Courses: Spring 2018

LA 221: History of the Prison

Prof. Rebecca Ginsburg
Spring 2018 / 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 2018 for a UIUC: Hist&Philosoph Perspect course , and UIUC: Western Compartv Cult course.


LA 234: Site Design Studio

Prof. Conor O'Shea
Spring 2018 / 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

Craig Reschke
Spring 2018 / 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 270: Behavioral Factors in Design

Sara Hadavi
Spring 2018 / TR 1:00pm to 2:20pm
CRN 44160

How can we create landscapes that help people become more effective, reasonable, and healthy than they might otherwise be? Behavioral Factors in Design presents evidence that well-designed landscapes contribute, in consistent and substantial ways, to the effective functioning and well-being of people. In this course, we will come to see humans as motivated to understand the world around them; to learn, discover, and explore at their own pace; and to participate in solving problems. For those of us committed to design, this framework is both exciting and powerful: it provides insights regarding how we might create places that improve human functioning and wellbeing. Ultimately, this framework will help us create places that people love and cherish.

LA 281: Design Communications II

Katherine Kraszewska
Spring 2018 / 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

Katherine Kraszewska
Spring 2018 / 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 2018 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: Landscapes of Dependence

Aneesha Dharwadker
Spring 2018 / MWF 2:00pm to 4:50pm
CRN 64186 (UG); 64320 (UG); 64319 (GR)

This studio is a testing ground for “issued-based design”: starting with an issue or question and discovering sites and design strategies through research. In “Landscapes of Dependence” we focus on the current opioid crisis in the United States. Through GIS mapping, experimental representation methods, interdisciplinary workshops, and leveraging recent journalism, we discover sites and networks in different parts of the country that are in need of design or re-design. Proposals will focus on healing communities affected by the crisis, and implementing landscape strategies for overall environmental health, particularly in rural locations.


LA 336 / LA 438: Design Workshop Studio: Present TENSE

Prof. Stephen Sears
Spring 2018 / MWF 2:00pm to 4:50pm
CRN 35305 (UG); 57634 (UG); 57633 (GR)

This workshop will develop site-scale design proposals for the public realm that respond to the dynamics and outcomes of human conflict in built environment. Our design process will be informed by gaining and applying knowledge about a range of issues: 1) the relationships between public space and public action; 2) the divisive nature of global issues like social equity, land tenure, economic disparity, cultural identity, political expression, court decisions, civil enforcement, legislative impact, food security, environmental action, among others; 3) the mechanisms for civic standards, perceptions, and the means of contemporary civil control.


LA 336 / LA 438: Design Workshop Studio: Surface Studio

Prof. Mary Pat McGuire
Spring 2018 / MWF 2:00pm to 4:50pm
CRN 39842 (UG); 57640 (UG); 57639 (GR)

Urban surface conditions define the performance of sites and cities, and mediate human experiences within urban environments; both form the intellectual and ethical inquiry of the Surface Studio. — Within this central inquiry, Surface Studio focuses on the under-explored design medium of urban pavement, critiquing outdated material technologies of monolithic, infrastructural surfaces and relational dysfunction of vast urban pavements and watersheds. We will work on this urban-surface-pavement-water issue in the Rust Belt - where transforming urban surface relationships is vital to the future of the Great Lakes. We will likely explore Detroit as our Surface Site for the semester.

We begin with examination of surface materiality in our culture of art and design broadly, complemented by ecological and aesthetic performance of surfaces within landscape architecture specifically. Your design process will consider subtractive and retrofit conversions of paved sites, away from normative material systems, toward design of multi-functional, multi-sensory living systems surfaces. Your design research will culminate in potentially radical alternatives to transform urban pavement environments.

The workshop is reading, thinking and making intensive; consisting of discussion + debate, investigative design research, collaborative design work and full scale mock-ups. A fieldwork trip will occur in late Feb/early March; a trip fee is included in your registration for this workshop.

