M. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE I - DESIGNING THE URBAN ECOLOGICAL FUTURE

Curriculum

First Year

Fall Term 1
  • LAAR 61100 Landscape Architecture Studio I

    (Introductory)

    6 credits

    This studio introduces a range of technical, spatial, and cognitive skills involved in urban landscape design. Students are expected to bring both critical and creative dimensions to the analytical and inventive phases of their work.

    The objective of this first term is to simultaneously increase quantitative/qualitative analytical and representational skills through building an understanding of environmental, social, and cultural processes that define landscape. Tactics for shaping space through design are communicated by the instructor throughout the semester. Aesthetic qualities of spatial design are inherently connected to environmental and social context.

    All research leads to skills to be brought together in the second half of the semester. Assigned readings will enable students to anchor their programmatic design proposals conceptually and provide a basis for written and verbal presentation.

    Faculty
    • Catherine Seavitt Nordenson
  • LAAR 61300 Landscape Technology I

    3 credits

    This course initiates an understanding of the relationship of physical development to landforms. Through the analysis of small sites, the course presents the fundamental principles of site planning: environmental and ecological factors of siting, building, grading, drainage, site structures, and material selection. The course teaches students to evaluate underlying issues of environmentally responsible design, zoning requirements, and affordability and describes methods for site inventory, site analysis, and site selection. Students apply new knowledge through class exercises in the development of conceptual site designs. Grading-an environmental necessity, functional requisite and aesthetic expression-is a key component of the course, and it is used to integrate pragmatic design decision-making into the design process (for example, through drainage and road alignment).

    Faculty
    • Leonard Hopper
    • Peter Gisolfi
  • LAAR 61400 Digital and Traditional Drawing

    3 credits

    This course will provide the basic drawing, image capturing, and presentation skills required in the documentation, exploration, resolution, and description of a landscape design problem. Orthographic projection drawing of plan, section, elevation, and axonometric views with digital and traditional media re covered in the course. Emphasis is placed on digital media and graphic design in conjunction with hand drawing instruction in the first semester studio. Graphic support for understanding communication with fonts, color and layout are also included in the instruction and they are linked to the production of a book in Studio I. At the end of the semester students are introduced to 3-D Modeling software such as Rhino and animation software such as AfterEffects so that they can develop strategies for representing qualitative characteristics of sites and system change over time in subsequent studios.

    Faculty
    • Andrew Zientek
  • LAAR 61500 Physical Geography

    3 credits

    The students will be introduced to the study of landforms and their evolution. Emphasis is placed on topographic expression of geologic structures and features, as well as on the relationships between properties of earth materials and the forces applied to them by all agents of erosion, including humans.

Spring Term 2
  • LAAR 62100 Landscape Architecture Studio II

    (Land Planning and Design)

    6 credits

    The second design studio expands the student's understanding of scale and deepens their understanding of urban context. A site with richly layered historical significance, occupied by a mixed socioeconomic population is chosen for analysis and design transformation at multiple scales.

    This studio uses analysis of environmental process (soils, hydrology, geology, plant communities, and climate) and socioeconomic factors. This multi-scalar analysis is combined into a class-wide document, and the students build a large site model, to support team management skills. The studio emphasizes computer-based presentation techniques. Design proposals take the form of strategic plans for implementation at an urban or regional scale, supported by case studies at the human scale.

    Faculty
    • Denise Hoffman-Brandt
  • LAAR 62200 History/Theory of Landscape Architecture I

    3 credits

    This course investigates the theoretical and historical foundations of landscape architecture and reviews influences on the form of gardens, urban open space, and city planning from prehistory to the beginnings of contemporary precedents. Coverage includes a detailed review of early garden styles and public open-space expressions in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, followed by examples of medieval and Moorish gardens and their influences on later Italian and French Renaissance garden styles, and still later, the reactionary English landscape garden style. Paralleling garden design, the course will also examine social and environmental forces that affected the planning and design of towns and cities during these same periods. The course ends with an examination of the theories and meaning informing nineteenth- and twentieth-century precedents of contemporary garden and open-space expressions, as well as describing the roots of urban planning during that period.

