Topography—the land—is a basic medium and tool of landscape architecture. Grading is both precise and conceptual; the core mission of this module is for students to understand the technical underpinnings for grading and the influence that shaping the land has on human experience. The precision of grading will be learned through the concepts of land surveying, characteristics of contours, formation of spot elevations, universal grading terminology and formulas, calculating cut and fill, drainage patterns, and accessibility. Experiential qualities such enclosure, framing, prospect, concealment, scale, reinforcement, and comfort will be explored. Problem-solving in grading will be combined with discussions about the physical experiences of topography and every exercise will provide opportunities to use technical mastery to achieve design goals. Using this approach, students will 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 intersections between management, performance, and experience. This course will examine the technical foundations of closed stormwater systems (structures and pipes), developed in the 19th Century, and the best practices of contemporary stormwater management systems that use over land conveyance, infiltration, retention, and natural systems as the basis for intelligent environmental site development. For closed drainage stormwater 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 the final exam week (25%), as well as class participation and attendance (10%).