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Practice : Winter 2009
sampled the ploughman’s lunch and local beers of pubs in the countryside, Old Speckled Hen being a favorite loc al brew that scored well. Our BAC group wa s struck by how much of U.S . land use patterns date back to early English land subdivision rel ated to controls of church parishes, tithing a nd punishment, as well as agricultural a llotments. Likewise, our sense or expect ations of landscape cultural values a nd artistic content seem highly imprinted on our American psyche. The drive to Oxford from Heathrow looks very much like some recent David Hockey landscapes. But there are very divergent views in how the two cultures now use, at least, their historic landscape s. We obser ved a much more a ctively engaged, broad community use of the British la ndscape. The management en abled this with a much lighter, sel f-policing touch, w ith fewer police-like gu ards and rangers, but perhaps they have less space to worry about and have had many more centuries to develop a methodology? We visited the village of Shere , intent on understanding how waterpower, in the pre -stea m engine era had spawned a whole valley of sma ll mills that armed the British Navy with gunpowder, a cc ording to Sam’s rese arch. We found the small stream in the heart of Shere, where families were feeding the duck s next to the village ice crea m shop. It was ha rd to envision the formidable energy of the Tiling Bourne R ivers that had powered the loc al industry in the 17th century. Last, while in Los A ngeles, we stayed next to an historic Shindler apartment complex in the Silverlake area. Contrar y to my East Coast bias, LA does have some truly walkable neighborhoods in Los Feliz, Silverlake and Santa Monica . We were invited to tour SciA rc’s downtown c ampus with J.J. Ja ckson, Director of Admissions. We peered into a darkened lab of 50 incoming fall students taking a one-week Maya intensive course, prior to the fall semester. One student had produced (four days into the cours e) a preying ma ntis animation. We ogled their spa cious concrete warehouse complex and parking, but greatly preferred our more populated, les s desolate Back Bay, populated with more cafes and bistros clos e at hand. The digital fabrication labs however, staffed by skilled super visors, with great a ir ventilation a nd storage, were something to covet for a future BAC! The Vous soir “Cloud ” structura l e xhibit fabrication c onstructed by SciArc students using Maya-generated, dimen sioned working drawings was quite wonderful, lightweight and airy. Hands-on fabrication learning, muscle memory imprints in a unique way, just as dancing teaches one how human bodies inhabit spac e in a unique way. This successful integration of new ways with old wa s a cinch c ord reminding that new educ ation should honor those skills that have continued viability. Rotterdam harbor bac faculty Sa m ha mmer and phil loheed, bath place hotel NEWSWORThy ] “bIOmES” ThE SUmmER’S end game assessment capsule for the BAC: • Teach design methods that extrapolate successful to really large-scale design (no, not land use planni ng , but project design at a truly mega scale)! • Provide diversity/cross discipline education and study of effective team organi zation. • Beef up quantifiable methods, critical thinking , with integrated and persuasive communications. • Generate increased interface with periphery of practice and design or at cusp of work with aligned professions, where growth and innovation may be more dynamic, nimble and fresh. • Look at cultural and historical context / frameworks with fresh lenses, in new and integrative ways and seek out key structural or underlying patterns in management , programming, sustainability or access that inform improved design. pRacTIcE 13