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J. Timothy Keller, Chair of Department
The profession of landscape architecture is concerned with the quality of land use. It involves the analysis of environmental, cultural and legal factors as well as the exploration of human needs and expression, which leads to landscape change through the implementation of landscape designs, landscape plans, and landscape management strategies. The profession addresses a broad range of landscapes in urban, suburban, rural, and wilderness settings. The scale of such projects varies from expressive detailed design at a site scale to masterplanning at a campus scale to landscape analysis and planning at a regional scale.
Graduates are able to begin to apply creative and technical skills and scientific, cultural and political knowledge in the planned arrangement of natural and constructed elements on the land with a concern for the stewardship and conservation of natural, constructed, and human resources. The resulting environments shall serve useful, aesthetic, safe, and enjoyable purposes. Graduates are able to communicate clearly and work effectively with others on complex land design and planning problems. They understand the ethical, social, and environmental dimensions of issues involving changes in the landscape.
The curriculum includes one year of the College's core design program followed by a four-year professional program. Admission into the professional program depends upon available resources and is subject to the approval of a faculty committee at the completion of the preprofessional program. Scholastic performance, aptitude, and personal development are the qualifications considered. The department also cooperates in the undergraduate minor in design studies.
Following admission to the professional program, students embark on the "Savanna Studio" during the fall semester of their second year. This studio is a full semester's credit of related departmental courses and involves extensive travel within and beyond the great midwestern savanna of North America, to study regional natural systems and the cultural reponse to those systems.
To enhance the study of landscape architecture in off-campus settings, the department recommends that each student participate in optional College or Department-led international study opportunities such as the Rome or Pacific Rim summer offerings. In addition, the department requires students to choose from among the following three options during the spring and summer of their fourth year: a professional internship, an independent study abroad experience, or National Student Exchange. The department assists students with placement, and additional information on these options is available in the departmental office.
The purchase or lease of a laptop/notebook computer and appropriate software is recommended for students in the second year of the professional program. Contact the department or see the College of Design website for hardware and software specifications.
The curriculum is accredited by the Landscape Architecture Acreditation Board and provides the education which, combined with experience, is necessary for professional licensure. For undergraduate curriculum in landscape architecture leading to the degree bachelor of landscape architecture, see College of Design, Curricula.
The department offers opportunities for post-professional study leading to the degree master of landscape architecture. Minor work is offered to students taking major work in other departments.
The M.L.A. degree is granted upon completion of 36 credits and the acceptance of a thesis or creative component. Typically, the program will require four semesters of study for students with a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture. Students with a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture may also enter a special program to earn both the M.L.A. and the master of community and regional planning (M.C.R.P.) degrees in three years. Graduate students who do not possess a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture may complete additional coursework in the fundamental skill areas of the profession. This is accomplished by concurrent enrollment in the undergraduate program to earn the B.L.A. degree before fully engaging in graduate study. The time necessary to earn the B.L.A. in addition to the M.L.A. will vary according to the student's background upon admission. Students interested in the concurrent B.L.A./M.L.A. and double degree M.L.A./M.C.R.P. programs should contact the department to receive a detailed description of requirements.
Graduates have a broad understanding of landscape architecture and related disciplines. They are able to communicate effectively with colleagues in the sciences and/or humanities as well as in the allied professions. Graduates are prepared to work individually and in multidisciplinary teams to address complex problems dealing with the physical environment. They are skilled at undertaking research and/or creative activities and communicating the results of these efforts in a concise and persuasive manner.
The department participates in the Graduate Certificate Program in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), administered by the Department of Community and Regional Planning.
Courses open for nonmajor graduate credit: 461I, 480I.
Courses primarily for undergraduate students
L A 141. Introduction to Landscape Architecture. (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Overview of the profession, including: noteworthy works, areas of practice, theories, philosophies, and approaches of various landscape architects. Lectures, discussions, readings.
L A 201. Studio 1: Landscape Interpretation and Representation. (1-15) Cr. 6. F. Prereq: Enrollment in the professional program. Reading and representing the varied midwestern landscape. Development of aesthetic sensitivity to the geomorphology, vegetation and cultural influences on this landscape. Small scale interventions and exploration of landscape phenomena and change. Emphasis is on a variety of documentation and drawing techniques.
