ASLA Balances Nature, Design at Annual Meeting

Event: ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO: Designing with Nature: The Art of Balance
Location: San Francisco, 10.05-09.07
Organizer: American Society of Landscape Architects

ASLA Annual Meeting

(Left) Lawrence Halprin, FASLA, in conversation with Charles Birnbaum, FASLA. (Right) San Francisco + ASLA = Perfect!

Sam Brown, courtesy American Society of Landscape Architects; Kristen Richards

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) couldn’t have chosen a better place or time for its annual meeting: San Francisco in early October. Close to 7,000 ASLA members and affiliates were treated to four perfect autumn days filled with inspiring speakers, enlightening continuing education sessions and media panels, eye-opening studio visits, and tours — and a spectacular gala at the recently reopened de Young Museum. (Some of us traipsing between Moscone Center North and South were treated to glimpses of the Blue Angels doing their aerial ballet against the crystal blue sky.)

Among the highlights:
— ASLA launched the Sustainable Sites initiative, a cooperative effort supplement existing green building and landscape guidelines as well as becoming a stand-alone tool for site sustainability.

— Passions ran high even at 8:00am on a Saturday morning at the “Newsmakers Roundtable,” with Walter Hood, ASLA, Laurie D. Olin, FASLA, Martha Schwartz, ASLA, and Ken Smith, ASLA, and moderated by Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times. Olin said, “We need to make landscape political again,” after what he called a “decade of private splendor and public squalor.” Hood emphatically agreed, saying, “We have to do public work! It’s hard to do, but if we don’t do it, it will be done badly or not at all.”

— What could have been a disappointing closing General Session was anything but. Vice President Al Gore, Hon. ASLA, had to cancel his appearance due to a death in the family, but delivered a live telecast congratulating landscape architects for their leadership in combating climate change, saying, “I feel as if a lot of the world is catching up with you and messages you have been delivering for a long time now.” The session also included a previously unscheduled — and very spirited — Lawrence Halprin, FASLA, interviewed by Charles Birnbaum, FASLA, Executive Director of the Cultural Landscape Foundation.

— Among the 33 landscape architects inducted into the ASLA Council of Fellows was David Kamp, FASLA, Founder and President of NYC-based Dirtworks PC Landscape Architecture.

Click LANDonline for links to podcasts and videos from the conference.