LAR 565: International Landscape Architecture Design Studio

Instructor: Peter Kjaer, Director Prague Institute

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Today, global awareness is fundamental to the practice of Design. Many U.S. firms are now multinational and or practice internationally. In addition, Designers must be sensitive to, and able to work productively with, increasingly diverse client and user groups. This Prague studio will challenge your ability to envision a wider range of design options and gain insight into biases and preconceptions that hamper the creative process.

“We rarely recognize the extent in which our conscious estimates of what is worth while and what is not, are due to standards of which we are not conscious at all.”
John Dewey, Democracy and Education:

This studio explores the historic and complex environment of the Czech Republic examining how contemporary interventions can become part of the cultural fabric and public landscapes. During the course of the semester you will explore the urban structure of Prague and the surrounding cultural landscape.
The Studio is also intended to give you the opportunity to further develop and refine your physical design skills and expand your creative potential. Specifically, the studio will focus on developing your abilities related to accurately envisioning space, communicating complex design ideas to yourself, understanding and depicting complex relationships which can be used as a catalyst for creating exciting and enriching environments, and becoming aware of how you think about design and see new places. In addition, throughout the semester you will explore the impact of both culture and the environment on urban form.

The goals of the Prague Studio are to:

  • Expand your view of designed landscapes and their impact on human experience.
  • Expand your understanding the cultural origins of and contemporary influences on the landscape.
  • Develop your creativity through an emersion in a supportive but challenging multicultural experience that encourages you to explore and test assumptions.
  • Develop your ability to critically evaluate the landscape and gain a better understand of the factors that contribute to creating successful environments.

Fall 2015
The studio will accomplish these goals through both research and design projects. The main project for the Fall 2015 semester will focus on the concepts of pilgrimage, arrival, celebration, death and remembrance in a complex and evolving historical context. The design site is a place called the “green mountain”. It is a World Heritage Site that is visited by people from a variety of places and for a variety of purposes. Your task will be to understand its’ historical evolution and propose changes that will be consistent with the past but meet the needs of present.

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“The most interesting aspect of a society’s world view is that its individual adherents are, for the most part, unconscious of how it affects the way they do things and how they perceive the reality around them”  J. Rifkin, “Entropy; A New World View”