Beginning of the End (of my first semester)

Everything is due.  Three days ago, for the first time, I became truly panicked about the amount of work there is to be done.  It was towards the end of my drawing class on Tuesday while our professor was discussing the final assignment which is due in about three weeks.  We are required to design a courtyard following particular elemental and spatial requirements.  There should be a pool, benches, trees, hedges.  The final design portfolio should include a plan diagram, three perspectives (axonometric, one point, and two point), and a section-elevation.  Doesn’t sound like much?  He predicted that we will need to spend about 50 hours to properly present this work.  That is in addition to the weekly in-class drawings and sketchbooks that are to demonstrate our commitment to practice throughout the semester.

For my Landscape Plants class I’ll need to submit a detailed book of 25 landscape plants that I might use in my future designs; an in-depth transect report of the flora and microclimates at Crosby Farm Regional Park in St Paul; an account and planting plan of the rain gardens adjacent to the parking lots at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum; and take a comprehensive plant identification exam (common name, scientific name, and plant family from a list of over 90 trees, shrubs, and grasses) while being led around the snow-covered Twin Cities campus.

My computer methods class requires an extensive digital image library of plants, animals, people, skies, shadows, buildings, cars, et cetera that can be utilized while making two dimensional representations of my future designs.

My Site Engineering class will have a comprehensive final exam four days before Christmas that will cover everything from designing handicapped accessible ramps applying grade restrictions in this icy climate to modifying site contours for proper drainage, from creating stormwater remediation swales to preparing cost estimates for cut and fill, and from applying every possible permutation of the slope formula to making warped planes for walks and roads.  This is in addition to the term project that involves creating a grading plan from topographic information for a local site, the Walker Art Museum. Some of the requirements are an understanding of slope restrictions, spot elevations, handicapped parking area and accessible path, and the use of swales and area drains to move water away from critical locations.

Finally, my studio project will involve that same local site: The Walker Art Museum Sculpture Garden.  There, we have to completely design a large open lawn atop an underground parking garage that is currently one of the most underutilized spaces in Minneapolis.  (I’ll be presenting this project extensively as I move forward so I won’t go into too much detail now.)  Suffice it to say, that project will involve two-dimensional projections, three-dimensional models, detailed planting plans, and a presentation before my classmates and esteemed guests from the local professional landscape architecture community.

Today really is the beginning of the end…



About matthewtraucht

Graduate school student at the University of Minnesota's College of Design pursuing a Master's of Landscape Architecture, class of 2013.
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