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concerns Birmingham School of Architecture Annual Review 2011-12


Concern(s): vb 1. to relate to; be of importance or interest to; affect. 2. (usually followed by with or in) to involve or interest (oneself): he concerns himself with‌. – n. 3. something that affects or is of importance to a person; affair; business. 4. regard for or interest in a person or a thing.

5. important bearing or relation.

Concerns Birmingham School of Architecture, Annual Review 2011-12 Co-ordination: Kevin Singh, Alessandro Columbano Design and layout: Tom Tebby Copyright Š Birmingham City University 2012 All rights reserved

Front cover:. Matthew Walker & David Holland


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Landscape Architecture

landsca archit


Landscape Architecture

ape tecture Sam Roberts

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BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

Huda Abdi


BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

BA (Hons)

landscape architecture ‘Our modern world presents complex challenges with respect to ecological, social and functional degradation of human settlements and regional landscapes. This makes it essential for education and research conducted in academic institutions to formulate new solutions for the present and the future’ IFLA / UNESCO Charter

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BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

The rationale for the BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture provides a distinct and strong identity, treating the city as its laboratory and studio, where infrastructure, physical geography, time, ecologies, and culture intersect. The course sees landscape and the environment as its context , with the potential to deliver sustainable futures and embeds the principles of the Unesco charter into all levels of the programme. The Landscape Institute position statement on climate change provides clear guidance on the roles of the profession and its duty to respond to the challenge presented by changes in global environmental systems. The course provides a forum to work in a multidisciplinary platform with other cognate disciplines, exploring opportunities for developing ideologies, philosophies and design approaches that extend and inform the climate change debate, green infrastructure and habitation. We look at these scenarios closely. through an experimental aperture, seeking inquiry and innovation and using these as design tools in which the skin of the earth, interacts with water, sun and weather to create a dynamic drawing board, where landscape architects work as human geologist manipulating this skin, by using designed ecologies for the benefit of nature and man. The programme is designed to expose and investigate issues surrounding the designed environment, exploring landscape as a potential resource in which to deliver biodiversity, preserve and create new Ineta Naujalyte


BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

habitats, explore issues to do with the productive landscape and how nature and communities can work closer with each other. Our educational aims and objectives, include the promotion of the scholarly activity of discovery, embracing research to underpin design projects in a multidisciplinary educational structure. The course stresses collaborative approaches to problem based learning. It recognizes professional distinctiveness, providing a space for discourse and sharing sophisticated ideas. Design is a predictive tool to investigate design problems that transcends all scales within urban and rural environments. In each of the levels THE STUDIO is the interface between ideas exchange and design thinking and as you go through the course we delve more deeply into the complex relationships of the urban and rural environment, learning about how we can work with these natural and man made infrastructures to promote health and well being in all users of our landscape.

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BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture


BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

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BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

BA (HONS) landscape ARCHITECTURE

Year 1

In Year 1 the students explore Birmingham, surveying, reading through drawn investigations, finding out about its living landscape, home to 60000 students and a rich post industrial fabric, that has a stimulating series of woven spaces that are threaded by canal, road, rail and air, and how these transit lines have evolved into a dynamic 21st Century urban hub.


BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

Ula Bujauskaite

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BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

The first year studio and skills workshops assembles the tool kit of design principles. Term 1, Graphic Apparatus: Mining The City, consisted of three mini-projects. Project-1, Design-a-Drawing problematized “seeing” the city through different graphic techniques. With tutor or in small groups, students conducted walks along designated routes in central Birmingham. The design challenge was to craft a generative system of graphic inquiry: a process of drawing using various techniques and media to critically and poetically explore the significant urban observations and insights. Project-2, Create-a-Material(ity) probed design ideas through techniques of manipulating materials, composing with tactile, aural, olfactory and kinesthetic faculties as much as visual ones. This project challenged students to transform a range of materials (recycled packaging, leaves, found-materials) into one or more ‘other materiality’, to create a prosthesis for the human body.

The final project drew on the skills from previous ones. In Project-3, Construct-a-Window, the challenge was to transform existing window sites around the Gosta Green courtyard in response to their site-specific qualities of light, materiality, body and framing the city. We explored this within the framework of Health and Safety Codes, observed carefully and creatively. Term 2 explored inhabiting public space, or: how do we relate to “others”? The primary state of our existence is social; we populate space as we relate to ‘other’ beings, whether humans from other social classes and/ or with different ethnic identities, or other species with dissimilar but equally legitimate needs and desires. As designers, we investigate how, through manipulating space, material and landform, we shape such tentative publics. Our primary design challenge in this project was to propose a Node for Urban Flows in one of three urban areas (Bullring, Snowhill or Digbeth), and which creatively manages the conflicting aspirations and desires of different stakeholders. The project unfolded in three phases:


BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

Ula Bujauskaite

Phase I: Interpreting Public-ness (3 weeks): Occurring while reading texts on public space, this phase asked students to formulate an interpretation of public-ness in their selected urban areas through layered mappings and experiential narratives. Phase II: Cinematic Sequence (4 weeks): In this phase, each student was challenged to propose their urban site as a set for a cinematic sequence from a given film selected based on their Phase-I discoveries. Phase III: A Node for Urban Flows (4 weeks): The final phase began with drafting a “contract� between relevant stakeholders at each site. Each student then proposed an intervention to mediate between the different stakeholders and their flows. Each student proposed a final design intervention in his/her selected site: Bullring, Snowhill or Digbeth.

Field trips Students travelled abroad to study precedent studies. These develop an understanding of the cultural richness of Europe and how this study portal complements and develops the vocabulary used in technology and the design studio.

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Alex Agnew


BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

BA (HONS) landscape ARCHITECTURE

Year 2 Zoe Smith

Alex Agnew

Year 2 of the degree course is where we like to explore and experiment with ideas. Its theme is about pushing the boundaries and embracing new ways of seeing and designing. Though this process rich year, students are encouraged to develop their own positions and identities as designers. And this is achieved through a range of stimulating design led inquiries into landscape architecture as a philosophy.

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BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

The Design Process Studios The design process studios at undergraduate and graduate level are designed to develop artistic practice and critical visual skill; the interpretative and transformative studies are given a clear purpose. As students gradually become more aesthetically aware in the studio, well-established myths separating language from emotions and art from intelligence begin to evaporate. Students gain confidence and fluency in the expression of ideas in form and interpreting form through ideas; are able to delve into the particularities of place; to inform their research into the social, cultural and physical context of our lives and move seamlessly

Jos Thorndyke

back and forth between with wider contextual concerns and the materiality of place working artistically at a strategic as well as at a detailed level. Landscapes for Health and Well being This second process led studio provides a rich discourse for the second studio which explored design opportunities for the restoration of the River Rea landscape corridor. This also provided a forum for introducing the principles of ecopsychology and how Landscape Architects can design new spaces that facilitate a range of therapies within our urban landscape.


BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

The River Rea a linear landscape redesigned to inspire health and well being for the cities population. This project takes a closer look at landscape architecture and ecopsychology. and explores the position, that nature and having a rich ecology in a cities fabric, provides a framework for a landscape to be designed for health and well being. Through this studio we look at how this River can come alive again. The design proposals involve new wetlands, river side walks, and wetland planting that encourages a wide range of wildlife. Project Title: Hidden Rivers. Birmingham has a river that very few people know about, its location south of the city and set below the ground by 5 metres and canyonised by culverts, building and engineered interventions. The river provides an opportunity for experimenting and exploring landscape architecture as a device in which to remodel the quality of the environment so that it becomes a welcoming place that is enriched with a network of wetland habitats. The project requires students to look at knitting the spaces together to create a high quality linear park that is designed to provide a therapeutic experience for its users.

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BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

BA (HONS) landscape ARCHITECTURE

Sarah Wilson

Year 3

Sarah Wilson

The third year is where we bring all the learning together of years one and two and look at the international themes that promoted by the International Federation of Landscape Architects.

Field trip to Yorkshire Dales Reading the Landscape is one of the fine arts of the Landscape Architect and places us in a strong position to develop Landscape and Visual Assessment skills. At its heart is learning about natural England, its amazingly varied landscape and look into the qualities that make it such a powerful, distinct and beautiful landscape. This includes deciphering woodlands, hills and mountains, meadows, riparian wetlands. On this field trip we explored agricultural farmlands, and learning about landscape as our cultural heritage, and the links between geology, land use and Landscape Character and the complex and subtle language of the living landscape.


BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

Huda Abdi

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BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

Design Studio for Green Energy The decommissioning of Coalbrookdale Power Station presents a significant opportunity to provide a new quality of environment at Ironbridge and to explore Green Energy as a philosophical way of living. The project produced a range of design ideas that utilised the full scope of the site and project brief, especially responding to its industrial scale, as a way of demonstrating the diversity of Green Energy as an environmentally sensitive resource that meets the many needs of the community. Design studio for Climate Change Ineta Naujalyte

Huda Abdi

The Landscape Institute conference in 2007 identified Climate Change as the lead topic, and like many organisations, embraced this as an agenda item for the profession to debate . What emerged from the conference , not surprisingly, Landscape Architects are uniquely placed to use their design skills as a tool to deal with these large scale systems that threaten our way of life across the globe. The conference concluded all members of The Landscape Institute are required to have a grasp of the basic principles involving climate change and the LI expects awareness to be gained through its on going CPD events. In this studio we explored contemporary design thinking and the portfolio of ideas responded positively to these issues within a spirit of OPPORTUNITY, INVENTION and INNOVATION . The design thinking employed a design methodology that explored the idea that a FLOOD is a theatrical sequence of events, one that is woven into the psyche of the community and spatial fabric of the river’s hinterland. The Flood is a transient intervention with the landscape , its impact in the UK is typically a minor event in terms of loss and damage and communities have adapted to the landscape by siting their habitats in response to water levels.