1. To define and evaluate surfaces in design — 2. To rethink cities and the surfaces that compose and create ecological, hydrological and human experiential systems within them — 3. To develop new approaches for urban pavement surfaces with a higher set of design outcomes — 4. To deepen your design research skills, learning that in order to generate solutions, design first defines the problems

Research SEMINAR (5 weeks) : Topics include: surface experiences and relations; readings in new materialism and surface design; comparative surface case studies; surface fieldwork trip preparation. Individual and small group activity. 

FIELDWORK Trip (Week 6) : Travel and concentrate on surface site research: observation, inventory and interpretation.

Depave/Trans-Form DESIGN PROPOSALS (approximately 8 weeks) : Propose design transformations for selected surface sites, developing both proto-typical and site specific scenarios. You will work in pairs, trios and/or teams.


LA 336 / LA 438: Design Workshop Studio: Watershed

Prof. Jessica Henson
Spring 2018 / MWF 2:00pm to 4:50pm
CRN 35307 (UG); 57638 (UG); 57637 (GR)

Located 11 miles from the coast, the sprawling Los Angeles of our imagination filled with beaches and cinema actually began as a small rivertown next to the Los Angeles River. Despite its inconsistent flow for most of its 51.9 miles, as the river exited the San Fernando Valley and came around the Santa Monica Mountains the bedrock forced the water to the surface, ensuring a steady supply of water for the Pueblo of Los Angeles. After it flowed past the pueblo, the water again disappeared into the sands as it made its way to the ocean, only to be seen during rainy periods when the area between Los Angeles and Long Beach would look like the river delta that it was.

With a climate mediated by the ocean and the water from the river, Los Angeles seemed like the perfect place to settle, but as the city grew, more water was needed to satisfy its thirst. While the history of the city was dotted with reservoirs and irrigation acequias, Mulholland’s Los Angeles Aqueduct bringing water from the Owens River Valley marked the beginning of LA’s massive reengineering of its landscape, a tradition that continued for the entire 20th-century. The additional water brought more development and more people. As people settled in the San Fernando Valley and along the Los Angeles River south of the city, the river’s unwieldy and unpredictable flooding led to the complete channelization of the river.

The Los Angeles River as it exists today is a large concrete conveyance channel, designed to move water as quickly as possible to the ocean. Blake Gumprecht writes in his book The Los Angeles River: It’s Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth, "By 1960, the federal government had created the fifty-one mile storm drain that is still flatteringly called the Los Angeles River." The time of concentration during a rainfall is extremely short due to the sprawling low density development and impermeable surfaces across the river’s 827-square-mile watershed. After it starts raining, the Los Angeles River quickly becomes dangerous due to its velocity.

Previous solutions and proposals for the LA River cannot create a continuous park space without compromising the flood control aspects of the channel. To vegetate the channel with trees and grasses would require a channel width approximately seven times its current width. Obviously this is not possible given adjacent land uses. Therefore, all previous plans for the river end up being compromised in significant ways by trying to combine the daily flow and the stormwater flow of the river with park space and habitat. Either the park space and habitat suffer or the flood flows are ignored, putting people at risk.

The overall goal of the studio is to invent ways for the river to become a positive, central part of the lives of the people Los Angeles County, 1 million of which live in census tracts within a mile of the river, while addressing issues of water scarcity, climate change, resiliency, and social justice.


LA 336 Design Workshop Studio: Nocturnal Landscapes: Codes, Glows, and Atmospheres in the Rural Night

Craig Reschke
Spring 2018 / MWF 2:00pm to 4:50pm
CRN 35306 (UG); 57636 (UG); 57635 (GR)

Chris Elvidge, a NOAA scientist, has said that “Nothing tell us more about the spread of humans across the Earth than city lights.”[1] Yet, beyond simple data analysis, an entire culture exists beneath those city lights. In fact, we may even see these spaces as heterotopias, those spaces described by Michel Foucault as “places that are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location on a map.”[2] Our experiences of the night become these places, outside of all places. Can we shape the landscapes in which these distinct nighttime experiences occur, and what tools and design strategies might we need to do so?

