Three courses in one

We essentially had a planning class, a construction detail class, and a sketching class; all three tied together beautifully. However, the most rewarding class was our LA 345 class that utilized the principles of all three courses in one.

Image of Chanelle Russ, a landscape architecture senior.
Chanelle Russ, landscape architecture senior.

Preparing landscape architecture students for study abroad every year is no easy task, especially when the trip encompasses five countries and dozens of cultural site visits. This past spring, it was my class’s turn to prepare for the magical journey abroad, and it was my favorite semester by far.

We essentially had a planning class, a construction detail class, and a sketching class; all three tied together beautifully. However, the most rewarding class was our LA 345 class that utilized the principles of all three courses in one.

The Design Development Studio challenged us to produce a booklet of detailed construction drawings as if a client had requested a site design inspired by a place abroad. This class gave us the research skills to do this in the future for clients, which is what happens in the real world!

From the beginning, I found myself invested in the academic process of producing these details, because we were given ownership over our final product. Each student had different subject matter, which is rare in a project. In fact, we each picked three sites from a list and would be responsible for presenting on both the history and the construction details while abroad.

I chose sites of Spanish influence – Alhambra, the Royal Chapel of Granada and Placa de Catalunya in Barcelona. After picking these sites, I did research using literature in the studio and library, online webpage searches, and referenced Google Maps or other images that showed landscape details present at the sites.

Using this information, each student drafted up a list of construction details they wanted to complete for each site. One example from my list was the plumbing design, façade sketches, plan view drawings and sections of Alhambra’s Fountain of Lions. A second was the wiring design and façade of the famous Fountain of Canaletes in the avenues of Barcelona.

Overall, this studio class did a great job of providing students an immersive experience before even arriving in Europe by putting us in charge of a place’s history and construction components of different landscape details.

I was very excited to present the history and details abroad. This course made students think for themselves with tips and suggestions from our professor along the way, which really gave us ownership of our experience abroad. 


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