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Recoding Landscape Education: Research-Based Studio Approach

Arzu Guler, Ebru Erbes Gurler
Published: 9 April 2022

Abstract: The landscapes and the memory of the landscapes are evolving with natural and human-centered activities. In some places, landscapes continue to reveal their memory ecologically, socially, and culturally. On the other hand, in some places, landscapes lose their ecologic and socio-cultural archive as a result of globalization. This issue causes to emerge fragile landscapes according to lack of water resources, global warming, a decrease in biodiversity. Preserving the memory of landscapes and using it in the practice of landscape is a deeply crucial issue. The paper tries to answer two questions: How can landscape memory be used in design education? How can a research-based design studio pedagogy be conducted on this approach? This paper focuses on the research-based design approach in landscape architecture education to decode and recode the memory of the landscapes in the design process. ITU Landscape Architecture Department 2019-2020 Fall Semester Landscape Design Studio I-II, which is the case study of the research, worked in Savur, Mardin. The study area provides unexpected landscape carpet including browns and greens together in the valleys of the region that have a rich social and ecological structure. The methodological process of the studio was based on the three approaches which are integrated into each other: The Landscape Memory Model, Action-based Design Studio, and Research-based Design Studio. The model provides a guide for reading the memory of the landscape with various memory codes hidden under the visible and invisible values of it. This core process is used by the students for understanding the cultural and ecological values of the study area and implementing them into the design process. The action-based studio approach allows the tutors to find the problematic points in the design process of each student and resolve them in a positive way. Covering these two approaches, the research-based design studio expresses the discovery of the knowledge through a strong research process. The results are as followed: Implementing a research-based process ensured a place-based and innovative perspective to shape a design concept. Using the pre-specified landscape memory model empowered the research phase and helped students to analyze and discern the place with their own perceptions. Action-based flow allowed the instructors to leave the conventional studio performing and helped to use in-situ (special to the studio) instructing techniques within the semester. This paper may be influential for especially landscape design studios and relocate conventional studio approaches with more flexible and progressive techniques to understand the place and beyond.
Keywords: based studio approach / landscapes / place / Memory Model / Action based / design process / landscape design

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