Landscape Architecture (LAR)
The first semester core studio introduces students to landscape design strategies and techniques at the scale of regional dynamics. This is a fundamentals course that reveals landscape through uncertainty with emphasis on watersheds and habitats. The studio attends to changing landscape patterns at multiple temporal and spatial scales; from the scours of geology, to indigenous land-use, forest migration and urban settlements. In Land Studio I, students increase their skills and ability to describe, define and expand environmental dynamics through landscape-specific methods of analysis and assessment, while design is revealed as a process of collaboration across more than human timescales. This studio works closely with LAR 611| Cartography I: Map Making.
The second semester core studio refines the scope of regional design, with a focus on the urbanized shores of the North Atlantic. Rather than sea-level rise, the focus turns to landward migration of the shore, which is why the term 'adaptation' is central to Land Studio II. Other keywords include relocation, retreat and rewilding as critical 21st century design propositions, policy recommendations and management strategies. The effcts of ocean and atmospheric warming are widespread where fixed infrastructure lines, settlement patterns and recreational economies evolve with the geomorphic setting of salt marshes, beaches, dunes. Students gain first hand experience with the winds, waves, tides and currents that modify the shore in order to overcome the assumptions of hardening techniques and design living shorelines. This studio works closely with LAR 632.
This course is the first in a cartography sequence that refines mapping as both a technique of inquiry and a legacy of landscape-making. The objective of Cartography I: Mapmaking is to explore techniques found in the overlap between georeferenced datasets and modeling software including but not limited to analytic diagrams, temporal montage and projection by surface. Using a hands-on approach, workflow encourages a telescopic reading of land-based systems informed at a variety of scales. Both communication and analytical skills are paired with the mechanics of technique. This course works closely with Studio LAR 601 and integrates weekly lectures with technical workshops.
The objective of Cartography II: Soil Making is to explore the link between how we sense the world and how we design it, using the soil as medium and agent. The course aims to evolve site-grading beyond its technical function as a topographic exercise of cutting and filling. Grading is a holistic act that must consider specificity in living soils, from chemistry and composition to porosity, geology, clay crystals and earthly evolution. Students will work between physical experience and digital modeling techniques by combining fieldwork, weekly lectures, technical workshops and dialogues with the soil in-situ and underfoot.
This course frames emerging issues in ecology through the interdependence of plant and human life. Topics include the basics of botany, plant morphology, and horticultural techniques, as well as plants in the context of agriculture; plants as indicators of societal change; and plants in the anthropocene. Students will develop a range of applied skills through partnerships in fieldwork, planting design and practical excursions. Woody Plant Identification: Fall trees and shrubs is a topic of Field Ecology I. The course is a unique hybrid between applied science and design that combines the classroom with the field.
This course frames earthly issues through the specificity of biomes, the basic unit of studying ecological patterns in the landscape. Coursework is structured around risks that are specific to each biome; subsidence in aquatic lands, permafrost in tundra and drought in grasslands, in order to appreciate the impact of human-altered and disturbed land use. Students will develop a range of applied skills through partnerships, with a specific focus on practical excursions and applied pursuits related to spontaneous plants, restoration science and trends in design. Woody Plant Identification: Spring trees and shrubs is a topic of Field Ecology II.
Courses in landscape studies are uniquely taught as plenary lectures by a range of scholars. Landscape Studies I introduces the history and theory of landscape making through the lens of evolutionary theory. The course is research-based and introduces a scholarly appreciation of cultural landscapes with a particular focus on emergence: from the solar system, to land formation, the rise of land plants and cultivation. Students will develop sensitivity to how life on earth emerged while developing a nuanced approach to how landscape and science studies are mingled historically
This course will build upon LAR-651 which is a prerequisite. Courses in landscape studies are uniquely taught as plenary lectures by a range of scholars. Landscape Studies II expands the research skills gained in the first semester and finds focus in the foundations of American landscape architecture. As a result, the course considers the deficiency of present-day environmental history, in order to reconcile indigneous landscape practices with the politics and policies of conservation. Students will study exploitation and expansion, activism and advocacy, national parks and sacred space, across various media; from medicine, food, and poetry, to documentaries, animation, and archival materials.
The third semester core studio introduces students to the complexities of environmental justice in and around theve-Boroughs of New York with particular emphasis on Brooklyn. Structured as a two-part sequence within the second-year curriculum, Land Studio III focuses on community partnerships and land-based practices. Exploring a more accountable design agenda, in part 1 students will understand the cascade of issues related to a changing climate as a means to identify inequality and the disproportionate environmental burdens that can be addressed through the medium of landscape. In part two, students engage directly in issues including but not limited to seed sovereignty, airborne pollution, inadequate food supplies, and unsafe soils as a catalyst to civic dialogue, creative exploration, and co-creation. This studio works closely with LAR 731.
