‘Constructing Landscape’ Film Series

by Christian Gabriel, ASLA

Kathryn Gustafson at the National Portrait Gallery
Kathryn Gustafson, FASLA, at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. / image: Taylor Lednum

Over the past few years we’ve been developing a series of high-definition thematic films covering a range of subjects of critical importance to landscape architects. The primary goal of the project is to aid in articulating many of landscape architecture’s collective concerns for friends and family, allied professionals, new and prospective students, policy makers, land developers, and the general public. The films are not directed at experts (or the few), but instead the general public (the many).

The series, titled ‘Constructing Landscape,’ is now available for viewing on our website. The individual five-minute shorts are edited interviews with 18 landscape architects. The films are titled “Material and Perspective” to help distinguish the world-view and concerns of landscape architects, “Designing with Time” to address the very unique temporal issues associated with landscape materiality, “Ecological Infrastructures” to address natural systems and the concerns of scale, “Site as Security” to address the deployment of security features within our public landscapes, and finally “Preservation and Design Evolution” to address both the process of landscape evaluation and the re-purposing of sites.

The landscape architects interviewed are: Ken Smith, FASLA, Laurie Olin, FASLA, Tom Leader, FASLA, Chris Reed, FASLA, Diana Balmori, FASLA, Julie Bargmann, Kathryn Gustafson, FASLA, Jerry Van Eyck, ASLA, Thomas Woltz, FASLA, José Almiñana, FASLA, Mary Margaret Jones, FASLA, Mikyoung Kim, FASLA, David Fletcher, ASLA, Christy Ten Eyck, FASLA, Charles Birnbaum, FASLA, Shane Coen, FASLA, Patricia O’Donnell, FASLA, and Marion Pressley, FASLA.

Sites include: Brooklyn Bridge Park, the High Line, Columbus Circle, Rose Kennedy Greenway, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Elevated Acre, Hunters Point South Waterfront, Harvard University Plaza, Yards Park in DC, the United States Coast Guard Headquarters, the Washington Monument grounds, Pier 4 Waterfront Plaza, East River Waterfront Esplanade in Manhattan, Dilworth Park, and many, many more.

Christian Gabriel, ASLA, is the National Design Director for Landscape Architecture for the U.S. General Service Administration’s Office of Chief Architect in Washington, D.C. At the GSA he works to set design standards in the realm of public space, landscape, site security, and sustainability. He reviews and approves design proposals, serves on team selection panels, assists on special projects, and advocates for innovation.


Earlier this week at DesignDC 2019, Christian presented the session “GSA’s Landscape Film Series: Principles and Practice” with David Insinga, FAIA, José Almiñana, FASLA, PLA, LEED AP, and Brad McKee, Editor, Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Several of the interviewees from the film series will be speaking at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Diego this November:

Principal, Andropogon
SAT-A01 – Inside the LA Studio with Andropogon
SAT-B09 – “Living” Landscapes: The Landscape Architect’s Role in Achieving Living Building Challenge Certification

Charles Birnbaum, FASLA
President and CEO, The Cultural Landscape Foundation
SAT-A09 – Postwar Plazas: Measuring Success When Managing Change

Kathryn Gustafson, FASLA
Principal, GGN
SAT-A04 – Finding Design: Case Studies in the Creative Process

Mary Margaret Jones, FASLA
Sr. Principal, Hargreaves Associates
SUN-A09 – The Economics of Parks: Creating and Sustaining Successful Public Realm

Mikyoung Kim, FASLA
Founding Principal & Design Director, Mikyoung Kim Design
SUN-A01 – Jumping off the Deep End: Strength of Diversity in Building a Practice

Tom Leader, FASLA
Principal/ Founder, TLS Landscape Architecture
MON-B07 – Nature, Adventure and Destination: Departures from Status Quo in Public Play Environments

Chris Reed, FASLA
Design Director, Stoss Landscape Urbanism
SUN-B04 – Culture, Identity, and Design
MON-B06 – Picturing Landscape

Ken Smith, FASLA
Principal, Ken Smith Workshop
SAT-A09 – Postwar Plazas: Measuring Success When Managing Change

Thomas Woltz, FASLA
Owner and Principal, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
FRI-A04 – Preserve, Restore, Redesign: The Ethical and Practical Quandaries of Historic Landscape Stewardship
SAT-C11 – Super (Technical) Heroes of Hudson Yards; Structure, Soils, and the Civic Realm

October 16 is the advanced registration deadline for the conference.

Leave a Reply