Landscape Construction Topographic Design
- 3 units
Several of the most fundamental and ubiquitous of all the design skills the landscape architect must master are site grading, drainage design, and the onsite management of stormwater. Landscape Intervention: Construction Methods teaches basic grading, design of drainage systems, and stormwater management, along with some basic construction topics. This diverse course also covers cut and fill calculations, soil compaction, concrete construction joint placement, site survey, model making, contour maps, watershed area definition, and basic road design.
- 507Theories of Computer TechnologyTheories of Computer TechnologyBuilding information modeling (BIM) is one of the hottest topics in the architecture / engineering / construction profession (AEC) today. Learn what it is (3d parametric modeling), common software tools (this class concentrates primarily on Revit Architecture and some Navisworks), how it relates to sustainable design issues (Vasari and Green Building Studio), and why it is useful to the AEC industry (including being able to create awesome adaptive components!). Although offered in the School of Architecture, the techniques taught are equally applicable to others with an interest in the applications of BIM. Building science majors, structural engineering students, construction management students, and others are strongly encouraged to enroll. It is assumed that students already have a basic understanding of 2D CAD and 3D digital modeling.
- 530Landscape Architecture PracticeLandscape Architecture PracticeThe purpose of this course is an introduction to the practice of Landscape Architecture. Topics include the expansive knowledge necessary to engage in all levels of practice from entry level designer to sole proprietor of a small business. Regardless of the size and type of practice landscape designers and architects need a working command of the principles of successful practice. Students will learn basic principles of practice organization, management, ethics and culture. Topics include history of the profession, practice management, project management, risk management, business and practice ethics, licensure, marketing and the laws and guidelines that guide landscape architecture. Guest lecturers and field trips will illustrate the importance of collaborative relationships between landscape architecture and the allied professions of architecture, urban design, civil engineering and planning. Students will develop tools to think critically about their goals for practice type and structure.
- 531Urban EcologyUrban Ecology
With over 80 percent of the U.S. population living in urban areas, “cities” have become human’s new natural habitat. Landscape architects, architects, planners, geospatial analysts and other disciplines/professionals can play a key role in the creation of more “symbiotic cities”—places where people, plants, and other animals coexist. This shift necessitates a substantive understanding of the interwoven ecological, social-political and economic systems at play in urban areas. This course aims to expose students to a deeper understanding of the major concepts, principles and applications of ecology that are most relevant to the design and transformation of urban areas.
- 534Landscape Construction Topographic DesignLandscape Construction Topographic DesignSeveral of the most fundamental and ubiquitous of all the design skills the landscape architect must master are site grading, drainage design, and the onsite management of stormwater. Landscape Intervention: Construction Methods teaches basic grading, design of drainage systems, and stormwater management, along with some basic construction topics. This diverse course also covers cut and fill calculations, soil compaction, concrete construction joint placement, site survey, model making, contour maps, watershed area definition, and basic road design.
- 535Landscape Construction Performance ApproachesLandscape Construction Performance Approaches
Contemporary challenges—social and environmental—demand landscape architecture projects perform greater, more diverse and precise services, in addition to the typical amenities of a park. Simultaneously, a shortage of un-utilized space challenges the profession to provide even the most basic amenities within increasingly unorthodox sites. Landscape architecture has thus been forced to not only expand what performances it designs, but also innovate how and where. Today, it must seamlessly hybridize basic social services, such as recreation and safety, with complex environmental services, ranging from climate modification to waste management, all within unprecedented post-industrial or active infrastructural sites. This course seeks to prepare students for this complex challenge (and design opportunity) through a performance-oriented survey of innovative designed landscapes and specialized skill-building. Through biweekly lectures and discussion, guided field trips, and diagramming exercises, students will examine and critique the performance “systems” of innovative landscapes—internationally and locally. The goal is to construct a platform of perspective, technical knowledge, and field-cultivated experience from which to address the considerable challenge of designing, implementing, and maintaining high performance public landscapes.
- 536The Landscape Planning ProcessThe Landscape Planning ProcessStudents will develop an enhanced understanding of where landscape architecture (design) plays an imperative role in reconciling natural, social, cultural, political, and economic conflicts in cities; and where -- importantly -- it plays no role whatsoever. Certain methods (i.e., GIS) will be identified as a critical technical tool. Methods of assessing urban places regarding natural, social, cultural and political factors; identification of landscape architecture planning and project implementation issues and strategies.
