From Disruption to Projection: Digital Landscape Modeling

\”Our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old.\”Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, 1967Digital tools, now fully assimilated with landscape architecture culture, are valorized largely in proportion to their usefulness in optimizing the production of representation types developed long ago in a pre-electronic paradigm. Today\’s digital models are treated as editable stand-ins for physical ones or sources from which to extract components of perspective views. Despite the gradual digitization of production and its requisite impact on the culture of design, few of the disruptive, media driven transformations many of us expected or desired have taken hold. Our discipline has scarcely begun to acknowledge the extent of the shift or to reflect on the most conspicuous and essential of digital media\’s properties and capitalize on the new potentials they may offer design. The course begins a fresh search for modeling strategies to address landscape specific problems. The course invites a disruption, a challenge to the routines of praxis, provoked by an examination of the unique logics, aesthetics and efficiencies of digital media.Metaphorical analogies between digital and ecological structure are of little use to the non-programmer landscape architect operating within software environments mostly targeted to other industries. We begin instead by surveying and defining workflows with potential to inform the creative process of projection — drawings intended for translation to a site, among our principal pursuits as landscape architects. Layering & compositing; database sampling, notation, and parametrics; arraying, variation, modularity, & scripting; temporality and other topics will be surveyed and defined. Through readings, presentations and discussions, this course aims to examine the theoretical implications of such activities and advance their use through practical experimentation. Students will individually undertake modeling investigations focusing on a specific landscape design topic or problem. Through iterative testing and rhetorical explication, their charge will be to invent and implement computation workflows instrumental in landscape design.