March 5, 2012
|Exploring “Aloha ‘āina” In Depth: Students in Assistant Professor Amy Caples’ Voice Over Techniques for Media class (BTMM 2721) spent the last few weeks following the dedicated hard work students in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture put into completing “Aloha ‘āina: A Return to Life with the Land” for the Philadelphia International Flower Show. Their podcast provides an insightful look at the award-winning exhibit from design to completion in addition to providing a look at the history on the Flower Show, the largest event of its kind in North America. Featured students are: Stephanie Hudson, Jim Miller, Attia Taylor, Dan Ruhling, Michael Zollo, and Megan Fiscus. Students providing research and support were: Andrew Laufer, Paige Miller, Ken Oyegun, Mihir Patel, Lauren Ramos, and Shoma Sheppard. Listen to the Aloha ‘āina podcast.
Many months of design, planting, nurturing, construction, ingenuity, creativity, and collaboration by dozens of students and faculty in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture at Temple University Ambler resulted in top honors at the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show.
Temple’s exhibit — “Aloha ‘āina: A Return to Life with the Land” — was presented with “Best in Show” in the Academic Education category. The Flower Show continues through Sunday, March 11, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia.
“Winning Best in Show is certainly a validation of all of the hard work put into creating this exhibit over the last 16 weeks,” said Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture Robert Kuper, who coordinated Temple’s 2012 Flower Show exhibit with Adjunct Assistant Professor Michael LoFurno and Horticulturist Kathryn Reber. “Even before the award was announced, when we finished up construction (at the Convention Center) on Friday, students stayed just to look at the exhibit. They had worked so long on it — from the drawings to building the various pieces that went into the exhibit — but they had never had the opportunity to see it all together. I think it came out so much better than we ever could have imagined.”
With Aloha ‘āina, LoFurno said, Temple worked hard to develop an exhibit that clearly reflected the aesthetics many would expect with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Flower Show theme being Islands of Aloha, “but we were also able to address issues of sustainability and gardening in the Delaware Valley.”
“This year we made a real effort to get beyond a 10-foot (height) limit. You can see the exhibit from across the show floor — it has a real presence at the show that visitors are drawn to,” he said. “We have these great water features while continuing to be water conscious and we had wonderful plants to pick from thanks to our horticulturists and the students that worked in the greenhouse for so long. We really wanted to show that wherever possible you could use native plants in a colorful, exciting and vibrant way.”
LoFurno said while the height of the mountain might draw visitors in, when they arrive at the exhibit they are able to walk within Aloha ‘āina for an up close look at the fine details, from the various materials that comprise the “ahu towers” to the richly diverse plant selection.
“Providing visitors the ability to walk through our exhibit is one of our priorities; we want them to get up close and see how the exhibit has been put together,” he said. “Visitor response has been terrific. We’ve had a line waiting to walk through!”
More than 20 Landscape Architecture and Horticulture students diligently worked on Aloha ‘āina during the fall and spring semesters in preparation for the Flower Show, designing and building the structures — including an 18-foot-tall mountain, which is the exhibit’s primary water feature, and a 15-foot-tall shade structure — and preparing 1,500 plants from about 100 different species. Aloha ‘āina presents Hawaii’s history and ecology in microcosm, from Hawaii’s 2050 Sustainability Plan back to the ancient Hawaiian land division system of “ahupua’a” — families would maintain wedges of land from the mountain crests to the ocean providing all of their needs for food, water and shelter, each area clearly demarcated by stone cairns.
Entering the exhibit, visitors move from an architectural environment to a more naturalistic environment. Aloha ‘āina’s entrance consists of three colorful walls that provide an indirect route into the exhibit. Within the exhibit, visitors spy several “ahu towers” that recall the stone cairns of ancient Hawaii, each uniquely created and filled with everything from stone and shells to sticks and branches leading to a “living wall” of plants. Water descends from the mountainside to pool in a woodland garden while a stream passes under a metal catwalk leading to the rain garden and wetlands. Taro beds — the principal food crop in the Hawaiian Islands — grow beneath the shade structure while culinary herbs and vegetables fill the cold frames.
“People seem to really be enjoying the exhibit. Everyone that walks through has had a lot of good things to say about it — they really seem to like the living wall, the ahu towers and the cold frames,” said Landscape Architecture Junior Jacob Krieger who worked on the mountain and the living wall. “We put a lot of time, effort and hard work into the exhibit and it feels great to know that all that has been recognized. Finishing a project from design to completion has shown us every part that goes into a project — there are a lot of variables that go into projects that we either didn’t think about or didn’t know about until we started doing it. The Flower Show has been a great experience.”
Kuper said a design-build project of this type leads to “an advancement in thinking” for students when they approach projects in the future.
“They are realizing ideas — taking something in their head, putting it on paper, and then actually building it,” he said. “They are resolving problems that crop up and finding solutions that are functional and structurally sound. Participating in this project, I think, certainly bolsters their confidence in their own abilities.”
Landscape Architecture junior Liz Bieber said working on the exhibit provided her with a greater understanding “that when you design a project you need to understand what it will take to complete a project.”
“You need contractors, clients and coworkers to understand how you see an idea and how that idea needs to be executed in order to work. We were so proud to see our design completed and we were hoping others would see this as well,” she said. “To come away with Best in Show makes the entire process worth the amount of time and energy we put towards this project.”
For more information on “Aloha ‘āina,” contact 267-468-8108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aloha ‘āina continues a long tradition in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture of interdisciplinary and hands-on learning experiences that promote a sustainable design approach. It also continues the Department’s decades-long association with the Philadelphia International Flower Show, which has resulted in “Best in Show” awards in 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2010 and prestigious honors from the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania in 2004 and the Horticultural Society in 2006. In 2004, 2010 and 2011, Temple University Ambler’s exhibit was also awarded the prestigious Bulkley Medal of the Garden Club of America.
The Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture at Temple University Ambler, part of the School of Environmental Design in Temple’s College of Liberal Arts, is committed to excellence in ecologically based education. The department’s goal is to train leaders in the art and science of horticulture (A.S., B.S., and certificate programs) and landscape architecture (MLArch and B.S. programs). The programs provide students with knowledge and understanding of the environment so that they can improve the quality of our urban, suburban, and rural communities.
For more information on the Horticulture and Landscape Architecture programs at Temple University Ambler, visit www.ambler.temple.edu/la-hort. For more information on the 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show, visit www.theflowershow.com.
CONTACT: James Duffy, 267-468-8108, email@example.com, release available by e-mail