MLA Student Xin Tan's Internship with Martha Schwartz

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Xin Tan

July 2017’s ASLA Magazine cover story is about American Landscape Architect Martha Schwartz, principal of Martha Schwartz Partners and Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, whose unique aesthetic has challenged conventional ideas in the design of public and private spaces around the world for over 35 years. During the summer and fall of 2016 a recent CAPLA graduate, Xin Tan, interned with Schwartz while she was studying for her Masters in Landscape Architecture. We caught up with Xin to ask her about her experiences and what she learned.

Xin says facing the pressure of working with such an iconic landscape architect and in the company of other talented students at the start of the internship was daunting, but she learned several things from the challenge. Xin says she learned how to be more creative and keep her mind open to holistic solutions for sustainability. She noted that students of landscape architecture need to be willing to expand their knowledge through self-study while also working with a mentor. She highlighted the essential importance of teamwork in the office environment as projects are created and completed within an ethical framework shared by the group. Cooperation and creating value for the whole team is key.

Xin never thought she would be lucky enough to have the experience of interning with Martha Schwartz’s office but was glad she took the chance at an ASLA conference to speak with this iconic designer as it led to the internship opportunity of a lifetime. Xin encourages students to “be brave” and “have a dream” – as they take their own risks.

Congratulations to Xin on completing this life-changing internship, and we wish her the best of luck in her future career!


NEWS | 2017 3rd Year MLA Conference

Friday, April 14, 2017

On April 13, 2017, 3rd year MLA students delivered their Master's Report presentations in the CAPLA Sundt Gallery to students, faculty, staff, and members of the community during the annual MLA Conference. These reports are the culmination of three years of study in the field of Landscape Architecture and represent a year's worth of focused research and design work. Project topics ranged from subjects as diverse as urban infill and community revitalization, to strategies for sustainable cultural resource management in New Delhi, to a rehabilitation plan for a riparian area northwest of Tucson.

Throughout the course of the master’s report process, students regularly consult with academic advisors from CAPLA and other colleges within the University, as well as outside professionals with expertise in their chosen field of study. The wide range of project topics and geographic locations represented in the master’s reports is a reflection of the diverse interests and backgrounds of the students in the Landscape Architecture program and is a testament to the relationships developed by the students and the college with other disciplines in the University and community.

Image: MLA Candidate Nolan Bade presents his Master's Report, "Tucson Phenology Loop"

Professor Ron Stoltz Honored as ASLA Fellow

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ron StoltzRon Stoltz, professor in the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning and former School Director and Associate Dean, has been awarded membership to the American Society of Landscape Architects Council of Fellows. Fellowship is among the highest honors the ASLA bestows on members, and recognizes the contributions of these individuals to their profession and society at large based on their works, leadership and management, knowledge, and service. 

Professor Stoltz received his nomination, for Knowledge, from the Arizona Chapter. He is a devoted and passionate teacher, mentor, scholar, leader, and advocate for the profession of landscape architecture and has enjoyed a long and distinguished academic career at two leading research institutions: the University of Arizona and the University of Guelph, Canada. He is one of the most accomplished and recognized individuals in landscape architecture education and has had a profound impact on programs across the U.S. and Canada for the past 38 years. He is the leading scholar of landscape architecture pedagogy and is constantly teaching and mentoring students, developers, government officials, and his colleagues in academia. Both his BS in Environmental Design and MLA are from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

"Ron is certainly deserving of this recognition as he exemplifies the words, 'Servant Leader'," states Dean Janice Cervelli. "The College, University, and the profession of landscape architecture has benefited greatly from his exceptional range of expertise and unselfish devotion to duty. Ron has been the force behind many of the College's areas of excellence, including the Master of Landscape Architecture program, Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Built Environments, Underwood Landscape Laboratory, and the Desert Green Roof, to name just a few. Student success and excellence in teaching, however, have been Ron's constant and enduring dedication. The college is truly honored by his presence. He is a true treasure!" 