L A 202. Studio 2: Site Planning and Design I. (1-15) Cr. 6. S. Prereq: 201. Fundamental issues of landscape planning and design at a site scale. Projects introduce a variety of (objective and subjective) site inquiry methods, space and place making, and sensitive integration of architecture and landscape for specific landuses. User needs, precedent study, programming, site engineering, planting design, and outdoor space design are expressed through a variety of three-dimensional modeling, graphic, and written media.
L A 221. Native Plants of the Midwest. (2-3) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Enrollment in the professional program. Observation and study of the wetland, prairie, and woodland vegetation native to the midwest region. Emphasis on plant communities- their distribution, structure, habitat and visual appearance. Plant identification and use in landscape design. Precedent and case studies of vegetation preservation- restoration and use in built works.
L A 222. Introduced Plants of the Midwest. (2-3) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: 221. Observation and study of exotic plants and horticultural varieties introduced to and cultivated in the midwest region. Emphasis on functional and aesthetic uses and cultural requirements of plants used in landscape design. Investigation of planting design within the history of professional practice, exploration of the expressive potential of plant materials in design, and introduction to the preparation of planting plans for landscape architectural design projects.
L A 241. Developing Identity as a Landscape Architect. (1-0) Cr. 1. F. Prereq: Enrollment in the professional program. Designed to accompany L A 201, 221, 272, 281. Development of life skills such as conflict resolution skills, interpersonal, communication, and CPR/First Aid. Examination of personal and others' values, backgrounds, abilities, and attitudes and how these influence personal decision-making and group interaction. Reading, discussion, class activities, keeping a journal, writing.
L A 272. Cultural Landscape Studies. (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Enrollment in the professional program. Exploration of cultural landscapes, from broad settlement patterns to individual sites, with an emphasis on the origins and evolution of Midwestern landscapes. Investigation of the relationships between vernacular and designed landscapes. Landscapes will be considered as mode of cultural production that shape and are shaped by social, political, and economic processes. Exploration of the landscape as one of the most persistent, yet ephemeral, repositories of culture. Lectures, reading, field studies, and writing.
L A 273. Landscape Architectural History: Prehistory to 1800. (Same as Dsn S 273.) (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Landscape design concepts as observed over time. Outstanding works and significant personalities from pre-history through the 18th century. Landscape design vocabulary and significant literature. Social, economic, political, and technical forces contributing to the development of landscape design styles. Lectures, readings, abstracts, reports.
L A 274. The Social and Behavioral Landscape. (Same as Dsn S 274.) (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Exploration of social and behavioral factors pertinent to the design of the domestic, civic, and commercial landscape. The course will focus on a working familiarity with design principles as they relate to the behavior and activities of people across a broad demographic and cultural spectrum and equip students to apply these principles to the design of exterior environments. Lectures and discussions, including group exercises and field trips.
L A 281. Investigating Landscape Form, Process, and Detail. (1-6) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Enrollment in professional program. Exploration of the poetics and principles of landscape construction. Investigation and interpretation of landform and natural processes such as hydrology, erosion, and sedimentation. Close observation and representation of detail design, with an emphasis on material types, their connections and weathering. Readings, field studies, and drawings.
L A 301. Site Planning and Design II. (1-15) Cr. 6. F. Prereq: 202. Development of half acre to hundred acre landscape design and planning proposals, applying critical methodological frameworks to shape site systems, providing appropriate support for diverse user groups, and creating culturally meaningful places. Students will assess and interpret a program of use; organize subjective and objective site inventory and analysis, develop functional and poetic design strategies for infrastructure and natural systems, and craft artistic and functionally explicit landscape architectural proposals. Development of appropriate technique and high level of craft in representations to support design thinking process and final scheme presentation.
L A 302. Regional Landscape Design. (1-15) Cr. 6. S. Prereq: 301 and 381. Cultural and natural influences on regional design. Regional patterns, theories, processes, forms, and materials as landscape design influences. Application of ecological concepts and regional design concepts, methods, tools, and data in mitigation design. Use of geographic information systems to model regional processes and communicate regional patterns.
L A 303. Landscape Design Studio. (0-12) Cr. 4 each time taken, maximum of 8. SS. Prereq: Enrollment in the professional program and permission of advisor. Development of solutions for landscape architectural problems at intermediate and advanced levels of design. A maximum of 8 credits may be applied towards graduation.
