Design Studio, Option

You find yourself in the eighteenth century, 1731, to be exact. You have knowledge of the present and can even speculate on how the actions you take in the eighteenth century will affect our timeline, but you are not concerned with time travel. It matters not how you arrived in the past, nor are you interested in finding a way to return to the present. Instead, you are solely concerned with presenting a design proposal to Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham, the owner of Stowe house, landscape, gardens, and park. Your design proposal must respond to two primary charges. Firstly, your design should address an ethical imperative, uncommon or foreign to the eighteenth-century but commonplace or very new to today’s society. Secondly, you should imagine your proposal as an alternative to a historically documented work. In other words, you are designing the antithesis to any work of Charles Bridgeman, John Vanbrugh, William Kent, James Gibbs, or Lancelot Brown, completed anytime in the eighteenth century at Stowe.
Design Studio, Undergraduate

Threshold is a collaborative design-research studio that aims to use the Vancouver region as a laboratory. Working at the architectural and urban scale, this studio will focus on how the design of the land has been and continues to be implicated in the city’s social, political, and environmental transformations. Mirroring the focus on architectural and urban scales, this studio is divided into two parts. First, at an architectural scale, landform design will uncover and connect students to the history of UBC’s Point Grey Campus lands via long-lived trees. Several old trees growing at the periphery of campus have witnessed our university’s deforestation, settlement, and development. Indeed, these trees have outlived the entire colonial encounter. Second, approaching land as an organizing element at the urban scale, students will design the consequences of un-building the hidden water conveyance infrastructure of Burnaby Lake, its tributaries and its watershed, prioritizing a perspective of water as generative of abundant life instead. 

This studio argues that the historic and ongoing development of the city is inseparable from a resource-extractive economy dependent on the consumption of nature. This exploitative relationship was foundational to the settler-colonial project and is most immediately evident in the visible traces of extensive logging on the lower mainland. Logging in the region continues to this day, turning hundreds of years of vegetal growth into consumer products and corporate profits that are, in turn, reinvested in a continuing cycle of urban development. This class will seek to better understand and critique this cycle indirectly by exploring the future agency of two marginalized sites marked by the history of logging. In this context, we will explore design as a spatial expression of alternative ethical positions, changing our orientation to the land by digging into the past and unearthing infrastructures of control. The term “threshold” will guide the work of this studio as we collectively challenge conventional boundaries, for example, between water and land, between landscape and architecture, between individual and collective experiences, between living and dead materials, between productive and lazy ecologies, and between beautiful and ugly aesthetics.
Design Theory
Bookmarks, Tabs, & Likes

The field of landscape architecture often aligns itself implicitly with a moral position relative to a cultural construct of nature. Projects prefigure nature as in a precarious state of decline by accessing common grand narratives such as climate change, mass species extinction, environmental catastrophe or any number of smaller-scale concerns from biodiversity loss to habitat destruction or toxic contamination. Within the confines of the project, the design as solution then seeks to organize programmatic requirements within a system that improves upon the afore-defined failures of nature. In so doing, the work is placed beyond critique, for to question such a project would be interpreted to mean one is also taking a position against nature, or worse, that by extension, one is taking a morally objectionable stance on a larger social issue. It is then the aim of this course to provide an environment where students can experiment with critiquing popularly accepted definitions of nature and learn about ecological design and landscape architecture by exploring the boundaries of what they are not.
Design Media
Critical Visual Practice

Design Media II will examine architectural representation as both a means and an end of design thinking. In broadest terms, digital representation serves this dual role in the design process by ideating design alternatives on the one hand and communicating design intent on the other. Correspondingly, this course will focus on developing proficiency in drawing and modelling, ultimately in service of engendering a critical relationship with the act of representation and design. Building off of DMI, which introduces industry-standard software suites and helps students understand these programs’ logic, potentials, and limitations, DMII seeks to foster an awareness that the content of a drawing is anything but abstract, objective, or apolitical. Instead, while DMI teaches how designers communicate with drawings, DMII affirms that what we communicate is equally essential, historically embedded, and theoretically contested.
Design Studio
Change in Common

Climate change is an existential crisis the likes of which the human species has never before faced. The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the increase of global temperatures must be limited to 1.5°C. To achieve this before 2030, we must enact “rapid and far-reaching transitions” in not only our communication, power and transportation systems but also our construction and land use methods. This unprecedented challenge urgently requires new ideas. Allowing our colleagues in building architecture to imagine new construction methods, our charge in this landscape architecture studio will be to imagine and design new urban land use forms, patterns, and types. The yard is the most common residential landscape land use in the City of Vancouver. It will
be the focus of our studio as the site of investigation, critique, and thus the location for exploring alternatives.

The yard is one of the most common and influential land use types and is especially prevalent in urban conditions. It is defined by ownership and control, where, on the one hand, the land is marked as an exclusionary private property and on the other, the land is legally defined with an orderly landscape maintenance regime. It has historically excluded the presence of both labour and any functional ecology, instead giving preference to leisure and recreation. Yet, as a space with clear private responsibility, as well as being the fabric between neighbours, the yard holds opportunity for both individual and collective action.