The GSD 6454 Poetics of Construction seminar promotes advanced understanding and executive skill in the design development of landscape architecture. Speculative in nature, it requires students to take part in a joint exploration with the instructors on themes related to conceptual ideas, development and making in landscape architecture and the accompanying practices of seeing, judging and thinking by the individual designer. It will also be accompanied by an examination of the various theories, conditions, forms and styles that inform contemporary built design and implementation practices. Each semester class will focus on a different aspect of making and the landscape design process. The topic for the Fall 2014 seminar is detail design. The thesis to be presented and tested out during the semester is that a landscape design and detail design is worked-out – conceived, developed and made tangible – within the formal structures and technical practices of a \'poetics of construction\'. The manipulation of the medium gives birth to and shapes ideas. The seminar explores the viability of this conception in the contemporary practice of landscape architecture. The ambition of the course is also to engender in each participant a critical understanding of, and skill in, conceiving and developing built landscapes that will endure, are socially accommodating and expressively potent. It will examine the concerns of place and genus loci, style, fashion, design inspiration and referencing in landscape detail as well as the pragmatic issues of materials, material combinations and detail design language and identity.
Class members will initiate and research a design detail topic of their choosing through written and drawn studies. Research will be conducted individually, and analysis and documentation of the selected subject areas will accompany all work building on previous course work in core studios and technology lectures classes or indeed in professional work prior to coming to the GSD. The outcome of the assignment for grading purposes will be a research paper and a Portfolio addressing detail construction practices and their documentation. In turn this Portfolio can form the basis of further work at the GSD in option studios or thesis or as part of the preparation of materials for application to professional landscape office practices. Admission to the course requires successful completion of GSD 6242 Ecologies Techniques and Technologies or equivalent.