Iain M Robertson
L ARCH 322
Traditional ways plants are used in landscape design. Composition and design characteristics of plant materials. Technical considerations for selection, climate, cultural suitability, availability, costs, and maintenance. Open to nonmajors.
COURSE LEARNING OBJECTIVES 1 to practice the art and science of observation or 'seeing' * inferring site and functional conditions and design considerations from observing plants in diverse landscapes. * infer design principles from observing people/plant interactions
2 to increase familiarity with the diversity of common landscape plants (not to learn to identify plants) * develop a 'vocabulary' and 'grammar' i.e. a conceptual classification system for thinking about plants as a design medium.
3 to understand the design implications of the medium- * working with living, growing, changing plants and designing living systems rather than inanimate objects.
4 to observe plants and design contexts from multiple perspectives and to begin to integrate and synthesize these perspectives *plant needs & site/environmental conditions * human functional spatial needs * human perceptual and aesthetic responses * ecological implications
5 to develop your spatial Intelligence and design skills * the ability to see and analyze existing spaces * the ability to conceive and create new spaces with plants
6 to practice using your experiences and observations to create designs * the ability to convey conceptual planting designs through simple graphics/models and verbal presentations.
7 to begin to develop a design philosophy based on healthy environments and landscape stewardship.
8 to enjoy the opportunity to observe plants and landscape spaces
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
COURSE FORMAT & METHODS Introduction to planting design is a design class. Design is learned through active practice not passive instruction--'thinking by doing'. The course is interactive and includes: slide lectures; in-class discussions and in-class exercises; campus field trips; student presentations; weekly exercises and reading; and a mid-term and final design project. Filed trips are integral to the course--come prepared to go outside rain or shine--and all points in between.
COURSE WEB SITE The course web site contains extensive notes. These are merely words, a pale substitute for the ‘real thing’--plants and landscapes. The course requires you to ‘read’ in two ways: written words and the landscape and plants. Weekly ‘reading the landscape’ exercises are a central component of the course. They require you to observe plants and design situations in the field and record your findings graphically and in notes.
An open and lively mind, willing to engage and experiment with deisgn concepts and eager to explore plants in the living landscape on our doorstep and beyond.
Class assignments and grading
COURSE CONTENT Introduction to Planting Design explores plants as a ‘design medium’—the variable, pliant, but not always compliant, material out of which designs are formed. It considers the distinctive qualities (opportunities and constraints) of plants as a design medium and the design implications of the fact that plants are living, growing things that continually change through interactions with, and responses to, environmental conditions.
Because plants are alive planting design is fundamentally different from designing with non-living materials. * Designs made of plants are never static--they are dynamic, changing, responsive and evolving. * Planting design is the design of dynamic, changing, growing systems not the placement of static objects. * Designs composed of plants are never ‘finished’ in the way that one might finally complete a design made of non-living materials. * Unlike designers using non-living materials, designers creating designs with plants are never totally ‘in charge’--the medium has a mind of its own! Thus the course advocates a flexible, interactive approach to working with this design medium--a ‘design partnership’ with plants.
Introduction to Planting Design is a spatial design class. It explores the design of space created by plants and sequential experiences of moving through space and among plants. Introduction to Planting Design also considers physiological, horticultural and ecological factors that affect plant growth. The course integrates the design manipulation of plants to create functional and pleasing spaces with the fact that the medium is an interactive component of living ecosystems. Designs composed of plants must consider biological and ecological implications as well as functional, spatial, and aesthetic implications.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING Weekly assignments (due M of following week) 50% In-class exercises 10% Midterm exercise (an experiential planting design) 20% Final Exam/exercise 20%
Weekly exercises record the plant- and design-related observations you make ‘in the field’ i.e. outside. Use three UNLINED 8.5 x 11 sheets. Planting design observations must focus on the weekly theme. Put your name on the FRONT of each page, number pages, label the week’s theme clearly. Late submissions will NOT be accepted without prior agreement.