Academic Catalog 2022-2023

Landscape Architecture (LAR)

LAR-601  Land Studio I: Region  - (5 Credits)  

This first semester core studio introduces students to design strategies and techniques in the design of urban public spaces. Structured as a 2 part sequence, the course focuses on the fundamentals of landscape-based interventions within an urban context including scale, orientation, materiality, enclosure, typology, natural systems and vegetation, topographic design, pedestrian and vehicular circulation and basic ecological principles as spatial determinants in the landscape medium. The course provides rudimentary information in the evaluation and testing of the projects in their potential performance as types of carbon sinks, as a response to the climate crisis.

LAR-602  Land Studio II: Shore  - (5 Credits)  

This second semester core design studio explores the design and transformation of an urban waterfront site with a history of contamination into a public park. Through design of both process and form, students will investigate the study area's ecological and hydrological and cultural systems, complex boundaries and deep sectional site history, balancing the toxic / contamination / degradation legacies of the past with ambitious ideas of the future in an era of climate crisis and environmental justice. Analysis of these factors at both an ecosystem and site scale will further inform the design interventions. In teams, students will develop a responsive framework at the overall study area scale, reinforcing and shaping the critical dynamics that link a design site and its larger context. Students will develop a guiding concept that informs the design of a park, with a strong emphasis on the needs of local residents, many of whom live with the historical patterns of inequity and environmental injustice. Required elements include specific program spaces and structures, organizational systems of circulation, processes of mitigation and remediation, community participation / engagement, addressing water edge conditions, and strategies of ecological repair. LA512 and LA532 will support the studio.

LAR-611  Drawing and Mapping  - (4 Credits)  

This course is a critical inquiry into landscape drawing, overview of its history, techniques, and conventions. The first semester of the representation sequence will introduce orthographic projection techniques in the form of elevations, sections and contours to produce measured line drawings and maps. The studio will work in analog (drafting) and digital formats to explore survey methods, notational concepts, and diagrams as well as hand sketching techniques. Landscape architects communicate and generate concepts through the act of drawing. The communication and analytic skills as well as drawing techniques acquired in this course may be utilized throughout the landscape architecture curriculum and in professional practice.

LAR-612  Landform and Process  - (3 Credits)  

This course is a critical inquiry into landscape drawing, overview of its history, techniques, and conventions. The second semester of the representation sequence will introduce landform concepts through the study and analysis of historic precedents. Though analytic plan and section drawings the studio will explore the design of landscapes as it relates to the human body in space, movement and vision in the framework of formal gardens or courts (European and Non-Western) and the Picturesque/Sublime movements. The studio will work in analog (drafting) and digital formats to explore perspective projection methods, concepts of scale, and vanishing points/ horizon lines as well as hand sketching techniques. Landscape architects communicate and generate concepts through the act of drawing. The communication and analytic skills as well as drawing techniques acquired in this course may be utilized throughout the landscape architecture curriculum and in professional practice.

LAR-631  Dynamic Systems, Plant Ecol. and People  - (3 Credits)  

The Landscape Workshop sequence comprises four compendium courses, undertaking a comprehensive, interdisciplinary study of ecosystems, their interrelated human communities, and the role of design in improving the health and performance of those ecosystems. Workshop 1 examines in detail ecology in an urban context, framed by the non-equilibrium paradigm that posits that open, dynamic systems constantly adapt to change / disturbance, and that situates humans as an integral part of the \"natural\" world.

LAR-632  Ecotones, Working With Water, Topography  - (4 Credits)  

Landscape Workshop 2 focuses on coastal ecologies, and the landscape and design responses to climate crisis through resilience, adaptation,and associated methods of mitigation. The course explores an exemplar site of the outer Atlantic Coastal Plain around the New York Bight, highlighting the diversity of regional plant communities and hydrologic conditions. Through research and analysis of the interconnections between the underlying geology, topography, hydrology, soils, vegetation, wildlife, and human interventions, including small scale case studies in grading, plant science and hydrology, the course reveals patterns reflecting process and demonstrates a range of techniques and technologies of intervention.

LAR-651  Landforms: History and Theory of Landscape Design From Prehistory to the Baroque  - (3 Credits)  

This course is a foundation and introduction to the history and theory of landscape. The course will take an expanded approach to the history of landscape, beginning with human's capacity for wholesale, radical a transformation of landscape with agriculture in the Fertile Crescent over 10,000 years ago.

LAR-652  History and Theory of Modern Landscape Theory of Modern Landscape  - (3 Credits)  

As the second class in the history and theory of landscape design sequence, this course will introduce students to the transformations of nature/culture relationship and their impact on landscape during the Modern period.

LAR-703  Land Studio III: Borough  - (5 Credits)  

This studio brings together both two-year and three-year MLA students for a landscape design problem originating at the level of a region, a territory of indeterminate boundary, defined by shared history, geography, social and cultural parameters. Using a systemic approach of studying multiple natural and social processes across the region, the design response will be multi-scalar, including human, site, and regional activations. Foregoing the dichotomies of urban, suburban, rural, etc., the course is focused on studying region-specific issues related to the climate crisis, including sea level rise, ecological and economic degradation, energy self- sufficiency, loss of biodiversity and environmental injustice, among others. Working closely with local stakeholders, through careful consideration of a range of possibilities and repercussions of the spatial impacts of these forces, the course will address the design of social and spatial ecological corridors, while developing conceptual position on philosophical and aesthetic questions about ecology and infrastructure.

