LAX Interstitial

LA301L Fall 2015 Topic Studio

Source: Wikipedia

As the gateway to the metropolis, LAX is a 3,425-acre void in the urban fabric. This studio will explore opportunities to address contemporary urban and ecological issues in the vast interstitial zones between the aviation and logistics hardscapes.

Projects in this 301L.02 will explore mapping landscape systems, visual variables and pattern generation, and use/event theory to support the final project.

Course Goals

Upon successful completion of this studio, students will gain the following design frameworks and methods:

  • Graphically evaluate ecological & technical systems in the landscape, documenting their processes, flows, nodes, topologies and spatial arrangement, boundaries and limits, and interactions with other system.
  • Express landscape systems as integral design features.
  • Use visual variables in the quantitative mapping of landscape systems and in the design graphics.
  • Generate pattern-based design framework that respond to the context and supports specific design goals or parameters (such as noise reduction).
  • Develop site-specific programming supported by the designed features, materials & plants, spaces, surfaces, and systems.
  • Refined ability to construct a clear
  • Integrate design fundamentals into the development & presentation of landscape design project.

Continue reading

Recharge City

My entry for the Dry Futures Competition in the Pragmatic category.

Recharge_City_Page_12 400

Recharge City evaluates pragmatic options for recharging the groundwater in Los Angeles County by recycling the 502 million gallons of water that is dumped by Hyperion Treatment Plant and the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant into the Pacific each day. This is enough water to quench the thirst of 5 1/2 million people.

To identify plausible sites for recharge, this project undertook a holistic mapping of the water infrastructure for the metropolis – ultimately collecting data from over 50 local, state, and federal agencies.

Recycling water is a necessity for Southern California to survive, so how can this massive infrastructure project to close the water loop create a better city for us to live in?

RechargeCity_entry [22mb rasterized pdf]

Recharge City Submission_flat-optimized [35mb pdf]

After the Aqueduct in the news!

It’s been a very busy fall and winter above and beyond my usual teaching load at Cal Poly Pomona. Just got back from presenting at #CELA2015 on DisplayScapes and organizing a panel on DIY sensing in Landscape Architecture design studios (with Lucia Phinney, Allison Lassiter, and Brad Cantrell) this past week, and creating a new 200 square feet sequence of Aqueduct Futures maps and drawings. These are on display at After the Aqueduct (curated by Kim Stringfellow) at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions through April 12, 2015. Excited to share some of the press (LATimes, KCET, and LAM) coverage of the exhibit!

Christopher Knight reviews After the Aqueduct in the LA TImes:

A detail of Peter Bo Rappmund’s “Psychohydrography” video (2010). (Christopher Knight / Los Angeles Times)

California is not in danger of running out of water in the next year or two, but the climate-change situation is going from bad to worse as we enter the fourth year of drought. At Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, “After the Aqueduct” looks at one big piece of the state’s water puzzle.

Organized by artist Kim Stringfellow, the show includes works by half a dozen artists and designers that focus on the century-old hydraulic water conveyance system meandering more than 200 miles from the Sierra Nevada to Southern California.

Much of the display is documentary, such as a series of charts produced by Barry Lehrman and Cal Poly Pomona students – to date, more than 120 of them – who are mapping complicated land-use issues for the school’s Aqueduct Futures program. I would describe the charts as visually dry, although the pun threatens to distract from the seriousness of the task. Continue reading

AF video introduction

Aqueduct Futures intro Video on Vimeo

Cal Poly Pomona Landscape Architecture students with Prof. Barry Lehrman and Jonathan Linkus (exhibit co-designer) share how the Aqueduct Futures Project has changed their attitudes towards water and came to understand the impact of the Los Angeles Aqueduct to all of California.

In order of appearance:

  • Barry Lehrman – project director
  • Jonathan Linkus – exhibit co-designer
  • Ernest Little
  • Ernesto Perez
  • Anais Placido
  • Alejandro Castellon
  • Anthony Vazquez Perez
  • Gabrielle Fladd
  • Christian Vasquez

Produced and Directed by:

  • Barry Lehrman

Videographer and editor:


  • Students in LA499 Spring 2013

This video is under a Creative Commons license: attribute & share alike. All other rights reserved.

