Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Reconstructing Urban Landscapes Anita Berrizbeitia, Peter Fergusson, Jane Amidon, Elissa Rosenberg, Ethan Carr, Linda Pollak, Rachel Gleeson, Andrew Blum, Erik de Jong, Paul Goldberger

Publication date:
30 Jun 2009
Yale University Press
320 pages: 279 x 190mm
192 color illus.
Sales territories:

Explores the responses of a world-renowned landscape design firm to the difficult demands of urban areas

Instilling a poetics of place is a goal of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), the famous landscape design firm that has created successful public spaces in some of the country’s most challenging urban sites. In these locations, nature offers not so much an escape from city living as a teasing dialogue with built structures. The whole experience is aimed, as critic Paul Goldberger notes, to “make you see everything, city and nature alike, with a striking intensity.”

Richly illustrated and handsomely designed, this is the first publication to explore a wide range of MVVA’s projects, focusing on the firm’s trend toward sites requiring complex technological solutions. Leading critics and historians look at twelve projects, dating from 1992 to the present, and each posing a challenge—such as contamination, isolation, and lengthy public approval proceedings. They explore the process through which the firm researches such issues and how solutions are embedded in the final aesthetics and spatial structure of the sites.

Anita Berrizbeitia is an associate professor of landscape architecture at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. Paul Goldberger is an architecture critic for The New Yorker and the Joseph Urban Professor of Design and Architecture at The New School.

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