The Spoils of Dust (Paperback)

Reinventing the Lake That Made Los Angeles

By Alexander Robinson

Applied Research & Design, 9781940743486, 256pp.

Publication Date: November 15, 2018

List Price: 30.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Once the third-largest lake in California and among the world's greatest sources of dust, for decades the dried Owens Lake was merely a footnote to the most notorious water grab in modern history. Now, the desert lake has been reassembled--not refilled--to redeem its lost value without returning Los Angeles's main water supply. In The Spoils of Dust, this bargain redemption and its surprise conjuring of an extraordinary landscape, is the backdrop for investigating contemporary relationships between landscape architecture, engineering, and perception. The Promethean terrain makes legible the frameworks we use to reinvent nature in the Anthropocene, revealing itself as a monument to the prismatic modes by which we know landscapes today. Almost by accident, this has made select landscape values the linchpin for major water resource decisions, thrusting landscape architecture into a consequential position. Answering the challenge, the book concludes with a speculative atlas and robotic tool for an imaginative and advanced approach to dry lake design.