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Eduardo Berber

CycLAvia 2013

Closing off the streets of a major urban population, especially Los Angeles is not something that happens very often. Having a large number of individuals in various forms of transportation other than motorized vehicles is definitely a unique experience. On Sunday April 21, I attended CicLAvia which is an event where the main streets of Los Angeles are shut down stretching fifteen miles out from Union Station and ending in Venice Beach.

When I first arrived with my bike at hand lining up at the start, amidst what seemed to be a crowded street with people in every direction, it began to feel overwhelming. However, once it got underway, I soon realized that the amount of people quickly spreading out across the streets, created a comfortable experience to get to known the city. Since the distance to get to Venice Beach was 15 miles, I had the privilege to see what Los Angeles had to offer without the disruption of traffic.

As I progressed through this journey towards the finish line, the city became a continuously changing landscape. It was evident that the heart of Los Angeles was surrounded by buildings of varying heights and large wide streets, characteristic of a big scale urban population. The sounds of cars, the smell of fuel emissions, and the people on the sidewalks, all had a major presence as I moved through the city. However, once I began to approach Venice Beach, the environment and landscape began to change with comparison to what I had seen before. Buildings began to turn into stores, or houses, and the smell of salty air began to propagate with immediate fashion, almost as a last motivator and reminder of the finish line. The landscape began as an interconnected urban space and ended as a beautiful ocean vista.

People rarely get a chance to replace cars with alternate means of transportation and to experience the city with new eyes. Understanding that the purpose of CicLAvia is meant to reduce traffic congestion, pollution, and fight obesity are important aspects of this event. However, for me this was only a part of the importance. Viewing how the landscape changes as you traverse the different areas and streets, as well as witnessing the change in structures, has given me a better understanding of Los Angeles as a whole.

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voids_02

Peter Walker is an accomplished landscape architect, whose career spans more than fifty years. He received two degrees in landscape architecture one from the University of California, Berkeley and the other from Harvard’s University Graduate School of Design. Along with designing projects, he has taken part in teaching, lecturing, advising, and writing about the field.

One of the most notable projects he was involved in was the National 9/11 Memorial which opened on September 11, 2011. Collaborating with architect Michael Arad, one of the main focuses of the project was to commemorate the victims who tragically lost their lives from the attacks of 9/11. The final design created, implemented two rectangular voids representing the location of where the twin towers once stood, surrounded by oak trees.

The objective of the design was to establish a symbolic language which would be universally understood by a multitude of individuals and cultures around the world. Peter Walker and Michael Arad both used this language to illustrate “reflected absence” among the design and its association to the space. The presentation of oak trees surrounding the voids are arranged in a linear pattern allowing the vegetation to form arching corridors which took inspiration from Minoru Yamasaki’s design on the bottom of the original twin towers.

The linear arrangement of oak trees is also accompanied by an open space known as “The Glade”. Surrounded by grass and the view of the exterior New York skyscrapers, it provides a park like feel for typical daily usage. This area however, was also meant to exert a sense of peaceful relaxation and for ceremonial remembrance of the victims of 9/11.

Town Hall Square
TownHallSquareImage Source: http://www.jrala.ca/content/town-hall-square
J
anet Rosenberg & Associates Landscape Architects, 2005

The town hall square is designed to accommodate the surrounding buildings, creating a vibrant green environment, without overwhelming the space.

Water Culture Square
200422171723753
Image Source: http://www.turenscape.com/english/projects/project.php?id=76
Turenscape, 2002

The unique design takes influence of the existing cultural and natural landscapes as well as introducing new irrigation techniques, which divide water using bamboo and stones.

City Park Beja
City Park Beja 3Image Source: http://www.a10.eu/thumbs/file_1192/0907271525/style_popup/3_050525.jpg
Santa Rita Arquitectos, 2004

The park not only marks the entrance to the city but is designed to take advantage of the landscape by providing multiple access points and viewing angles.

 

 

 

DSC03143 rev

Blog Post #4

The Huntington Gardens is a place where you can spend time walking around and observing the different types of vegetation from multiple regions of the world. Arriving here on a Sunday morning and taking in the sites, I came to a conclusion that it was more than a sightseeing experience but turned into a significant educational opportunity.

When entering the establishment, the magnitude of different gardens is somewhat overwhelming. However, the majority of the plants and vegetation occupying the areas, are marked with informational signs. These signs list the different names for specific plants, trees, shrubs, etc. that help the individual learn the types of vegetation present in each garden.

