Ecologies, Techniques, Technologies V

SECTION 1: Topography—-the land—is one of the most basic mediums and tools of landscape architecture. The core mission of this class is for students to acquire a command of the essential technical concepts and skills needed to reshape the land for circulation, occupancy, drainage, stability and performance. Because grading is both precise and conceptual, topics such as land surveying, characteristics of contours, formation of spot elevations, universal grading terminology and formulas, cut and fill, drainage patterns and accessibility issues will be incorporated into exercises that provide opportunities to apply skills to topographic design. To that end, discussions about the physical and psychological experiences of topography will be entwined with technological techniques with the goal of helping students expand their visual resources and vocabulary for speaking and thinking about topography. Lectures will be supported by desk critiques of exercises so that students can become facile with grading through two and three dimensional mediums. Section 1 of 6243 is taught simultaneously with section 1 of 6142.

SECTION 2: Recognizing that plants are one of the essential mediums of landscape architecture, this module seeks to introduce the student to two basic relationships; the relationship between plants and people (horticulture) and the relationship 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.
– Introduction to the spatial, visual, functional, temporal, and sensorial qualities of woody plants in the landscape.
– 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 module is structured around lectures, drawing and design exercises. Students will be introduced to the growth characteristics of urban trees, their form, scale and responses to the environment. We will learn how to advocate for trees in the urban environment with various graphic techniques, writing, and an understanding of how trees shape and are shaped by urban conditions. Students will be introduced to a series of planting typologies and will carry out design exercises using those typologies, while focusing on the experience and compositional characteristics of the tree species studied earlier in the semester. Evaluation of the student performance is based on the design exercises, participation in class reviews and discussions, and attendance.

The stormwater portion of the course, taught by Tom Ryan and Laura Solano, will examine the disrupted hydrologic cycle caused by urbanization and the opportunities for deploying water-sensitive stormwater management techniques in landscape design. Following a quick look at 19th and 20th century solutions for drainage and 21st century challenges, the class will focus on the technical aspects of stormwater management including overland and infiltration flow rates, strategies for water conveyance in open and closed drainage systems, sizing of drainage structures and elements, stormwater detention and retention, storage and infiltration techniques, and water quality issues. Using a two-part assignment, students will apply learned principles and formulas to create a stormwater management system that uses traditional and contemporary approaches for maximizing sustainable outcomes for sites. Student’s grades will be determined by their performance on two assignments, class attendance, and class participation.