Vertical Landscapes: Learning From a Rock Climbing Perspective

Within the field of landscape architecture, verticality is predominantly defined as a design tool. The variety of applications for vertical elements within design, and the spatial role they can play is well documented. However, there is a rapidly growing community that understands vertical spaces as inhabitable places: rock climbers. More and more people equipped with this unique perspective of the vertical are venturing out to monoliths of rock across the country, seeking new heights in various state and national parks. This perception of vertical spaces as places brings a new definition of the vertical to landscape architecture. To begin to understand this definition, this thesis explores the meanings, values, and experiences of rock climbers by utilizing Yosemite National Park as a case study along with firsthand knowledge of the sport. Placing landscape architecture in conversation with rock climbing presents a number of takeaways for the profession including a shift in the perception of vertical space and the way it is designed, a tool for developing knowledge related to the vertical, and a deeper understanding of the embodied experience of rock climbers. With this recognition, landscape architects can better design for and with rock climbers to protect and manage climbing areas as well as create new opportunities for vertical experiences.

Living Laboratory: A Circular Framework for North Seattle College

This thesis proposes North Seattle College as a laboratory to explore the future of sustainable development at the district scale. Incorporating principles of circular cities, regenerative design, and the Water-Food-Energy Nexus into the North Seattle College campus allows the school and its users to move beyond limiting their impacts and minimizing resource use; they will begin giving back to the earth. North Seattle College is a prime location to explore how integrating the flows of food, water, and energy into circular systems can allow a college campus to operate more sustainably and inter-dependently within the broader ecological context. As cities continue to increase in density and the problems caused by climate change continue to intensify, it is important for cities to become more sustainable and resilient. Holistic sustainable design, that prioritizes the health of ecological systems, lessens a city’s ecological footprint and mitigates the negative impacts on the environment by designing efficient buildings, generating energy on site and closing resource loops.  The future of urban living will rely on thinking holistically about the way buildings situate themselves within the urban fabric and the relationships these buildings have with the surrounding ecological systems. To maximize the impact of sustainable design, systems should be organized at the scale of city districts where resource flows become evident. Buildings should push their systems beyond the building and influence the surrounding environment on an ecological and social level.

Exploring the Potentials of Interdisciplinary Studios in the University of Washington College of Built Environments

Interdisciplinary collaboration has become a key strategy in the fields of the built environment to understand and address complex environmental and societal issues. The College of Built Environments at the University of Washington has applied the idea of interdisciplinarity to education, offering a series of college-wide interdisciplinary studios since 2009. This study conducts a qualitative review of the interdisciplinary studios at the College of Built Environments from 2009-2019. Through fifteen in-depth interviews with previous studio instructors, this study explores how studio instructors understand the idea of interdisciplinarity, how their understandings are reflected in the studio pedagogy, and what are the future potentials for the interdisciplinary studio in the University of Washington College of Built Environments.