- 537LPlant Ecology + IdentificationPlant Ecology + Identification
This course involves (1) the review of information found in plant physiology, and ecological principles and concepts of sustainability found in natural systems, (2) the study of native and introduced plant species and plant associations of Southern California and (3) calculations and data used to estimate water and energy use associated with urban landscapes. The primary purpose of this course is to develop a foundation for the design of urban landscapes that provide greater benefits and achieve higher levels of sustainability than current landscapes. Learning will be achieved through lectures, discussions, campus planting identification walks and field trips. Lectures will incorporate a series of weekly exercises and readings.
- 538LPlanting DesignPlanting Design
Landscapes are living systems that can contribute to the health and success of urban environments. This course focuses on the liveness of plant matter as a primary design medium of landscape architecture. Focusing on the cultural, aesthetic and performative roles of plants, the course asks students to develop planting designs and design methodologies for sustainable urban landscapes that benefit the more-than-human world. Investigating urban forestry techniques and their effects will require students study trees as critical urban infrastructures that can help achieve urban landscapes with increased levels of habitat diversity and ecosystem services.
- 539Media for Landscape ArchitectureMedia for Landscape Architecture
This course is designed to endow students with foundational authoring skills in digital media and analog processes with which to engage the materiality, spatiality and temporality of landscape while concurrently introducing the lineage of landscape representation and its theoretical foundations. Through iterative and translatory processes of making, students will develop the ability to operate between analog and digital processes, between two and three dimensions, between given and introduced conditions, between static and dynamic states, and across scales. Course readings and lectures will examine how certain techniques of imaging the biophysical world impact the way in which we interpret, understand and eventually shape our surroundings and how these techniques relate to larger conceptual shifts in our cultural imaginary.
- 540Topics in Media for Landscape ArchitectureTopics in Media for Landscape Architecture
In collaboration with biologists from USC Dornsife and technologists from a local startup, we will explore the ways in which biological and technological systems could be integrated through the design of new living media. The course will introduce new materials, fabrication and prototyping techniques to develop novel and cutting edge biodesign proposals, while exposing students to advanced research and design methods informed by current conversations within life sciences, biological design, synthetic biology, bio-arts, interaction design, and other relevant, emerging topics.
Functioning as a research-based design laboratory, and providing hands-on experience in iterative design, prototyping techniques, and digital fabrication methods, students will collaborate to construct a functional living prototype, which they will present as part of a team representing the University of Southern California at the BioDesign Challenge competition in NYC in June, 2020. Course readings and discussions will focus on the social and ethical issues behind biodesign, as well as the opportunities this emerging area of practice affords, particularly as it relates to current and impending environmental challenges.
- 541aLLandscape Architecture DesignLandscape Architecture Design
The first of the MLA 3’s core design studios, this course introduces the fundamental concepts, principles and elements of landscape architectural design and studio culture. Students conduct a variety of exercises to develop and coordinate a theory and practice of landscape architecture design, representation, and site engagement. Studio begins with introductory design exercises and site analysis and transitions into full-fledged site design. Expertise and skill are cultivated through drawing, site observations, and active discussions and include an immersive, multi-day, site visit to Catalina Island. The course seeks to cultivate a dynamic design dialogue—a dialectic—between our interventions, bodies, and the existing conditions. Along the way, students will learn and practice digital and analog drawing and modeling techniques in coordination with the required media class.
- 541bLLandscape Architecture DesignLandscape Architecture Design
As the density of modern cities compresses more and more on the public open spaces so integral to the well-being of their populations, the role of the landscape architect becomes increasingly vital to the development of viable schemes to maximize and enhance the parks and plazas that constitute the public realm. Additionally, it is arguably within the role of these designers to integrate, within their proposals, elements that will serve as markers or talismans of the history of the sites which, in the 21st century world, are being so rapidly redeveloped that the sense of the past is often irrevocably lost. This semester’s work will focus on the both the weaving of park and plaza space into the urban fabric, and the relevance of history, both local and typological, into these projects.
