Ron Lutsko, Jr.
The most difficult issues faced were the small size of the garden relative to the vast scale of San Francisco and the Bay beyond. In addition to this we needed…
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?
The most difficult issues faced were the small size of the garden relative to the vast scale of San Francisco and the Bay beyond. In addition to this we needed to reconcile a variety of adjacent conditions that were evident from within the site.
As the fabric of the city is created by a multitude of small lots that read as sub-spaces, we integrated our site with that fabric by dividing it into three separate outdoor rooms that read as sub-spaces within our site. This allowed us to pull the texture and scale of the urban environment into our site while giving us the chance to address different adjacent conditions in each of the three spaces.
In general, do you feel that the role of the landscape architect is changing on similar building types? Did this project expand or evolve your role as a landscape architect in any way?
It is true that the role of landscape architects is broadening as time progresses. I see two primary areas of expanded roles: ecological and social planning, site planning, and design, and the acknowledgement of landscape architects as artists working in the realm of landscape. This particular project, with a pre-existing house and a confined area within which to work, really doesn’t really touch on the planning and site planning aspects of the profession but it does reflect our role as environmental artists.
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?
Advanced technology relative to forming and finishing materials has allowed us to create a project that may not have been possible in the past.
The concept behind the design for this project is based on the notion that the site should be informed by the greater context. While this not a new thought, it does encompass current trends, and has led to a unique design solution. Current thought does understand the overlap between landscape architecture and art, and this project reflects this contemporary understanding of the discipline.
In the context of this project, how are 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?
To the extent that academic curricula is becoming more integrated relative to the wider concerns of the profession (planning, social function, ecological function, site-specific design, and art), this project correlates with that advanced understanding of landscape architecture. A deeper understanding of the project provides a physical example that could be used in an educative fashion to illustrate this contemporary, multifaceted approach.