Updates from ASLA

Report from the USA Science & Engineering Festival

ASLA showcased landscape architecture to children and families at the USA Science and Engineering Festival  from April 6-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. With the help of ASLA staff and local ASLA volunteers, visitors discovered the landscape architecture profession as an exciting and creative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) career.

ASLA’s exhibit featured intriguing, hands-on activities, created through a collaboration between ASLA staff and landscape architecture students at Virginia Tech Washington Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC). A topographic CNC routed model (computer-controlled cutting machine) created by landscape architecture students was showcased and attendees were asked to create spaces with the model trees provided. Families had a blast designing spaces on the model while smaller children enjoyed creating spaces for the scale figures in the tree canopies.

STEMfest Image 1
Image credit: Ali Hay  
STEMfest Image 2
Image credit: Ali Hay  

Attendees also viewed the model with 3D software, which helped them understand how a two-dimensional idea can quickly become three-dimensional through the use of a computer-controlled cutting machines such as laser cutters, CNC routers, or 3D printers. ASLA’s booth also featured Virtual Reality (VR) video, grabbing the attention of hundreds of attendees. Families enjoyed embarking on a vivid journey of  Klyde Warren Park. The park—which received the ASLA 2017 Professional General Design Award of Excellence—is a prominent example of how to heal the damage made by transportation infrastructure to our downtowns and offered attendees the opportunity to truly understand how parks create amazing spaces for communities. The best part of the weekend may have been watching attendees dance along with park users Zumba dancing in the VR video – luckily no one fell out of their chair in the process.

STEMfest Image 3
Image credit: Shawn Balon, ASLA (left), Ali Hay (right)  
STEMfest Image 4
Image credit: Shawn Balon, ASLA (left), Ali Hay (right)  

It was an exciting weekend for volunteers and attendees. The biennial event brings over 350,000 attendees to Washington, D.C., and ASLA’s booth hosted hundreds of visitors every day. The word was spread about the profession of landscape architecture, and many attendees left with a new knowledge and interest of the profession.

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