PHS to Add Holiday Cheer to Downtown Philadelphia

December is the season of giving, so PHS wanted to give something special to the city of Philadelphia, its residents, and its visitors. The PHS Public Landscapes Design & Management team (you may remember PLDM from this blog post) collaborated with students from PennDesign to come up with a gift that would add holiday cheer to a prominent downtown destination.

The end result: birch wood ornaments. Made in three leaf-shaped designs (maple, sweet gum, and aspen), these ornaments will hang from trees on and around South Broad Street beginning December 8.

This section of Broad Street, often referred to as the Avenue of the Arts, is a natural location for the holiday display because PHS already maintains the large planters that dot its sidewalk. In fact, new winter-interest plants will be installed in the planters the same week the ornaments are placed in nearby trees.

PHS’s Anna Wik says, “We wanted to create something eye-catching yet elegant for those passing by. Whether they are walking to work or running from store to store holiday shopping, people appreciate a bit of beauty. This is also a way to bring attention to some of the steadfast tree species lining Broad Street.”

As they brainstormed the ornament idea, the PHS PLDM team and their student collaborators considered lots of looks and a range of color palettes. Ultimately the simple, monochromatic concept won out. “We kept coming back to it,” Anna explains. “So many things associated with the holidays are bright and flashy. This feels like a refreshing alternative.”

To see the ornaments for yourself, visit South Broad Street between City Hall and Lombard Street after December 8.

PHS in Venice: Advanced Architecture around the Globe

Nancy and Linda are back from Venice and are on cloud nine about their experience at the Biennale. In earlier posts we shared their impressions of the American Pavilion of this citywide event (which happened to win a Special Mention Award).  Today’s post focuses on other countries’ contributions. Enjoy!

The U.S. pavilion was so large and impressive, one could easily spend a day or two there, but we were determined to take in as much of the Biennale as possible. Hopefully these photos will convey the variety of projects on display, showcasing the world’s achievements in urban design, landscape architecture, and the like.

Angola: Angola’s first entry into the Biennale focused on Giant Reed, Arundo dona,x to remediate the unsanitary conditions that rapid urbanism is causing to water resources in the Capital, Luanda.

Bahrain: We loved these very simple stools – light, portable and even kind of comfortable.

Canada: Our friendly neighbor to the north used lengths of lumber in different configurations to express ‘Migrating Landscapes’. Architects from across Canada situated their projects within these lumber landscapes.

Denmark exhibit featuring Greenland: Air + Port – Denmark looks to the climatic changes happening in Greenland as a harbinger of the future creating a more connective transportation system, causing new opportunities for mining minerals, and the necessity of new housing types.

Hong Kong: This extremely dense city explored growing planting in all kinds of moveable and non- traditional places, such as bus stops, roofs.

Hungary: The first image is a close up of the remarkable tiles that decorated this building. Inside were hundreds of small models made by architects, architecture students and children. All were white, and all given the same amount of space, a 21cm X 21 cm cube. The ingenuity and variety was fantastic.

India: Indian architect Anupama Kundoo recreated a house in Auroville, India. The House was built in situ by Indian and Venetian craftsmen. The vaulted roofs were particularly interesting, made from tile, wine bottles and our favorite, plastic cups.

Ireland: The Irish exhibit invited people to sit on weighted benches that shifted as people sat on them. The exhibit, titled “Shifting Ground” by Dublin architects Heneghan Peng referred to the globalization of architectural practice.

Japan: This exhibit explored rebuilding the town of Rikuzentakata devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. A panoramic photograph of the destroyed city covered the wall. Architect Toyo Ito led the team in showing timber structures to win the Golden Lion for 2012.

Latvia: We came upon this charming installation, “Inner Freedom,” in the Campo San Zaccaria. It references Freedom Street in the Latvian city of Riga, which is noted for frame construction and nooks to gather in.

Netherlands: This was a really cool moving screen that ran on tracks along the ceiling and reconfigured the room to a different shape every five minutes. The idea is to focus on re-imagining existing architecture, rather than creating new.

Poland: Starkly white, and a bit Socialist-looking from the outside, inside the open space explored the idea of sound in architecture. Moving around the “empty” room with a slanted floor, all kinds of sounds piped in from other areas of the biennale, became audible in different places. This exhibit, along with Russia, and the US won a ‘Special Mention’ award.

 

PHS in Venice: Sharing Stories on Greening a City

Last week we brought you part one of PHS’s epic adventure in Venice for the Biennale. This exhibition uplifting progressive thinking in urban design has allowed staffers Nancy O’Donnell and Linda Walczak to spread the PHS message far and wide. Read on!