    Faculty
    • Peter Gisolfi
  • LAAR 62300 Landscape Technology II

    3 credits

    This course is a continuation of the content related in LAAR 62300, with problems increasing in scale, complexity, and application constraints. In addition, the course provokes a deeper understanding of the relationship between urban development and constructed landform. The semester projects examine large areas and complex sites with multiple human and environmental overlays. Students deal with complex issues of grading, drainage, site structures, and material. Site grading continues to be used as a focus to integrate design intent with the practical aspects of site planning and design.

    Faculty
    • Leonard Hopper
  • LAAR 62700 Field Ecology for Landscape Architecture

    3 credits

    The course examines the functions within and the structures of ecological systems, leading to an understanding of the effects of human activity on the biotic and abiotic component of these systems. The ecological and ethical ramifications of global or local alteration of natural systems are explored to present the larger context in which landscape design is practiced. Special emphasis is placed on the impacts of urbanization on regional ecologies through studying plant communities.

Second Year

Fall Term 3
  • LAAR 63100 Landscape Architecture Studio III

    (Detailed Urban Landscape Design)

    6 credits

    The third design studio introduces a problem in which the student is assigned an urban open space area within an existing urban complex that is in a transitional state of decline due to deterioration or change of use. The premise is that the site is in need of a comprehensive urban landscape design intervention. Using knowledge and skill gained in previous studio courses, each student conducts a thorough analysis of the individual study area, defines a set of social/environmental issues, and explores the resolution of these issues as a set of alternative open space design solutions that will be developed with detailed plans, sections, grading and planting plans and material documentation.

    This studio is generally instructed by two faculty members, each taking one section of students. The students can select their instructor based on their interest in working with a specific faculty member representing their unique design approach. This allows the class to experience multiple perspectives on the approach to site design within the same semester. At least one instructor will emphasize community-based design in collaboration with a nonprofit organization or community district. This involves developing an understanding of the urban site based on active observation, hunting for clues, listening to stories, and engaging in activities as well as more traditional methods of investigation utilizing drawing and photography to document the neighborhood and translate the findings into community-based design proposals.

    For the end product of this studio, the students prepare in both narrative and graphic form a presentation package defining the problem, the method of solution, the objectives, and a proposal at the level of Design Development. This format offers an effective method for teaching students how to organize themselves graphically and verbally in the identification of a design problem and the presentation of its solution in detail. This product is also an effective tool for demonstrating the students' skills as they seek summer internships during the spring semester. Students will have an understanding of current environmental issues and technologies; the historic, contemporary, and transitional cultural ideas of landscape that affect how individuals and communities live in and respond to landscape; and the economic and social opportunities and constraints inherent in work in the urban environment.

    Faculty
    • Leland Weintraub
  • LAAR 63200 History/Theory of Landscape Arch. II

    3 credits

    The course starts with a review of 20th Century garden precedents; establishing the aesthetic and cultural motivations that informed early expressions of the modern landscape garden, open space and urban development. The coverage then turns to a survey of various styles and theoretical underpinnings that have influenced a wide spectrum of contemporary landscapes and their designers, including the design of specialized urban and suburban open spaces, ecologically determined plant community restorations, corporate headquarters campuses, vest pocket parks, theme gardens and new city forms. The course ends with a discussion on possible future directions for landscape design and the current forces influencing them.

