety of ways. The projects are organized by category but if looked at chronologically they present an interesting case study of the development of the concept of landscape infrastructure over the past 25 years.

The books earlier examples, built in the 80's and 90's, are based mostly in the United States and deal with the conversion of abandoned rail lines into pedestrian corridors (Katy Trail) and rehabilitating waterfronts in dense urban areas like the Buffalo Bayou Promenade in Houston, Texas.
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