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Quarterly News 2015 Issue 3

to sketch

By Steve Borbas

CRP 482 582_page 9.jpg

Most of you are so adept on the computer that almost anything can be illustrated after setup. Your ability to band sketch comes in handy to very quickly illustrate an idea, show many alternatives, throw on colors with markers, pastels or watercolor and even develop some concept sketches. Just ask Morrow, Predock or Sabatini. Clience love the quick sketches and often find the computer generated early concepts as the final solution of their project. Clients also will marvel at watching you sketch the details they describe – and will also appreciate the lack of technology between you and them in the process.

Of course, the computer has progressed to allow for “freehand sketches,” but drawing on paper in a sketchbook is a much freer experience, especially with a pen, so decisions need to be made before sketching. This comes from looking at an object longer than usual – not just using your visual memory to do the drawing, but rather a process that engages eyes, to brain, to fingers.

Learning how to sketch is actually quite easy and relaxing. We are not born with “sketch genes.” It takes doing. Carry a simple sketchbook and pen. When you have a few minutes, look to the west – or any direction – and sketch what you see, or focus on a particular detail. Buildings, landscapes, people, cars, yourself, chairs or a hand are all subjects, as is copying from a photo or drawing. Just keep doing it, one a day for a few months and you’ll be amazed in your improvement, which will propel you to do more.

Later on, after work, a meal, a drink, try colors on some sketches or make multiple Xerox copies of your favorites and practice putting color on them. Copies can be made on 120 pound paper or cover stock.

My graphics class is open to all. I teach in the fall semester on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the UNM School of Architecture and Planning. Call me for pointers and info at 265-7088.



this quarter's Membership milestones!

Craig Solether - 20 Years

Brian Verardo - 15 Years

Mimi Burns - 10 Years

Felicitas Banuelos - 5 Years

Carlitta Harvey - 5 Years

Kelly VanDenBerg - 5 Years



Four Hills Village Park

Four Hills Village Park

project spotlight:  four hills village park

Owner: City of Albuquerque (Judith Wong, PLA / David Flores, PLA)

Landscape Architect: MRWM Landscape Architecs (Greg Miller, PLA)

Construction Completed: July, 2015

Playground Equipment: Landscape Structures, Inc. (Dan Gardner/Exerplay, Inc.)

This exciting new park is based on the concept that the playground is not limited to a particular area; rather, the entire park is a playground. Inspired by adventure stories, the park does not include turf grass, but is instead heavily planted with a variety of trees to create a shady forest as the setting for play and exploration. Boulder retaining walls create a raised terrace that follows a loop trail around the park. Opportunities abound to leave the ADA sidewalk and dodge through a copse of trees, hide behind trunks, duck into rooms created by masses of ornamental grasses, scramble over boulders between levels, and let users of all ages engage natural play elements. The center of the park includes treehouse-like play equipment that spans a huge area connected by the perimeter forest walk. The park also includes shade structures, exercise stations, a basketball court, and a group picnic area located on a terrace overlooking the Tijeras Arroyo and the Sandia Mountains beyond.

Project highlights:  

  • The entire park is designed for both active and passive play with a forest and tree house theme. Natural materials are incorporated as play features.
  • The park is located in an older neighborhood populated by both older retirees and young families. The design is intended to appeal to this wide age range.
  • The design is a prime example of blending the edges between use areas.  This creates a lively park full of excitement and motion.  Visitors can delight in discovering hidden design elements cast into the walks, tucked behind boulders, and around corners.   
  • The shade structures were custom designed by MRWM, working with the manufacturer.  They seem to float above the pathways and gathering spaces, reinforcing the sense of movement.  
  • The site accommodates stormwater in a series of shallow catchment basins connected by swales.  This system dissipates the velocity of the flow and allows infiltration.  
  • A variety of natural and constructed materials engage users of all abilities.