The fourth semester core studio refines the issues of environmental justice, health and well-being by enacting design at the scale of the large park. Starting with a series of studies that analyze urban biodiversity and contextual specic practices across a range of precedents, students design the potential of expansion and adaptive management in the large park by using Prospect Park in Brooklyn as a model. Parks are critical landscape infrastructure, and their legacy offers fertile ground for design in a changing climate. This studio speculated on expanding parkland, rather than restoring or renovating existing park space. Land Studio IV engages each student's capacity to work at different scales, from the Region to the Shore, the Borough to the Park, as telescopic thinking is a fundamental landscape methodology. This studio works closely with LAR-752.
Cartography III: Garden Making introduces the principles and techniques of planting design within a particular emphasis on change, time and labor. Students will study cultivation, irrigation, succession, and nursery markets at a variety of scales to reveal a timely approach to shaping public planted space. Lectures situate landscape architecture within a broad tradition of collaborative action that requires novel partnerships between keepers and their lands, plant-activists and the often-invisible work embedded in taking care. Practical techniques are expressed as a temporal cartography within a longstanding tradition of garden making, as students develop planting plans for public engagement by promoting techniques that consider plant-based time in relation to cycles of human management.
This course will build upon LAR-651 which is a prerequisite. Courses in landscape studies are uniquely taught as plenary lectures by a range of scholars. The third and final course in the sequence provides a framework for expanding landscape literacy through the lens of heritage-the historic effect of construction and planning on people and the profession, from slavery to womans rights, from carbon markets to diversity loss and climate activism. Landscape Studies III: Heritage presents a number of cases that explore the possibility of re-theorising heritage through histories of African-American and American Indian enclaves with an emphasis on clarifying the distinct and common spatial, environmental, and physical elements that give form and definition to place and cultural formation. The unique focus aligns with methods and practices in heritage with a focus on human health, safety, welfare.
The Professional Practice sequence comprises two courses, encompassing a comprehensive understanding of professional practice, and its relationship to the role of a landscape architect to realize design thinking through the phases of construction documentation and construction implementation. Professional Practice I: In the Field explores some of the applied facets of professional practice including performance evaluation, Urban ecosystems, grading, and remediation. This course uniquely engages students in context, using the City of New York to examine the design process forensically, following challenges and oversights in moving from construction details to material selection to actual constructability and the challenges of maintenance.
This course will outline the fundamentals of research in landscape studies, through the lens of design, ecology and history. It places the student experience at the center of the challenge by foregrounding case-studies from current events in the environment from fires to floods, migration to pandemics. Thus, Landscape Research I offers rotating topics depending upon the semester, which reflect the urgency of the times. Students will learn how to move between talking theory and actually putting it to use in research with a particular emphasis on expanding the relationship between archival resources and model making techniques. The course will provide an understanding of research approaches and skills, and invite analysis of different methods and means in the lineage of landscape architectural research, and its influences.
This is the second course in the Landscape Research Series. The course provides direction and support to students as they consider their own interest in the field, by developing a unique design process and methodology. Students will formulate a cohesive thesis question, refine an area of interest and propose a project using supportive research and case study references. Outcomes will further written, oral, visual and graphic communication through a variety of representational media, critical traditions, and landscape architectural and artistic conventions. Thus, Landscape Research II is designed as a preparatory platform for developing directed research projects, supplemented by periodic review for each individual or group project. The research will lend itself to describing meaningful, actionable design practices in order to answer what design is for, who it serves, what issues it addresses or covers up, its manifold environments and techniques, its spatial politics, and its desired outcomes.
The Directed Project Studio provides a platform for students to develop and articulate their own landscape oriented design practice. Projects examine landscape architectural topics, practices or sites that are undergoing transformation or under considerable pressures for change. In LAR 805, students take responsibility for their individual or collective topic, and will develop a collaborative, transdisciplinary, experimental and/or hands-on approach to the advocacy and communication of the design outcomes. The course can be taken as a single semester studio or structured as a two semester sequence.
The Directed Project Studio provides a platform for students to develop and articulate their own landscape oriented design practice. Projects examine landscape architectural topics, practices or sites that are undergoing transformation or under considerable pressures for change. In LAR80, students take responsibility for their individual or collective topic, and will develop a collaborative, transdisciplinary, experimental and/or hands-on approach to the advocacy and communication of the design outcomes. The course can be taken as a single semester studio or structured as a two semester sequence.
The courses in Professional Practice are linked as a two-part sequence across fourth and fifth semester. Professional Practice II: Ex Situ expands on the first-hand engagement with design projects gained in Part I, by advancing the drawing standards particular to construction documentation and administration. This course prepares students for professional practice in pre-construction design implementation, translating between design intent, actual linework and the limits of site engineering. In an era of climate change, this course will take particular focus on the evolution of standards over time, and the benefits or drawbacks of standard construction details versus custom build-outs. This course is an essential aspect of licensure and prepares students for a career in landscape architecture.