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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Iain M Robertson
L ARCH 300
Seattle Campus

Introductory Landscape Architecture Design Studio

Introduction to history and environmental influences in field while developing design and graphic skills. Site analyses and drawing to convey design concepts. Relationship of visual perception to drawing, role of values in design, verbal communication, and behavioral analysis of design process. Required for admission to Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program.

Class description

This is an introduction to landscape design, the class will include: * in-class design exercises and longer take-home projects which students will work on individually and in groups. * presentations of work to each other, the larger group and to selected guests * basic graphics and model building instruction and practice * local, urban and rural field trips including analysis of selected built design--our local and regional landscape will be our laboratory, classroom and studio for exploration

As noted before design is learned by doing, and the class will be structured around active design explorations rather than lectures.

* reflection-- no exercise is complete without thoughtful reflection on what one learned, one's successes and failures, future opportunities, and the work of others, reflections in student notebooks will be a crucial part of course work.

Student learning goals

develop observational skills in the classroom and "reading the landscape" (spatial, behavioral, ecological, socio-cultural aspects of the landscape)

develop graphic and model-building 2D and 3D communication skills

develop analytical skills looking at sites and design programs

develop conceptual skills--spatial design concepts and design development

develop synthetic and integrative skills and abilities--synthesizing design solutions

practice and understand the iterative spatial design process

General method of instruction


This is a DOING class: trial and test; act and reflect; make & assess; &, dare we say it?, it is an act first, think later class, &

This is an INTERMIXING, not a linear, class: all components in our practice of design will be intermixed rather than separately or sequentially examining skills & subject areas of design--social, ecological, artistic, etc., &

This is an ITERATIVE class: reiterating the design process several times--getting progressively more complex problems and producing better-developed solutions, &

This is a SYNTHESIS & INTEGRATIVE class: combining, interconnecting and interweaving skills and experience ever more richly, & These DESCRIPTIONS of the class may be confusing and opaque but, we trust, will become, with practice, transparent elucidations, &

This is an EXPLORATORY class, in which we succeed by taking risks; celebrating the process as much as the products; engaging with and learning from each other; and, dare we say it? (sure we do), having fun in our explorations!

This class has two REQUIREMENTS: you must surprise yourself afresh each & every week, & you must collect your work in a real or virtual portfolio to demonstrate your development and to apply for admission to design programs.

Recommended preparation


Class assignments and grading

Design studio work is graded on products and process/performance. Exercises vary from brief to weeks-long and from abstract design principles to design for "real-world" sites. The class will focus as much (or more) on developing robust, flexible and successful design processes as it will on the quality of products. The goal of the class is to become familiar with the process of spatial design in the landscape rather than focus on the products.

GRADING Place ex 5% Issued 22 June Reviewed 24 June Project 1 design for a small local site 20% Issued 27 June Reviewed 18 July Project 2 design in a natural setting 20% Issued 18 July Reviewed 1 Aug Bloedel Reserve exercise 5% Issued 20 July Reviewed 22 July Project 3 design in an urban context 20% Issued 8 Aug Reviewed 12 Aug Weekly notebook reflections 30% Notebooks assessed twice during quarte

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 Iain M Robertson
Date: 06/20/2011