- 542aLLandscape Architecture DesignLandscape Architecture Design
Prerequisite(s): ARCH 541bL
This core studio jumps in scale from 541aL to tackle urban design that integrates landscape strategies to set the framework for new and existing urban districts and metropolitan agendas. Using landscape as multi-benefit infrastructure, the studio focuses on urban systems – physical, social, ecological, economic, political, technological – to imagine more just and resilient futures. These infrastructures aim to guide and organize future urbanization to arrive at more equitable metropolitan frameworks and healthful biophysical systems. Skill-building includes basics of urban design: massing, block typologies, circulation, etc, all while deploying landscape as the primary urbanistic medium. Methods of analysis and design include fieldwork, mapping (GIS), modeling and simulation, and scenario-building. Students are asked to engage with community organizations and policy-makers, with the hope of impact extending beyond the university.
- 542bLLandscape Architecture DesignLandscape Architecture Design
The final of the “core” studios, the scale moves into the territorial dimension, and tackles existential threats caused by one or more impacts of anthropocentrism – climate volatility, species extinctions, soil depletion, sea-level rise, air/water contamination, deforestation/desertification, etc. Working across scales, students will generate both site-specific strategies and replicable principles that can be deployed in multiple contexts. The studio will synthesize the material of landscape with economic, infrastructural, technological, scientific, social and cultural systems to generate ideas that have the potential for policy impact.
- 544Landscape as Urbanism: Case StudiesLandscape as Urbanism: Case Studies
Through the presentation of a case study index of cities and projects, this course situates the designed landscape as a framework and catalyst for urban form and process. In other words, it presents landscape as a medium of urbanism - embedded in processes of urbanization. The course starts with a historical review of the development of the profession of landscape architecture in the 19th- and early 20th-centuries, examining its evolution as fundamentally urban and infrastructural. This builds on knowledge gained in ARCH 565. It is then structured topically and geographically, focusing on a small number of cities each week to explore particular themes (scarcity, informality, wetness, etc). The final weeks transition from regional to planetary urbanization. This portion of the course explores landscape architecture’s role as a critical medium of cultural production that has the capacity to negotiate the increased scale and scope of anthropogenic impacts on the planet.
- 545Contemporary Theories of Landscape ArchitectureContemporary Theories of Landscape ArchitectureLandscape Architecture as a contemporary practice has its theoretical roots in multiple disciplines, drawing from geography, ecology, architecture, sociology and art. In the 20th century, the study of ‘landscape’ came to encompass not only designed landscapes created by architects or landscape architects but also the cultural landscapes of infrastructure, agriculture or industry. This breadth of cultural production and the lack of shared theoretical foundations can be at once freeing and destabilizing and requires working carefully and contextually. First, this course is an introduction to the writings and writers that comprise the core of what is understood to be landscape architectural theory. Second, this course focuses on the methodologies that makes text and reflective writing applicable to the work of design. In short, we will better understand how ideas make their way into the practice of landscape architecture and, in turn, inform the way we write and think about landscapes. The lectures of this class will be punctuated by guest practitioners who will discuss this cycle of reading, translation, design, reflection and writing.
- 546Topics in Landscape Architecture Issues and PracticesTopics in Landscape Architecture Issues and PracticesAnalysis and solutions conceptualization for a wide range of topics of public health related to land use and open space. Topics will include: air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, lack of open space, nature deficits, isolation and monotony, temperature rise, gun violence, drought and childhood diseases. The class will meet with public health faculty and researchers at the USC Keck School of Medicine, and make site visits to better understand the sites where health risks are in conflict with current and future land uses. Students will apply their research to selected sites analyzing issues of equity, disease and long term health costs and then develop conceptual guidelines to inform future policy development and site design. ARCH-546 may be repeated for a maximum of 6 units when topic is different.
- 547Advanced Topics in Urban EcologyAdvanced Topics in Urban Ecology
This course topically explores both the multiple human-caused impacts on the planetary environment – sea-level rise, increased wildfire, deforestation, habitat loss, etc. – and examines landscape architectural strategies and capacities to mitigate both the causes and the effects. The course splits time in the field, examining challenging landscapes and landscape interventions, and in the classroom, studying global challenges and landscape architectural applications.
