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Sasaki Associates: Guest Speaker

Earlier in the semester we spoke with associates at Sasaki Associates, a multidisciplinary firm practicing everything ranging from interiors to landscapes in every possible contextual setting – campuses, communities, businesses, etc. Their work is stunning, most of it leaning on some branch of modernism accentuated with juxtaposing white with splashes of bright, vibrant colors. However, it was less their work that interested me than it was their commitment to research and pedagogy in practice.

A quick visit to the Sasaki website reveals a great deal about their investment in the development and sharing of information. An entire page is dedicated to their investigations into a variety of topics related to design and the potential impacts it may have on society and ecology. Two projects of note are their participation in the Climate Ready Boston initiative by the city of Boston and the Rebuild by Design competition hosted for New York City in response to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Both projects focused on producing work that took a critical look at the state of our coastal cities and their future relationships with the environment. Often times such work goes ignored when in reality these are the very projects landscape architects should be involved in. The Climate Ready Boston initiative was actually started as a response to the lack of input landscape architects have in environment related policy decisions, odd given our profession’s expertise in ecological problem solving.

A sort of side note. One last thing that intrigued me greatly about Sasaki was the incredibly successful internship program they have managed to organize at their firm. Students from programs across the country take part in multiple levels of design investigation over the course of 10-12 weeks, ultimately culminating in the publication and/or presentation of practical work. I will have to keep it in the back of my mind for later years.

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