21 October 2009

LiveBlog: Laurie Olin, FASLA

5th Annual Steve Strom Memorial Lecture

LAURIE OLIN, Landscape Architect
It's Still "Firmness, Commodity and Delight"
Trayes Hall, Douglass Campus Center

Intro by Kate John-Alder

Background: After growing up in Alaska he worked for Rich Haag and, after some time in NYC and elsewhere, then moved to Philly and started Hanna/Olin while also teaching at UPenn.

Vitruvius - firmitas, utilitas, venustas

When you give the contractors a really interesting problem, they get really interested - NGA fountain


S.Somers said...

The passion for cities that Laurie has is unexpected, to me, for someone who grew up in Alaska. His quote about "we are all in nature, we just forget", and his thoughts on all the lost spaces that can be transformed into amazing places, was inspiring.

"It's all about where you are!"

"Show them the water!...Or they will plant grass there."

"Projects don't necessarily have to look like nature, as long as they work like nature."

"Our projects are for people, community, and for our spirits."

Great speaker, unforgettable lecture, and I look forward to seeing him speak again.

Apes said...

If I went into all the things I loved about this lecture I would go on for days.

I really loved when he talked about how users don't listen to the rules. You can't design how people use every detail of a space, and thats the dynamic part of what we do. The fun comes when someone puts their own meaning to something you design. It can bring things out in your work that you never even imagined.

I also was really interested when he talked about simplicity. Some of the most beautiful landscapes come from the simplist forms. Keep it simple stupid.

"The most interesting thing you'll design is yourself."


B. Andrews said...

"Get the landscape architect first! Have THEM tell you where to put the buildings."

I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture. So many of his projects doing what he talked about, reclaiming wasted space. Then the simplicity of columbus circle,yet such a useful space, and then the irony of the most complex part being hidden beneath the surface (fountain plumbing).

All around, impressed and inspired to say the least.

s.nitchman said...

One of the things I most appreciate about Olin's designs is how simple and elegant they are. I think that as designers it can be such a temptation to try to over complicate things, thinking that by adding one (or ten) more features we will improve the quality of what we create. But most times when we give into this temptation we actually sell ourselves and our designs short. People and life can be so complicated, and I know that in my own life one of the reasons I seek out nature and the outdoors is to escape all that, and to find myself in a space that works in a simple and understandable way. And while much of the outward expression of Olin’s designs may appear simplistic I also appreciated seeing the depth of study and engineering that went into each one (specifically Columbus Circle and the waterworks they had to design for the fountains.)

Hany Hanafy said...

This years Steve Strom Memorial lecture was given by one of the pioneers in our field. To hear Laurie Olin talk about his designs and thoughts, time, and processes they undergo was educational and inspiring. The affect he had one the audience was apparent as I stared at the in tune crowd and heard the comments made after the lecture. Thank you to Holly Nelson, and all else whom made this possible.

Z said...

Today's lecture with Laurie Olin was amazing. The way he communicates to the audience is as if he has know us for such a long time. I think Steve's comment about Laurie's passion for cities and the quote Laurie used made me more aware of the space and landscape that I am in and how nature is still incorporated within and its context.

My favorite comment by Laurie was "original, but comfortable and familiar." This is an approach to how people adapt and use urban landscapes. Very inspring lecture.

jonathan said...

This was an incredible and awe inspiring lecture by Laurie Olin. His passion for the urban environment and how to re-create it is infectious. I was amazed at the scale of his projects which are currently under construction as well as those which have been completed. He is truly a pioneer who will continue to push the limits of human thought while deconstructing the elements of design.