Jocelyn Bennett


BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

BA (HONS) LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE LEVEL 4 Russell

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BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

Ann Mount


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Graduate Diploma Postgraduate diploma

landscape architecture Chartered Professional Status Study at postgraduate level is usually undertaken to gain the initial professional qualification needed for progression to chartered membership of the UK and EU recognized professional body for Landscape Architecture – The Landscape Institute. This requires a further 2 years in mentored practice subsequent to obtaining the Postgraduate Diploma/MA.

Iain Hainsworth

The Graduate Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma/MA Landscape Architecture Programmes are available on either a full or part time basis at BCU. The acclaimed ‘Conversion’ route via the Grad. Dip is available for national and international students from other disciplines. Accredited by the Landscape Institute, the programmes culminate in an MA qualification. In-house and visiting staff on both programmes excel at teaching design, crossing the boundaries between nature and culture, social responsibility and ecological processes, art and science. The pioneering and imaginative programmes respond to global, regional and local, social and environmental challenges. The work produced by our students is consistently highly valued by the profession and employers.


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Graduate Diploma Landscape Architecture

Jovita Stakionyte

Sam Roberts

Iain Hainsworth

Mara Redman


Graduate Diploma Landscape Architecture

GRADUATE DIPLOMA IN LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE Tutors: Mark Cowell, Kathryn Moore, Richard Coles, James O’Sullivan, Alex Albans Open to students with an undergraduate degree, the Graduate Diploma in Landscape Architecture is the first part of a pair of programmes intended to offer a ‘Conversion’ route into a career in professional Landscape Architecture for those from a wide range of backgrounds – for example, students who discover landscape architecture after completing a first degree, or find themselves in a landscape practice and want to progress their career by gaining a professional qualification. Some have the chance or opportunity to do something they’ve dreamt about, others, based in related disciplines, become fascinated by the opportunities, nature and scope of the discipline of Landscape Architecture. Renowned for exploring exciting new environmental and conceptual territories, the Programme at BIAD is resourced by an excellent research base and wellestablished international connections. It offers a foundation level introduction to the key skills, knowledge and understandings needed in Landscape Architecture, closely based on the professional accreditation criteria of the Landscape Institute. Two of the four Modules in the programme are studio – based design projects and the others cover technical (planting design, landscape sciences, building construction) and cultural context (landscape history and theory) topics. The projects cover a range of approaches in such matters as scale and space, site planning, design concept and process and detailed design as well as instruction in drawing and graphic skills. They are supplemented by taught sessions in digital media such as AutoCAD and InDesign

Charlie Pierson

The Graduate Diploma is especially tailored to those who wish to work or have other commitments whilst they study, only requiring actual attendance for one day per week at BCU.

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PostGraduate Diploma Landscape Architecture

POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA/MA IN LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE Tutors: Mark Cowell, Kathryn Moore, Robert Camlin, Chris Beardshaw, Jeppe Aagard Andersen, Ruth Morrow This Programme is open to a range of students, forming the final element in the route to professional Landscape Architecture for both students from the ‘Conversion’ route or those with a first undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture. It is also open to overseas students with equivalent qualifications. Within a clearly defined modular structure covering issues such as sustainable landscape planning, professional practice, planting design, landscape materials and construction as well as a comprehensive, student-led, Thesis Design Project which requires students to demonstrate the full range of abilities needed in the professional discipline. It also enables students to begin to define and explore their own ‘position’ and interests in the discipline. Within this framework, the design teaching has a number of notable features: The Design Process Studios Building a keen sense of social responsibility, the design process studios are set within the context of Birmingham’s Big City Plan and key global challenges such as climate change, health, food security and the supply of water. Keen observation of the impact ideas and form have on the people who live, work or visit the places we create informs the interpretation of the initial design inspiration to generate form with knowledge of the culture and traditions of the medium. The skill and confidence to manipulate this spatial, visual and conceptual discourse nourishes and invigorates every stage of the process, to build a critically rigorous, artistic

body of work that deals with the challenges of creating elegant landscapes for everyday life. International Studio: Ideas and Materiality and Critical Design Creating theory to inform design practice, exploring the expression of ideas in detailed design and the potential of new technologies, new styles and aesthetic approaches, the detailed design modules, IDEAS AND MATERIALITY (construction) and CRITICAL DESIGN (planting), are supported by a highly acclaimed international lecture series when a range of expert local,


