[Beta-Bridge, Fletcher Studio’s proposed reinvention of the Bay Bridge, San Francisco.]

GROUND UP is a new journal produced by the Dept. of Landscape Architecture at U.C. Berkeley.  Similar to other student-run design journals, such as Kerb and Scapegoat, GROUND UP offers a snap shot of the kinds of things people are processing, refractively, between academia and practice, as told through student’s curatorial agency.  GROUND UP’s first issue, Landscapes of Uncertainty, “highlights temporary landscape installations, explores the possibilities of remnant spaces, and elucidates the impact of shifting political, environmental, and social forces on design.”  Amongst other essays and contributions, the interview with David Fletcher (principal of Fletcher Studio) and Marcel Wilson (principal of Bionic) gives a taste of the issue’s memorable moments:

“DV: I don’t mean to be Jens Jenson about this, but there’s something wrong with the fact that we are making landscapes that require life support systems. So the political point is in the role of contemporary landscape architects in shifting world views and in shifting societal desires…what we try to do is be a little polemic – the Beta Bridge Project [image above] was about that.  There we were trying to suggest alternatives to what they are trying to do it terms of structural monitoring; to suggest a marijuana farm and a data farm living in symbiosis, and how that might generate revenue to create public benefits elsewhere in California…

MW: You could say this about the academy, and I think you could say this about practice: its way too self-referential, and way too concerned with what has been done. Only looking within a relatively narrow set of answers and professional views of the world, do you begin to understand that things are just more complex.  Academia is largely consumed with repeating things…

DF: Landscape Architecture has removed itself from something that is already removed.  You hear: ‘we need to move beyond the [hu]man-nature divide’…’we need to make the city and nature come together.’  You don’t realize that the people who are actually doing research on those issues, the geographers, the ecologist, all these other people have moved beyond that idea a long time ago.  I do think that landscape urbanism – as a discourse or not – is a lucky discourse.  It just happened to hit at this time when all these other little revolutions were emerging, and I think it’s an amazing time to practice.”

GROUND UP is currently scouting for material for its second issue, Grit.  Submission deadline is Jan 4th, 2013).

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