The recent promise of Landscape Architecture is predicated on capturing an expanded territory of the urban matrix. Landscape Urbanism positions the profession to engage with the entire “horizontal body” of the city, suggesting that landscape architects are poised to succeed in this complex negotiation.
However, while the profession has enjoyed a growing role in planning, it often finds itself sidelined in determining the morphology of urban infrastructure – the instrumental built form that patterns the vast majority of the urban condition.
The work of the Landscape Morphologies Lab, directed by USC landscape architecture professor Alexander Robinson, seeks to build tools and methodologies for advancing the craft and agency of design practices in instrumental territories, where performance issues overshadow most design agendas.
One such project, in collaboration with Andrew Atwood, includes the development of a landscape prototyping machine to improve the design of dust mitigation landscapes at the Owens Lake in Lone Pine, California. The prototyping machine hybridizes engineering metrics, physical modeling, robotic technology, digital projection, and 3D scanning to create a multi-sensory design platform for addressing the complex issues present on the lake. The machine creates a common ground where designers, engineers, and the public can dynamically engage in the multiple agendas inherent to the lake.
Further Resources and Readings
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