Architype Dialogue presents
Jamie Maslyn Larson
With this particular landscape architecture project, what was the most difficult issue your firm faced or the most unexpected challenge that may have influenced new thought and unique approaches in the project?
There were many programmatic demands for the project, in just 2 ½ acres of space. We felt if we couldn’t deliver shade, for example, the space would be a failure in a climate like Miami Beach. So finding the right species of palm, in the right heights and in the quantity that we want was a critical task. The construction and document deliver process had to be reshuffled for this task to occur in time for the opening of the building. For us, we sometimes have to spend more time to change procedures for successful design.
In general, do you feel that the role of the landscape architect is changing on similar project types? Did this project expand or evolve your role as a landscape architect in any way?
West 8 is a multidisciplinary firm, with architects, urban designers and landscape architects all working together. We can design and engage on multiple levels. Our best collaborators, including at Soundscape, respond to the exchange of ideas, no matter the role, because it’s all about making a better outcome.
How is your installation or project possible today in a way that it may not have been in the past, and how have current trends or thoughts in landscape architecture inspired new creative solutions?
Our profession is in many ways profoundly anti-trendy: working with relatively uncomplicated materials (like soils, trees, concrete) to make places for people to enjoy. Our design visions are sourced on a project’s unique people, culture and site. That is the constant in our work that inspires us and keeps us fresh.
In the context of this project, how is your office and your design process being influenced by current thoughts in academic curricula? In turn, are your current projects and processes guiding the ongoing reformulation and development of academic curricula?
We stay in touch with academia, some of our colleagues teach as well. We are not sure if or how our work is influencing academia curricula.
Architype Review thanks Jamie Maslyn Larson for her interview and for contributing to this collection of Architype Dialogue.