An Aqueduct Runs Through It

Southern California Planning Congress, in cooperation with the California Center for Land and Water Stewardship, Cal Poly Pomona presents

A Series on The Future of California’s Water Supply

Part 1 – Our Water, Our Lifestyle
3/19/2014 @ Taix Restaurant, Echo Park

The Next Hundred Years of the Los Angeles Aqueduct

The water history of Los Angeles is marked by natural scarcity, abundance, and drought. This year’s 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct celebrates a reliable and plentiful water source to match an expansionary vision for the city. Yet local water predictability produced resource depletion and legal wrangling in the Owens Valley where the watershed feeds the Aqueduct. Now a project called “Aqueduct Futures” proposes a cooperative 21st century realignment among stakeholders to balance water consumption, watershed ecology, economics, and culture.

Guest Speaker:

Prof. Barry Lehrman, MLA/MArch, ASLA
Project Director, Aqueduct Futures Project,
Department of Landscape Architecture, Cal Poly Pomona

Event Date and Venue:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 (Meet and Greet at 6:30 p.m., Dinner at 7:00 p.m.)
Taix French Restaurant: 1911 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Registration and Contact:

$40 general public, $30 Southern California Planning Congress members, $25 students with ID. On-site registration (checks only) is an additional $10 and not guaranteed. On-line registration for this event ends Friday the 14th at 5:00 p.m. Please register, select dinner option, and submit payment at :
For further information contact Bob Fazio at (626) 765-4036 or at
This event is eligible for 1.5 hours of AICP Certificate Maintenance Self-Reporting Credit.

Solar Ranch pros and cons

The devil is in the details in Los Angeles Department of Power and Water’s 1200 acre Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch proposal. This post is about a few of the tidbits not included in the DEIR (I, II, & III) or that the consultants have blatantly come to the wrong conclusion about.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of utility scale solar power like this project, BUT only when it is done in the right place and is actually Designed (with a big D) by folks like landscape architectures – not just engineered with no poetry like DWP seems to be doing.

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Scenic impact

The proximity to Manzanar National Historic Site is the biggest boondoggle and the source of most opposition. There will be SUBSTANTIAL impacts on ‘scenic vistas’ no mater where the project is built (topic AE-1, AE-3 & AE-4). The viewshed analysis from Manzanar and 395 are pretty sloppy – note how the parking lot dominates the foreground. This isn’t the view that most visitors will be offended by.

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Plus this part of the Owens Valley has great dark skies with minimal artificial lights near by – the solar ranch will substantially damage one of my favorite star gazing locations even if they try to limit light trespass.


That bright spot is Lone Pine from the Manzanar Airport.


The night sky from the southern alternative site, October 2012


Biggest environmental issue is the impact of pumping an additional 10 acre-feet of groundwater to clean the photovoltaic panels. So how much water will be needed during construction for the concrete foundations and to control dust???

Alternative sites

To equal the 200mw capacity of the Solar Ranch, it would take just 20,000 – 40,000 residential installations at 5-10kw each. Since there are 665,992 single family houses in LA per the census, this just means that 17% of houses need to install solar panels to replace the Solar Ranch.
The 1200 acres ‘needed’ by DWP can easily be found around Los Angeles on city owned property (for example, the Whitnall Highway R.O.W is about 120 acres)

So the statement that distributed PVs are ‘Infeasible under existing power system operational capabilities without compromising system integrity and safety’ is to kindly state, BS.

Shadows from the Sierra Nevadas and the Inyo Mountains aren’t covered. This diagram was generated by the University of Oregon Solar Path Calculator and Google Earth.

Solar Path and Shadows

Solar Path and rough estimate of Shadows.

Sun Path_Page_1

Looking at the insolation aka how cloudy it is, the Owens Valley has pristine blue skies about 25% of the time. Okay, this is using weather data for Bishop which is the nearest NOAA weather station, not for the region near Independence/Manzanar. This is a screen shot of UCLA’s Climate Consultant 5.2, using data from the US Department of Energy.

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[Gotta get to bed tonight, I’ll try to update this from the DWP meeting on Saturday or after the fact when I get a chance]