Topography—-the land—is a basic medium and tool of landscape architecture. The core mission of this module is for students to understand the technical underpinnings and experiential qualities for shaping the land. Grading is both precise and conceptual. To understand technical precision and applications, topics such as land surveying, characteristics of contours, formation of spot elevations, universal grading terminology and formulas, cut and fill, drainage patterns and accessibility issues will be studied. Experiential qualities such enclosure, framing, prospect, concealment, scale, reinforcement, and comfort will be explored. Every exercise will provide opportunities to use technical mastery to achieve design goals. Problem-solving in grading will be combined with discussions about the physical experiences of topography. The goal of this approach is to help students to strengthen their technical facility with grading while expanding their visual resources for expressing their design thinking about the landscape.
Stormwater management, the focus of this class module, is one of the most pressing development issues of our times because it is tied to every aspect of world-wide health, safety, and welfare. As city, suburb, and town have developed, the need to address water quantity and quality has intensified and contemporary landscape architecture is uniquely positioned to find the intersection between performance and experience. This module will examine the technical underpinnings of closed stormwater systems (structures and pipes), developed in the 19th Century, and the best practices of contemporary stormwater systems that use conveyance, infiltration, and retention as the environmental basis for intelligent site development. For closed water systems, lectures will cover calculations for watershed volumes, effects of ground surface on water flow, and sizing and layout of piping, swales, and ponds. This information will support the study of the latest methods and approaches for designing and calculating open and engineered natural drainage systems such as wetlands, bioswales, forebays, seeps, cisterns, rain gardens, permeable pavement, and underdrainage.
In both modules subjects will taught by lectures, case studies, and assignments, all supported by desk critiques of exercises. The final grade for the combined modules will be determined by six to eight assignments (65%), one final project due during exam week (25%), as well as class participation and attendance (10%).