Crossing Species- the ARC Design Competition

The history of road-building in North America has prioritized the efficient trajectory of the vehicle to the catastrophic detriment of wildlife. Through the proliferation of highway landscapes, habitat has been shredded into disparate, unconnected patches, and populations of particular species have dwindled. Recent studies posit that animal-vehicle collisions have increased by 50% in the last 15 years, with estimated collisions within the US alone between one and two million. The recent ARC Wildlife Competition is the first high profile project in the field of architecture and landscape architecture to prioritize the needs of animals. The design competition sought strategies to create “new, lighter, flexible and adaptive infrastructures (that) offer effective means to facilitate wildlife mobility and population survival under uncertain climate conditions.” What resulted from this competition is a landscape aesthetic driven by animals and their perceptual and ethological usage of the surrounding environments. 3 of the shortlisted designs will be discussed from a practical and theoretical point of view: HNTB and Michael Van Valkenburgh’s Hypar-Nature , Janet Rosenburg’s Untitled, and Peter Olin’s Wild X-ing.

Kelty McKinnon is a landscape architect and principal at Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg landscape architects where she designs and manages a diverse range of projects based locally and internationally. She is also an adjunct professor of landscape architecture at the University of British Columbia where she leads design studios focusing on the production of emergent urban and non-urban landscapes that simultaneously engage environmental, economic and cultural ecologies. A primary focus of her research is in the potentials of engaging non-human agents in the production of landscape. Kelty holds an MLA (Masters of Landscape Architecture) from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and a BES (Bachelor of Environmental Studies) from the University of Manitoba, and has worked professionally in Vancouver, Minneapolis, Albuquerque, Aspen, Denver, and Portland.

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