From the desk of... Tiles by Arterra Landscape Architects

This is an installment in our series "From the desk of..." where we share a little inspiration from around the internet.

It's a tile kind of week.

 
 

Here's a round up of very cool uses of tile (including these very blue tiles) on Dwell.

Clé always has great tiles, and we are suckers for watercolor...

...and for the designs of the Brothers Bouroullec, via Design Milk

If that's not enough tile for you, another round up from Residential Architect.

From the desk of... Interfaces by Arterra Landscape Architects

This is an installment in our series "From the desk of..." where we share a little inspiration from around the internet.

Geek out with us for a minute.


MIT created a physical interface that mimics the properties of different materials using digital data. As in, you can set it to act like water, and it will ripple, or rubber and it will feel bouncy, and so on, via CO.DESIGN.

Here's a great tumblr of science fiction movie interfaces

and a fun smell-based interface project, via CO.DESIGN.

We thought this website had a fun interface. It's based on the golden ratio, and it's all done with CSS+HTML!

Sketchy Tuesday at the SFAI by Arterra Landscape Architects

We had such a great time at the SFAI for Sketchy Tuesday. Thank you to Guest Sketcher Dan Hogman! If you missed it this week, Dan will be joining us again next week at the Redwood Park near the Transamerica Building.

We enjoyed some incredible views and lots of sunshine... and the wild parrots even did a flyby!

If you haven't checked out their open-to-the-public rooftop, we highly recommend it.

Sketchy Tuesday on a Roof Terrace by Arterra Landscape Architects

Thank you to everyone who attended the first Sketchy Tuesday of 2017! (And a special shout-out to all of the SF Sketchers who joined. It was wonderful to meet you!)

What a fun time sketching in the urban park on the roof terrace at 100 First Street amongst the towers.

We hope to see you next time at the San Francisco Art Institute Rooftop with special guest sketcher Dan Hogman!

From the desk of... Now you see it by Arterra Landscape Architects

This is an installment in our series "From the desk of..." where we share a little inspiration from around the internet.

 

We've been noticing that more and more features and everyday objects are designed to appear only when you need them.

Take, for example, this projector that creates a touchscreen on any surface, via Contemporist.

Or these stools that are art until you need a place to sit, via Contemporist.

And garagespools, saunas and gates that appear like magic.

Or maybe just an entire apartment, via Azure Magazine.

Studio Garden Tour by Nicole Bemboom

Our studio spent an entire day touring completed projects in Healdsburg.

We had such a great time seeing the landscapes and the designs in action. 

Here are a few shots from our day:

From the desk of... Paths We Want to Take by Nicole Bemboom

This is an installment in our series "From the desk of..." where we share a little inspiration from around the internet.

We want to walk and hike this path in Portugal, via designboom

We want to cross this bridge when we come to it, via Contemporist

We want to bike on this path (dressed up like characters from Mario Kart), via Azure Magazine

We want to carefully creep across this path with our eyes mostly closed in terror, via Dezeen

In the Studio: Weekly Newsletters by Nicole Bemboom

Introducing our new series, "From the desk of..."

Over the past few years, Nicole has been putting together a newsletter of links to inspiration or knowledge for the team from her adventures around the internet.

We are sharing the fun with you in our new series: "From the desk of..."

 

 

This Week: Paper Magic

Zim & Zou Craft Colourful Worlds for a Hermès Window Display, via Azure Magazine

Zim & Zou Craft Colourful Worlds for a Hermès Window Display, via Azure Magazine

60,000 Paper Cut-Outs Form a Forest of Numbers in Tokyo, via Azure Magazine

60,000 Paper Cut-Outs Form a Forest of Numbers in Tokyo, via Azure Magazine

 
 

The Chelsea Garden Show by Nicole Bemboom

Kate, Gretchen and Vera all got together for a trip to the Chelsea Garden Show. They had a great time, and Kate shared their journey on our Instagram:

What a Wonderful Decade by Nicole Bemboom

Congratulations to Natasha on her 10 year anniversary at Arterra!

It has truly been an honor to work with you. Cheers to the past, and to the future!

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and creativity.