With this honor, Professor Stoltz joins an elite group of individuals who are fellows of both ASLA and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) - a group which also boasts Dean Cervelli. 

Please join us in congratulating Professor Ron Stoltz, FASLA, FCELA!

The 2013 class of new fellows will be recognized at the 2013 ASLA Annual Meeting & Expo, November 15-18 in Boston. To see the official announcement and the full list of the 2013 class, visit the ASLA page.

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Two UA Students Awarded in EPA's Campus RainWorks Challenge

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

By Mark Armao, Arizona Daily Wildcat, May 1, 2013

Two UA graduate students have designed a stormwater harvesting system that won an award in the Environmental Protection Agency’s first Campus RainWorks Challenge.

Rayka Robrecht and Micaela Machado, both landscape architecture graduate students, were tasked with designing a green space to replace the parking lot just south of the Architecture building.

Awarded second place in the nationwide challenge, their design takes advantage of rainwater as well as water that condenses due to air-conditioner use.

They got second place in the nationwide challenge, despite being the smallest team competing.

“The other teams had such amazing designs and wonderful solutions. We’re so happy to have been selected among them,” Robrecht said. “It’s really humbling.”

The system is designed to use stormwater for plants, as well as collect the water that runs off the roofs of the surrounding buildings in underground cisterns for later use. The design started as a semester-long project for a course taught by Ron Stoltz, a professor of landscape architecture.

“It was really an inspired design,” Stoltz said.

He described the different “layers” of the design that work together to create a “high-performance landscape.”

“It will be really charming and comfortable, while at the same time addressing a lot of water sustainability issues,” Stoltz said.

The design takes a spiral shape, drawing inspiration from forms like the spines of an agave, ancient petroglyphs and the storm patterns of the Tucson area during the monsoon. Stormwater is funneled toward the center of the spiraling basin, feeding various plants and trees along the way.

The system will save almost 2 million gallons of water annually, according to the team’s analysis. One million will come from rainwater while the other million will come from air-conditioning condensate on, which is the water that condenses on the many HVAC units around campus. The water usually runs off and into the sewer, but with this design the condensate from the surrounding buildings would be conserved.

Along with conserving water and providing a comfortable space on campus, the area would also serve as an educational site, raising awareness for sustainability-related issues and practices. The central feature of the design includes a window that shows the collected water in a chamber below.

“When you see that happen, it’s a celebration of water,” Machado said. “It’s a celebration of life in the desert.”

Although the award-winning design is not a budgeted project, it will likely influence the design of a future green space that will eventually be constructed at the site, said Bob Smith, vice president of business affairs.

Robrecht said she would be ecstatic if the design ended up being implemented.

“It would be great to see that we created a space that people can really use,” Robrecht said. “Students can come out and sit under the shade of a tree and hang out or have a snack. I really look forward to that.”

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UA Landscape Architecture Students Recognized by EPA

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

By Paige Hansen, Tucson News Now (KOLD), April, 26, 2013

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded two University of Arizona students and their professor a second-place award for a proposal to turn a campus parking lot into a green space by harvesting rainwater.

Micaela Machado and Rayka Robrecht are landscape architecture graduate students. Their professor Ron Stoltz helped them enter the EPA's first "Campus RainWorks Challenge."
"It's really important to understand the concept of slowing the water down," Machado said of a key part of their proposal, which is to better utilize the rainwater we get in Southern Arizona.
The students propose transforming a campus parking lot into a green space. It would become the second largest green space after the UA Mall, but the greenery would be maintained by harvesting storm water and using drippings from air conditioning units on campus.
"If you don't really understand it, it seems boring but when you understand that we're creating a cooler Tucson, saving water it is really major," Machado said.
Their analysis shows they could harvest two million gallons of water per year by harvesting storm water and catching the drippings from air conditioning units.
"That's so much water," Robrecht said. "We capture all that and you can water an entire area that's right now a parking lot with it without using any new water. It's just amazing. It really is."
The project would be an extension of the existing Sonoran Landscape Garden, which already uses harvested rainwater to maintain greenery and keep everything cool.
The concept could help control heat in the city.
"If we can provide more shade and more ability for us to keep the city from heating up during the day, we will have cooler nights," Stoltz said.
While the project is just a proposal, the university plans to implement it, though there is no set time frame. A prize of $8,000 will go toward creating a green roof on top of the architecture building.
Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.
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CAPLA Storm Water Proposal Earns EPA Recognition

