WILA at the Annual Meeting in Denver

2014 WILA Walk route through Denver's Golden Triangle image: Connie Perry and Susan McCabe, the Denver WILA Walk organizers

2014 WILA Walk route through Denver’s Golden Triangle
image: Connie Perry and Susan McCabe, the Denver WILA Walk organizers

The ASLA Annual Meeting in Denver is just around the corner!  We can’t wait to see you!

This past year, WILA has focused on rolling out a women in landscape architecture interview series. The series will revolve around a series of questions developed by the WILA PPN’s leadership group, and the interview results will be posted here on The Field as an overview and in more detail in the upcoming year.

WILA events for this year’s Annual Meeting include speed-mentoring at the WILA PPN Meeting on Saturday, November 22 at 4:15 pm, the PPN Networking Reception on Friday, November 21, and of course the WILA Walk on Monday morning at 7 am. More information on all of these and several education sessions which might be of interest is listed below.

Hope to see you at one or all of these events!

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Women in Landscape Architecture: Preview of Annual Meeting Events

The WILA Walk at last year's Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. image: Emily M. O'Mahoney, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP, BD&C

The Women in Landscape Architecture Walk at last year’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.
image: Emily M. O’Mahoney, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP, BD&C

It’s that time of year again: the ASLA 2013 Annual Meeting & EXPO will be in Boston, MA next month! Check out ASLA’s The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Boston for some of the sites you might want to see while you’re in town. We hope it will encourage you to attend; there is a lot to see in Boston!

This year’s Women in Landscape Architecture PPN meeting will be held immediately following the Women in Landscape Architecture Walk around Boston Harbor on Monday, November 18. Those of you who cannot join us for the walk can meet us at 9:00am at Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, 346 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210. Our meeting will be a quick catch up face to face after the morning walk. If you have a particular subject you’d like to discuss, let us know and we’ll work it into our meeting.

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Responses to the 2013 HALS Challenge

Mayflower Cottage with Lake George views image: Lisa Tonneson-McCorkell

Mayflower Cottage with Lake George views
image: Lisa Tonneson-McCorkell

We’re very excited to announce that our members successfully completed the HALS Challenge this year, “Documenting the Cultural Landscapes of Women.” So far, we’ve received information from only a few of those who submitted projects. Please send us your entries if you also completed the challenge so we can share your hard work with your fellow PPN members.

One of the submissions was from Lisa Tonneson-McCorkell, of the Saratoga Springs, New York-based LA Group. Her entry documents the Wiawaka Holiday House on Lake George. Established as an affordable retreat for working women during a time of increased women’s rights and factory conditions activism, Wiawaka is still in operation today, making it the oldest continuously operating facility of its kind in the United States.

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Want to help with the HALS Cultural Landscapes of Women Challenge?


Isaac Goodnow House – Manhattan, KS
image: Historic American Buildings Survey; Douglas McCleery, Photographer June 1958

First of all THANK YOU!  Your interest can really help focus national attention on the cultural landscapes of women this year.

Secondly, the HALS short form is easy! It’s neither as exhaustive nor as restrictive as other national historic preservation paperwork you may be familiar with. The National Park Service (NPS) has done a lot of the work for you. Just download and fill out the short form for your selected landscape. You’ll just need some information on the landscape.  If you’d like, include a plan drawing sketch (doesn’t have to be construction worthy, just a quick sketch) or rights free photos. They aren’t necessary – but both great excuses to get out to the site and exercise your hand drawing and photography skills.

Now the hard part: Selecting a Landscape for this Challenge! Where can I find a cultural landscape of or for women? We have listed below several general ideas to start your brainstorming process.

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The 2013 HALS Challenge

Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC, designed by Beatrix Farrandimage: www.doaks.org

Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC, designed by Beatrix Farrand
image: http://www.doaks.org

The Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) was created in 2000 to document our country’s dynamic landscapes.  Each year the HALS office at the National Park Service issues a challenge, encouraging landscape architects and preservation professionals to document historic landscapes related to a new theme.

The theme of the 2013 challenge is “Documenting the Cultural Landscapes of Women.

Individuals and groups from every state are encouraged to complete at least one HALS short format history for a cultural landscape related to this theme, whether vernacular or designed, in order to increase awareness of the role of women in shaping the American landscape. The top three submissions will receive awards and be announced at the 2013 ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo in Boston during the HALS Meeting.

If you have not already begun a submission, there is still time to start. Short format histories should be submitted to HALS at the National Park Service no later than July 31, 2013 (c/o Paul Dolinsky, Chief of HALS, 202-354-2116).   All HALS documentation is permanently housed and publicly accessible at the Library of Congress.

Click here for more information: HALS Challenge

by  Jonathan Ceci, Chair of the Historic Preservation PPN

Time Management Tips for Designers

image: Deborah Steinberg

image: Deborah Steinberg

Who didn’t have the studio experience in school of the daunting all-nighter?  Furiously drawing scheme after scheme, the pile of crumpled trace that was once low on the ground, slowly climbing ominously high?

School too often cultivated an atmosphere of deadline-driven work that does not serve us well in our professional lives. Nonetheless, many offices run similarly to design studios, with frenzied employees working 12 or 16 hour days (or worse) to deliver a concept presentation, a bid package, etc.

As designers, we are uniquely susceptible to confusing urgency with importance.  If you have ever attended a business conference, chances are you have heard about this keystone tenet to time management.  While urgency is time-sensitive, importance is not – or it shouldn’t always have to be. Google “important + urgent + matrix” and you’ll find a variety of charts identifying time usage in the following categories: urgent and important, urgent and unimportant, not urgent and unimportant, and not urgent and important.

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Vilma Pérez Blanco: A Pioneer in Puerto Rico’s Landscape

Punto Verde, Puerto Ricoimage: Olga Angueira

Punto Verde,  San Juan, Puerto Rico
image: Vilma Pérez Blanco

I met Vilma Pérez Blanco in 2004 when I returned home to Puerto Rico from the Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design after completing a Master in Landscape Architecture.  Vilma was one of the first landscape architects I contacted while searching for jobs in Puerto Rico.  She could not offer me a job at the time, but instead, she offered me her guidance, advice, and friendship, which have been way more valuable than any job.  Her strong will and character, her energy and enthusiasm for each project she has worked on for the last 54 years have inspired many of her colleagues and young professionals.  Through friendly conversations on her rooftop terrace and more formal interviews for local newspapers, I learned about her passion for design and her commitment to improve the public spaces in Puerto Rico.  She has been a key person in the development and recognition of landscape architecture in Puerto Rico.  Her design work includes a wide range of projects in scale, types, and clientele, while her active role in public and private organizations has created a positive impact on the role of the landscape architect in society.

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