Our studio operates at the intersection of landscape architecture, art and technology in exploring the tangible and the intangible qualities of space. City and environment are at the center of our landscape architectural practice because they invariably imply indeterminate processes, dynamic relationships and transformation. We view landscape’s innate lack of resolution and inexactness as strengths and try to exploit these through commissions, competitions, exhibits and installations. We are interested in the spaces and traces that emerge as ecologies and relationships unfold, as the evidence of life takes root and space requires time to be complete. Our work strives to engage the in-between, the ephemeral, and the passing, and we embrace a mode of practice that alternates between art and design as essential methods of inquiry.
We are interested in uncompromising design quality that advances landscape architecture at the edge of the built and natural and that considers itself as essential to the human experience. We are committed to a thorough process of design development, analysis and investigation that seeks larger connections to ecology, patterns, history, time and the imperative to inspire and engage human beings. We value the iterative process of making, interpreting and rethinking needed to arrive at innovative and meaningful solutions that aim to achieve the most with the least.
Whether attempting to illustrate the seasonal patterns of birds, butterflies or wildflowers using digital mapping methods, or designing ultra-thin structures to act as “ecological starters” that over time will change as they get denser with vegetation and habitat, our work attempts to construct a layered picture of land, environment and city that views the spectacle of change, however subtle, as one of landscape’s more transcendental and poetic qualities.
Installations, as passing media unencumbered by the needs of permanent architecture, have provided us with a means with which to imagine the possible through critical if temporary provocations of a site’s possibilities. Intaglio prints provide us with a vehicle for discovery and invention while provoking a keen awareness of a site’s complex relationship with time, geography and ecology. Our projects attempt to apply the lessons from our installations and our prints and create spaces that try to learn from both. The Ice Mappings installation, for example, makes a 24-hour garden out of ice and rose petals that in melting questions how long a garden needs to exist in order to be considered a garden. In the Land Prints project, a one-to-one impression of land on steel plates questions the very instant in which a map becomes a map and landscape is understood as more than site or place, but as a complement of processes. The Wynwood Greenhouse and the Sky Lounge projects re-calibrate public space as a living and flexible conduit which anticipates the changing needs of a community and the innate power of native ecologies to frame human activity.
We engage landscape’s varying degrees of impermanence as both challenge and opportunity. We strive to uncover its potential through a critical practice interested in exposing landscape’s limitless capacity to evolve and usher in essential adaptations that inspire and engage. Our work questions the limits of where landscape begins and where the processes that help to understand and shape it end and begin again.
The Sky Lounge at the Deuxième Maison courtyard transforms one of Florida International University’s earlier buildings and takes advantage of the courtyard’s dramatic height, while being mindful of the constraints of maintenance and existing underground infrastructure.
The minimum maintenance design solution provides users and passersby a destination unlike any other on campus by creating a protected and flexible space that can serve for quiet study, conversation, contemplation, gathering, and occasional presentations.
Over 3,000 air plants hang from light stainless steel braided shapes overhead and large custom-designed circular benches provide a place to sit back, relax and take in the sky above, the blue glass underfoot, and the vines that will eventually cover the surrounding walls.
AIA-Miami Award of Merit
Studio Associates: José Álvarez, Martina González, Mario Menéndez & Luis Jiménez
Rietveld Park in Oranjestad, Aruba, borrows from the legacy of Gerrit Rietveld as much as from the bold colors and textures of the island’s vernacular architecture and landscape. The relationship between Rietveld Park and Rietveld Academie across the street is complementary in that the park will naturally function as the school’s outdoor plaza and classroom.
The Rietveld Academie in the Netherlands focuses on fine art and design and traces its roots to the De Stijl and to its namesake Gerrit Rietveld who designed the school in the Amsterdam. The park design is based on Rietveld’s seminal Red-Blue chair and on Aruba’s wind-swept landscape.
Studio Associates: Amanda Vargas-Love, Andrea Sandoval, José Alvarez, Martina Gonzalez, Brennan Baxley, Selene Varela, Dean McMurry.
The Ecological Atlas is a visually intuitive mapping method that provides a means with which to understand the dynamics of living systems. The project addresses the challenge of visualizing and understanding relationships among individual ecosystem components and communicating their constant state of change.
Whether it illustrates the seasonal migration of birds and butterflies, the various times of year when fruits and vegetables are in season, or the changes of hundreds of wildflowers and trees throughout the year, the Ecological Atlas attempts to bridge the gaps between art and science by employing design and technology to convey a more complete understanding of natural systems. The immediate objective of the project is to develop a graphic language for communicating and comparing the transformation of living systems over time. The larger objective is to create a scalable tool that promotes a better understanding and awareness of ecosystems, which can in turn be used for designing, planning, and engaging them complementarily.
Exhibited at the Coral Gables Museum, Art Miami, Art Wynwood, Arte Americas
The Wynwood Greenhouse proposes an open and flexible framework that exists at the intersection of art, architecture, and landscape. This iconic destination for design, music, art, events, and play, is composed of an ultra-thin structural frame which echoes the scale and type of neighboring warehouses and single family homes. It contains a lush garden within, comprised of vegetated walls and mounds that provides a rich and engaging habitat for native flora and fauna.
The Greenhouse is a place for dense gatherings as much as a park that welcomes quiet contemplation and provides a framework onto which human activities and natural ecologies can attach. Its versatile armature progressively adapts as flora and fauna change throughout the year and as new activities dictate changing needs. From live concerts to farmers markets and art shows, the Greenhouse will open up a broad new spectrum of possibilities for Wynwood that are as enriching for people as they are for the environment that surrounds them.
First Place out of 238 international submissions
Design Team: Jim Drain, Nick Gelpi, Roberto Rovira
The Ice Mappings installation explores time and transformation in the landscape using 33 blocks of ice that were frozen with the petals of over 400 roses. The installation provided a window within which to experience the dramatic transformation of a space whose sensory richness would slowly disappear in the space of 24 hours.
Ice Mappings questioned the relationship between landscape and memory by asking how long a physically defined space such as a landscape made of ice would need to exist in order for it to be considered a garden.
Studio Associates: Glen Santayana, Jennifer Rogers, Lola Bellaflores, Annette Mauro, D. Tam, Tonietta Walters, Anwar Morales