(Images courtesy of Landscape Structures, Inc. and MRWM Landscape Architects)


new member Spotlight - meet justin weathermon, ASLA

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, University of Idaho, 2004

 I was born and raised in the Columbia basin of Southern Washington / Eastern Oregon.  It was there that I gained an appreciation for the outdoors and the living environment.  The local environment was much like New Mexico; hot, dry, desert.  But with the Columbia River nearby and being a short distance to beautiful mountains, it was a great place to live.  Through my high school years, I developed an interest in drafting and was introduced to Landscape Architecture.

 After high school I decided to pursue a degree in Landscape Architecture.  I lived, learned, and worked in Moscow, Idaho for four years and received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho in 2004.

 Shortly after graduating, I was offered a job in beautiful San Diego, California by a firm specializing in large scale residential planning and design.  I worked there approximately three years before deciding to return closer to family. 

 I worked for WHPacific, a large multi-disciplinary firm in Boise, Idaho for nearly two years before our department was downsized.  While there I was fortunate to work on projects that ranged from commercial developments to resort design and planning.

 I married my lovely wife in 2010.  She was in need of a career change so she returned to school and was later offered an internship here in Albuquerque that brought us both back to the Southwest.  I worked for a local landscape contractor until I was fortunate enough to be offered a position with MRWM Landscape Architects.  I could not be happier with the great group of individuals I work with.

I still enjoy much the same hobbies I grew up with, including hiking, sports, and spending time outdoors. I look forward to continuing to develop as a professional here in Albuquerque, and getting more involved with the community and the New Mexico Chapter of ASLA.


Upcoming events from our partners:

PhotoPaysage / Landscape Representation

What:  A French/American Dialogue about the role of photography in changing conceptions of landscape

When/Where:  October 15-17, 2015, Albuquerque

Three photographic exhibits, film screenings, social events and two days of talks by photographers, landscape architects, writers and historians.

The conference will feature a three-year French research initiative on the interface of landscape, photography and theory, along with contributors toDrawn to Landscape: The Pioneering Work of J. B. Jackson, edited by Janet Mendelsohn and Chris Wilson, which debuts at the conference. 

Click here for more info.

Transportation Research Board - AFB40 Mid-Year Meeting 2015

What: Education sessions on Transportation Landscapes in the Southwest, Cultural Landscapes, and Multi-modal Topics

When/Where:  August 24-26, Albuquerque & Santa Fe

View complete agenda, program, and registration information here.

APA-NM & ASCE-NM Joint Statewide Conference

What:  The first joint conference of planning and engineer professionals in New Mexico.

When/Where:  September 23-25, Las Cruces

Click here for more info.

AIA-NM 2015 Conference

What: Designing for resilience in New Mexico - Anticipating the real and potential effects of cultural and climatic changes.

When/Where: August 27-28, Albuquerque

Click here for more info.


Q3 Recap

Team "Swingers" and Team "Putts of Steel" take a break from golf.  Putts of Steel took home the trophy for best costume.

Team "Swingers" and Team "Putts of Steel" take a break from golf.  Putts of Steel took home the trophy for best costume.

Our 20th Annual Golf Outing and Vendor Expo was a huge success!  Thanks to everyone that participated and to the many sponsors below that made it possible.  See you again next year!

Lunch Sponsors:  Hansen & Prezzano Builders, Victor Stanley, Inc.

Drink Sponsors:  Mountain West Golfscapes, Maglin Site Furniture, ANOVA

Awards Sponsor:  The Playwell Group

Apparel Sponsor:  Buildology/Materials Inc.

Specialty Hole Sponsors:  Envall Associates for Landscape Forms, The Groundskeeper, Hunter Industries

Hole Sponsors:  Westwind Landscape Construction, Downs & Associates for Ironsmith

Expo Participants:  Envall Associates for Landscape Forms, Omega II Fence Systems, TP Pump, Exerplay, Inc., Victor Stanley, Inc., Ewing Irrigation, Creative Recreational Designs, Buildology/Materials Inc., Belgard Hardscapes, ANOVA, SynLawn, Downs & Associates for Ironsmith, Maglin Site Furniture


New spring box at Carlito Springs.

New spring box at Carlito Springs.