Friday, November 4, 2011

Ecological Landscaping

A really big idea in my life and work is that of continuity – the connectedness of things versus the breaking up and fracturing that is the norm in today's manmade world.  I have always had an affinity for the California landscape and for me landscaping isn't about creating decorative foundation plantings – it's about connecting back to the larger landscape – perhaps for as far as the eye can see (?).  And it's not just about continuity of plants – although this is what we most often think of  – it's also about continuity of animal life.  It's trying to preserve the ecosystem – not to bit by bit break it down! Not every project allows this to happen, but for those that do we often find that our landscape consultant lacks genuine sympathy with our mindset and this often leads to our doing the landscape design ourselves.  A big plus with this approach is that the overall project concept is totally consistent – the landscape being integral with the building design.  We have had some wonderful successes working with landscape architects and designers – although usually with projects involving gardens and /or traditional landscape schemes.  The following images of our projects illustrate a few of our basic landscape ideas:

Berms and earth covered roofs can merge with the surrounding grade to create an obvious integration with the land.

If existing trees are too close to new construction they can often be saved and integrated into the final composition.

Building extensions like trellises can support exotic species and serve as a kind of mediator between man and nature.

When there is a desire for substantial numbers of non-native species I tend to incorporate them in ways that limit their range – such as planting them in planters or courtyards.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome thoughts Obie,
    Just as the continuity between building-space-landscape I truly believe that you "The Architect" must have and do have the complete unprejudiced ability to mentally and physically BE connected to the site with the vision to create what nature itself would want to exist.
    The way your projects demand and use landscaping equally as thoughtful as the structure itself is what makes your projects feel like they actually grew where they are. Along with the evolution of our profession Obie, it is quite interesting to see the maturing of more and more Architects beliefs, respect and integration for the natural elements of our buildings and sites.