This is seen when following the pathways leading up to the Chinese Garden. Cherry blossom trees are one of the many plants showcasing the exterior of the garden, which provided a welcoming atmosphere and tone to the place.

Entering the Chinese garden was in itself an educational experience. Observing the architectural structures that lined the pathways of the garden as well as the bridges and differences in vegetation, all contributed to the learning experience. Not only did I get a sense of the Chinese culture, but the way the garden was constructed was also part of the curiosity.

The architectural structures constructed of pillars and concrete looked incredible simplicity, however, the use of angled roof tile made them appear complex. The details in the bridges, from the differences in textures and ground material, as well as the landscaping of trees, shrubs, rocks, and statues, all gave a sense of what Chinese culture and landscaping practices resemble.

Looking at the many offerings of the Huntington Gardens with special emphasis on the Chinese Garden can be seen as more than a simple walk through but as a learning experience. Observing the surroundings of the Chinese garden can encourage people to take in to account the beauty and significance of the culture by advocating the differences in environment, aesthetics, landscaping patterns, and architecture compared to what we are normally accustomed to seeing.

Blog Post #3

It was a Sunday morning when I drove down to visit the Huntington Gardens in San Marino. The morning was like any other except for the expectations and early thrill that I felt looking forward to seeing and adventuring the new destination. I arrived at the botanical gardens around 10 a.m. Parking was easily accessible at this hour and after entering the gardens, you immediately notice the difference between the outside world and this unique atmosphere.

Beginning at the entrance, there are two directions, left and right, where one points to the Chinese garden and the other to the Desert garden. Both are exemplified by the differences in vegetation and characteristics of those areas. However, my inclination and curiosity lead me to the Chinese garden as my first approach.

Heading in that direction, there are various examples of vegetation with some magnolia trees and cherry blossoms highlighting the scenic route towards my discovery. About fifteen minutes into the walk, I arrived at the Chinese garden immediately being bombarded with scenery. This was absolutely worth the wait. To one direction there are jagged, angular rocks that form a waterfall of majestic beauty. To the other direction, architectural structures, bridges, trees, pavement, and installations that are all associated with Chinese culture, fill the eye with astonishment. The architectural structures, with the curved roofs and high peaks, were absolutely inspiring when combined with the artful bridges and open water, making the experience very tranquil and peaceful.

Of all the various gardens and plants being showcased, nothing really compared to the beauty and vast quantity of cultural influence that was laid out in such extravagant and thoughtful manner. Matched with the cool weather and fresh oxygen provided by the surrounding vegetation made this trip a memorable and worthwhile excursion.

Old Post:

It was a Sunday morning when I woke up to drive down to visit the Huntington Gardens in San Marino. The morning was like any other except for the expectations and early thrill that I felt looking forward to seeing and adventuring the new destination. I arrived at the botanical gardens around 10 a.m. after dealing with some unusual traffic and rerouting issues that were frustrating to say the least. Parking was easily accessible at this hour and after entering the gardens, you immediately notice the difference between the outside world and this unique atmosphere. Beginning at the entrance, there are two directions, left and right, where one points to the Chinese garden and the other to the Desert garden. Both are exemplified by the differences in vegetation and characteristics of those areas. However, my inclination and curiosity lead me to the Chinese garden as my first approach. Heading in that direction, there are various examples of vegetation with some magnolia trees and cherry blossoms highlighting the scenic route towards my discovery. About fifteen minutes into the walk, I arrived at the Chinese garden immediately being bombarded with scenery. This was absolutely worth the wait. To one direction there are jagged, angular rocks that form a waterfall of majestic beauty. To the other direction, architectural structures, bridges, trees, pavement, and installations that are all associated with Chinese culture, fill the eye with astonishment. The architectural structures, with the curved roofs and high peaks, were absolutely inspiring when combined with the artful bridges and open water, making the experience very tranquil and peaceful. Of all the various gardens and plants being showcased, nothing really compared to the beauty and vast quantity of cultural influence that was laid out in such extravagant and thoughtful manner. Matched with the cool weather and fresh oxygen, provided by the surrounding vegetation, made this trip a memorable and worthwhile excursion.

Rocks 1Rocks 2Rocks 3

 

 

 

 

These are rock formations that show an erratic, angular, jagged, non-symmetrical pattern surrounding the area near a waterfall. They do not conform to the surrounding vegetation which enables them to bring new appearances, such as both rough and smooth textural qualities. The way they occupy space also mimic continental land-forms with the way they link and separate the area.