 

A Visit to Succulent Gardens by Nicole Bemboom

We love when our designer Alyssa Erickson goes on an adventure and brings back plant photos for us. Here are some great shots from Succulent Gardens in Castroville. (Don't miss her trip to The UCSC Arboretum!) 

Enjoy!

Sketchy Tuesday at Heath Ceramics by Nicole Bemboom

Thank you very much to Heath Ceramics and the Boiler Room for hosting the final Sketchy Tuesday of Architecture and the City. If you would like to join us for future Sketchy Tuesdays, sign up for our newsletter, and you won't miss a thing.

We met at Heath Ceramics in the Mission District and sketched in their gallery space, the Boiler Room. The iron boilers were a challenge, but fun. (The boilers were used to produce steam for the industrial laundry that installed them in the building after WWI, when they were no longer needed for ships.)

 

Geek in the Garden: Understanding the nuances of sustainable wood by Nicole Bemboom

By Dani J. Winston

Using sustainable materials in a landscape results in a long-term decrease of energy consumption, conserves water, and serves to bolster ecological function by reducing environmental strain. This ultimately contributes to increased environmental services, and healthier, enduring landscapes. 

In Designing the Sustainable Site, Heather Venhaus describes a series of benefits supported by sustainable sites. They include ecosystem services, such as regulating temperature and precipitation, sequestering greenhouse gasses, cleansing air and water, providing habitat, maintaining soil health and fertility, retaining and storing fresh water, controlling erosion, and mitigating natural hazards such as flooding, wildfire, and drought. Sustainable sites may  also provide social benefits, such as providing recreation, producing food and other raw materials such as timber, medicine, and fuel, providing inspiration and cultural enhancement, and enhancing opportunities for mental respite. 

forest-river

Many factors must be considered when deciding if a material is sustainable. At the minimum, it needs to be long lasting and non-toxic, and created and transported with minimal energy. The material’s entire lifecycle must be considered, from the resources used in production, to the cost of energy and amount of maintenance required, as well as the options for eventually reusing, recycling or discarding. Additionally, consider if a material could improve site health, help repair damaged and disturbed sites, or manage the flow of water.

It is not always evident which products are the most sustainable options for a project and it is important to weigh all the above criteria on a case-by-case basis.

Wood

When wood is produced through well-managed, thoughtful, sustainable practices, it could potentially bolster all the aforementioned criteria.


As an example, wood is one of the primary materials in construction and each of these factors must be considered during the decision making process. There are no perfect solutions, but research and planning can help identify the best option.

wood

In the case of wood, there are a number of products types and certifications to consider. The two major certifications for wood are FSC and SFI. FSC is the Forest Stewardship council.  FSC’s objectives seek to protect at risk ecosystems, honor native cultures and economies, avert illegal logging, curtail clear cutting and pesticide use and monitor “the chain of custody” in order to ensure that the wood product purchased has actually met all the above criteria.


SFI is the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. SFI’s criteria have become more stringent in recent years and basically mirror those of FSC. Nevertheless, SFI only certifies harvesting operations in the United States and Canada. For wood products sourced outside North America, SFI relies on foreign governments to set the benchmark. Even though SFI benchmarks have become more stringent in recent years, SFI certification practices continue to be less transparent than those of FSC. Hence, it is important to research the sourcing practices of foreign nations before choosing a product.
 
While certifications are a good starting point, it is important to consider the entire range of relevant factors when trying to determine the most sustainable wood option. For example, it would be better to choose wood derived from locally recycled street trees rather than a certified wood product that was cut and milled in a different state or country. Though the local source might not carry the FSC or SFI certification, the processes and practices related to its production are easier to verify. The energy and resources consumed in transport of a local product are much lower than a product harvested and milled elsewhere.

forest-mountain

Thermally treated wood is quickly becoming a viable alternative to exotic hardwoods. Viewed through the lens of sustainability, the choice between thermally treated wood and exotic hardwoods seems obvious. Thermally treated wood is a domestic product that is both durable, beautiful and easier to work with then exotic hardwoods. Surprisingly, thermally treated wood, though sustainably harvested in the United States, is often shipped to Eastern Europe for the thermal process and then shipped back to the U.S., wasting energy and creating pollution through the shipping process. As demand for thermally treated wood increases, it is likely that more domestic processing facilities will be constructed, eventually yielding a viable alternative to exotic hardwoods. 

