Traditional landscape design studio training starts with the learning of a classic or prominent landscape project, may it be through site observation or a trace-over / imitation exercise. Foundation year students in a landscape program typically take the landscape precedent project as a study ground, to learn about the landscape master’s design through the mimicking process in the trace-over exercise, or to learn about the articulation of spatial design through site observation.
Landscape Architecture, afterall, is a creative endeavor. Thus, an alternative approach is to start the fundamental training with the study of artistic processes, to foster appreciation in art and design, innovative concept development, and articulation in craftsmanship. Also, the contemporary discourse of Landscape Architecture is no longer simply about spatial design, but has transformed to require understanding of process, operation, step-by-step mechanism, movement, and how a system works. The performative and dynamic aspects of landscape are being valued nowadays.
Such ways of seeing landscapes require a different set of observation and representation methods and skills. In this article, the author shares how the pedagogical content and developments of the foundation year landscape design studio in the HKU Bachelor of Arts in Landscape Studies BA(LS) Program help train students with such new interpretations to contemporary Landscape Architecture.