Island Observatory

This design research seminar considers landscape architecture’s disciplinary practices of fieldwork and scenario planning in relation to the technical image—the image created with the intent of reproducibility and circulation. A turn toward the aesthetic and affective possibilities of image creation will revive dormant debates on the authority of the landscape “view” in the face of imminent climate change. Using Naushon Island, off the southeastern coast of Massachusetts, as a test site, we will identify areas for potential field study through mapping and imaging technologies at various scales (GIS, drones). Working in pairs and on-site, students will analyze these landscapes in conjunction with new techniques of digital representation—in particular, software for modeling vegetation—to produce site-specific visualizations of projected landscape change. We will be developing new workflows with digital tools that are outside of the design disciplines; an enthusiasm for collaborative technical problem-solving is necessary. Completion of Ecologies, Techniques, Technologies III (SCI-6241) or equivalent is a prerequisite, as well as proficiency in ArcGIS.
A mandatory three-night site visit to Naushon Island is integral to this course (departing the GSD on the afternoon of Thursday, September 28, and returning mid-day Sunday, October 1). We will spend extended time outdoors (rain, wind, or shine) in a relatively undeveloped environment. Transportation and modest single-occupancy accommodations will be provided (equivalent to a hostel). The island has no food service facilities; participants should anticipate approximately $60 for collective meals to be prepared on-site.