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DredgeFest Wins ASLA Honor Award


The Dredge Research Collaborative, which assistant professor Rob Holmes co-founded, has received an Honor Award in the Communications category of the American Society of Landscape Architects’ 2016 awards program for the DredgeFest event series. Holmes has served as a lead or co-convenor on each of the four events: DredgeFest NYC (2012, hosted by Studio-X at Columbia GSAPP), DredgeFest Louisiana (2014, hosted by LSU), DredgeFest Great Lakes (2015, hosted by the University of Minnesota), and DredgeFest California (2016, hosted by UC-Berkeley). The ASLA awards program is the highest professional awards program in the United States for landscape architecture.

DredgeFest is a roving event series about the human manipulation of sediments, re-examined as a design practice, held on all four coasts of the Continental United States. The events are an encounter between designers, practitioners, industry experts, government agencies, theorists, and the public. DredgeFests have grown as the Collaborative’s aspirations have expanded—DredgeFest NYC (2012) spanned two days, while the most recent event, DredgeFest California (2016), encompassed an entire week to accommodate intensive workshops and tours of sedimentary landscapes
image of interior by Andy Goldsborough

DredgeFests are multifaceted and devised to inspire collaboration, with a unique format that meets the needs of a broad range of participants. Typical components of the events have included discussion-driven symposia, design workshops, site visits, and public exhibition. DredgeFest events are designed to offer short, digestible experiences (tours, public exhibition) for the general public and curious observer; longer events (symposium, day long field expeditions) for the interested professional or invested public; and deeper explorations (design workshops) for those interested in testing their hands at designing with sediment.

While the title is lighthearted, DredgeFest has serious ambitions. DredgeFests recognize that the anthropogenic manipulation of sediment and sedimentary processes are critical environmental and infrastructural practices, engaging issues of climate change, resiliency, ecological health, and economics. While earth and soil are a core substrate for designers, landscape architects are noticeably absent from the dialogues that shape larger systems of sediment management. From erosion control to navigational channel design, DredgeFests aim to expand the role of landscape architects in creating dynamic and adaptive sediment infrastructure for the future.

Holmes co-founded the Dredge Research Collaborative in 2012. It is a 501c3 nonprofit with a mission to advance public knowledge about sedimentary management and provide platforms for transdisciplinary conversation about sedimentary management, and to participate in envisioning and realizing preferred sedimentary futures. The DRC’s core team of academics, practicing landscape architects, and writers is based at firms and institutions around the United States, including SCAPE Landscape Architecture, UC-Davis, Cornell University, The Rhode Island School of Design, University of Tennessee, and the University at Buffalo.