During Autumn 2021, the Furniture Studio, a legacy course in the Architecture department, was offered to Landscape Architecture students for the first time. While the focus on craft and material remained constant, the context of the work provided a unique scale and scope not previously used in furniture studios.
Architecture faculty members Kimo Griggs and Steven M. Withycombe worked with 12 MLA and BLA students to design and fabricate landscape furniture.
Students receive a primer on lumber dimensions and wood types in the Fab Lab (photo by Sihong Zhu)
From infrastructure to buildings to landscapes, the built environment is furnished at a variety of scales. Furniture has been a critical organizing feature for centuries, signifying power, providing perspective, defining and supporting social organizations, comfort and health. Learning how to design and make furniture in the landscape is an education in landscape architecture writ small, including design strategy, ethics, team-work and sustainability. Investing in lasting materials and methods to produce full-scale, carefully-considered designs provides an extraordinary and lasting student experience. The inaugural Landscape Furniture Studio of Autumn 2021 produced a wide array of excellent designs, setting a high bar for future students.Professor Kimo Griggs
Students especially appreciated the course for advancing dialogue in interdisciplinary exploration at an object-level and the opportunity to work intimately with fabrication processes prioritizing the details of craft and making.
Furniture exists in every built environment, and as a result, it sits on the nexus of so many different fields. Kimo often said that you could “resolve the world in a piece of furniture” and I think that applies just as well to landscape design, architecture, city planning, and every other built environments field. It was so valuable to be able to work with architecture professors, as well, because it’s very easy to get ensconced in your department’s way of thinking. I feel that I have learned so much more having been exposed to different pedagogies in this very departmentally collaborative studio.Isa Lewis, BLA ‘23
Furniture studio fit perfectly into the MLA sequence. It complimented the work I was doing in Materials Craft and Construction and helped me understand both assemblies and materials more deeply. It’s so rare to have a full design-build experience in school, especially on a design that is all your own, and it was incredibly gratifying to experience the entire design process in a microcosm of a single piece of landscape furniture.Jesse Sleamaker, MLA ‘23
This longed-anticipated course will be part of the annual studio rotation moving forward. We’re looking forward to the interdisciplinary innovations that will come out of this studio for years to come.
(Click on the photos below for more information on each piece.)
Disc* is an immersive five-week summer program for college students offered by UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. It explores an interdisciplinary and multi-scalar approach to design and analysis in the urban environment. Disc* participants engage in the discourses of urban innovation, and develop creative solutions to tackle the urgent challenges global cities face today. Disc* is open to eligible students from any college or university. No prior experience in design is necessary.
Sign up for the Disc* Information session
Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities:
On March 29, 2022 at 5pm PT, you will learn more about the UC Berkeley summer program. Sign-up for the virtual session now.
Fifteen graduate and three undergraduate students participated in the studio and developed compelling analyses of and proposals for informality in Central Seattle. The studio focused on urban informality through interrelated themes of housing, livelihoods, urban agriculture and arts/culture.
As these students were formalizing their projects for the end-of-quarter presentations, the University of Washington ended in-person learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resulting upheaval and uncertainty led to canceling the students’ final presentations, and instead committing to presenting their studio report.
The University of Washington’s 2020 Scan Design Interdisciplinary Master Studio in Urban Design and Landscape Architecture worked with the Vashon Center for the Arts and the Vashon Nature Center to envision the Heron Meadow as a space for community gathering, art, science education, habitat restoration, and nature play. During the studio, graduate student teams led by UW Professor Nancy Rottle created five unique design visions for the Heron Meadow’s future. Through their designs, students worked towards a common goal: to weave together the meadow’s ecological needs and the community’s priorities to create an inspiring venue for learning, community, and the arts.
Skyway-West Hill and North Highline are racially and ethnically diverse, low-income communities in urban unincorporated King County whose residents are under increasing risk of displacement due to dramatic growth and rising housing costs in the region. To help address these concerns, King County partnered with the University of Washington Livable City Year (LCY) program so that students could conduct research and provide recommendations for anti-displacement strategies that might keep residents in place and encourage equitable development. Livable City Year, in turn, partnered with Professor Lynne C. Manzo of the Department of Landscape Architecture and students in her Advanced Research Studio to conduct policy research in Spring 2020. This report reflects the work of the thirteen students (the LCY research team) who participated in the course over a span of eleven weeks. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this course was offered online rather than the standard face-to-face.
