Courses: Spring 2017

LA 221: History of the Prison

Prof. Rebecca Ginsburg
Spring 2017 / MW 11:00am to 12:20pm
CRN 64179

History of prison architecture, landscapes, and carceral regimes from ancient times until the present. Topics include: philosophy of punishment, the invention of the modern prison, the advent of mass incarceration, and 21st century geographies of incarceration. The course focuses on the western experience, but also includes international examples, e.g. from China, East Africa, and Japan. Interdisciplinary approach includes readings in architectural history, urban planning, sociology, philosophy, psychology, history, and landscape studies.

Same as AFRO 221 and HIST 219.

This course satisfies the General Education Criteria in Spring 2017 for a UIUC: Hist&Philosoph Perspect course , and UIUC: Western Compartv Cult course.



LA 222: Islamic Gardens & Architecture

Prof. D. Fairchild Ruggles
Spring 2017 / TR 11:00am to 12:20pm
CRN 64180

From the 7th century to the present, the Islamic world extended at various times from Spain, across northern Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans to Central and South Asia and Indonesia. The built environment is characterized by architecture centered around large open courtyards, often gardened, and a sophisticated system for organizing, irrigating, and cultivating the landscape. The themes for this course, which is both topical and historical, include the greening and settlement of the desert, the formation of an Islamic visual culture, the agricultural landscape, gardens of myth and memory, architectural and garden typology and symbolism, and architecture as a theater for political display.

Same as ARCH 222.


LA 234: Site Design Studio

Prof. Conor O'Shea
Spring 2017 / MWF 2:00pm to 4:50pm
CRN 35292

Site as the fundamental unit of landscape design. Involves ecological, cultural and experiential understanding of sites, and the creation of place-specific designs. Field trip required.

Prerequisite: LA 233 or consent of instructor.



LA 241: Landform Design & Construction

Prof. Carol Emmerling-DiNovo
Spring 2017 / TR 12:30pm to 3:20pm
CRN 35296

This course introduces the fundamentals of landform design, grading, drainage, and surveying. Stormwater management, the construction process, volume calculations, best practices, the preservation of on-site vegetation, and circulation design are also discussed. The course is the first in a three-course sequence. Enrollment in subsequent courses is dependent upon successful completion of this class.

Prerequisite: MATH 014 or 016.


LA 281: Design Communications II

Katherine Kraszewska
Spring 2017 / MW 9:00am to 11:50am
CRN 35298

The purpose of this course is to enhance skills of effective design communication. An part of landscape architecture is using graphics, narrative, and presentation to communicate site analysis, ideas, design concepts, and construction methodology. You must be able to convey your ideas through graphic media to be a successful landscape architect. This course will focus on utilizing digital technology, verbal presentation, and narrative to effectively communicate design ideas.

Open to Landscape Architecture majors only.

Prerequisite: Concurrent registration in LA 234; completion of LA 280 and completion of campus Composition I general education requirement or consent of instructor.


LA 314 / LA 513: History of World Landscapes

Prof. M. Elen Deming
Spring 2017 / online lecture with in person discussion sections
CRN 64527 / 64528 / 64529 / 64530 / 64525

The hopes, fears, imaginings, and expectations of people from the past have always been transformed into real places. In various ways, every society leaves its traces whether subtle fingerprints or dramatic and enduring structures—on the physical landscape. This course will help you learn how to read the landscape by looking at the complex alchemy that renders social values into places. The class will use informed interpretation, in the context of social, political, and environmental history, to transmute real landscapes back into the historical values that guided their construction.

Same as ARCH 314.

The Natalie Alpert prize is given for the best term paper(s).

This course satisfies the General Education Criteria in Spring 2017 for a UIUC: Hist&Philosoph Perspect course , and UIUC: Western Compartv Cult course, and UIUC: Advanced Composition course.


LA 336 / LA 438: Design Workshop Studio: After Arcadia

Prof. Stephen Sears
Spring 2017 / MWF 2:00pm to 4:50pm
CRN 35305

In Greek mythology, Arcadia is the home of the god Pan. In European Renaissance arts, Arcadia was celebrated as an unspoiled, harmonious wilderness.

This workshop will test the definitions of terms like nature, wilderness, and ecology as conditions that may or may not exist in the Midwestern till plain landscape.

The Midwest’s early settlers looked upon ecological systems existing in stable states of equilibrium and saw only abundant land, rich soil, and predictable seasons. They developed an unrivalled economy and culture of agricultural practices and networks and thoroughly re-organized the nature of Nature.

A half-century later, new generations recalibrated their efforts towards industrialization, fueled by technology, energy resources, immigration, and reliable infrastructure, thereby increasing the land’s carrying capacity, while further decoupling people from natural systems.

Today, terms like breadbasket or rust belt are applied in equally nostalgic ways; neither term is as true as it once was, and inhabitants are faced with shrinking labor markets, resource scarcity, and extreme environmental degradation. As a result, a cultural torpor has settled over an increasingly inert and invariant landscape.