- 548Media for Landscape Architecture 3D DesignMedia for Landscape Architecture 3D Design
As the second media requirement for landscape architecture, this course is aimed at introducing various physical, digital and spatial modeling methods as generative means of structuring design proposals. Through translatory processes of making – using physical, digital and durational media – students will develop techniques to explore both the expression and experience of landscape as a three-dimensional medium. The course focuses on the synergy between materiality, form, structure, surface and space, their processes of production and assembly, and the effects that the interaction between physical systems and landscape phenomena produce. The course is therefore organized into the following parts: the expression of landscape as three-dimensional form (physicality); the experience of being in and moving through landscape as a three dimensional space (immersion), tied together by the use of digital media as the means to move from physical models into spatio-temporal environments (translation). Students will gain skills in hand and digital modeling (Rhino + plug-ins), digital fabrication (3D printing, CNC milling), and animation (Lumion and similar).
- 565Global History of Designed LandscapesGlobal History of Designed Landscapes
Understanding of the global history of landscape design in relation to social, political, religious, environmental and aesthetic principles; current design theory, projects and their historical references are critically reviewed and analyzed.
- 566Cross-Cultural Topics in Landscape Architecture History (Bharne)Cross-Cultural Topics in Landscape Architecture History (Bharne)
The physical and ecological construct of urban landscapes across the world consists of a finite and identifiable series of elements – streets, buildings, rivers, infrastructure etc. However, the specific form, intent, intervention with, sustenance of, and inherent attitudes towards these elements, is shaped by several deeper phenomenological forces and circumstances that create distinct identities and signatures of people, place and culture. Different histories, growth patterns, governance structures, cultural beliefs and aspirations all ultimately create different expectations of what the urban landscape is and can be. This recognition has serious implications to the practice of landscape architecture and urbanism. How do we gauge the appropriateness of our interventions in a specific culture? How do we negotiate between our personal biases on what a place ought to be, versus reading it for what it is? How do we understand the practice of landscape design beyond passive physical amelioration, as a reflective engagement with cultural expectations, towards deeper change?
The course examines of the contemporary urban landscape as an enmeshed duality of parallel culture-specific “urbanities” and “urbanisms”. “Urbanities” refers to the myriad phenomenological traits and processes of urban life and cultural experience – from polarizations of poverty and wealth, to the rapid urbanization of cities. “Urbanisms” in turn refers to the diverse physical products and characteristics of the urban landscape – from the psychedelic streetscapes of Tokyo, to the slums of Dacca. Moving across urban history in time and space, this course offers comparative perspectives on attitudes to the city and nature across various places and cultures. Where do they overlap? Where do they separate? How do their cross-influence one another?
- 566Cross-Cultural Topics in Landscape Architecture History (Hirsch)Cross-Cultural Topics in Landscape Architecture History (Hirsch)
FOOD LANDSCAPES: Industrial Production + Alternative Practices
This seminar will explore landscapes of global food production with a particular focus on California’s Central Valley, which produces 40% of the nation’s fruits, vegetables, nuts and other table foods on 1% of total U.S. farmland, and exports to growing global markets. The seminar will introduce the history of our current food system and practices in place that relate to land use and formation. It will introduce both climate change and population pressures as major factors in the futures of our food system and will critically examine approaches to mitigating currently unsustainable global practices. It will introduce alternative practices (including but also well beyond urban farming) that resist current production models and consider how design and planning might contribute to imagining alternative food futures.
The seminar will include field trips to alternative food organizations in the city, as well as one overnight trip to the San Joaquin Valley to visit some industrial production and processing facilities (to be scheduled according to student availability; overnight accommodations to be subsidized). The seminar will have weekly readings, with a term project that involves research, writing and diagramming based on fieldwork.
- 566Cross-Cultural Topics in Landscape Architecture History (Tichenor)Cross-Cultural Topics in Landscape Architecture History (Tichenor)Authenticity and Artifice: A Study of the Invented Landscape of Southern California Southern California has a unique place in the history of landscape design and urbanism. The effects of rapid multi-cultural development, as expressed in both the built environment and the images promulgated in Art, Film and Literature, have, at each stage of the region’s short history, projected a model to the rest of the world of a landscape of seemingly limitless possibility, both hopeful and dystopian. Through an analysis of the successive stages of land planning, garden design, and plant introductions, along with a careful consideration of the diverse writings informed by the distinct landscape of the area, this course will critically assess the cultural arena from which these strong images emerge, and what role designers have played, successfully and unsuccessfully, in molding the built environment.
