Let's Build A Landscape

This past semes­ter I worked with our sec­ond-year grad­u­ate stu­dents to elab­o­rate on some of the thoughts about adven­ture and ama­teurism I start­ed to explore on this site. We start­ed by approach­ing video games as prece­dents for land­scape archi­tec­ture, cre­at­ed out­side of pro­fes­sion­al net­works but often mak­ing for more com­pelling and mem­o­rable places.

Work by Andy Polefrone.

We then worked back­wards to explore how, like video games, we could cre­ate dis­tinct places through emer­gent sys­tems of play. The stu­dents cre­at­ed sets of game pieces to occu­py space and rules to gov­ern how they were sit­u­at­ed, and then test­ed how they came togeth­er into dis­tinct spaces.

zhao game
Work by Wen Zhao.

To apply this process to actu­al sites, we used St. Louis as a test case. With an intim­i­dat­ing back­log of vacant sites to care for and a vibrant his­to­ry of mate­r­i­al reuse, St. Louis seemed like a good place to explore a tech­nique that could quick­ly and engag­ing­ly repro­gram sites with­out shoe­horn­ing them into con­ven­tion­al devel­op­ment modes. We posit­ed a train­ing and sup­port pro­gram that would allow local res­i­dents to reimag­ine vacant lands them­selves, work­ing with­in these game­like systems.

site selection
Work by Sarah Coleman.

The stu­dents then brought the semes­ter to a close by choos­ing their own sites, devel­op­ing their own sets of rules, and fore­cast­ing how they could result in new and dis­tinct places.

final project
Work by Jonathan Stechschulte.

(May 2019)