Red Butte Garden

I like to post photos of warmer seasons while we’re in the depths of winter, to remind us that spring is not very far ahead. Here are a few scenes from a lovely botanical garden on the edge of Salt Lake City, Utah, which I visited last June.
 
Red Butte Garden 1
Allium and falling water
 
Red Butte Garden 2
Four Seasons garden
 
Red Butte Garden 3
Herb garden
 
Red Butte Garden 4
Fragrance garden
 
Red Butte Garden 5
A roof garden with a view
 
Photos by Alice Webb

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Merging Nature with Architecture

LDS center 1

While in search of interesting examples of landscape architecture in Salt Lake City last spring, I came across a building and site with an unusual juxtaposition of formal and naturalistic design. The LDS Conference Center includes two sides that were designed to represent a mountainside, dominated by a series of terraces with coniferous trees. The other two sides of this massive edifice, however, are quite formal in design, with a prominent tower from which a water cascade falls to the street level below. The roof landscape also features this peculiar blending of nature and structure. It’s almost as if vegetation were taking over the building from the east and north sides. Many parts of this design are quite attractive, but I’m not so sure that the scheme works as a whole.

LDS center 2
LDS Conference Center (view from south) – The vast and stark hardscapes of the roof and entry plaza contrast with the naturalistic planting design of the roof’s large meadow and trees.

LDS center 3
LDS Conference Center (view from northeast), showing the planted terraces

LDS center 4   LDS center 5
Formally-designed elements of the building and landscape include a tower with a water cascade that falls down to the street level, and reflecting pools on the roof.

LDS center 6
Up on the roof: One in a series of formal water features with a naturalistic landscape beyond

LDS center 7
Tower view on the roof

LDS center 8
The roof includes an expansive meadow with a view of the distant mountains

LDS center 9
Northeast corner of the building with trees on terraces, suggesting a mountainside

Aerial images obtained from Google Earth; all other photos by Alice Webb

A Green Roof Habitat

Green roofs have important environmental and economic benefits, which include reducing stormwater runoff, cooling urban air temperatures, improving air quality, and reducing energy usage in buildings. Another positive outcome that I hadn’t given much thought to, until this week, is the wildlife habitat that green roofs create. This roof (below) in Boston supports a nesting gull, standing over its brood of chicks. Who could ask for a better home, with such great views of the city and harbor?
 
Green Roof in Boston

Photo by Alice Webb

Hudson River Park, Chelsea Section

New York’s Hudson River Park has been built in phases, extending for several miles along the west edge of Manhattan. In mid-March I visited the Chelsea section, from Pier 62 to 29th Street.


Entrance area of the Chelsea Cove section of the park – this section includes extensive lawn areas, a concrete skate park, carousel, and walkways.


Picnic area near the entrance to Chelsea Cove


View of Pier 62, including a carousel with a green roof


Seating area on Pier 62 with “floating” lights


A walkway near the skate park (fenced area to the right)


The 11-mile long Hudson River Greenway runs adjacent to the park


Pier 64 features lawns, walkways, and seating


Linear section of the park north of Pier 64


Sculpture at 29th Street

Photos by Alice Webb