Critical Perspectives: Perspectival Representation in the Process of Landscape Architecture Design

This seminar/workshop aims critically to explore the role perspective projection may play in the generation of landscape space. Despite the manifold criticisms levied against the perspectival project in general produced by 20th century thinking, the premise of this seminar is to suspend such notions of its abandonment, and instead, as makers of things, to accept its opacity as a representational medium within a search for what else it might propose. The exploration will take the form of a combination of parallel and interdependent investigations: analytical /theoretical examination of existing projects and methodologies, and application/practice of projection strategies and techniques. The focus will be on the function of perspective projection as embedded within the design process, as opposed to its function as an ex post facto illustration at the culmination of the design sequence.Specifically, the course structure will alternate between theoretical reading based discussions and the review of drawings produced in response, thus interweaving verbal and representational critical inquiries. Topics have been selected which examine the particular relation of perspective projection to the phenomenon of landscape space and its requirements for description. These topics, which will be introduced through a combination of texts and images, include, amongst others: the perceptual excess of perspectiva naturalis and its potential to inform perspectiva artficialis; the descriptive disjunction between projective geometries, with their bias toward a Cartesian description of space, and the non-linear, complex geometrical structure and continuous surfaces of landscape space; parallax, picturesque landscape structure and the issue of \’motility\’; the proposal of cubism, montage and the issue of temporality; and the problem of the limit of the cone of vision and the promise of the panorama/diorama. The discussions will be supported by the execution of projected perspective drawings critically engaging the related topic that day. These drawings will then be reviewed in pin-up the following week.One session will be devoted to student presentations on selected analysis topics. Students will present their critical results through slides or other reproductions in a fifteen-minute presentation to the class. The class will respond by producing a final perspective projection based on information both contained in these presentations, and in the previous critical discussions, to be reviewed in pin-up the final week.Requirements:Satisfactory completion of required readings, drawings, and presentation; participation in discussions and pin-ups. The intended subject of the drawing explorations is your current studio work. However, while you are examining your studio project through the means of this class, and may present these drawings at studio reviews, they still remain part of the requirements for this course curriculum and thus, they must be handed in for reproduction to me at the end of the semester.Reading Materials:One copy each of the required readings will be available on reserve at the Francis Loeb Library, either in photocopy or book form. It is the students\’ responsibility to research the recommended readings if so inclined.Pre-requisites:GSD 2103/2106: Studies in Landscape Representation 1 & 2, or equivalent; GSD 3102: Theories and Practices of Contemporary Landscape Architecture, or equivalent; mastery of basic perspective projection techniques is strongly recommended.Enrollment Limit: 12