LA 103/103L Landscape Design Methods

Spring 2018

Expanded course description:

Swimming in Process

LA 103L is a process-based studio course where the process of design thinking is deeply explored.  Many methodologies are explored to reveal the numerous approaches by which landscape can be formed, programmed and experienced. 

“The land we inhabit is an accumulation of past events we can make visible by means of landscape architecture… It assumes that we think of the discipline of landscape architecture as involving not only the planting of certain forms of flora or the shaping of geography toward scenic ends but also the acts of digging, naming, articulating, and otherwise clarifying what already exists. This is not a question of telling some great truth. In digging and naming, landscape architecture alters the field on which it operates in such a manner that there is no question of a neutral act of making clear what already exists. Instead, the designer is able to reveal structures that exist only in the act of interpretation and making.”

– Aaron Betsky

Studio Issues:

Body and Space

Scale and Distance

Iterative Design Process

Landscape Representation

Foundational Principles of Design

Operational Morphology and Strategy

Studio Project Phases:

Project ONE

Form to Ground

This first project engages an iterative design process which explores the principles of design through fundamental relationships of landscape spatial definition. This five-part series of landscape exploration challenges studio participants to work quickly in an informed manner. 

Field Trip 

Between here and the Horizon

The studio will take a weeklong field trip.  This trip is specifically engaged to visit sites to inform the final project. The trip will have a set of rigorous design explorations that explore natural phenomena and the measurement of the body against the horizon.

Project TWO 

Landscape Immersion

In this second project, students will explore fundamental landscape design relationships as informed by a prescribed process and design program.  This second project is site-less but informed by landscape experience.  This project is intended to leverage previous studio experiences of physical making of space inspired by response and experiences of the field trip.

Online Studio Portfolio

Students are expected to produce individual design journals/portfolios for the studio project that highlights the design process and Indi dual responses. These project portfolios will be built on the ENV website in each student’s personal profile. 

Sketch Book

Studio participants are expected to maintain a sketchbook or journal.



High levels of EXPRESSION generate responses of high VALUE.


Catalog Description

Techniques for organizing and synthesizing varied elements in the shaping of landscape form; recognition of major design determinants and the role of landscape architects and other professionals in dealing with diverse aspects of design, stressing application of ideas through construction of full-scale experimental projects.

Prerequisite(s): LA 102/102L , with a grade of C or better.
Component(s): 1 one-hour lecture, 2 three-hour laboratories.