The ground is rarely if ever Isotropic; rather, when breaking ground, landscape architects are often asked how to imbue a site with an ordered grain or anisotropy in response to the many factors of ecology, movement, time and of course the surrounding built realm. The landscape as a field condition can be designed in a way that it is responsive to these conditions while maintaining its own internally composed resonance as a system; calibrating itself such that it calls out the internal logics of its structure as well as its existence within the larger balance of the site. The landscape architect has the ability to use the order established in the ground’s geometry as a device to communicate the larger conceptual ambitions of the project, which can be anything from the existing ecology of the site to a patterning intended for a greater design purpose.
As designers, we have an understanding that the ‘natural landscapes’ produced within the landscape discipline are embedded below the visual spectrum with controlled order at the level of the ecologies and processes that inform their outward appearance. Whether designing with pencil and paper, CAD or digital drafting techniques it is the responsibility of the designer to be defensible for the formal geometries that he/she establishes in their project as these visual characteristics will in turn be registered by the ecologies and people who interact with these creations over several life-cycles.
One of the complexities of landscape architecture is the inevitability of confronting the curve as a tool in grading terrain. Designing with the curve has evolved over time from the use of “french curves” drafting implements to flexible rulers to now the CAD techniques. While a curve by definition is merely a 2dimensional expression of a line that modulates its vectorial direction; we can examine that different curves suscribe to rules. Often used for the affects of “organic,” “smooth” and to express “flow” the curve does not need to achieve these affects without an established grammar or order. One of the goals of this session is for students to recognize the fundamenatal difference in ordering curvature using the systems of CAD curves such as the bezier in lieu of less systematicly driven splines, which lack geometry and are equivalent to the sketch.
This course will seek to imbue students with knowledge of contemporary digital tools in order to establish an ownership of the way a designer can inscribe a project with an underlying systemic order. The lecture content will seek to supplement the workshops to demonstrate that though new tools are available the idea of linking the geometry of the ground to the greater systems of the site is a time honored process employed within the discipline and we will look at projects such as a wave pattern processes derived by Eisenman/Olin for Emory University in order to solidify these techniques within the context of historical discourse.