My amazing landscape architecture experience

Recent alumna Wing Chi VincyTam reflects on her experience with the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design programs.

Students pose for photo at graduation in caps and gowns.
Wing Chi VincyTam with other 2019 Landscape Architecture graduating seniors.

As a freshman, I may have been the only person who knew nothing about the industry of Landscape Architecture (Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA)) and Environmental Design (Master of Arts in Environmental Design (MED)) going into LA 140 – the very first fundamental course in the program.

But now, as a recent graduate, I am very proud to say that I went through one of the best programs at Michigan State University. Being a student in the dual BLA/MED program was like a slow-motion sweet dream. It was an embracing experience that provided me a good foundation for my career, life-long friendships and much more.

Instead of sharing my most amazing experiences within the LA program – studying abroad in Europe with the whole class and some professors – which were surely eye opening LA courses instilled me with new knowledge and assignments.

Learning and producing was not always fun, especially during our late nights in the studio. But, these nights were often the times when our class bonded the most. Thus, I enjoyed the process of design: To make models and render.

Being able to have a wide variety of projects not only allowed us to practice new theories and techniques, but it also helped us to learn from previous mistakes.

Overall, there was no real harm in making mistakes. Some professors were more straightforward with their design guidelines, while others encouraged us to explore further into our creative processes. After five years of studying in the program, professors were not only teachers to me, but also friends.

While participating in the MED Program I discovered that, writing a thesis was new and different. We didn’t learn and practice on intensive systematic thinking when I was an undergraduate student. The thinking directions were a little bit different.

GreenRoofTreatment_WingChiVincyTam_042020
Vincytam, Wing & Burley, Jon & Rowe, D. Bradley & Machemer, Trisha. (2020). “Comparison of Five Green Roof Treatments in Flint Michigan with Freidman's Two-Way Analysis of Variance” by Ranks. 3. 23-36.

The thesis for my MED focused on a comparison between five green roof design treatments for a rooftop at the Sylvester Broome Empower Village in Flint, Michigan, using Friedman’s tests.

These five rooftop design treatments were conventional roof, self-design roof, extensive green roof, semi-intensive green roof, and intensive green roof. From there, 36 variables were carefully chosen for the tests. As a final result, the intensive roof treatment performed better than the self-design rooftop. Among the other four treatments, there was no significant difference in performance among them.

Learning and going through the whole research and thesis writing process meant a lot to me – this was not just about rooftop designs, but also the skill of being able to learn independently in depth, which is useful for life.

Last but not least, I would like to thank my classmates and all of my professors, especially my chair professor Dr. Jon Burley. They made my university life splendid and worthwhile.

Published Research

Vincytam, Wing et al*. 2020. “Comparison of Five Green Roof Treatments in Flint Michigan with Freidman’s Two-Way Analysis of Variance by Ranks.” Journal of Architecture and Construction 3(1): 23-36.  ISSN 2637-5796.

*Wing Chi VincyTam1, Dr. Jon Burley2, Dr. D. Bradley Rowe3 and Dr. Trisha Machemer4.

1Environmental Design Program, School of Planning, Design, and Construction, Michigan State University, E. Lansing Michigan, 48824, USA.

2Corresponding Author: FASLA, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture, School of Planning, Design, and Construction, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, Michigan, 48824, USA.

3Professor, Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, Michigan, 48824, USA.

4Associate Professor, Urban & Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture Programs, School of Planning, Design, and Construction, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, 48824, USA.

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