LAR 1XXX/GXXX Introduction to Landscape Architecture
CRN XXXXX | Spring 20XX| Turner St. LAR Studio; F 8-11:50 a.m.
Sara Lamb, MLA, CELA
Landscape Architecture Program
Student Hours: MW 2-5 pm or by appointment
What is Landscape Architecture? Together, we will explore the provocative question that has persisted in our discipline since modern recorded history and scholarly inquiry related to the profession.
In this course, we are a learning community. I will lead the course through a combination of a/synchronous in-class activities, videos, lectures and discussions. We are here for your learning and it’s my intention to show you a fresh take on the profession. Dare, I say it might be fun. Either way, students are expected to come to class ready to engage and learn, to contribute to discourse, and to complete high quality research and deliverables.
- Students will learn the history, trends, & style of Landscape Architecture and garden design since ancient times.
- Students will become well versed in the critical issues in the discipline of landscape architecture.
- Students will be able to confidently identify and evaluate exemplary sustainable SITES landscape projects.
- Students will understand what is landscape architecture and feel confident to engage in discourse related to the discipline.
No additional requirements for this course beyond the program’s computer requirement. If access to technology is a challenge or barrier, please see me and we can work together to figure out a solution.
Students from all disciplines across campus are welcome to enroll in or audit the course. No background or prerequisites required. Only curiosity and willingness to learn.
None. It is my pedagogical philosophy to not require texts which could be an economic barrier to quality education. This is especially true for an introductory course when there are plenty of diverse, credible open-source resources available through the library and internet.
Evaluation and Expectations
- Students are expected to be present, contribute to and participate in class each week.
- This is a professional environment and students are expected to treat each other with professionalism and respect.
- Students are expected to come prepared to class able to take notes and sketch.
- Grading and assessments will be evaluated based on each student’s starting point, growth and understanding of the course material. Projects, homework, and in-class activities will be evaluated based on criteria defined in each assignment’s problem statement and rubric.
- Student work is expected to be unique and individual unless otherwise specified by the problem statement.
Required Course Assignments
Individual Student Research Projects
Each student will be given the opportunity to select a history of landscape architecture and garden design research topic to explore and deliver as short 10-minute presentation to the class. The specifics of the project will be delivered in the problem statement, with project guidelines and assessment rubric.
Individual Case Study Review
Each student will select a site from the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Landscape Performance Series to study, review, and share with the class in lieu of a final exam. The specifics of the project will be delivered in the problem statement, with project guidelines and assessment rubric.
Graduate Literature Review
Graduate students will select an individual topic of interest for exploration in the course. Topics should be selected that reflect each student’s research and design interests. It should be composed using APA formatting and citations. A minimum of 15 scholarly, peer-reviewed sources is required for the final paper. The specifics of the literature review will be delivered in the problem statement, with project guidelines and assessment rubric.
Final Self-Assessment (Dear Ms. Lamb Letter)
Each student will write a reflective, self-evaluation of their work and participation in the course this semester in the form of a letter. Consider your engagement with the course materials, with the quality of your formal assignments, and what you have learned in the course.
I am interested in five things:
1. How have you personally explored the discipline of landscape architecture?
2. How has your understanding of landscape architecture changed?
3. What topics or areas of discussion were the easiest and most difficult to discuss?
4. How do you position yourself as a prospective designer and landscape architect?
5. Please share with me your thoughts and suggestions on the course that can be helpful for future semesters. Think about the sequence of topics, assignments, supplemental reading and videos. Tell me what worked for you, what didn’t, and why.
Specific instructions for the Final Self-Assessment will be given three weeks prior to the conclusion of the term.
|Individual Student Research Projects||20%||20%|
|Individual Case Study Review||20%||20%|
Special Needs & Accommodations
This course is designed to be accessible for all students. Adherence to Virginia Tech’s University Accommodations of Persons with Disabilities Policy and Procedures. Students who need accommodations must contact the appropriate offices and instructor in advance to ensure that ADA and Accessibility Services (ADAAS) accommodations can be arranged. After you’ve done that, please come talk to me. We will get your needs met.
Services for Students with Disabilities (540) 231-3788, TTY (540) 231-1740, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia Tech Honor Code
“As a Hokie, I will conduct myself with honor and integrity at all times. I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor will I accept the actions of those who do.”