This workshop will develop landscape strategies that anticipate the next potential recalibration, synthesize nature + culture, and reinvigorate a precarious biome.


LA 336 / LA 438: Design Workshop Studio: Figuring Future Nature

Prof. David L. Hays
Spring 2017 / MWF 2:00pm to 4:50pm
CRN 39842

What is the future of nature, and how might landscape architecture address that?

During the late nineteenth-century, habitat dioramas emerged as a new format of landscape representation. Located primarily in new museums of natural history, these works were masterpieces of realism and deception, in which two- and three-dimensional components were combined to form expansive yet accessible illusions of the natural world. Habitat dioramas portrayed ecosystems and their component species as static types, in keeping with contemporary scientific understanding and cultural expectations. Popular with the general public, they invoked dynamic environments through idealized, static frameworks, both epitomizing and extending the “picturesque” tradition in the graphic arts and landscape design.

During the past several decades, understanding of nature has been significantly transformed, and traditional habitat dioramas have been outmoded. The focus of ecological theory has shifted from a hierarchical model culminating in a stable, climax state to a dynamic model based on resilience: the ability of systems to adapt to disruption. In the new understanding, imbalance is integral to natural systems, and stability is never achieved. In keeping with that turn, understandings of landscape and landscape architecture are being actively renegotiated.

This studio approaches the making and exhibiting of habitat dioramas as a practice of landscape architecture. Through interdisciplinary work in a range of traditional and experimental formats, participants will learn about the historical and technical development of habitat dioramas and their museological contexts; locate habitat dioramas within the larger history of interior landscapes (i.e., contained spaces designed to appear larger than their physical limits); relate habitat dioramas to problems of representation and aesthetics in contemporary landscape architecture; and develop a theory of future nature based on historical and contemporary models and projections.

As a culmination of research and a demonstration of findings, participants will figure future nature through the design and construction of full-scale habitat dioramas. The resulting works will be exhibited in academic and public contexts and evaluated in terms of conceptual rigor, material development (including craftsmanship), and impact.


LA 336 / LA 438: Design Workshop Studio: Water and Policy in the Agricultural Landscape

Katherine Kraszewska
Spring 2017 / MWF 2:00pm to 4:50pm
CRN 64186

The agricultural landscape in America is the leading source for non-point source pollution, including nutrients, sediment, pesticides, and salts. According to the USGS, 71% of cropland in the United States lies within watersheds exceeding surface water contamination limits for water-based recreation.

Landowners and farmers within the Midwest are required to meet few legal standards pertaining to excess water. For what little policy there is in place to protect local watersheds, there is even less of an infrastructure to enforce those standards.

The goal of this studio is to analyze the agricultural landscape of Illinois and the Midwest in order to determine the extent of impact of non-point source water pollution has on regional, national, and global contexts.

We will examine a range of political, social, economic, and environmental concerns pertaining to this topic and provide resilient design solutions that can be applied on state, regional, and nationwide scales.


LA 336 / LA 438: Design Workshop Studio: Wet and Dry: River Patterns and Human Intervention

Prof. Jessica Henson
Spring 2017 / MWF 2:00pm to 4:50pm
CRN 35307

Throughout history rivers have guided settlement patterns and cultural development while being ribbons of wildlife and habitat diversity. Although humans have altered riverine systems for their benefit since the beginning of civilization, our power to affect change on massive scales using concrete, dams, and levees has been multiplied in the past 100 years.

The course will begin with a four-week seminar and exploration of four American river systems, with the primary focus being the relationship between environmental factors and human intervention. The final 10 weeks of the studio will focus on specific design interventions for the Upper Mississippi that consider economic, demographic, and environmental realities for the region.


LA 343: Landscape Construction

Aneesha Dharwadker
Spring 2017 / F 9:00am to 11:50am
CRN 35308

Construction methods, materials, and procedures related to the design of landscape structures; development of design details and cost estimating.

Prerequisite: LA 342 or consent of instructor.


LA 390 / LA 590: Ecosystem Surface Strategies

M. Brad Goetz
Spring 2017 / TR 1:00pm to 2:20pm
CRN LA 390: 65624; LA 590: 65625

This course explores the intersection of applied research and design intelligence through digital fabrication.

Course topics include: landscape ecology, urban ecology, ecological economics, ecosystem ecology, ecosystem services, resilience, infrastructure, landscape urbanism, and geodesign.

Students will leverage contemporary theories, knowledge, methods, and techniques to develop critical investigations on pattern, performance, adaptation, and emergence. With instructor guidance, students will extract performance metrics to inform and then model novel design strategies for enhanced resiliency.

Students will rely heavily on AutoCad, Rhinoceros, and Illustrator and will be expected to use the School of Architecture and Design’s Fabrication Shop to produce physical models.

Restricted to students in the Landscape Architecture department with Junior, Senior, or Graduate class standing.



