- 3 units
Nature is frequently thought to be found only “out there” beyond the city. However, “in here” conservation of many species requires protection of their habitats in urban areas, as does maintenance of the quality of life in cities. This course explores the many issues that arise from the recognition that cities too have natural values that can be protected, restored, or even created. The course is divided into three parts. First is an introduction to the ecology of cities and our knowledge about the factors that affect the distribution and persistence of plants and animals in urban landscapes and the role they play in human experience. Second is an exploration of the major threats to urban biodiversity and their interaction with human attitudes and practices. Third is the review of controversies and successes of urban nature education, restoration, and conservation projects in the Los Angeles basin, with a concentration on design at local to regional scales. This course will be offered every other Spring semester (2019).
- 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.
- 531The Natural LandscapeThe Natural Landscape
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 ApproachesDevelop tools and knowledge to expand the performative boundaries of landscape architecture beyond common typologies. Topics range from ecological infrastructure to design with weather patterns. A systematic approach to case studies, landscape technologies, and field trips seeds the knowledge base and representational methods necessary to design and build these complex landscape performances.
- 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.
- 537LUrban Plant Ecology Environmental PerspectivesUrban Plant Ecology Environmental PerspectivesArchitecture 537 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.
- 538LUrban Plant Ecology- Cultural PerspectivesUrban Plant Ecology- Cultural PerspectivesLandscapes are living systems that can contribute to the health and success of urban environments. Learn to apply concepts of plant ecology and plant physiology to landscapes throughout Southern California. Discussions, site visits, and on-campus planting studies will expose students to the cultural, aesthetic, and functional roles of landscapes. Students will prepare sustainable planting concepts for urban landscapes.
- 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 DesignAs 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 DesignPrerequisite(s): ARCH 541bL The studio will be focused on building topographic form based on fractal geometries that promote environmental, programmatic, and aesthetic performances. The contingencies of doing this within an urban built environment will be explored. After studying the Owen’s Valley (which is essentially a large portion of LA’s effective watershed) at large and small scales for the first half of the semester a site in Los Angeles will be become the focus for a final design. The studio will be split into two geographic and conceptual parts, emphasizing the multi-scalar nature of landscapes in both form and function:
- 542bLLandscape Architecture DesignLandscape Architecture DesignProjects for the public realm with emphasis on urbanity and connectivity, place and meaning.
- 544Urban Landscape Process and PlaceUrban Landscape Process and PlaceThis course examines the processes of building the urban landscape as products of man and nature. Cities evolve as cumulative layers and projects applied under theoretical constructs in the context of economic, social, ecological and natural forces. Arch 544 examines the growth of Cities including Los Angeles. Readings and projects will focus on Urban evolution from migratory settlements dependent upon natural systems to a new forms of globally connected Urbis with complex communications, political, transportation, housing, infrastructure and technology systems. Students explore the past and present to better understand and speculate about the future.
- 545Urban Landscape Contemporary History and ProspectUrban Landscape Contemporary History and ProspectLandscape 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.
- 547Urban NatureUrban NatureNature is frequently thought to be found only “out there” beyond the city. However, “in here” conservation of many species requires protection of their habitats in urban areas, as does maintenance of the quality of life in cities. This course explores the many issues that arise from the recognition that cities too have natural values that can be protected, restored, or even created. The course is divided into three parts. First is an introduction to the ecology of cities and our knowledge about the factors that affect the distribution and persistence of plants and animals in urban landscapes and the role they play in human experience. Second is an exploration of the major threats to urban biodiversity and their interaction with human attitudes and practices. Third is the review of controversies and successes of urban nature education, restoration, and conservation projects in the Los Angeles basin, with a concentration on design at local to regional scales. This course will be offered every other Spring semester (2019).
- 548Media for Landscape Architecture 3D DesignMedia for Landscape Architecture 3D DesignThe landscape surface is richly complicated with notions of process, transformation, texture, and pattern. Abstract smoothness is a fleeting moment in the landscape project. Once a surface becomes exposed to the parameters of inhabitation, vegetation, and environment, roughness overtakes. This course will explore the generation of form as it relates to the surfaces and processes of landscape. Moving between prescriptive and plastic methodologies, intuition and logic, students will develop a series of three-dimensional analogous terrains. Through these studies we will explore the representational boundaries and techniques of physical and digital space.
- 565Global History of Landscape ArchitectureGlobal History of Landscape ArchitectureThis global history of the built environment will focus on how the constructed landscape has informed the shape of the city as an embodiment of public life and public values. We will consider landscape as design laboratory, as infrastructure, as theater (etc). The course will introduce the evolution of urban landscape theory and form, particularly as situated in historical, geographical and cultural context. Readings consist of primary sources, as well as subsequent social, politico-economic and cultural histories that reveal: (1) shifting receptions and interpretations of our urban inheritance; and (2) our evolving cultural and professional values. Cultural attitudes toward Nature will be an integral thematic concern, particularly as Nature is situated in ideological and physical relationship to the city.
- 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.
- 642Landscape Architecture DesignLandscape Architecture DesignPrerequisite(s): ARCH 542abL Fully integrated landscape place design; reclamation sites at significant urban or natural locations.
- 698aLM.L.Arch. ThesisM.L.Arch. ThesisThis seminar provides a conceptual foundation for the MLA research studio this fall and MLA thesis in the spring. The first half of the semester will be devoted to seminal readings on the subject of infrastructure, networks, systems thinking, and technology. In the second half of the semester, students will identify readings relevant to their chosen concentrations as they begin to develop their thesis bibliography. The course will be structured as a traditional seminar with all students participating and contributing. Directed research option for the M.L.Arch. degree. Credit on acceptance of research project. Graded IP/CR/NC.
- 698bLM.L.Arch. ThesisM.L.Arch. ThesisTitle: Chain Reaction: Using Networks to Affect Change Driving through the city, drawing water from the tap, turning on the lights, catching up with friends on Facebook, pumping blood through our bodies— these actions all depend on networks, the interrelated connections either physical or digital, technological or biological, localized or global, that taken together produce an effect that is greater than the disparate parts would suggest. Connections form the heart of any network and extend beyond a defined site or source. Like an internet meme or a signal malfunction on the New York City subway — sometimes even the slightest alteration to an existing system can cascade to create real change or real chaos. Landscape architects are trained in systems thinking; how systems work within themselves and integrate with others to perform necessary functions is a fundamental service we provide. The challenge of this studio will be to develop this skill—to understand how the pieces fit together, and, more importantly, develop strategies for improving those connections when things don’t quite fit. The site will be Los Angeles and the networks that most acutely influence the way Angelenos live and how the city functions. By the end of the semester, students will have identified a specific integration of networks and targets for intervention that will either allow the network to work better or, perhaps, re-appropriate it to transform the network’s purpose. The intervention you derive may be a specific site, a detail to be replicated over the whole network, or even a change in policy. Regardless, it will have an identified physical expression. Directed Design Research (DDR) is the title given to the independent design exploration that is the final studio-based requirement for the MLA degree. Students are required to identify and explore transcendent issues and principles through the discipline of landscape architecture design.