Fundamentals of Landscape Technology

The first in the core sequence of Landscape Technology courses, this class introduces the concept of landforms and grading in design. The course will focus on the use of landforms in history, art and landscape design. By examining the origins and inspiration for shaping the land, students will acquire a deeper understanding of how grading can inform their designs. Technical topics include surveying techniques, characteristics of contours, grading terminology and formulas, accessibility issues, drainage patterns and the manipulation of landform to express the prosaic and poetic aspects of a design. Assignments will provide students with opportunities to explore and understand the technical realities of manipulating land and the vast possibilities for using land as a basis for experiencing the landscape. In a field trip to Lexington, Massachusetts, students will study how contours traverse the land. Students will critically analyze the topographic approaches of well-known designers and present their findings in class discussions. Models, sections and plans will be the basis for relaying landform ideas and will help build a technical language for discussing grading. The final weeks of class will be combined with core studio so that students can integrate their technical knowledge with design explorations.