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Paper Information

Journal:   BAGH-E NAZAR   FALL 2012 , Volume 9 , Number 22; Page(s) 55 To 64.


Author(s):  ADIB MORTEZA*

Landscape Architecture is a young discipline, yet it is still in the process of continuous evolution. Because of their special reciprocal relationship to practice, applied disciplines like landscape architecture draw many, if not most, academic research questions from problems and opportunities encountered by professionals in the field of practice. Landscape architecture is closely related to architecture in many aspects. This is particularly the case when considering that both deal with creation and management of space. Nevertheless, the domain of activity of in natural and man-made open spaces in relation to a broad variety of processes and flows in these environments, leads to some specific characteristics for landscape architecture and makes landscape architects to learn and apply a wide body of knowledge in the fields of human behavior, art, history, ecology and engineering.
Recent decades have seen an unprecedented increase in the standards and complexity of disciplinary expertise and with that comes increasing pressure to formalize the ways in which we seek, create, and validate knowledge. Therefore, the main question about landscape architecture and its related body of knowledge is how to manage and balance this rather large body of knowledge. Accordingly, the present article tries to answer some other questions related to the question, including: “What is landscape architecture and its key characters? “What are the main abilities and skills which landscape architects must learn? ” and “How it is possible to manage the body of knowledge and make it applicable in profession and teachable to students?”
The present article starts with a review on concepts of "Landscape" and "landscape architecture" and official and academic definitions of landscape architecture and its domain. It later tries to remove obscurity about landscape architecture, and its related body of knowledge. It seems that the most essential part of landscape architects' professional identity is considered to be the ability to solve design problems through creative management of the body of knowledge regarding each project. Four realms of knowledge are identified in applied research situations: tacit knowledge, the implicit taken-for-granted knowledge of practice; conceptual knowledge, which makes tacit knowledge explicit and codifies it as principles and protocols; systematic knowledge, which is also explicit and formally expressed, validated, and integrated into the core of the discipline; and operational knowledge, through which systematic knowledge and conceptual knowledge are translated into different realms of practice. Transformation of these forms of knowledge in landscape architecture happens through a process of learning and design.
The next step of this research is a review on different design processes and introducing some new approaches in landscape architecture, regarding methods of managing the body of knowledge through systematic thinking, modeling and patterns. Architectural methods of work are older than landscape architectural design and usually what landscape architects do is very similar to architectural design. Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier, there is a need for landscape architects to have some special method for managing different fields of knowledge and using them in design. One of these different design methods was introduced by Mc Harg in 1969. His Analytical extraction of landscape into thematic layers was not just as a part of an analytical process but as a creative part of combining new layers back into a new landscape. It made changes in how landscape architects think about design. Turner summarizes the differences between methods of landscape architectural design with differences between SAD and PAKILDA.
SAD or Survey-Analysis-Design method, dominated landscape design in the second half of the twentieth century, and it is a linear process of design consisting of a shallow analysis of data gathered in survey and sometimes this analysis is forgotten in the creative process of design. However, PAKILDA or Pattern-Assisted-Knowledge-Intensive-Landscape-Design-Approach applies the concept of pattern for managing the wide domain of landscape knowledge and uses different kinds of models in a cycling process of design. Pattern was used by Christopher Alexander in a “pattern language” for describing complex relations of concrete entities in different environments as a tool in the hand of architect, and it seems that Turner borrowed this concept for landscape architecture design process.
One of the recent design methods, which is perfectly matched with Turner’s PAKILDA is Steinitz’s models method. This method consists of a six-level framework that organizes questions associated with a landscape design problem. Each has an associated modeling type. The framework can be used to integrate applicable knowledge and also to identify areas where contributions of theory are needed. Systematic thinking through the design process, using pattern and models is a framework applicable for landscape design and its education. Developing analytic and creative models for describing different steps of the design process is the main core of the frameworks which can enhance artistic aspects of design in landscape architecture.

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