LAR-704  Land Studio IV: Park  - (5 Credits)  

The fourth and final semester for the core Landscape Architecture sequence looks at the potential of landscape architecture in a global context. The course focuses on the role of landscape as determinant, regulator and mitigator of a range of urban socio-natural systems, in which design is inextricable from the effects of climate change. Looking to the transdisciplinary nature of intervening within cities and their environs, the course addresses the destabilization and degradation of a range of contemporary issues such as biodiversity, energy, hydrology, housing, mobility, food and public health. Intended as an exploration of a deep landscape section, the course explores design strategies with the goal of maintaining a net zero site carbon exchange.Students explore the operative potential of multi scalar, ecological frameworks for designing robust urbanized landscapes and public spaces. The course is assembled with significant participation of local partners - city governments, planning departments, local universities, humanitarian and community groups.

LAR-711  Narratives and Time  - (3 Credits)  

The third semester of the representation sequence will emphasize field-as-studio to produce still photographs, digital film (film/video) and documentation as a means to discover narratives, social dynamics and ecologies in urban boundaries. The field-as-studio encourages production of work on-site, outside and beyond the academic- studio setting. Representational techniques from all three semesters will be deployed to promote community engagement in the design process as well as remote sensing technology. The studio will explore emerging, technological and social, representational methods such as aerial photography, remote sensing and the participatory design process. The communication and analytic skills as well as drawing techniques acquired in this course may be utilized throughout the landscape architecture curriculum and in professional practice.

LAR-731  Diverse Landscapes, Integrated Thinking  - (4 Credits)  

Landscape Workshop 3 focuses on the regional ecologies of the Mid Atlantic Coastal Plain stretching to the Atlantic Piedmont. Plants will be considered both as individual elements and as part of larger dynamic systems. Ecological plant communities ranging from pine-oak forest to Atlantic white cedar swamp, beech-oak forest to tidal freshwater marsh, serpentine Virginia pine-oak forest to seepage wetland, and more, will be covered, highlighting geology and topography. The natural distribution of plants, concepts of plant community and successional patterns, and the relationship of planting and topography will be used as the initial framework for plant exploration. Planting design typologies will be examined as an outgrowth of these 'natural' patterns. Basic techniques and strategies of grading design (slopes, terraces, water management, grade change devices) will be introduced, practiced and reinforced.

LAR-751  Systems: Landscape As Cultural Ecology  - (3 Credits)  

As the third class in the history and theory of landscape design sequence, this course will introduce students to the transformations of landscape after World War II. Beginning with the evolution of ecology as a field from the 19th century onwards the course will examine focus on theories of landscape from 1950's to the present, beginning with the ecological turn introduced by Ian McHarg through landscape urbanism and ecological urbanism and beyond. Examination of the works of thinkers such as Buckminster Fuller and Stewart Brand, together with pioneers of ecological and design thinking like Rachael Carson, Lawrence Halprin, Rosa Kliass, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, Richard Foreman, Donna Haraway, Gregory Bateson, Murray Bookchin, Adrian Greuze, with historians and theorists Elizabeth Meyer, Alessandra Ponte, Julia Czerniak, Saskia Sassen, Nina- Marie Lister, Anita Berrizbeitia, Peter Del Tredici and Christopher Hight among others. The course is intended as the third in the required sequence in the history and theory of landscape design.

LAR-772  Equity into Design  - (3 Credits)  

Landscape architectural history, despite its long duration, has morphed from agriculture to gardens to public space and city-making. and yet its full history -and for that matter, all design history - is still in the making. This course looks closely at the work and influences of some of the least studied figures of landscape architecture and its affiliated practitioners including women and people of color, with a particular focus on unravelling the landscape histories of long duration colonization. It considers geographies of injustice and ecological activism in the Global South as well as in the diasporic north. The course will examine case studies of figures and sites ranging from practical to projective, with characteristics including the historical, vernacular, infrastructural, local, and indigenous to the political and territorial. The study of these figures, practices, resources and geographies will reveal contested sites and cultures. sites which sponsor an ongoing transition between traditional values and modes of operation, to visionary ones leading toward equity and regenerative development - as manifested through landscape intervention such as reforestation, repatriation, regenerative agriculture, and remediation. Systems of colonization traditionally instituted in the Modern era may still be heavily engraved in the cultural and ecological landscapes of the Global South, even where control has dissolved. The course aims to consider the ecologic and cultural landscape implications of these colonizing processes, and learn to decode and unravel themon multiple levels - ownership, stakeholdership, extraction, development, climate change, regeneration, and design.

LAR-773  Carbon and Design  - (3 Credits)  

We are nearing the point of no return when it comes to reversing or even mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. We have exceeded the projected tipping point of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide (CO2) and are now at 400 parts per million, heating up our land, air, ice, and oceans with the equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day. Global ocean temperatures are now one degree Celsius higher than they were 140 years ago. As landscape architects, what can we do through design and advocacy to keep these scenarios from playing out? Invited guest speakers, scientists, engineers, journalists, experts in economics and social justice, key readings and research will help the seminar explore a range of strategic options.