L A 309. Field Travel. Cr. 1 to 2 each time taken. F.S.SS. Prereq: Enrollment in the professional program and permission of advisor. Observation of professional practice and landscapes in urban, rural, and wilderness areas. Offered on a satisfactory-fail grading basis only.
L A 341. Contemporary Landscape Architecture. (1-0) Cr. 1. S. Exploration of contemporary landscape architecture practice through individualized research into practicing firms. Preparation of paper and presentation outlining broad framework and specific parameters of a selected area of contemporary practice using specific projects as examples. Work may result in invitation of current practitioner(s) as a lecture series or event.
L A 371. Landscape Architectural History: 1800 to Present. (Same as Dsn S 371.) (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Landscape design concepts as observed over time. Outstanding works and significant personalities from 1800 to the present. Landscape design vocabulary and significant literature. Social, economic, political, and technical forces contributing to the development of landscape design styles. Lectures, readings, abstracts, reports.
L A 381. Shaping the Land. (1-3) Cr. 2. S. Prereq: 281. Introductory surface drainage, grading and modeling, manipulation of land forms and its implications on the surrounding environment. Road alignment and control, parking layout, earthwork, and preliminary development of construction documents.
L A 401. Community Landscape Design. (1-15) Cr. 6. F. Prereq: 402. Design of urban and rural spaces with participatory methods and techniques. Projects address Midwest community issues including reuse of abandoned sites, in-fill, recreation, and peri-urban agriculture. Emphasis on development of user-client relationship skills, design research, and ecoregional character.
L A 402. Urban Landscape Design. (1-15) Cr. 6. F. Prereq: 302. Comprehensive planning and design for urban sites or for sites within urban contexts, often engaging outreach projects in Iowa communities. Projects typically include planning for a variety of integrated land uses, and cover the full range of design scales from master planning to proposals for site details. Emphasis on written and verbal as well as graphic communications. Integrated seminar component.
L A 403. Senior Thesis Preparation Tutorial. Cr. 2. F. Prereq: 402 and permission of thesis advisor. Preparation for senior thesis.
L A 404. Advanced Landscape Architectural Design. (1-15) Cr. 6. S. Prereq: 401. Advanced forums for the demonstration of sophistication in landscape architectural design. Experimentation and innovation are encouraged.
L A 405. Senior Thesis. (0-15) Cr. 6. S. Prereq: 401, 402, 403 and permission of advisor, chair and thesis advisor. Individual advanced forum for the demonstration of sophistication in landscape architectural design. Experimentation and innovation are expected.
L A 441. Professional Practice. (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: 482. Exploration of professional practice in the private, public, non-governmental organization and academic setting. Develop office organization and management techniques, proposal preparation, project budgeting and scheduling, project management and construction observation.
L A 450. Landscape Architecture Professional Internship or National Student Exchange Seminar. (1- 0) Cr. 1. F.S.SS. Prereq: 301. Orientation to and preparation for L A 451.
L A 451. Landscape Architecture Professional Internship, Study Abroad, or National Student Exchange. Cr. R. F.S.SS. Prereq: L A 450, DsnS 301, permission of advisor and chair. Exploration of landscape architectural design, implementation and history, and theory through professional work experience, out-of-region national study experience or independent international study experience.
L A 461I. Introduction to GIS. (Same as Ia LL 461I.) See Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. Nonmajor graduate credit.
L A 465. Landscape Change and Conservation. (Dual-listed with 565, same as NREM 465.) (2-2) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: 202. Exploration of issues in landscape ecology and conservation biology relevant to landscape change, design, and planning. Examination of foundational principles and their applications across a continuum of land uses, from wilderness to urban areas.
L A 478. Topical Studies in Landscape Architecture. (Dual-listed with 578; same as Dsn S 478.) (2-0 or 3-0) Cr. 2 or 3 each time taken. F.S.SS. Prereq: 371 or senior classification or graduate standing.
L A 480I. Introduction to Environmental Planning. (Same as Ia LL 480I.) See Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. Nonmajor graduate credit.