LA 390 / LA 590: Empire of Extraction

Aneesha Dharwadker
Spring 2017 / TR 5:00pm to 6:20pm
CRN 65621; LA 590: 65623

The era of European colonization in India, and its capitalistic success, relied heavily on the systematic extraction of natural resources. This course focuses on British and Portuguese presence in India between the 16th and 20th centuries, understanding the processes of extraction and capital flow during this critical time in global development.

We will explore general Indian history, colonial history, postcolonial theory, and current economic conditions through a series of lectures and discussions, contextualizing several natural resources in the larger economic agendas of the colonizing nations. Assignments will include written reading responses and class presentations. In the second half of the term, students will participate in mapping workshops, producing unique visualizations of resource extraction over time.

This course is open to upper-level undergraduates and graduate students in Landscape Architecture, Architecture, and Urban Planning. Familiarity with GIS and the Adobe Creative Suite is strongly encouraged.


LA 587: Graduate Seminar: Logistical Ecologies: Reading the Operational Landscape

Prof. Conor O'Shea
Spring 2017 / MW 9:00am to 10:20am
CRN 65001

Over the past 20 years, the topic of logistics in design discourse has grown from a handful of articles published in the 1990s to the release of two books in 2016 alone. This graduate seminar will articulate and test the concept of Logistical Ecologies through reading, writing, and visual representation. Students will read foundational texts on logistics in design alongside literature from contemporary landscape architectural theory, landscape ecology, critical urban theory, and more. Readings will be complimented by guest lectures, films, precedent studies, visualization exercises, and a workshop.

Content generated in the seminar will be considered for a planned exhibit in 2018 and future publication, both of which are supported by the College of Fine and Applied Arts Design Research Initiative.

Open to graduate students in landscape architecture, architecture, and urban and regional planning. Priority given to graduate landscape architecture students. Undergraduate students allowed with permission of the instructor.


LA 587: Graduate Seminar: ReThinking A Lot

Prof. Mary Pat McGuire
Spring 2017 / TR 3:30pm to 4:50am
CRN 65000


  • The year is 2017...and there are over 1 million acres of asphalt parking across the country, including over 100 acres of asphalt parking lots here on the UIUC campus.
  • Asphalt parking lots are an outdated material technology from the1900s. They force huge amounts of stormwater to run-off the campus, depleting the Mahomet Aquifer, the source of our drinking water. 
  • To reverse this situation, we need new parking lots for the future, and we need creative minds from multiple disciplines to design these lots. We need smart surfaces with new materials, and these lots need to have a life besides parking. 
  • In 1876, the Morrow Plots were established to research soil and the agricultural production of corn. A new design research project is now needed to study parking lots. These “Parking Plots of toMorrow” will be established to research the future potential of parking lots to be active stormwater filters, social spaces, and energy landscapes. 
  • The Parking Plots for the future will not look the same as today and may transform radically with fewer cars on the road. 
  • The question is: what will they be? 


This seminar, which is open to students across the University, will aim to do three things:

1. Investigate parking lots as part of our urban and campus environment.

2. Explore new ecological and social concepts for parking lots within our campus.

3. Redesign one parking lot to present a future of sustainable parking design for UIUC.

ReThinking A Lot is open to all graduate students (and to undergraduate students with permission). We welcome, encourage, and desire for design and non-design students alike to join this seminar project. We want students from all disciplines to include environmental sciences, engineering, economics, social sciences, humanities and the arts. The future of parking lots will ask us to question these spaces in our environment, and to radically rethink their future from a variety of viewpoints. No design experience is necessary. We will learn together in a seminar/mini-workshop/project format.

Note: It is possible that the parking lot will be constructed as early as Fall 2017. Students taking this course will be the generators of the inaugural Parking Plot for the campus.


LA 594: Cultural Heritage

Prof. D. Fairchild Ruggles
Spring 2017 / T 5:30pm to 6:50pm
CRN 43298

Topics in cultural landscape heritage, conservation planning and design. Investigates theories of landscape, heritage, and their intersections, with readings drawn from anthropology, geography, and landscape studies, as well as applied work on historical landscape conservation, preservation and management.

Same as ANTH 594. May be repeated to a maximum of 10 hours per semester; may be repeated to a maximum of 16 total hours. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in LA 438 may be required in the spring semester; check Class Schedule.


LA 597: Research Design & Methods

Prof. William Sullivan
Spring 2017 / TR 11:00am to 12:20pm
CRN 64182

This graduate-level course provides instruction and application of research and scholarly methods for landscape architecture and related fields. Students are introduced to the basic steps of inquiry and development of a thesis/research proposal. Course content includes: problem identification; choosing and articulating a research topic; synthesis of topical/theoretical background from literature; choice of research strategy; design of a plan for investigation; selection of data sources, methods and analysis; proof of concept; feasibility planning; and other necessary components of a successful research proposal.

3 graduate hours. No professional credit. Prerequisite: Second year or post-professional MLA students; graduate students in other majors may enroll with permission of instructor.