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Ono Named First Gardner Fellow


Takuma Ono, a critic in RISD’s Landscape Architecture department, has been named the inaugural Maeder-York Family Fellow in Landscape Studies at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The 19th-century patron of the arts for whom the museum is named had a lifelong passion for horticulture and gardening that has inspired the museum to focus on the art of landscape as part of its core mission.

Ninety-one applicants from 14 countries applied for the new biennial fellowship, established to further the work of an emerging designer focused on the role of landscape architecture in the public realm. The fellowship is also meant to foster research and experimentation in the field through an on-site residency during the months of June, July and August.

During his residency at the museum this summer, Ono will explore the potential use of dredged materials in the landscape. As major port cities in the United States accommodate the needs of the next generation of ultra-large cargo ships, millions of cubic yards of sand, silt, gravel and rock will be excavated – or dredged – from ocean floors and riverbeds, deepening and widening navigation channels. Dredge removed from Boston Harbor alone will amount to 13 million cubic yards, with most of it discarded as waste. And dredging isn’t limited to Boston’s harbor: the Muddy River – a tributary of the city’s Charles River – will be dredged this fall as part of a project to update the waterway of the Emerald Necklace, a group of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and stretching from Boston’s Back Bay to Dorchester, MA. Through his work at the Gardner, the landscape artist expects to propose viable alternatives for putting this waste to good use through public projects.

In addition to teaching at RISD, Ono serves as design director at Aershop (Architecture/Environment/Research), a New York-based design firm that he founded with partner Darina Zlateva. He has participated in a number of collaborative projects related to his interests in interconnectedness and interdependence, especially within the contexts of biological sciences and urbanism. Ono holds an MLA from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a BS in microbiology from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

A public celebration and discussion of Ono’s work will take place at the Gardner Museum on June 7.

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tags: local/regional, faculty, public engagement, research, Landscape Architecture, sustainability

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