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

UANews, April 23, 2013

The UA has been honored in the EPA's first-ever Campus Rainworks Challenge, a new design competition intended to inspire the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers to develop innovative green infrastructure systems that reduce storm water pollution and support sustainable communities.

The University of Arizona was recognized this week by the Environmental Protection Agency for a proposed campus project to harvest rainwater and reduce storm water pollution.

The UA was awarded second prize among large institutions in the EPA's first-ever Campus RainWorks Challenge, a new design competition created to inspire the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers to develop innovative green infrastructure systems that reduce storm water pollution and support sustainable communities.

The UA is one of four winning schools. The Arizona team consisted of graduate students Micaela Machado and Rayka Robrecht in the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture, under the direction of faculty adviser Ron Stoltz, UA professor of landscape architecture.

The Campus RainWorks Challenge engages students and faculty members at colleges and universities to apply green infrastructure principles and design, foster interdisciplinary collaboration and increase the use of green infrastructure on campuses across the nation.

Teams of undergraduate and graduate students work with faculty advisers to develop innovative green infrastructure designs for a site on their campus, showing how managing storm water at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment.

The UA team's design plan proposed redevelopment of the 70,000-square-foot parking lot near the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture, or CAPLA.

The proposed design would replace the lot with a campus common area featuring two rings of retention basins to infiltrate storm water runoff, five underground cisterns to harvest runoff and heating and air conditioning condensate from the adjacent buildings, and a translucent shade structure with an ephemeral water feature. Water collected in the underground cisterns would be used to irrigate the landscape, reducing potable water use from 700,000 to 90,000 gallons a year.

The project, which is explained in detail in an online video, draws on the five guiding principles of CAPLA's award-winning Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory, a campus green space focused on water sustainability, mitigating the urban heating effect, reducing urban flooding, reconnecting with nature and creating an interpretive oasis.

While the parking lot project is only in the proposal phase, Stoltz expects it could be implemented in the future.

"These students are outstanding, and they did a truly integrated project that brought together science and design," Stoltz said. "This would be a really attractive location and would be iconic on campus. It is consistent with the direction many University projects are going."

For winning second place, the UA was awarded $8,000 to be used for green infrastructure research. That money will go toward a creating a "green roof" on top of the CAPLA building – a space for desert plants to grow that will provide building insulation, help reduce urban flooding and create a habitat for birds and insects. The students also will split a $1,500 cash prize.

Storm water is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of storm water pollute the nation's streams, rivers and lakes, posing a threat to human health and the environment and contributing to downstream flooding.

Yet, in the dry Arizona desert, storm water can also play an important role, which the UA team took into consideration in its proposal, Stoltz notes.

"Storm water in many places is considered a hazard; we consider it an opportunity. We approached it as an asset, not a liability," he said. "Storm water and condensate are the new urban aquifers for us, and we need to utilize that water in a responsible way."

The Campus Rainworks Challenge received submissions from 218 teams, which were reviewed by more than 30 expert judges from EPA, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Water Environment Federation and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Many of the submissions proposed transformative additions to the campus landscape that would reduce storm water impacts while educating students about the movement of water through the urban environment.

The winning teams were selected based on six criteria: analysis and planning, preservation or restoration of natural features, integrated water management, soil and vegetation management, value to campus, and likelihood of implementation.

Other challenge winners were the University of Florida, Gainesville (first prize, large institution), the Illinois Institute of Technology (first prize, small institution) and the Missouri University of Science and Technology (second prize, small institution). Teams from Kansas State University, Columbia University, California State Polytechnic University and University of Texas-Arlington were recognized as honorable mentions for their entries.

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