Terrain Modeling in Landscape Architecture

Surface modification as a design element

Master's Thesis M.A. Landscape Architecture, Caterina Bues


In landscape architecture, terrain modeling represents an important design tool whose power and connection with the elements above the surface in the open space cannot be underestimated. Therefore, this paper not only explains the historical development of terrain modification through the different eras of garden art, but also discusses the material itself. Without understanding the properties of the soil, it is not possible to exploit the maximum potential of the area, since careless handling would lead to damage to the valuable soil structure. Depending on the type of modeling, these produce different effects in the landscape through elevations, depressions and planes. Overall, however, the same basic forms are always used. The formulation of the same in the public space is subordinated to certain specifications that result from the intensity of use and planting.

Meanwhile, the design can be represented in many different ways. In addition to two-dimensional plans and sections, three-dimensional techniques such as the development of digital models are becoming increasingly popular. Due to these and the enormous progress in machine technology, the methods of terrain modeling differ enormously compared to past times. Engineering knowledge is also becoming more present in the task design of landscape architects. For example, in addition to positive effects in stormwater management and the renaturalization of open spaces, surface work can have the effect of containing sound or accommodating fixtures that are necessary for energy or cannot be accommodated in any other way without diminishing the aesthetic value of an area. Current and future developments in terrain modeling will conclude the theoretical analysis.

In order to better understand the relevance of terrain modeling with the help of a practical observation, a project catalog of Munich's terrain modeling projects was created and evaluated in terms of its landscape significance and impact.


Prof. Regine Keller, Dipl.-Ing. Felix Lüdicke, M.Sc. Johann-Christian Hannemann


A viewing copy of the master thesis is available by appointment at the chair as well as at the Weihenstephan branch library.