L A 481. Landscape Construction. (1-3) Cr. 2. F. Prereq: 381. Solving complex site construction problems with an emphasis on the aesthetic and functional uses of building materials. Characteristics and uses of construction materials. Wood technology and structural theory, paving systems, retaining walls, preliminary preparation of contract documents.
L A 482. Advanced Landscape Construction. (1-3 to 1-15) Cr. 2. S. Prereq: 481. Advanced complex site construction problems and detailing, water and irrigation systems, mechanical and electrical systems, site lighting, project scheduling, cost estimates, final contract document preparation, with drawings and specifications.
L A 490. Independent Study. Cr. 1 to 4. F.S.SS. Prereq: Written approval of instructor and department chair on required form. Investigation of a topic of special interest to the student.
Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduate students
L A 501. Landscape Architectural Theory. Cr. 3. S. Prereq: Admission to graduate program or permission of instructor. Exploration of the major theories of landscape architectureal design and their relationships to broader cultural and theoretical practices. Examination of key texts and projects in landscape architecture, architecture, art, and related fields. Emphasis will be placed on developing critical ways of analyzing ideas. Lectures, readings, discussion, and writings.
L A 509. Mining Reclamation and Mitigation. (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered 2005. Prereq: Admission to graduate program or permission of instructor. Historical and cultural attitudes toward mining and reclamation, environmental impacts of mining, mining and reclamation planning, pre-and post-mining inventories, and legal requirements for mining and reclamation.
L A 541. Principles of Research for Landscape Architects. (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Admission to graduate program or permission of instructor. Examination of research methods appropriate to landscape architectural projects, including bibliographical, historical, numerical, statistical, survey, and geographical methods. Readings, discussions, and application problems. Preparation of a research proposal.
L A 562. Studio in Resource Conservation and Management. (1-3 to 1-15) Cr. 2- 6 each time taken, maximum of 6 credits applied to degree program. S. Prereq: Admission to graduate program or permission of instructor. Developing plans and policies that feature ecological landscape description, planning, and resource conservation. Hands-on field experience with professional resource planners and managers.
L A 565. Landscape Change and Conservation. (Dual-listed with 465, same as NREM 565.) (2-2) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: 202. Exploration of issues in landscape ecology and conservation biology relevant to landscape change, design, and planning. Examination of foundational principles and their applications across a continuum of land uses, from wilderness to urban areas.
L A 567. Advanced GIS Landscape Modeling. (0-6) Cr. 3. Prereq: 302 or C R P 451/551. Application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) modeling techniques to landscape planning and management issues. Selection, acquisition, and conversion of digital landscape data. Modeling applications for studio projects, outreach projects, and research projects.
L A 572. Landscape Architectural History and Preservation. (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Admission to graduate program or permission of instructor. Research methods applied to the preservation and restoration of the historic landscape. Outstanding landscape architectural works of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries will be used to familiarize students with methods of archaeological and documentary research, technical problems of restoration and conservation, and curatorial problems of interpretation and maintenance. Lectures, readings, abstracts, reports.
L A 578. Topical Studies in Landscape Architecture. (Dual-listed with 478; same as Dsn S 578.) (2-0 or
L A 580. Thesis, Creative Component Tutorial. Cr. 1 to 4 each time taken, maximum of 4 credits applied to degree program. F.S.SS. Prereq: Permission of major professor. Hands-on participation in a creative or research activity in the student's area of specialization. Development of a detailed prospectus that defines the thesis or creative component.
L A 582. Research Colloquium. (1-0) Cr. 1. F. Prereq: Admission to graduate program or permission of instructor. Examination and discussion of professional practice, research in landscape architecture, and environmental planning through research and projects by faculty in landscape architecture and related fields.
L A 590. Special Topics. Cr. 1 to 4. F.S.SS. Prereq: Written approval of instructor and department chair on required form.
L A 591. Environmental Law. (Same as C R P 591.) See Community and Regional Planning.
L A 599. Creative Component. Cr. var. F.S.SS. Prereq: Permission of major professor. Comprehensive study and original development of a project selected by the student and approved by the department. Completed project must be submitted to and approved by a graduate faculty committee as evidence of mastery of the principles of landscape architecture.
Course for graduate students, major or minor
L A 699. Thesis Research. Cr. var. F.S.SS. Prereq: Permission of major professor.
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