Skip to content

LAND 240 Fundamentals of Landscape Design


Spring Term 2016 will be devoted to the exploration of introductory theories, methods, and skills for design creativity, ideation, and representation/portrayal through both digital and hand-crafted methods. It is understood that some designers (both beginning and experienced) are more comfortable with and adept at hand-crafted methods and some are inclined toward and more capable with digital methods (Photoshop, Rhino, etc.). As such, this course will nurture both digital and hand-crafted methods and skillsets at a beginning level. As students of design, you will engage a sequence of creativity-building, methods-building, and skills-building design experiments. You will learn to create land forms, planting forms, water forms, wall forms, furniture forms, and flatwork forms and to experiment with materiality for each of these form topics. Attention is focused on experiences that result in growth of your abilities with the sequential components of design; Research, Analysis, and Synthesis. Theories, methods, and skills are addressed in a series of discussions and projects. Case studies extend to contemporary precedents of the profession in analysis, design, and representation. This research and knowledge will influence, guide and shape your methods and skills in your own designs. You will develop basic design processes, exploring with various drawing/drafting mediums and techniques, and model making. This design process draws on your personal creativity to analyze, explore, experiment, create, draw, review, and construct as a beginning landscape architect. You will acquire substantial personal skills through preparation of projects. Special emphasis will be placed on encouragement and learning to be a creative designer/divergent thinker. Please see ASLA Student Awards for 2015, 2014, and 2013 as guides and indications of the current topics of education in the profession.

Studio Strategies and Requirements:

“240”¬†is conducted as a series of explorations and experiments aimed at developing individual self-reliance, self-esteem, successional practice in making analysis and design decisions, recognizing problems, looking for alternatives, and expressing personal solutions; it is important not to look at this studio as point-building for a grade, but rather methods-building and skill-building for your future courses and career. Studio, facebook, and blog requirements will consist of a series of explorations and representations of case studies, theories, and methods. The projects will be due on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There will be a sequence of accessible minimum requirements ‚Äď please feel very free to do more. Students will be encouraged to visit¬†exemplary landscapes online through facebook and google and in person in the region. Required 240¬†studio equipment and materials are available at the CSU Bookstore, artist supply stores, or online. Your creative¬†studio spaces are in the east room of Natural and Environmental Sciences.

Academic Design School References:

Facebook (separate account) references and interactions are required –¬†including: Landscape Architects Network, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, The Architect’s Newspaper, and others uncovered and discussed in class.

Dee, Catherine. Form and Fabric in Landscape Architecture: A Visual Introduction. Spoon Press, 2001 (available in the bookstore, also through used sources, such as Amazon or eBay)

Lauer, David A. and Stephen Pentak. Design Basics Рany Edition. Wadworth Publishing, any date (recommend used sources, such as Amazon or eBay)

Oehme, Wolfgang and Van Sweden, James. 2002 Architecture in the Garden. Random House (recommend used sources, such as Amazon or eBay) | | | | | | | | |

Although there are adequate studio computing facilities, it will help significantly in this and other courses if you have your own computer in the studio and at home with Rhino, Photoshop, AutoCAD, InDesign, Illustrator, iMovie or MovieMaker, SketchUp, Google Earth Pro, and ArcGIS.

Scholarly Progress and Grades:

Please see ASLA Student Awards for 2015, 2014, and 2013. In keeping with the standards of a nationally accredited program, class attendance is uniquely¬†valuable and necessary for engagement of projects and for learning new creativity, ideation and representation skills ‚Äď only university approved absence (see CSU 2015-2016 catalog) is accepted without reduction in final letter grade, and¬†must be¬†discussed in advance. All interim and final submittals are needed to receive a final grade. It is important not to look at this studio as rubrics and point-building for a grade, but rather personal methods-building and skill-building with a strong emphasis on learning and improvement over the semester.

” A ” Submittals are of distinctive thoroughness and quality.

” B ” Submittals would be of distinctive thoroughness and quality with minor revisions or additions.

” C ” Submittals would be of distinctive thoroughness and quality with moderate revisions or additions.

” D ” Submittals would be of distinctive thoroughness and quality with major revisions or additions.

” F ” Submittals are without, or nearly without, redeeming qualities.

Students are assessed on physical presence in the studio, progress and contributions in class discussions and reviews, on precedents for determining design narratives, on models of form, on axonometrics, on eye-level drawings of form and character, and on evidence-based learning over the length of the semester.

This landscape architectural studio focuses learning on introductory design projects comprised of a series of tasks centered on creativity, methods, and skills.  All design studio projects require students to analyze existing designs and propose an alternative solution, and to create a physical prototype for their own design.  Each component of each studio project is focused to achieve particular student learning outcomes. Each design assignment includes explicit due dates and minimum requirements to be met.