    Faculty
    • Peter Gisolfi
  • LAAR 63300 Environmental Planning

    3 credits

    This course provides an overview of the physical environment of the New York City metropolitan region, including geology, soils, surface water, dominant weather systems, the changing climate, and plant communities, as the basis for an examination of urban infrastructure: circulatory, energy, economic, water supply and management, and solid and liquid waste systems. Large-scale planning initiatives in the New York area are examined from the perspective of how they address the complex local environmental ecologies. Theory and history readings are assigned and discussed weekly to support the class presentations. Each student prepares a colloquium presentation (short paper and slides) on a design practitioner/practice working at the scale of the urban plan. The presentations explore, assess and communicate valuable tactics for ecologically viable design in the urban realm. This course is also an elective in the MS Sustainability in the Urban Environment and Urban Design programs.

    Faculty
    • Denise Hoffman-Brandt
  • LAAR 65160 Botany/Plant ID

    3 credits

    This course uses the environs of New York City as a living laboratory for the study and investigation of plant material. Students identify and observe local flora, seeking to understand function in natural systems and the potential for growth and propagation. Plants in native communities - as components of natural systems-are compared with plants in the designed landscape to ascertain functional changes in habitat and in soil/hydrology systems. The class work is augmented by field trips to botanical gardens and arboreta.

Spring Term 4
  • LAAR 64100 Landscape Architecture Studio IV

    6 credits

    The fourth design studio focuses on the complex and dynamic public space of New York City Housing. Working in collaboration with the Master of Architecture program, students build on previous study to investigate the physical structure of the landscape in relationship to the cultural structure of the site (its history and the ongoing experiences and memories of the people who live, work, and play in the landscape). For the master plan projects, the student must articulate design concepts and find strategies to physically create meaning in place. Design paradigms are presented in conjunction with each design project to expand the student's approach to conceptual development, design, and presentation.

    At the close of the initial four-semester studio progression, students have an understanding of the complexity of the environmental, social, and cultural processes that constitute the urban landscapes at a range of level of specificity from planning to detailed design. They will have the representational skills to communicate that understanding and to continue their exploration of landscape design at multiple scales. They will also have the means to articulate a clear conceptual premise to support their design agenda, both verbally and in graphic form.

    Faculty
    • Leland Weintraub
  • LAAR 64400 Planting Design

    3 credits

    This course provides instruction in the use of plant materials in landscape design. Students explore the aesthetic potential of plant material to create compelling spaces. Techniques for anticipating growth rate and mature form as well as seasonal character change are studied. Environmental tolerances of plants in the designed landscape, particularly in constructed urban soil conditions and in areas devoid of supporting plant and biotic communities, are an important focus of the course. Technical aspects of plant material selection, nursery practices, planting plan production and plant specification are covered as well as implication of plant selection on landscape management practices.

  •                                    History Elective

    This course is chosen by the student from courses available in the Spitzer School that are open to landscape architecture students that are offered within the School of Architecture, the CUNY Graduate Center, Hunter College or any of the other CUNY system Colleges. The course is intended to allow students to expand their understanding of the social and cultural context of historic landscapes.

  •                                    Urbanism Elective

    This course is chosen by the student from courses available in the Spitzer School that are open to landscape architecture students that are offered within the MS Sustainability in the Urban Environment and Urban Design programs. The course is intended to give students a comprehensive overview of urban planning and design issues, their causes, impacts, and range of remedies. Typical offerings include: ARCH 62345 Techniques of Urban Analysis, UD 64303 Gray Space and Contemporary Urbanism, and ARCH 63135 Urban Reconstruction.

Third Year

Fall Term 5
  • LAAR 65100 Landscape Architecture Studio V

    (Travel Studio with a focus on enabling students to apply their understanding of urban landscape design to contemporary issues in other urban contexts)

    6 credits

    CCNY offers a travel studio in the fall of the third year as mechanism for aiding students in understanding how to apply the ideas and techniques of their previous coursework and studios in new contexts. The studio is structured around a theme that is relevant to global urban conditions and that can be explored in both the New York metropolitan region and another part of the country or the world. If class size allows for two instructors, the studio will offer an option to afford students the opportunity to select a section to build their skills at the level they seek to engage within the discipline: production of a detailed site design proposition supported by multi-scalar research into urban systems, or to develop a large scale plan proposal that is explored and documented through case-study site design. If the studio is instructed as one section, the scope of the studio will require students to present a thorough visual analysis and a comprehensive statement describing their proposition at a macro-scale supported by detailed design plans, sections, models, and material selections for at least one case study or the key site.

