On Monday, December 10th at Medford City Hall, landscape architecture students from the Harvard Graduate School of Design will present their projects for Medford to the Mayor, city council members, members of the community, and a group of distuinguished artists, designers, and landscape architects.
The class, Catalytic Landscape: Body, Culture, and the Visual Environment is a graduate-level landscape architecture studio at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The studio is co-taught by renowned landscape architect Martha Schwartz, Harvard lecturer Andrea Hansen and Harvard instructor Andrew Zientek and addresses small sites along the Mystic River in Medford, Massachusetts. With the support of Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn and City Council Member Rick Caraviello, along with engagement from various government and community groups, the studio treats small landscapes as catalysts that can strengthen neighborhoods, reconnect citizens to the river, and provide a new awareness of the city's natural environment.
Each student design project examines a different site in Medford to create a series of contemporary landscape installations that range from temporary art installations to permanent site work. The installations draw from contemporary artists such as Walter de Maria, Olafur Eliasson, Matthew Ritchie, and Tomas Saraceno to create works that engage all five senses through the use of pops of color, unusual textures, and alternative interpretations of locally-sourced building materials. Together, the landscapes join with Medford's existing open space system to form a regional landscape network that not only provides places for community gathering and events, but also works ecologically to address issues such as flooding, stormwater runoff, soil contamination, etc.