Ecologies, Techniques, Technologies III: Ecology and the Design World

Required for both MLA 1 and MLA AP students taking the third LA core-studio.

Ecological Principles for Design (David Moreno-Mateos): 

Landscape design incorporates an additional layer of complexity to design projects that is less usually present in other disciplines of design, living organisms. The relationships among those organisms and between them and the environment define the dynamics of populations, communities, and ecosystems. Ecology is the science that aims to understand how all those relationships work and how they change though space and time. Landscape design can incorporate many of those relationships to create landscapes that go beyond human value-laden functions to design complex systems able to self-organize and respond to current global changes for centuries. Through lectures, discussions, readings, case studies, and design projects, the goal of this course is to understand the complexity of living systems. In particularly, we will understand the processes and functions that emerge from ecosystem structure and how you can integrate these components in your design to create resilient and resistant landscapes and ecosystems within them. From tiny projects where single or a few processes or ecosystem components can be integrated at the core of urban areas or buildings, to large scale projects aiming to design entire landscapes, you will learn how to use the power of life in design. The centerpiece of this course will be a research project where you will find ways to integrate the immense potential of biological systems into design to create more resilience and resistant landscapes to ongoing global changes.

An Introduction to Woody Plants as a Design Medium (Chris Matthews): 

Recognizing that plants are one of the essential mediums of landscape architecture, this module seeks to introduce the student to the relationships between plants and people (horticulture) and the relationships between plants and the environment (ecology). The class focuses on the following topics and objectives:

– Concepts and practices necessary for using woody plants as a design medium.
– An introduction to the spatial, visual, functional, temporal, and sensorial qualities of woody plants in the landscape.
– An introduction to the horticultural requirements of woody plants particularly as it relates to the urban environment.
– Techniques and practices for using woody plants in the designed landscape.

The additional Wednesday session taught by Chris Matthews is taken only by MLA AP students.