The processes and outcomes of the studio projects are exploratory and ‚Äėopen-ended.‚Äô The studio includes a¬†range¬†of projects and activities which can be analyzed for their capacity to address skills development, concrete knowledge and tacit knowledge:

Skills development  Рoccurs when students are working with and through categories or orders of disciplinary specific knowledge using disciplinary specific skills and conventions.

Concrete knowledge¬†–¬† tends to be structured, such as knowledge of composition, materiality, form, space and its experience.

Tacit knowledge  Рis indicated by the student’s judgement in relation to knowledge and skills.  It is accumulated through applying skills and concrete knowledge during a process and allows an understanding of abstract notions of order and the conceptualization and synthesis of ideas.

In order to conclude a relative (to distinctive) thoroughness and quality, I consider the Vitruvian principals: that works must have utilitas, firmitas, and venustas, described as follows:¬†The essential components of landscape architectural values are embodied by the Vitruvius’ concepts of utilitas (function, usefulness, utility), firmitas (solidity, materiality, strength), and venustas (beauty, delight, desire).
Three critical organizing precepts may be considered in the articulation of the values of firmitas, utilitas, and venustas. The first is that accomplishment of a work constitutes a unity brought to component parts that, on their own, may be quite differential. Secondly, by inclusion of venustas, Vitrivius considered that not only the objects/items are important but also their ‚Äėaudiences‚Äô, and that aesthetics can be considered apart from usefulness and even materiality. The third Vitruvian aspiration is indicated to resolve the disparate nature of the three components: that place-making/works-making is a unity that is not allowed to maintain difference but must find a clear topological congruence that should not be relegated to some extrinsic point of view (outside of the landscape or work).

Student Conduct

This course will adhere to the 2011 Academic Integrity Policy of the Colorado State University General Catalog and the Student Conduct Code for all graded elements with regard to appropriate uses of sources, internet or otherwise; receiving assistance from others; and the use of prior work.

CSU Honor Pledge:

I pledge on my honor that I will not receive or give any unauthorized assistance in this course and endeavor toward meaningful social and environmental responsibility.



Printed Name                                                Signature                                                 Date

1/19 Introduction ‚Äď Begin form & materials precedents for¬†architectonic-1 1/21 Class discussion of your¬†precedents – Begin architectonic-1
1/26 Review of architectonic-1¬†– Begin¬†Rhino and Photoshop workshop for bosque and copse planting forms 1/28¬†Review plan, elevs, and perspective for bosque and copse planting forms – begin focal, alle’, quad, and oval planting forms
2/2 Review focal, alle’, quad, and oval planting forms – Begin hedge and hedgerow planting forms 2/4 Review plan, elevs, and perspective for¬†hedges and hedgerows¬†‚Äď Begin concept context model
2/9 Review model¬†‚Äď Begin organic land forms 2/11 Review of phase 1 ‚Äď Begin phase 2
2/16 Review of phase 2 organic land forms ‚Äď Begin geometric land forms 2/18 Review of phase 1 ‚Äď Begin phase 2 geometric land forms
2/23 Review of phase 2 geometric land forms РBegin water forms 2/25 Review of phase 1 РBegin phase 2 water forms
3/1 Review of phase 2 water forms¬†‚Äď Begin structure forms 3/3 Review of phase 1 ‚Äď Begin phase 2 structure forms
3/8 Review of phase 2 structures ‚Äď Begin materiality patterns 3/10 Review¬†of materiality patterns – Begin Spring Break
Spring Break
3/22 Begin form & materials precedents for architectonic-2 3/24 Class discussion of your precedents РBegin architectonic-2
3/29 Review architectonic-2¬†‚Äď Begin design¬†issues and Modern Organic precedents for¬†first¬†site 3/31 Review site issues and precedents ‚Äď Begin design ideation and concept model¬†to reflect¬†Modern Organic narrative
4/5 Review of concept model for Modern Organic narrative on first site¬†‚Äď Begin eye-level¬†representation 4/7 Review eye-level character sketch ‚Äď Begin¬†plan and axon
4/12 Review project ‚Äď Begin¬†design issues and Commemorative precedents for second site 4/14 Review site issues and precedents ‚Äď Begin design ideation and concept model¬†to reflect Commemorative narrative
4/19 Review of concept model for Commemorative¬†narrative on second site¬†‚Äď Begin eye-level¬†representation 4/21 Review eye-level character sketch ‚Äď Begin¬†plan and axon
4/26 Review project ‚Äď Begin¬†design issues and Minimalist precedents for second site 4/28 Review site issues and precedents ‚Äď Begin design ideation and concept model¬†to reflect Minimalist¬†narrative
5/3 Review of concept model for Minimalist¬†narrative on third¬†site¬†‚Äď Begin eye-level¬†representation 5/5 Review eye-level character sketch ‚Äď Begin¬†plan and axon
Project Review Week ‚Äď We will meet date-time of the last exam for 240¬†(exam schedules for¬†2-4:40 T-Th)
Contact CSU Equal Opportunity Privacy Statement Disclaimer

2018 Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523 USA