    All students are required to define key social, environmental, and ecological issues and explore the resolution of these issues, weighing the often conflicting demands of environmental mitigation and remediation, cultural habits of occupation, and economic and social constraints. At this point in the curriculum students are prepared to define the ethical and value-based positions that shape their design approach. Studio themes such as: "Shrinking" Cities, Urban Water Shortage and Plenty, Marine Ecologies and Shoreline Culture are examples of topics explored in the past several years in this studio.

    Faculty
    • Denise Hoffman-Brandt
  • LAAR 64700 Landscape Restoration

    3 credits

    This advanced course examines the theory, ethics, and practice of restoration, preservation, conservation and ecological adaptation of the terrestrial and aquatic biomes of North America. Specific research attention is given to the management and adaptation policies of the US Department of Fish and Wildlife's publicly held federal lands, and National Wildlife Refuges. Strategies for ecological management and planting in degraded urban conditions, brownfields, canalized shorelines, and diminished wetlands due to changes in salinity, stormwater runoff, and urban fill are discussed. Students will become familiar with issues and ethics of design within these conditions as well as learning pragmatic tactics for improving the urban environment.

    Faculty
    • Catherine Seavitt Nordenson
  • LAAR 64150 Design Research

    3 credits

    Design research methodology is essential to landscape design practice. This class affords an opportunity for students to pursue in-depth research toward production of a publication-quality thesis paper as part of the preparation for their Comprehensive Studio. Students devise independent research propositions in landscape design and are guided through the process of research and then testing and supporting their assertions. The instructor guides reading lists and offers insight into contemporary theory. The process covers professional document formatting, inclusion of graphic information, and use of bibliographic references.

  • LAAR 64200 Management and Professional Practice

    3 credits

    This course is designed to expose students to the range of professional opportunities and landscape architectural roles, practice skills, responsibilities, and ethics to help foster a balanced outlook about career development. This course provides students a basic understanding of the professional operations of landscape architectural practice. It will introduce the range of practice undertaken by qualified landscape architects and focus on requirements typical to most forms of practice, large or small, in both the public and private sectors. The course will provide familiarity with the range of legal and administrative requirements of practice and office projects, from the pursuit of work, preparation of proposals, contracting of services, design documentation, bidding, construction administration, to final client handover and ongoing management of liability. It will introduce the legal and professional practice aspects of Landscape Architecture through lectures and by discussions with practitioners with a range of project experience.

    Faculty
    • Julio Salcedo-Fernandez
Spring Term 6
  • LAAR 66100 Landscape Arch. Comprehensive Design Studio

    3 credits

    The final design studio is a year-long investigation. The objective of the final project is to build independent conceptual processes and design skills in future academic and professional practitioners. It is in this phase of the program that the key objective of the school, to prepare students to design environmentally and socially vibrant landscapes for twenty-first century cities that address issues of increasing globalization, expanding urbanization, environmental and social system sustainability, the promotion of social and environmental justice, the need for transformed land management practices in response to diminishing natural resources, and the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, is tested. Students are challenged to carry forth the values of their education at City College through the articulation of their projects.

    To be considered complete for review, each project must test, through design, the objectives and rationale of the written project statement. It is anticipated that the statement will evolve subsequent to the paper written for the Design Research course and be rewritten with new understanding at the end of the design process. The project is to be supported with diagrams, drawings, matrices, spatial models, strategic sections, and plans, as well as images representing the qualitative changes to landscape inherent in the proposal. At the close of the process, the review critics assess the scope of the challenge and the breadth of understanding evident in the design. In addition to the above requirements, a successful thesis is expected to be of a scale and complexity that makes it relevant for future presentation and publication.