The primary focus of this studio is to create ‘shovel ready’ design projects for Washington State that
Create small businesses and job opportunities and
Support social and ecological justice/democracy
In addition to providing visionary leadership around topics of the GND, this course will ask students to remove themselves as ‘the designer’ and instead, facilitate skills incorporative design progress, including compromise, communication, listening, inclusion, collaboration, and compassion.
As evidence of accelerated climate change and continued increases in greenhouse gas emissions mount, so does concern for food security. Patterns of drought, extreme heat and flood events, coupled with an increasing population impact regions across the globe, and portend challenges for Puget Sound.
Regenerative agricultural practices and other emerging approaches hold promise for large scale farming, and local urban food production may contribute to diverse aspects of community resilience. As such, the studio was framed by this inquiry:
How may we shift the paradigm of what, where and how food is grown in our cities such that urban agriculture permeates our landscapes as a critical infrastructure advancing resilience through food security, biodiversity, environmental justice, and community connections?
This graduate landscape architecture studio explored the challenge in the context of metropolitan Seattle. Pedagogical goals of the studio included:
fostering a collaborative and supportive studio community, to share expertise and support collective endeavors.
experiential learning about diverse urban agriculture systems and practices.
focused consideration of the projected impacts of climate change on our region.
creative design explorations that challenge current assumptions, use systems thinking, and cross spatial and temporal scales to advance climate resilience.
framing and development of meaningful design proposals in response to local urban agriculture site needs and climate impacts, in partnership with site leader(s).
This Autumn Quarter 2019 studio document was created to share the speculative and site-based projects developed, as described on the next page. Care has been taken to correct errors in the work, but some errors or omissions may exist. Thanks to all the students for formatting their projects for this document, and special thanks to those who created the document template, coordinated sections of the document and completed the final document assembly.
Fairy-tale scholars Pauline Greenhill and Sidney Eve Matrix (2010) have defined fairy tales as “fictional narratives that combine human and nonhuman protagonists with elements of wonder and the supernatural.” This intensive design studio was inspired by the Fairy Tales design competition (www. blankspaceproject.com) and tackled real world issues through the lens of creativity.
The studio focused on presenting different interpretations of urban and urbanization to consider the social, economic and environmental transformations underway in our cities. The rise of negative social processes is most evident in cities, where key social conflicts often center on socio-spatial rights and needs.
Students each selected a city that they held extensive personal experience and during the course of the studio they developed a text based fictional fairy tale (800-1400 words). Each fairy tale identifies a unique challenge and uses narrative to present landscape architecture responses.
The studio tasked each project to embody the following:
Setting acts as a vehicle for ecocriticism, that is, the focus on nature/city and questions about the interaction between humans and the environment.
Engage story based strategy to develop a critical narrative engaging in complex problems evident in each city.
The central character of each story reflects the social identity of the author and offers evidence of critical reflection of their role in their community.
In Winter 2020, fourteen graduate landscape architecture students toured urban design and landscape architecture projects in three distinctly different New Zealand cities—Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington—prior to undertaking a project in post-earthquake Christchurch. Anticipating river corridor inundation from earthquake induced subsidence and projected sea level rise, students proposed new stop bank (levee) configurations to provide both flood protection and ecological restoration, designing to embrace change, in concert with development of multi-faceted public river access points or “landings.” Led by Professor Nancy Rottle and Lecturer Paul Olson, the studio featured the Maori concept of tiaki, or care for people and land, and engaged generous local practitioners and citizens in their process. The student design work was complemented by travel media studies and explorations, and individual independent studies and creative projects. The group finished the trip together by studying and staying at an exemplary eco-resort near Queenstown, established by the visionaries of Puget Sound’s own Islandwood, Paul and Debbi Brainerd. A booklet, Ōtākaro Avon Landings, Tiaki Over Time: Ecocultural Regeneration and Climate Change Resilience for the Ōtākaro Avon Green Spine, documents the group’s design explorations and can be accessed at a new website, www.uwtiakiovertime.wordpress.com. The website also features studio work from the Winter 2019 Christchurch New Zealand program, and a gallery of this year’s independent study projects. We invite you to have a look!