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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mary Susan Olmsted
ARCH 591
Seattle Campus

Architecture and Landscape

Advanced introduction to the relationships between buildings and places in the landscape with an emphasis on Western concepts of nature. A taxonomy of place as nature is developed. Ways in which the architect can design places that landscape taxonomy are explored.

Class description

Arch 591: Architecture in the Landscape engages students and allied professionals toward forming a collective understanding of architecture’s relationship to the landscape. Throughout the course we explore concepts of landscape from the ‘natural’ condition to the urban condition, with emphasis on the idea that landscape is a dynamic web of systems and patterns. Whether we are looking at the macro-scale or the micro-scale, urban or rural, architecture’s response to the landscape as part of a dynamic system is not only a matter of poetics and theory, but also a requisite for living in a healthy, sustainable world.

Student learning goals

The objective of Architecture in the Landscape is to emphasize the interconnectedness of architecture with natural, biological, and engineered systems that comprise the landscape, and to underscore the potential of architecture to engage these systems toward cultivating a sense of place and developing an appropriate environmental response.

We will establish a technical basis for understanding landscape as a set of dynamic processes and interrelated fields of study: soils, geology, hydrology, vegetation, climate, sun, wind, light, habitat, culture….

We will establish a theoretical basis, including narrative, attitudes, ideas, discussion and inspiration, central to forming an approach to placemaking in the landscape

We will explore case studies to illustrate the application of technical and theoretical design concepts in generating site-based architectural responses.

General method of instruction

instructor lectures, guest lectures, field trips, readings and discussion

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Mary Susan Olmsted
Date: 03/15/2008