While the preservation of historical landmarks has been made feasible and codified through organizations such as National Park Services and UNESCO, we sense the need of new approaches for commemoration. One may question the viability and the value of any act of preservation today due to the accelerated and contested nature of our society. How can we preserve the immaterial cultural significance and the sense of place through designing and preserving the physical environment? The project of developing Barracks of Pion, a formal military site at the edge of the Park of Versailles, attempts to provide critical conservation in urban development from a landscape perspective, in which the genius loci and the historical significance are articulated to support the understanding of the past, the present and the future.
Locates between Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, this proposal on Taj Heritage Corridor aims to reestablish the image of riverfront that was destroyed during the problematic reclamation project in 2002-2003. By creating a recreational water treatment canal along the original river bank, a landscape urban infrastructure is proposed to visually connect the city's scattered historic riverfront monuments and create public space for both tourists and local community. With a full respect of the silently mild image on Yamuna River in Agra, the design proposed an educational space that highlights the inherent dialogue between environment and history. Through analysis in different scales with the understanding of extreme site conditions, political background, and feasibility potentials, the design demonstrates the strong capacity of landscape intervention in resolving the complex contradiction between modernity and historic environment conservation.
With 70 million Americans retiring over the next decade, it is essential for landscape architects to explore how we can more effectively design our communities to engender healthy aging. Equally important, politicians, executives, health-care professionals, and citizens need a medium for comprehending the vital links among our public places, daily routines, and holistic well-being.
Landscapes of Longevity investigates three landscapes of extraordinarily high life-expectancy—Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Loma Linda, California; through the narratives of the healthy seniors in them. Along with spatial documentation, students interviewed 60+ seniors and shadowed their routines to research and analyze the characteristics of these cultural landscapes where seniors live happy, healthy, and independently. The documentary film is a dynamic exploration of the potential of film and narrative - as research and communication tools - to speak to designers and general audiences of the fundamental connection between healthy public landscapes and a healthy public.
Prisons are dichotomous spaces. Intended to both punish and heal, a prison possesses unique challenges in fostering behavioral change in people while maintaining security. To change the prison environment is to change the identity of prisons. This project, at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, Iowa aims to change perceptions of the prison environment and how it functions.
Through collaboration with the Iowa Department of Corrections and student design teams, a student-designed master plan has provided the backbone for a multiyear project to redefine the prison environment. By integrating the landscape into the daily lives of offenders and correctional personnel, this project sets the precedent for sustainable and therapeutic design within corrections. Furthermore, the collaboration exemplifies student and professional relations for similar projects to follow. Finally, by addressing the prison environment, we as designers, are providing the benefits of designed landscapes to an overlooked population.