The landscape created by artificial illumination has created additional landscape externalities: resource extraction sites, power plants, and high voltage power lines that have shaped our national landscape for the last century, but these systems are changing. We increasingly see resource extraction and power production happening simultaneously at solar installations across the southwest and wind turbine placement across Midwest agricultural fields. Should these sites be thought of as public space ripe for landscape intervention? If John Wesley Powell envisioned dividing the country based on river basins, perhaps today we might want to think about the country as eight NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation) regions. Electricity is after all a flow unaffected by gravity. How could a landscape reoriented around clean power supplies begin to redefine our experience of the rural night?

For the purpose of this studio we will think about artificial illumination as both a technical achievement and spatial experience—as codes, glows, and atmospheres.

The studio will engage a site in the desert landscape outside Las Vegas, Nevada. This region is at the center of the most productive solar power plants and has varied night experiences. If we think of our night experiences as a kind of heterotopia, then the landscape of Las Vegas is filled with them. The bright city of Las Vegas is only two hours away from Death Valley National Park, one of the darkest places in the continental United States. Las Vegas is filled with motel spaces like the ones Foucault envisions, and the constant demolition and rebuilding of major casinos sets the whole city on a temporal scale unlike any other. Additionally, the diurnal temperature swing creates vastly different experiences from day to night, and the scale of the landscape allows for far reaching interventions.

[2] Michel Foucault, Of Other Spaces.


LA 343: Landscape Construction

Aneesha Dharwadker
Spring 2018 / F 9:00am to 11:50am
CRN 35308

This core class for both undergraduates and graduate students addresses the fundamentals of landscape construction and documentation. Students are introduced to materials, methods, techniques, and standards for construction drawings. Projects include typical detailing exercises using CAD software, and a design project that includes detailed drawing production and model-making.

Prerequisite: LA 342 or consent of instructor.


LA 427: American Vernacular Cultural Landscape

Prof. Stephen Sears
Spring 2018 / MW 11:00am to 12:50pm
CRN 64181


The agrarian landscape of the Middle West is shaped land – altered with extraordinary effort and determination for the benefit of its inhabitants; marked by the regular patterns of machines and an improvisational resistance to relentless natural forces. The former wilderness of prairies, forests and lakes was first understood in terms of potential utility. Early Midwestern settlers looked upon complex ecological systems in stable states of equilibrium, and saw only abundant land, rich soil, and predictable seasons.

Inhabitants developed what would become an unrivalled agro-economic network and a set of culture practices that would thoroughly re-organized the nature of Nature. In the drive for bounty and dominion, this vast wilderness became a built environment, where the construction of artificial systems, like irrigation ditches, supplanted natural ones, like rivers and streams.


A half-century later, new generations recalibrated their efforts towards industrialization, fueled by technology, energy resources, immigration, and reliable infrastructure – in effect, increasing the land’s carrying capacity, and further decoupling people from natural systems. Today, terms like breadbasket or rustbelt 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 the extreme environmental degradation. As a result, a cultural torpor has settled over an increasingly inert and invariant landscape...

This seminar is organized as a series of lectures and discussions focusing on themes that have framed a Midwestern ethos [nature + culture]. Our landscape patterns and practices have matured, and we can reflect on the outcomes of transformation. Participants will speculate about contemporary and future scenarios of the region by examine its multiple legacies, ever evolving cultural signifiers, and conflicting layers of temporal change.   


LA 446: Sustainable Planning Seminar

Prof. Brian Deal
Spring 2018 / TR 2:00pm to 3:20pm
CRN 67977

An examination of sustainability issues of concern to landscape designers (from a climate change perspective) including conflicts among interests such as resource conservation, urban growth, environmental justice, industrial development, social equity, sustainable agriculture, and economic development, among others. Holistic approaches combining urban and regional land use, physical design, and policymaking are examined, ranging from theoretical concepts to detailed case studies.


LA 597: Research Design & Methods

Prof. Conor O'Shea
Spring 2018 / 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.