"Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience" (Kolb 1984, p. 38)The research project is running hand in hand with teaching, allowing students to focus on the core themes of the investigation (e.g. climate and construction, points of weakness, use and misuse) through seminars, workshops and thesis topics. Many students initially have a "false" image of built landscape which is propagated by images in landscape architecture publications that frequently portray “perfect” projects with flawless materials, taken at the time of completion. The onsite reality check for students a few months, or years later is often disheartening. Teaching methods developing from this research help to counterbalance this by involving Students in onsite surveys, analysis and evaluations of "real" projects after completion. Students experience built landscape as a dynamic evolving system interacting with the natural environment and patterns of use. The teaching methods follow Kolb´s (1984) "Experiential Learning Cycle" model of learning involving four elements: concrete experience (experience/do), reflective observation (review/discuss), abstract conceptualisation (learn) and testing in new situations (plan/apply). For example, a major assignment within our construction seminar for masters students involves students in small groups analysing landscape projects onsite before formulating a response. The assignment is set as a research question, the object of research being "real" landscape projects. Students examine the current condition in relation to the surrounding context and reflect on interrelations between design, building materials, technical implementation, maintenance and the processes of change over time. Comparisons with images in publications at the time of completion, together with project descriptions or reviews enable the students to identify time bound changes to the built landscape, as well as discrepancies between design intentions and the built reality. Teacher support enables the students to "read" and interpret the traces of wear and tear, weathering and succession in order to determine, for example, patterns of use, misuse or maintenance as well as the causes of change. The students then develop optimisation strategies for deterring weakness and vulnerability in future projects within a classroom learning context. These field learning activities are complemented by a series of lectures and seminars focusing on e.g. detail design, materials, construction detailing and the processes of change. The students produce a variety of texts, photo documentations, diagrams, sketches and technical drawings to present their findings allowing for diverse forms of assessment (see Figure 4). This method offers a more integrative approach to teaching landscape construction. Students confront all facets of a project simultaneously, they need to think, discuss and analyse built landscape before formulating multifaceted submission documents. These research and associated teaching methods treat built landscape projects as research objects, gaining knowledge for, continued optimisation of design, and detailing and maintenance practices through monitoring and evaluating processes of change over time. They represent an exemplary way to combine the synergistic potentials of teaching, research and professional practice. The field-based learning activities provide students with the opportunity to contextualise their learning experience within an academic framework.
There was a problem reporting this post.
Please confirm you want to block this member.
You will no longer be able to:
Please note: This action will also remove this member from your connections and send a report to the site admin. Please allow a few minutes for this process to complete.