A New [Landscape] Infrastructure for Los Angeles

Topics to be covered
‘Essayons!’ meaning ‘Let us try,’ (1) was the motto first used by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1775. The motto has now evolved to \”Building Strong,\” reflecting the Army\’s mission to \”strengthen the nation\’s security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters,\” particularly volatile flood conditions within urban waterways. (2) The notion of ‘Building Soft’ presents a new paradigm arguing that flood control parameters presented by the Corps could be achieved through a more integrated approach, one which takes into consideration how social, economic, and ecological priorities play an equal part in the conception and reconstruction of our infrastructural systems.

Course objectives and outcomes
\’Building Soft\’ is the focus of an immersive studio where students will seek to position the Los Angeles River as the central figure in transforming Los Angeles into a more vibrant city where ecological systems are synchronous with development, infrastructure and culture. The studio will examine 14 previously identified sites along the river in downtown LA, and through a series of fieldtrips, workshops and lectures from prominent leaders in Los Angeles, students will explore new open space typologies that could include designs for river specific recreation venues, bridges, parks, development opportunities, flood control design and alternative transit. Experimentation and bold thinking will be expected in this studio.

Course format:
The studio will be divided in 2 halves/5 parts:
Part 1: RECON/ 4-day site reconnaissance in Los Angeles
Part 2: ANALYZE/ research, planning and analysis
Part 3: POTENTIAL/ urban strategies/Big Idea// MID-REVIEW (parts 1-3)
Part 4: EXPERIENCE/ the landscape architecture project
Part 5: INNOVATION/ elements of design// FINAL REVIEW (parts 4-5)

Method of evaluation
Students will be evaluated based on level of creativity, participation, productivity, innovation, completion of required assignments, mid review and final review.

This studio is open to all graduate students of landscape architecture, urban design and architecture with knowledge and application of the following software programs:
1. AutoCAD
2. Adobe Suite
3. GIS
4. Rhino (or other comparable 3D software)
5. Video editing software
6. Experience with laser cutter or other model making technologies

1. http://www.150th.com/history/index.htm
2. http://www.usace.army.mil/Portals/2/docs/USACEBrochure_22OCT2012_web_email.pdf

Irregular Schedule:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays 2 – 6pm
Studio meets 8/29 (evening) and 8/30; and 9/10, 9/11, 10/8, 10/9, 10/22, 10/23, 11/5, 11/6, 11/19, 11/20, 12/3, and 12/4. Studio trip planned for the week of 9/23.
Additionally, there will be optional Skype meetings on Tuesdays in between visits, and some informal discussion sessions on dates to be agreed with the students, including on the Wednesdays that Gerdo and Ying-Yu are in town.