Faculty: Sandip Patil | Yati Sengupta

TA: Aishwarya Goel

Landscape Design Studio –III: Affirming Identity through Design

“Our Gardens” engages students with the identity of design, through inquiries into the natural and cultural products of a complex urban setting. Each urban area has a ‘landmark garden’, that represents the sum of the area’s socio-cultural, sometimes ecological, identity and aspirations. This studio engaged with the landmark as perceived by the end user along with its natural context. Students imagined and crafted an identifiable and inclusive design for a ‘Landmark Park’. The studio was structured to allow students to explore the design process beyond mundane visual expressions and use it as a tool to strengthen local geo-cultural identities. It took its position at the intersection of ecological and anthropological systems. Each student chose an existing landmark park in an urban or suburban area around their current place of residence, with a view to connect people to the local natural rhythms through design expression. The design process incorporated local phyto-geographic rhythms of nature and attempted to connect them to user experience through physical activity and socio-cultural rituals.

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With 14 wonderful students and with reference to the online structure this year in CEPT, it gave us an opportunity to explore various sites spread across the country. The students worked around different titles around culture, wilderness, heritage and urbanity with an understanding of identity of the city and citizens and hence designing a landmark park for them.

The process of the studio was spread across 16 weeks. Each week is more or less was an exercise, which can be seen as an independent exercise but then that forms a sequential link to the next stage of the process.

The important exercises in the process were as following; The study about Image of the city and the citizens: Expressing identity of the people & the city through collages, mixed media. Etc. In parallel the students started to form a vision for the projects and for this, Mind Mapping as a tool was used to help clarify thoughts and structures and organize it into a statement, along with detail site analysis.

By week five the students started working on the programming and a calendar for the garden. These became very pertinent ideas for us to express the design and its usability for the people. So, these both become very important sequences in our design to apply it on the site itself. Using all above tools we were able to finalize the final vision-document, that helped us to start zoning iteration on the site itself. Hereafter all design processes are non-linear and they are tested with various iterations. So, for each iteration there was a lot of back and forth done so as to decide on the best suited option for each stage. A workshop on experiential design was conducted to helps students to dissect their spaces from an experiential point of view and find out what are the different components of space that are really manifesting while they are drawing these spaces. This helped them to finalize their detailed structure of design and a very broad material palette.

The material palette was then taken with the Grain- Plan which helped the students to compose the scene in the third dimension. Hereafter we started using the most common material of application for landscape architects; planting. The students started to structure the planting in a small patch of 20m by 20m. This again went through several iterations to finalize best possible option. Then they also imagine and express on ways this planting would go through phasing and seasonality because landscape is dynamic, we wanted them to imagine and express the dynamism of landscape. So that is the part on kinetics that we asked the students to look at.