Poetics of Landscape Construction

The GSD 6454 Poetics of Landscape Construction seminar promotes advanced understanding and executive skill in the design development of built works of landscape architecture. Speculative in nature, students will take part in an exploration of how to reconcile conceptual design thought with the properties of materials, systems of construction and the bio-physical process of growth, decay, weathering and regeneration as they unfold in time on and within geographically specific sites. The thesis to be tested during the Fall 2015 semester is that a landscape design is worked-out – conceived, developed and made tangible – within the formal structures and technical practices of a \’poetics of landscape construction\’. Poiesis – to make – was conceived in Greek thought as an action or actions that physically transform and continue the world. These actions manipulate the physical medium of landscape architecture to give birth to and shape ideas in physical landscape form in a specific place. The ambition of the course is to engender in each participant a critical understanding of and skill in conceiving and developing built landscapes that will endure physically and environmentally, are socially accommodating and expressively potent. It will examine the concerns of specific site as genus loci, style, fashion, and sources of physical design inspiration as well as the pragmatic issues of material properties, material combinations and consistency of detail design language.

Each class member will research an individual design proposal of their choosing through drawn and/or model studies accompanied by a research paper investigating the origins of the design forms. The chosen topic can build on current or previous course work in option or core studios or be based on professional work executed outside of the GSD. The requirements for grading purposes will be a design development portfolio of the chosen design topic. In turn this portfolio can form the basis of further work at the GSD in option studios or thesis or as part of the preparation of materials for application to professional landscape practices.

Admission to the course requires successful completion of GSD 6242 Ecologies Techniques and Technologies or equivalent.