Topography is one of the primary and most powerful elements of landscape architecture, forming a foundation for plant growth, habitat, the flow of water and energy, and human experience. This course is dedicated to developing students’ facility in reading the land and manipulating topography and water flow through a variety of representational tools with a focus on plan drawings of contours, slopes and spot elevations, models, and section drawings. The first part of the course is dedicated to the act of grading and contour manipulation, and will introduce students to the conventions of grading representation, terminology and communication in the construction industry, as well as accessibility codes. The second part of the course introduces techniques used to calculate the amount of water flowing over a site and the various ways that the topography can be manipulated in order to convey, filter, collect or disperse water in order to help improve its quality and control water flow emanating from a range of storm events. The case studies and precedents presented throughout the course help to illustrate a broad range of approaches to problem solving and the act of sculpting the land.
This course focuses on the agency of landform and water flow in the creation and design of landscape. At the end of the course, students will be able to manipulate contours toward a given intention and will understand the factors that contribute to stormwater volumes and flows and ways to embrace and incorporate those factors toward a desired design intent. During this course, students will learn to:
1) Analyze topographic form and water flow within urban and rural contexts, across a variety of scales.
2) Recognize, create, manipulate and represent specific topographic forms and relationships.
3) Apply accessibility code requirements in the process of realizing a synthetic landscape design intent.
4) Expand upon historic precedents that demonstrate various approaches to topography design.
5) Incorporate water flow and landform as a way to heighten human experience.
6) Understand the various ways in which landscape architects collaborate with civil engineers in order to understand and design stormwater systems, and develop an awareness of the available stormwater modeling tools.
7) Calculate stormwater flow using manning’s equation and design a simple closed stormwater system of inlets, pipes, manholes and catch basins.
8) Incorporate green infrastructure typologies as a means to slow, store, clean and celebrate water.
The course is taught as a series of lectures; individual in-class short-term exercises that focus on core competencies; and two long-term assignments are iterative, more complex, and completed in groups. Many of the in-class exercises are completed during the class session, though some exercises may require additional out-of-class time. The two long-term group assignments will be developed primarily outside of class, with a number of in-class desk critiques and work sessions. Early core competency exercises are completed by hand, and grading in AutoCAD is introduced during the fourth week.
The following tools should be brought to each class: engineering scale, architect’s scale, calculator, trace, drawing implements, computer. Computer programs incorporated into this course will include: AutoCAD, Excel, Acrobat Pro, Photoshop, InDesign and other graphic programs.
Grades will be based on submitted exercises and participation in class as follows:
In-Class Exercises: 35%
Long-Term Exercise A: 25%
Long-Term Exercise B: 25%