Weekly Semester Schedule*
*Subject to Change or Revision
Week 1 Housekeeping & Course Overview
Syllabus and calendar review, define learning objectives, and discussion of honor policy.
Introduction to Landscape Architecture Course Teaser.
“I want to be a Landscape Architect” video https://youtu.be/zbx3FDDNeQM
Week 2 Theory & Framing
Environmental Framework & Human Impacts
Landscape Architecture Theory
TEDxCharlottesville|Thomas Woltz: From Landscape Architecture to Conservation Agriculture https://youtu.be/9VlY-3V63yI
TEDxMiddlebury | Adrian Benepe: Reanimating Public Space Through Sustainable Design https://youtu.be/nkDgxsyZsrY
Introduce Individual Student Research Project & Schedule Individual Student Meetings
Week 3 History & Style
Introduction to Landscape Architecture History & Style
Meet-Your-Expert-Librarian & Library Resources Tour
Workshopping Individual Student Research Projects
Graduate Students: Introduce Literature Review Project & Schedule Individual Student Meetings
Week 4 Landscape & Natural Resources
Agriculture & Forestry
Mining & Extraction
TEDxStuttgart | Antje Stokman: Designing Extreme Landscapes
Introduce Final Project
Week 5 Climate & Microclimate
Student Research Reports: Ancient Far East – Japan; Ancient Far East – China
Global Climate (Change)
Understanding Nuance & Microclimate
Week 6 Human Factors in Landscape Architecture
Student Research Reports: Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome
Behavior & Environment
Biophilia | Aesthetics
Week 7 Landscape Planning
Student Research Reports: Ancient Islamic Landscapes, Medieval Europe
Zoning & Policy
Week 8 Site Planning
Student Research Reports: The French Renaissance, The Spanish Renaissance
Site Design Process
Week 9 Design Theory
Student Research Reports: The English Renaissance, Colonial Landscapes
Design with Nature
Sustainability, Resilience, Regeneration
Video| Biomimicry and Landscape Architecture https://youtu.be/NlrodpEsRpU
Week 10 Housing & Streets
Student Research Reports: Indigenous Landscapes, African/Slave Landscapes
Video | Urban Sprawl: Which U.S. City Sprawls the Most?
Video | Michael Pollan: Why is America Obsessed with Lawns?
Streets & Circulation
Video | Revisiting Donald Appleyard’s Livable Streets
TED Video: Ron Finley | A guerilla gardener in South Central LA
Week 11 Urban Parks & Recreation
Student Research Reports: Early Urban Public Parks, Contemporary Urban Public Parks
Understanding Parks & Pubic Space
Week 12 Plants & Planting Design
Student Research Reports: State Parks, National Parks
Planting Design Theory
Ecological Planting Design
Common Nursery/Garden Center Plants
Week 13 Landscape Engineering
Student Research Reports: Arboretums, Campus Design
Grading & Drainage
Introduce the Final Self-Assessment (Dear Ms. Lamb Letter)
Week 14 Critical Landscape Architecture
Student Research Reports: Monuments, Memorials
Public Memory & Contested Landscapes
Landscapes of Oppression
Designing for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Video | Kona Gray, ASLA: Designing for Diversity and Diversity in Design
Developing a Critical Lens
Week 15 Sustainable SITES & Beyond
Contemporary Landscape Architecture
Overview of Useful Data Resources & Tools
Sustainable SITES | Landscape Architecture Foundation Landscape Performance Series | https://www.landscapeperformance.org/
Lady Bird Wildflower Center | https://www.wildflower.org/
U.S. National Vegetation Classification |
Web Soil Survey |
FEMA Flood Map Service | https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch
Coastal Barrier Resources System Mapper |
NOAA Climate Normals |
Week 16 Exam Week – Finals: Case Study Pin-Up & Share-Out
Final Self-Assessment (Dear Ms. Lamb Letter) Due
Case Study Final Project Due
Graduate Students: Literature Review Due
“And so we come full circle.
What, again, is the work
of the landscape architect?
It is believed
that the lifetime goal and work
of the landscape architect
is to help bring people,
the things they build,
their communities, their cities
–and thus their lives–
Into harmony with the living earth.”John Ormsbee Simonds / Landscape Architecture: A Manual of Site Planning and Design (p.392)