rholmes – mammoth // building nothing out of something

Author Archives: rholmes

on landscape science

Places Journal (newly independent of Design Observer) recently published an argument by Brian Davis and Thomas Oles that landscape architecture should be renamed landscape science: “Slowly — fitfully — landscape architecture is remaking itself. Its adherents are venturing from the confines of garden, park, and plaza into strange and difficult territory, where they face challenges […]

sea ice small multiples

[Small multiples of the extent of North Pole sea ice, 1979-2014; via NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio.]

the dredge underground

[The DredgeFest Louisiana tour enters the Morganza Spillway; I am pretty sure that Tim took these pictures.] In the recent August issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, Jennifer Reut wrote a generous profile of the Dredge Research Collaborative and DredgeFest: It seems almost inevitable, after two successful DredgeFests and several massive coastal floods, that this group […]

the five thousand pound life: land

[Hauling earth during the expansion of the Panama Canal; AP Photo] A quick and rather late notice, of particular relevance to readers in NYC: I’ll be on a panel this Friday, September 26, for The Five Thousand Pound Life’s “Land” symposium, which is co-sponsored by the Architectural League of New York and the Cooper Union […]

suburban futures

At Next City, Amanda Kolson Hurley reports on two examples of contemporary suburban growth, Montgomery County in Maryland and the York region of Ontario, and ties those two examples into broader questions regarding the future viability of suburbanism: Dead malls. Zombie subdivisions. Metastasizing sprawl. Not a horror movie, but the suburbs circa 2014, or at […]

pilot projects

In an article for the recently-launched ARPA Journal, Kate Orff describes a pair of SCAPE pilot projects in New York Harbor, both testing the viability of ecological design concepts for specific harbor-dwelling species along the edge of Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront. [The blue mussel pilot project; image by SCAPE via ARPA Journal.] The first, located near […]

landmarks

[Two images from artist Jenny Odell's series Landmarks, which traces "inadvertent monuments" produced by remote infrastructural operations, such as the Athabasca Oil Sands (top) and a network of "unknown detonation sites" (above) at the Nevada Test Site. The images can be seen in larger and much larger versions on Odell's website.]

territorial reclamation

[The Spratly Islands] A series of reports from the Philippine government recently emerged and came to the attention of the international press, describing a series of semi-clandestine island-building operations undertaken by the Chinese government in the South China Sea. (To quote a local fishing contractor who works in the vicinity: “there was this huge Chinese […]

landscape information modeling

[Diagram describing the "interaction between a script to generate a planting plan and data generated from the soil and salinity analyses", from Philip Belesky's research project "Processes and Processors".] I recently encountered the work of Philip Belesky, a PhD candidate at RMIT’s Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory, who is thinking very interesting thoughts about the role […]

mesosphere excavations

[Four recent atmospheric paintings of abstracted anthropogenic geomorphologies by Philip Govedare, whose work was recently featured on Butdoesitfloat. In order from top to bottom, the paintings are: "Melt", "Excavation #5", "Mesosphere", and "Excavation #6".]

semipile

[As a Friday return to blogging for mammoth, photographs of Formlessfinder's lovely half-pile under cantilevered canopy at Design Miami, December 2013. You can watch the architects talk about the design and construction of the pile over an exceptionally annoying soundtrack here. More architecture via material deformation, please. The photographs are, in order from top to […]

environments of extraction

I’ll be at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York this Friday evening, speaking on a panel about “Environments of Extraction”: Resource extraction and urbanism have always had an intimate love/hate relationship. In the past fifty years, we have witnessed this relationship yield a series of global infrastructures and cities that are increasingly […]

glitches, flash crashes, and very bad futurists

Last fall, Vincent deBritto and Ozayr Saloojee invited me to come visit their Resilient Infrastructures project at the University of Minnesota; my main contribution was to deliver the lecture above, “Glitches, Flash Crashes, and Very Bad Futurists”. The lecture examines a particular class of landscape problem, which I’ve provisionally described as “glitches and flash crashes”, […]

north coast design competition

[Map of annual dredging volumes in American cities in the Great Lakes Basin, via Matthew Moffitt's project "Dredge City", which won the 2013 ASLA Student Award of Excellence in General Design.] The city of Toledo is the epicenter of dredging on the Great Lakes: of the roughly three million cubic yards of material dredged in […]

sediment and wind

[The even grid of the world's largest offshore wind farm, the London Array, surrounded by swirling sediment in the Thames Estuary. Seen at NASA Earth Observatory: To date, the London Array includes 175 wind turbines aligned to the prevailing southwest wind and spread out across 100 square kilometers (40 square miles). Each turbine stands 650 […]

land-making machines

[The Audubon Society's micro-dredger, the John James, making new land in the Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary in South Louisiana. Karen Westphal, Audubon’s Atchafalaya Basin program manager, will be speaking about this participatory micro-dredging project at DredgeFest Louisiana's symposium, which is this Saturday and Sunday at Loyola University in New Orleans.] Tim Maly and I […]

the collision of geologic time and infrastructural control

“Before artificial levee construction, the river avulsed and a new delta was constructed every 1,000-1,500 yr: the active Plaquemines-Balize Delta began to form about 1,000 yr ago, and was for some time contemporaneous with the older Lafourche Delta, whereas diversion to the Atchafalaya River course began about 500 yr ago, but is now managed by the US Army Corps […]

hyper-reality: a new vision of the future

Long-time readers of mammoth may recall our excitement at Keiichi Matsuda’s short films Domestic Robocop and Augmented City, both of which present believable near-future visions of a world in which “synthetic spaces created by the digital information that we collect, consume and organise” supersede “the physical space of buildings and landscape”, while at the same […]

dredgefest louisiana

Things have been terribly quiet here at mammoth this fall. (Assuming that by “here” we mean “here, on the blog”; they’ve been quite busy if by “here” we mean “here in Ohio and Virginia”, which is where I’ve physically been. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to recap those adventures soon — there’s been quite a […]

signs and obscure marks

[Lake Guntersville, Alabama's largest lake, which was created with the construction of the Guntersville Dam by the TVA in the late 1930's.] At Places, Shannon Mattern reviews various practices which she collectively terms “infrastructural literacy” projects, including “touring, collecting, and documenting infrastructure” (the Los Angeles Urban Rangers, for instance), “sensing infrastructure” (Nick Sowers’ Soundscrapers), and […]