10 11 12 Lecture Series

Something’s afoot at the College of Architecture + Planning and the University of Utah.  For the last six years, the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning has been quietly assembling an incredible team of nationally renowned professors, who constantly travel the country to speak to audiences about the emerging areas of planning and how America’s[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Mirabell Gardens; Salzburg, Austria

Experiencing the great places of Europe inevitably involves strolling vast, open gardens. Today they may seem like quiet, pleasant places, but these gardens always have histories  behind them. Often they are symbols of power, oppression, and war-time plunder.  The Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, Austria were built as a symbol of the power for their owner,[…]

Zen Garden Design: Shunmyo Masuno

I attended a lecture last night given by Shunmyo Masuno, hosted by the University of Utah’s College of Architecture + Planning. Shunmyo Masuno is one of the world’s preeminent Japanese garden designers, and is also an eighteenth generation Zen Buddhist priest.  As a designer, his spiritual code guides all his works. His overriding philosophy is[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Old Town San Diego, CA

This summer I spent a week in the San Diego area, my first visit there in many years. We spent an afternoon exploring San Diego’s Old Town, which is truly a great place: San Diego’s Old Town is unique in that it was basically abandoned for a more strategic site for the city, a few[…]

Sustainability Means Local Food

Many people easily associate sustainability with energy efficiency, recycling, biking, public transportation, solar power, hybrid vehicles, and even shopping at local businesses, but few readily associate sustainability with food.  How and what we eat as a community has a major impact on long-term sustainability.  “Eating locally” is more than just a pleasant aphorism for the[…]

City Comforts: Prohibit Parking Lots in Front of the Building

Based on David Sucher’s, City Comforts, we continue our series on fundamental urban design elements. Sucher selects “Three Rules of Urban Design” as the central tenets of the book, “to preserve and create walkable commercial areas.” 1. Build to the Sidewalk 2. Make the Building Front Permeable 3. Prohibit Parking Lots in Front of the[…]

Great Place Wednesday: The Sacred Way; Beijing, China

Located  few miles outside of urban Beijing are the Ming Dynasty tombs.  Leading to the tombs is The Sacred Way, a form of the “spirit way,” a style of design as common in royal Chinese tombs as pyramids were to the Egyptian pharaohs.   The Sacred Way begins with the Red Gate, a large entry building[…]

City Comforts: Make the Building Front Permeable

Based on David Sucher’s, City Comforts, we continue our series on fundamental urban design elements. Sucher selects “Three Rules of Urban Design” as the central tenets of the book, “to preserve and create walkable commercial areas.” 1. Build to the Sidewalk 2. Make the Building Front Permeable 3. Prohibit Parking Lots in Front of the[…]

In Progress: Frog Bench Farms

Despite the weather turning wet and cold, things are still progressing on an exciting project here in Salt Lake City that VODA’s been working on for more than a year.   Located in the foothills of Salt Lake, this project is spearheaded by a couple of visionaries working to develop a new residence and urban farm.[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Champ de Mars; Paris, FR

The Champ de Mars is one of Paris’s largest open spaces, and gives a perfect example of French garden style.  Originally part of the military’s marching and drilling grounds, the park space has hosted the Worlds Fair four times, in 1867, 1878, 1889, and 1900.  It was in 1889 that the park’s most famous feature[…]

Westminster Residence; Salt Lake City, UT

VODA worked with the client to create a landscape master plan for long-term implementation.  With the owner working on a home addition and garage remodel, the team worked together to craft a plan that would include all the design elements needed in order to maximize the small home lot.  These included a large new patio[…]