Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Posts Tagged ‘cochran’

Andrea Cochran

Around the time I went to Stern Grove, Andrea Cochran gave a talk at UC Berkeley. She’s another one of the west coast landscape architects with interesting stonework in her projects. She mostly spoke about the projects in the recent book Andrea Cochran: Landscapes, but with a lot more photos, including construction photos and some before photos of the projects. I was most interested in the stonework at two of her projects up in the Napa area.

I smile every time I look at photos of the riprap at the base of the wall in this landscape. It’s as if the stonemasons never cleaned up after the project or as if they were building a breakwater for a flood that has yet happen. It’s landscape humor, whether or not the designer actually meant it to be. But it also works visually; breakwaters and seawalls are always striking, and most mountain headwalls have talus heaped at their base, so it’s a familiar form to have the clean face of the wall above the jumble of the riprap. She said that she added the riprap because the walls were too strong visually, that their line was dominating the landscape and she needed something to soften the effect. It’s not often that adding stone will soften a landscape.

The other interesting stone element from her book and presentation is a pyramid made from construction rubble. After excavating for a building on the site, they had literally tons of rock to get rid of and the landscape needed something to fill the view across the reflecting pool, so she channeled Michael Heizer and had the rubble stacked into a pyramid. She said everyone was skeptical until it was built. Like the riprap, a bold design move.

Both projects won ASLA awards, with more photos and info about the projects, titled Walden Studios and Stone Edge Farms, at the ASLA website. There’s also a recent interview with her on the ASLA blog, covering a lot of the other topics she talked about at the slideshow.

There’s a video about her here.