Design Studios for Regional Scale

Overview: Landscape architectural design at the regional and urban scale.

In the study project, designs are developed that form a conceptual framework between abstract objectives of regional planning as well as landscape planning and specific local projects, such as those presented in master plans or regional structural concepts. Landscape qualities are to be improved, their ecological, social and aesthetic conditions are to be optimized.

During the excursion, development trends and problems of a landscape are examined on site. In small-scale maps (approx. 1:200,000-1:50,000), large-scale contexts are identified for this purpose. Analysis topics as well as conceptual and design solutions can then be elaborated and designed at regional/topographic and urban scale (from 1:25,000-1:10,000), taking into account a structural approach and considering a consistent landscape development. Structures in the design plans should always be related to small-scale structures, so that the in-depth urban planning level (1:5,000-1:1,1000) and the object and detailed planning level (1:500-1:1) can also be designed typologically. In the course of studies in landscape architecture we attach importance to the fact that concrete, morphological qualities of the space become visible in the plans - independent of the scale. That means that no planning derivations but designs should be created; no symbols or hatchings should be used, but one should work with the elements that reflect the atmosphere and the impression of the space.

Start: Short presentation on individual topics

As an introduction to the examination of the given space, the participants each choose a topic for a presentation, which in most cases has to be given during the excursion. The topic is related to the question of the design analysis. If possible, the excursion will be planned in such a way that the participants can visit places that correspond to their presentations.

Phase 1: Designing Analysis

The design analysis is about getting to know the space and the surroundings intensively - central to this phase is the excursion. During the excursion we approach the concrete analysis topics of the groups as well as their selected project areas and thematic focuses.

The planning target can be:
a) to capture and characterize landscapes and spaces (spatial types)
b) to recognize design structures and design elements (design repertoire)
c) outline scenarios (worst-case/best-case of current developments)
d) to formulate hypotheses
e) develop initial ideas and concepts

Approach and implementation:

  • SKETCHING. Sketching the spaces/landscape with pencil on tracing paper on top of (topographic) maps and aerial photos. Tracing, searching for elements and generating types.
  • DESIGN. Merge and overlay digital data and sketched structures; described as a landscape.
  • ANALYZING. Character maps are created, which also reflect the significance of the spaces/landscapes and which should contain the landscape elements and structures that are formative and typical from the designer's point of view.

The result is a Qualitative Landscape Structure Analysis, in which the conditions of the landscape are not captured quantitatively, but on the basis of their spatial quality and represented as such. 
Each analysis-group is supposed to describe landscapes on the basis of its analysis layer of the resulting multi-layer map, but in combination and exchange with the layers of other groups, thus namable and in the map readable spaces with peculiarities, connections and borders (we use the somewhat strange expression 'spatial bubbles' for this). We will try to establish a context for the whole region, i.e. to represent the elements as a texture, as well as to group the different elements or uses into categories, so to form types.

Disruption: Experimental Analysis

The experimental analysis is a free analysis method. After the designing analysis, the groups should set themselves an analysis task to be addressed by means of previously described free/artistic/unconventional modes of analysis. In the experimental analysis, different, thematic results from the presentations and the previous findings (e.g. of the excursion) are subjectively – according to their own talents – created and brought together in experimental texts, drawings, maps, models, films. The resulting 'images' should be new and previously unknown. As methodical approaches are suggested:

  • Qualitative Cluster Analyses, i.e. searching for relations of simple and higher order between natural and cultural phenomena
  • Scenarios, i.e. the visualization of possible extreme end states of a certain direction of development
  • Atmospheres, i.e. the situational interaction of external phenomena, sensory perception and inner attitude 
  • Cultural Studies, i.e. the dense description of an exemplary object, place, journey, etc.

  • Ideal landscapes, i.e. illustrated spatial utopias.

Phase 2: Concept

Based on the results of the design analysis and taking into account social, aesthetic, ecological and economic purposes of landscape development, a spatial concept and program should be developed that can be based on individual cultural landscape elements and landscape structures and/or their interrelationships.

Phase 3: Design

In the third phase of the project, designs of elements/structures and/or structural interrelationships are developed at the regional, urban planning, object planning and/or detail level, always taking into account the developed concept and a consistent landscape development.

Integration (Master's project)

The Master's design groups intensify theoretical focal points on which their designs are based within the framework of a written scientific elaboration.

Integrated Discipline: In design projects in the master's program in landscape architecture, complementary disciplines are 'integrated' depending on the (self-)assigned task. In addition to the core discipline of landscape architecture, skills from other disciplines are required to solve the design task. During the regular project work, the students should acquire additional knowledge from the integrated discipline through research and discussions with experts. In the third part of the project (middle of design phase), it will be decided at the latest what the integration will involve for the respective design work. The contents will be coordinated with the supervising lecturers. These contents should already be evident on the submission plans, but do not have to be presented in depth yet - they only represent a background of the design. After the presentation of the project, the integration should be prepared as a short, scientific text (approx. 10,000 characters in LAREG brochure format) and with supplementary, explanatory (own) graphics. For this purpose, the integration should not be described in general terms, but as a component of the design. It should become clear which methods/strategies/details/... of the integrated discipline were important for the design and how they influenced it.

Integrated Theory: The alternative to the integrated discipline is the integrated theory. If a theory from the field of urbanism and landscape architecture has been explored in depth for a design, the integration may accordingly explain what the most important elements of the theory are and how it has been interpreted for the design.

Basic rules in our studio

1. plenum. Attendance is compulsory on specified project dates - especially during supervision and presentations by other groups.

2. material. In general, all materials and sketches that have been produced so far must be brought to supervision sessions and presentations and kept visibly available on the walls or tables.

3. criticism. Contributions to discussions, especially on the work of fellow students, are not uncooperative, but the actual purpose of a study project.

4. organizational commitment. Collaboration in setting up the room, basic research and preparation, possibly preparation/execution of an exhibition and the brochure/publication.

5. sources. For all plans and graphics: use only your own graphics - always cite external sources in pictures and graphics as well as in the text (see TUM citation guide)!