Our next day at the Biennale proved just as interesting as the first few. Many of the pavilions were hosting openings, and the place was jammed with insiders. We spotted many celebrity architects, including David Chipperfield, the British architect who curated the Biennale. Other luminaries include Todd Williams and Billie Tsien, well-loved by Philadelphians for their work at the Barnes, and the Indian architect Anupama Kundoo.

The highlight of today was the series of “relays,” panel discussions held in the courtyard of the US pavilion.

1. Nancy was excited to be part of the “productive landscapes” panel…

1A. …but first we heard a discussion on public-private partnerships, and the many ways these can occur. Most every PHS initiative involves multiple partners, so this was great info to absorb.

2. At the Productive Landscapes Relay, Nancy engaged in a conversation with a broad range of people from across the country. Gordon Douglas, one of the exhibit curators, presided. Participants were from Denver, St.Louis, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Some were single guerrilla interventionists, while others were from larger firms or academia.

3. The vacant lands discussion was enlivened by the creator of the red swing project, Andrew from Austin. Since his is an anonymous project, that’s all the info we can share, Check out the website reswingproject.org.

4. Another great project was led by John Southern, of Urban Operations. His firm is taking back medians and turning them into green space in Los Angeles.

5. The cafe sported an op-art look. We chose to eat outside.

6. Sallie and Bert Korman, and their adorable grandchild Isabella, were spotted at a Venice watering hole. It was great to see a PHS member so far from home!

That’s it for now. If you’d like to read more about the U.S. pavilion and some of the other countries involved, click here.

Local Landscape Designer Wins Top Awards at Singapore Garden Festival

Joe Palimeno of Ledden Palimeno Design-Build Landscape Company in Sewell, New Jersey,  is celebrating two victories for his exhibit, “The Modernist Garden” at the 2012 Singapore Garden Festival.  Because of Joe’s 20 years of experience creating 46 exhibits—and winning five “Best in Shows” at the Philadelphia International Flower Show—he was invited to Singapore to compete against the world’s top garden designers.

“Being involved in the Philadelphia Flower Show for the past 19 years really prepared me for this event and I was proud to represent not only the United States, but also PHS,” Joe said.

The Singapore Garden Festival is a biennial event and the first and only international garden show in the tropics to showcase creations from the world’s top award-winning garden and floral designers all under one roof.

Joe’s exhibit used innovative materials inspired by modern art and social ideas as the driving force in his design work, with the ultimate goal to provide an outdoor living space for the delight, joy, and serenity of the people that inhabit the space. The design included a contemporary shade structure and a soothing plunge pool.  Custom cushions added softness to the stone walls by providing a comfortable place to sit. A path leading through the garden incorporated long, sweeping lines of turf. Plantings acting as walls helped to define the space with color, texture, and scent that brought the exhibit to life.

“Much like the Philadelphia International Flower Show, the 2012 Singapore Garden Festival put us in front of 300,000 international visitors over an eight-day period, showcasing all the possibilities of what one can have in their own backyard, but with the difference being truly among international designers,” said Joe.

“I am looking forward to the 2013 Philadelphia Show and I can’t wait to show our designs for both EP Henry and Subaru,” he continued. “I am drawn to contemporary design with modern clean lines and materials. My ideas changed from what I thought I was going to do since my time in Singapore. This trip filled me with so much inspiration and creativity that is starting to pour out onto paper. We are showmen! Designing and building garden displays is what’s exciting and drives us all at Ledden Palimeno.”

And we can’t wait to see what he has planned. Congratulations, Joe!

PHS Partner Wins Prestigious Conservation Award

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), with whom PHS is a proud partner, is one of six entities to be honored by The Clean Water America Alliance with its 2012 U.S. Water Prize for their watershed-based approach toward water sustainability.

“These six water champions are showing America how to innovate, integrate, and educate for water sustainability and economic success,” explained Alliance President Ben Grumbles. The other U.S. Water Prize winners include the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, PepsiCo Frito-Lay, Project WET Foundation, Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

PWD provides integrated water, waste water, and storm water service. Its mission is to address complex environmental, demographic, and financial challenges, as well as to become the steward and protector of Philadelphia’s rivers and streams through a program call Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW). The vision behind GCCW is to unite the city with its water environment, creating a green legacy for future generations, while finding a balance between ecology, economics, and equity. GCCW’s commitment is to “green” more than 34% of the combined sewer area’s impervious cover in the coming 25 years.

We want to congratulate PWD for its vision, commitment, and dedication to the City of Philadelphia and its water resources.