Composite materials are another option fraught with contradiction. Composites are primarily composed of recycled plastics and mill waste, are highly durable, and require minimal maintenance. Unfortunately, there is a downside to most composites. At the end of their lifecycle most readily available composites fall short because in the process of creating a product made from both plastic (which is recyclable), and wood waste (which is compostable), the resulting combination is a product that is neither recyclable nor compostable.

There has been a lot of interest in composite materials lately, and we’re looking forward to seeing where the research and development takes us.

Here are a few products we’ll be keeping an eye on:
http://www.ecovativedesign.com/myco-board
https://www.architonic.com/en/story/architonic-architonic-concept-space-iv-presents-fluidsolids-the-materials-innovation/7000689
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/making-furniture-from-fungi/
http://www.designboom.com/technology/pega-paper-polypropylene-alloy/

Resources:

Modified wood resources:
http://www.hardwooddistributors.org/blog/postings/what-is-thermally-modified-wood/
http://www.building-products.com/April-2013/Second-Life-for-Modified-Wood/
http://www.designnymagazine.com/features/why-you’ll-love-thermally-modified-wood
http://www.shadefxcanopies.com/deck-materials-guide/
http://abodo.co.nz/thermally-modified-timber-what-is-it/

Wood certification resources:
https://ic.fsc.org/en/certification/principles-and-criteria
https://ic.fsc.org/en/certification/requirements-guidance
http://www.sfiprogram.org/sfi-standard/
http://standards.nsf.org/apps/group_public/download.php/9966/Scott
http://greenbuildingelements.com/2014/10/16/which-is-greener-sfi-fsc-lumber/

Additional  sources:
Designing The Sustainable Site- Heather Venhaus
Sustainable Landscape Construction-J. William Thompson and Kim Sorvig
Beronio Lumber, San Francisco
Truit and White,  Berkeley

 

Happy Birthday, National Park Service by Nicole Bemboom

To celebrate the National Park Centennial, our team pulled together some favorite photos from the parks.

Happy birthday, National Park Service! Thank you for making all of this possible! Here's to hundreds of years more!

Garden Geometries: Rhythm by Nicole Bemboom

By Vera Gates

With the use of rhythm, we pull many variable aspects together and a design begins to vibrate and move. Through design, we compose a synchronized experience of movement through space, with greater and lesser moments of time. 

We achieve rhythm through a thoughtful combination of geometric forms which are repeated and articulated. The effect is transformative and memorable as we, the viewer, perceive these rhythms and are engaged by them.

Floating Planes by Arterra Landscape Architects. Photography by Michele Lee Willson

Floating Planes by Arterra Landscape Architects. Photography by Michele Lee Willson

Garden rhythm can be playful, quiet, spicy, meditative or operatic.  Many gardens are a combination of rhythmic themes, interwoven throughout the site.

For a small garden, a simple repetitive form, with perhaps just a beat of contrast will work well. A thoughtful precision of tempo, with an articulation and punctuation at just the right moment(s) will engage and delight.

For larger gardens, there is typically an overriding rhythmic order, which can be replicated to greater and lesser degree, throughout the garden. Momentum builds along a quiet journey and explodes in a crescendo, before finally letting go into the wild edges of the land.

Literary Inspiration by Arterra Landscape Architects. Photo by Rebecca Ford

Literary Inspiration by Arterra Landscape Architects. Photo by Rebecca Ford

Literary Inspiration by Arterra Landscape Architects. Photo by David Livingston

Literary Inspiration by Arterra Landscape Architects. Photo by David Livingston

It is helpful to establish the desired rhythm of a garden early in the design process. Such rhythm can be seen in early conceptual design studies, throughout the design process, and into the built garden.

Good garden design provides an orchestrated rhythm that is visually compelling, fully functional and memorable.

Sunset Idea House by Arterra Landscape Architects. Photo by Thomas J. Story for Sunset

Sunset Idea House by Arterra Landscape Architects. Photo by Thomas J. Story for Sunset