PostGraduate Diploma Landscape Architecture

Mara Redman

national and international visiting tutors give public evening lectures. Since they frequently participate in the studio, students have the tremendous benefit of working with some of the most eminent practitioners from across the world. Recent speakers include Robert Camlin, Camlin Lonsdale, Jeppe Aargard Anderson, JAA Copenhagen, Professor Ruth Morrow, Queens, Belfast, Andrew Grant, Grant Associates, Neil Porter, Gustafson Porter, Professor Richard Weston, University of Wales, Cardiff, Kim Wilkie, Chris Beardshaw, Carl Steinitz, GSD, Harvard, Martha Schwartz, GSD Harvard, Andrew Wilson, the London School of Garden Design, SueAnne Ware, RMIT, Melbourne.

The Thesis Design Studio: Design Orientated Research High profile landscape infrastructure projects act as the vehicle and context for the final year design thesis, enabling students to contribute to the growing international debate about the need to develop new approaches to spatial design, driven by the recognition that the socio-economic benefits of adopting holistic, artistic, ecological and conceptual approaches to master planning and regeneration are becoming increasingly evident and are regarded as essential if we are to respond to the challenges of natural resource shortage

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PostGraduate Diploma Landscape Architecture

(“peak oil�, water, etc.), climate change adaptation and mitigation, unprecedented urban growth and a changing economy. The importance of radically changing the scope of design practice, explored in events such as the Seeing the Bigger Picture symposium held at BCU in April 2009 and the Ecological Urbanism conference at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard 2009 (Mostafavi and Doherty 2010), is reflected in a number of recent publications investigating and documenting pioneering approaches to regional design and recent EU calls for research exploring the potential of this approach to create resilient towns and cities. The significance of the landscape dimension in all of this is reflected by the fact that more than 39 countries have signed or ratified the European Landscape Convention and UNESCO in partnership with United Nations Agencies, is considering devising an international landscape convention. Regional research and exploration gives a broader perspective to design, a way of working that requires an awareness of issues such as ecology, hydrology and flooding, topography, the renewal of transport systems, short circuit economies (reliance on local goods and services), climateneutral infrastructure for sustainable waste, water, energy and transport management, governance, finance as well as understanding how to foster greater equity and social cohesion and mitigate negative environmental impacts.

Box Ying Wang

Design practiced at this macro-scale, as in any other scale, is about art and science, nature Lesley Cotton


PostGraduate Diploma Landscape Architecture

Sam Roberts

and culture, ideas and form. Multidisciplinary, fluid in scale and focus, it is often coordinated by landscape architects because of their geographic sensibility, knowledge of space and form and keen aesthetic and artistic awareness. It involves talking about beauty, having daring and vision. What is remarkable about this shift in practice is that the landscape is seen not as the bits left in between the buildings, developments, highways and town centres but as the context upon and within which these dynamic processes take place. The

year-long thesis design studio is the dramatic conclusion to an exciting programme of study that prepares our students to face these challenges and opportunities.

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PostGraduate Diploma Landscape Architecture

Work Opportunities Across the world, especially in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific, there is an increasing demand for professionally qualified Landscape Architects. Demand is continuing to grow in the UK in response to an increasing awareness of the significance of the landscape as the cultural, physical and social context of our lives, recognition that the aesthetics of place is a vital component of sustainable economic growth and that the landscape as the context within which the processes of development take place - It is on the mainstream political agenda.

Despite current economic conditions, students graduating from the Postgraduate programme in 2012 are already working in a range of landscape practices in the UK and recent Built Environment sector surveys (CABESpace, Academy for Sustainable Communities) have indicated a significant shortage of qualified Landscape Architecture staff. Students undertake the Programmes at BCU because they are highly focused and efficient, tailored for part time and full time students and renowned for teaching


PostGraduate Diploma Landscape Architecture

Dan Gaston

design expertise that is both cutting edge and intense. The student cohort has a wide range of expertise, is highly motivated and absolutely committed. Our students want to learn how to design, to see the bigger picture and participate in defining a moment of profound change in the way we view the landscape by gaining a highly sought after professional qualification which will lead to a stimulating career via:

• • • • • •

Local, national and international landscape practices Local, national and international multi disciplinary practices Academia. Local government, NGO’s. Policy, administration within national government Their own practices.

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'Concerns'  

This is the selected text and images for the Landscape Architecture courses for the annual review 'Concerns' for the last academic year 2011...

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