- 580Field StudiesField Studies
One of the most important aspects of field research is the opportunity to gain insight into the relationships between design language, building proposition and construction process of specific periods/architects/buildings/landscapes. It is an occasion to discover not only the tenets upon which an designer bases his work, but also how these tenets resolve complex relationships between a project, its site and the cultural/theoretical context in which it was constructed. Through thoughtful case study analysis students will explore how these external forces influence/direct the form and shape of the designed response.
This Field Studies course will concentrate on projects and practices [from the analysis of buildings to the focused engagement with the methods of practice], landscapes and ecologies [both natural and manmade], and urban spaces [including parks, plazas, and urban (re)development projects]. The field study of these spaces and methods also provides an opportunity to understand the complex relationship of the designer with place. These place-based investigations will engage field studies to employ analytical methods, representational techniques, and speculative inquiry into the fundamental spatial and infra-structural elements of place. This investigation allows one to develop awareness as well as appreciate the complex relationship between a place, its inhabitants and the spaces that facilitate a multitude of events and activities.
- 635Landscape Construction Assembly and DocumentationLandscape Construction Assembly and DocumentationThis course builds an understanding of landscape materials and assemblies, construction documents and sequencing. Students will learn the content and organization of construction documents and specifications. Lectures, site visits and field trips will provide opportunities for students to observe multiple approaches to the use of site materials. Students will learn the basic vocabulary of site construction documentation and detailing and how to modify and adapt details for specific site conditions.
- 639Media for Landscape Architecture: Dynamic SystemsMedia for Landscape Architecture: Dynamic Systems
This course exposes students to the computational capacities of parametric software (Grasshopper),
computational flow dynamics (Aquaveo, Ecotect), procedural media (Processing) and geospatial analysis (GIS), to analyze and generate both existing and emergent systems at the landscape scale. Students will additionally work with compositing software (After Effects) to experiment with dynamic notational and diagrammatic
techniques to describe and depicting these dynamic systems.
Designed as a two-part course, students will work with data (collecting, scraping, sorting, etc) to model, parse and simulate complex urban systems and dynamic ecological processes using computational processes (where sequences of operations are used to relate process and form through feedback). Prioritizing feedbacks between
analysis and projection, the course will expose students to parametric processes with which to both find existing complex urban patterns as well as to generate new urban forms, while additionally exposing students to the geophysical, ecological, and environmental exchanges within landscape systems through computational flow dynamics and procedural media - translating ecological processes into the language of code.
- 642Landscape Architecture DesignLandscape Architecture Design
Prerequisite(s): ARCH 542abL
This course is an option research studio that tackles questions integral to the current practice of landscape architecture. Options offer diversity in scale, scope and geography, often with international possibilities. Opportunities for collaboration with other disciplines in the school (including Architecture and Heritage Conservation) are sometimes offered at this level. The expectation for this course is students have developed skills and values that ensure more self-direction in research and design development, culminating in a diversity of final proposals.
- 698aLAdvanced Design-Research: SeminarAdvanced Design-Research: Seminar
Directed research option for the MLArch degree.
This research seminar provides a foundation for the Advanced Design-Research studio course in the Spring (ARCH 698b). The seminar may be oriented toward topical, geographical and/or methodological study. The Advanced Design-Research sequence integrates students into a deep research process that culminates in proposals that have replicable potential and the potential for impact on environmental and urban policy. Topics are set by the instructor but offer a wide range of options for students to pursue their passions and interests as developed during their previous coursework in Landscape Architecture.
- 698bLAdvanced Design-Research: StudioAdvanced Design-Research: Studio
The final studio in the design sequence, Advanced Design-Research is intended to integrate students into a deep research process that culminates in proposals that have replicable potential and the potential for impact on environmental and urban policy. The ARCH 698a research seminar in the Fall provides the research basis for this studio course. Topics are set by the instructor but offer a wide range of options for students to pursue their passions and interests as developed during their previous coursework in Landscape Architecture.