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Future Food Forest: Radical Landscapes for Uncertain Times

Students in the summer studio led by Elizabeth Umbanhowar present their installation for the Seattle Design Festival titled “Future Food Forest: Radical Landscapes for Uncertain Times”. The festival took place August 20th and 21st at Lake Union Park from 10-7. Their installation at the Seattle Design Festival represent what a loss of biodiversity would look like from present into the future. Visitors could dye pieces of fabric at the altar presented in the middle of the archway that displayed different native Pacific Northwest plants.

In this studio, students were encouraged to think of landscape as a library and how we can preserve flora and flauna in changing climates. Their final project considered how urban forests can potentially help the loss of biodiversity that we are seeing in current times as well as how to cope with environmental grief, a common side effect of realizing the disastrous outcomes of a rapidly changing landscapes.

Summer Design Build 2022 in Traena, Norway

We welcome back some of our students who went to Traena, Norway to complete their Design/Build with Daniel Winterbottom and co-instructors Luka Jelusic and Mate Rupic! 

A group of 16 students, some matriculated at UW, left the US in the middle of June 2022 to work on a design/build project on a small island off the coast of Norway for five weeks. Students were asked to create a unique space that could be offered year-round to the local community as a place to gather. They also wanted the space to feature an outdoor kitchen, classroom, community garden and hold community events such as their annual summer music festival. 

Students spent the first week designing and collaborating, leaving the following three weeks for building and implementation. Before beginning the design process, they had a chance to tour the island and visit some local landmarks. They met some of the locals to learn about their lifestyle and hear input on what exactly the community needed. Students, working in groups of four, began conceptualizing and iterating potential ideas and designs for the site. Overall, the group agreed that they wanted to create an area that met the community’s needs while paying homage to Traena’s unique culture, identity and history. At the end of the week, each group presented their proposal to the community and let them select which project they connected with the most.

Building began during the second week of their stay. As always, the proposal would not come out exactly as planned and some aspects would have to be altered so that it was feasible given the small time span and allotted resources. 

Students were led in sketching exercises by Daniel Winterbottom throughout their time there. Students traveled back to mainland Norway to visit Oslo and Bergen for their final week.

Here are some of the process and final images of the students’ amazing work abroad!

 

  Site Dedication

 

“The tides rolling into the island bring new people/visitors, new stories and even concerns from the outside world. But at the heart of the island is a community, whose intimate relationships form a resiliency that attracts the wayward and longing for respite to stay while deflecting the negative and worries of the world back out to the sea. That this haven seemingly at the end of the world away is a vibrant beacon of humanity. Our design lies at the center of Traena, and pulls people in formally. That line continues throughout the site consistently redirecting attention towards the central area (to other people in the space) and eventually dissipates or “recedes” back out in the landscape and to sea from where people came.” 

– Grant Guliano MLA, UC Berkeley

 

Photo credit: Maron Bernardino, Heather Fortunato, Jenna Simpson

Inaugural Landscape Architecture Furniture Studio

During Autumn 2021, the Furniture Studio, a legacy course in the Architecture department, was offered to Landscape Architecture students for the first time. While the focus on craft and material remained constant, the context of the work provided a unique scale and scope not previously used in furniture studios.

Architecture faculty members Kimo Griggs and Steven M. Withycombe worked with 12 MLA and BLA students to design and fabricate landscape furniture.

Students receive a primer on lumber dimensions and wood types in the Fab Lab (photo by Sihong Zhu)

From infrastructure to buildings to landscapes, the built environment is furnished at a variety of scales. Furniture has been a critical organizing feature for centuries, signifying power, providing perspective, defining and supporting social organizations, comfort and health. Learning how to design and make furniture in the landscape is an education in landscape architecture writ small, including design strategy, ethics, team-work and sustainability. Investing in lasting materials and methods to produce full-scale, carefully-considered designs provides an extraordinary and lasting student experience. The inaugural Landscape Furniture Studio of Autumn 2021 produced a wide array of excellent designs, setting a high bar for future students.Professor Kimo Griggs
For her “Acoustic Chair”, Laura Swett bends steel angle along a constantly-changing curve using the Hossfeld Bender. (Photo by Kimo Griggs)

Students especially appreciated the course for advancing dialogue in interdisciplinary exploration at an object-level and the opportunity to work intimately with fabrication processes prioritizing the details of craft and making.

Furniture exists in every built environment, and as a result, it sits on the nexus of so many different fields. Kimo often said that you could “resolve the world in a piece of furniture” and I think that applies just as well to landscape design, architecture, city planning, and every other built environments field. It was so valuable to be able to work with architecture professors, as well, because it’s very easy to get ensconced in your department’s way of thinking. I feel that I have learned so much more having been exposed to different pedagogies in this very departmentally collaborative studio.Isa Lewis, BLA ‘23
Student standing next to their 3D printed chair3D printed white chair sitting on concrete steps
Furniture studio fit perfectly into the MLA sequence. It complimented the work I was doing in Materials Craft and Construction and helped me understand both assemblies and materials more deeply. It’s so rare to have a full design-build experience in school, especially on a design that is all your own, and it was incredibly gratifying to experience the entire design process in a microcosm of a single piece of landscape furniture.Jesse Sleamaker, MLA ‘23

This longed-anticipated course will be part of the annual studio rotation moving forward. We’re looking forward to the interdisciplinary innovations that will come out of this studio for years to come.

(Click on the photos below for more information on each piece.)

Student working on a piece of concreteStudents with their pieces after a successful concrete pourPerson sitting on a wood benchDouble-sided wood benchPerson giving a thumbs up standing next to their project in the fabrication labPerson sitting on a bench taking a selfiePerson sitting a low to the ground wood chairStudent working on wood chair

 

Final review jury including Daniel Winterbottom, Steve Withycombe, Kimo Griggs, and Penny Maulden. (Photo by Vanessa Lee)

Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities ☀ Info Session (UC Berkeley Summer Program)

Disc* is an immersive five-week summer program for college students offered by UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. It explores an interdisciplinary and multi-scalar approach to design and analysis in the urban environment. Disc* participants engage in the discourses of urban innovation, and develop creative solutions to tackle the urgent challenges global cities face today. Disc* is open to eligible students from any college or university. No prior experience in design is necessary.
Sign up for the Disc* Information session
Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities:

On March 29, 2022 at 5pm PT, you will learn more about the UC Berkeley summer program. Sign-up for the virtual session now.