    Faculty
    • Catherine Seavitt Nordenson
    • Achva Benzenberg-Stein
  •                                    Professional Elective

    This course is often taken as an Independent Study Course to receive credit for internship work in professional design offices or federal and municipal agencies. Other options include electives available in the school such as: ARCH 63200 Perspectives in Sustainable Materials, ARCH 63148 Building Information Modeling.

  •                                    General Elective

    This general Elective Requirement can be used for advanced study in several areas. Many students choose to expand their knowledge base in the Ecology or Urban Landscape Systems disciplinary tracks by taking courses jointly offered in the CCNY M.S. in Sustainability in the Urban Environment Program and the CCNY Landscape Architecture Program such as SUS 7700 Sustainable Soil and Water or Natural Resources, as well as other courses available throughout the CUNY system.

 



M. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE II

Curriculum

Single Year

Fall Term 1
  • LAAR 64150 Design Research

    3 credits

    Design research methodology is essential to landscape design practice. This class affords an opportunity for students to pursue in-depth research toward production of a publication-quality thesis paper as part of the preparation for their Comprehensive Studio. Students devise independent research propositions in landscape design and are guided through the process of research and then testing and supporting their assertions. The instructor guides reading lists and offers insight into contemporary theory. The process covers professional document formatting, inclusion of graphic information, and use of bibliographic references.

  •                                    History Elective

    This course is chosen by the student from courses available in the Spitzer School that are open to landscape architecture students that are offered within the School of Architecture, the CUNY Graduate Center, Hunter College or any of the other CUNY system Colleges. The course is intended to allow students to expand their understanding of the social and cultural context of historic landscapes.

  •                                        Nat. Syst. Elective
  •                                        Planning Elective
  •                                        Hist./Planning Elective
  •                                        Planning Elective
Spring Term 2
  • LAAR 72100 Landscape Architecture Thesis Project

    This course is the second of a two-course sequence (with LAAR 65150 Design Research) that develops a student's ability to articulate urban landscape design intent with clarity and compelling language. The course is focused on the completion of a thoughtful and defensible proposal that follows up on the identification of a broadly relevant issue in ecological design theory and practice presented in the Design Research course. In that first course in the sequence, students will select an urbanized area targeted to their area of interest and developed expertise to propose a design intervention that is paradigmatic for other sites with a similar context, or they will develop a research topic that pushes forward the discourse of urban landscape theory. The final paper from the Design Research course will be reviewed by a group of critics, who will evaluate the soundness of the proposal and make suggestions for its improvement prior to its acceptance as a topic for continued exploration in the Thesis Project. The spring semester Thesis Project is an opportunity for deeper investigation, clarification, and the creation of a nuanced proposition. Students are encouraged to present their projects at peer-reviewed conferences prior to completion of the Thesis Project. The completed Thesis will be presented as a bound publication and added to the library collection.

  •                                    Urbanism Elective

    This course is chosen by the student from courses available in the Spitzer School that are open to landscape architecture students that are offered within the MS Sustainability in the Urban Environment and Urban Design programs. The course is intended to give students a comprehensive overview of urban planning and design issues, their causes, impacts, and range of remedies. Typical offerings include: ARCH 62345 Techniques of Urban Analysis, UD 64303 Gray Space and Contemporary Urbanism, and ARCH 63135 Urban Reconstruction.

  •                                    Professional Elective

    This course is often taken as an Independent Study Course to receive credit for internship work in professional design offices or federal and municipal agencies. Other options include electives available in the school such as: ARCH 63200 Perspectives in Sustainable Materials, ARCH 63148 Building Information Modeling.

  •                                    Professional Elective

    This course is often taken as an Independent Study Course to receive credit for internship work in professional design offices or federal and municipal agencies. Other options include electives available in the school such as: ARCH 63200 Perspectives in Sustainable Materials, ARCH 63148 Building Information Modeling.