This course introduces a design methodology for landscape architecture that emphasizes the design of living systems and dynamic landscape processes in dialogue with the environmental sciences. With a focus on translating and synthesizing scientific information through rigorous drawing and critically engaging with the primary matter of landscapes over time, this course teaches core tools of the discipline.
The Foundation Studio I in the autumn semester 2023 engages with a limestone quarry just 20 km from Zurich’s urban center, at the northeastern terminus of the calcareous Jura mountains. Throughout the semester, students situate the quarry in the local climatic, geologic, hydrological, pedological and vegetative processes, and make proposals that respond to the specific material and ecological potentials in the exhausted quarry landscape, with a focus on the rich relationships enabled by its converging conditions. Rather than cementing these relations into a fixed form, the studio instead looks toward a garden, where simple interventions and practices of management enable collaborations between living systems of plants, animals, soil, water, organisms, climate, geology and humans that can unfold over time. By directing existing flows and energies, a garden has the potential to be in conversation with its larger context and, always in process, to take on an evolving form that emerges from the relations that constitute it.
This studio builds on a series of precise exercises on climate, water flow and topography, soils, plants and ecology, linked to the fundamental module courses in the MScLA program. Each exercise provides a particular lens on the site and the relations which shape it. By rigorously translating information through drawing, we open up new potentials for design, leading to unexpected discoveries and enabling proposals grounded in the existing conditions of the site.
The reader is handed out during the first week of the semester. Relevant literature is included in the reader
The semester is composed of six modules, which are linked to the respective fundamental course, and a synthesis module:
- “Climate”, 25–28.09.2023
- “Soill”, 02–05.10.23
- “Water”, 09–12.10.2023
- “Plant Systematics I”, 16–20.10.23
- “Plant Ecology”, 30.10–09.11.23
- “Materials & Construction I”, 13–23.11.2023
- “Synthesis”, 28.11.–20.12.23
In addition to the design professors, external experts of diverse fields will advise and support the students during the development of their design. The organization of the course intends to have lectures and other theoretical inputs in the morning (fundamental courses) and to deal with the same topics in more discursive way in the design studio in the afternoon.