As a corollary to the well-known Discover Architecture summer program at UIUC, during Summer 2011, the Department of Landscape Architecture has launched a new program called Discover Landscape Architecture. The program has been specially designed for high school students interested in finding out more about landscape architecture, and offers a tailor-made opportunity to learn about the activities, roles, and projects that landscape architects engage.
Landscape Architecture is a natural pursuit for those students with interests in architecture, engineering, or natural resources, and for students with interests in visual arts, horticulture, or environmental design. However, the field has long been hampered by a lack of visibility and confusion about its many different professional scales and applications. This is where the Department thought an introductory immersion program might help.
Designed as a 24/7 program for 2 weeks only, Discover Landscape Architecture is a design studio-based program that gives students “hands on” experiences that are fun, engaging, and intensive. Students in landscape architecture and architecture programs were commingled, supervised, and attended by faculty members and graduate assistants. Instructor Molly Briggs (pictured here during a field trip to MVVAs Mill Race Park in Columbus, Indiana) designed and taught the landscape portion of the program. Happily, for the inaugural summer, the Department’s Resource Committee generously provided two full scholarships for students specially selected by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
One of the students participating in Discover Landscape Architecture (pictured here with his project) wrote about his experiences in a blog (excerpted below). Edwin Lira had already decided to study Engineering at Southern Illinois University but, partly as a result of the summer program, has become interested in potential collaborations between civil engineers and landscape architects. In four years, we hope he may decide to pursue graduate studies in landscape architecture.
Two weeks at U of I Urbana-Champaign
Participating in Discover Landscape Architecture 2011 allowed me to enhance my knowledge in the field of Architecture… along with Landscape Architecture, which many people are not aware of. It also allowed me to experience a taste of the level of work, dedication, and time required to get a professional degree and a license.
…During the first week we had the pleasure of having guest speakers that gave us many approaches along with related professional specialties. Our speakers included Lee Waldrep, [Associate Director in the School of Architecture], Brian Deal, [Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning], Carol Emmerling-DiNovo [Assistant Head of Landscape Architecture] Elen Deming [Professor and Head of the Landscape Architecture Department], and others. All throughout the program we had instructors and several teaching assistants help us along the way in making sure we were asking ourselves the right questions and providing constructive criticism.
Joseph Moreno and I had the special pleasure of working with Molly Briggs, an instructor in the School of Art + Design who is also pursuing a Ph.D in Landscape Architecture. There were very few of us of us in the Discover Landscape Architecture program, so we were involved in everything that the other students in Discover Architecture were a part of. Once our final project was presented to us we were …given an additional larger area to include landscape architecture into our site. We had special talks with Molly and Elen about Landscape Architecture almost every day for about two hours which included walks around the campus to view the landscape, and to discuss why it was done in that particular way and the pros and cons to it.
During the program we also visited Columbus, Indiana… there we had a walking tour along with a bus tour…. [students are pictured with a hands-on sculpture]. The second week was mainly working on our final project, which included drawings and the physical model. I am very proud of the work that everyone did and I was happily surprised of the level of skill and detail their projects had, one might not have ever thought that this was their first time doing such a project. … Thanks to all those who participated in the program who made this an extraordinary learning and social experience.