Fifty Rutgers Landscape Architecture students descended upon the city of Boston on November 15 to attend the national conference for the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Holly Nelson and Joan Furlong, both practicing landscape architects in the Rutgers Department of Landscape Architecture, led the professional field trip.
Keynote lectures ranged from “Biophilic Design: People and Nature in the Modern World” by Stephen R. Kellert of Yale University School and Forestry and Environmental Studies to “Geodesign and the Emerging GIS Platform” by Jack Dangermond, an environmental scientist who founded ESRI, a GIS software developer whose core product is Arc GIS. Students attended a number of sessions covering technical subjects and design theory. They also attended professional portfolio reviews and an alumni reunion. Lecture topics included sustainable drainage, performative urban trees, phytotechnologies for landscape design, the office of Mikyoung Kim, and campus living laboratories. The lectures opened the students’ eyes to the many professional options available to landscape architects.
In addition to the conference offerings, students had the opportunity to privately tour the offices of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, which is headed by recent Rutgers alumnus Michael Saltarella; Keith LeBlanc Landscape Architecture, led by recent Rutgers alumnus Ed Krafcik; and the firm Stantec, and Brown, Richardson and Rowe. Charles Waldheim, chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, hosted the Rutgers group and discussed the evolution of the practice of landscape architecture and its intersection with contemporary urbanism, topped off by a student-led tour of the studios. Rutgers’ assistant professor of Landscape Architecture Richard Alomar led the students on a Sketch Crawl through the South Boston waterfront.
Students had some free time to visit the Big Dig parks and the waterfront. Rutgers junior Arturo Hernandez bought a 24-hour pass on the Hubway bike-sharing system to discover more of downtown Boston on a bike. Funding for this trip was provided through the undergraduate and graduate student clubs, the New Jersey Chapter of the ASLA, the Julius Fabos Fund, and the Department of Landscape Architecture.