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ce To ALL of my family for your constant support, encouragement, love, excitement, and opportunities. You’ll never understand what you all mean to me! Dad and Bonnie ...To infinity and beyond!! Mom and Randy...Have I kicked it up a notch yet?


and for passing on your creative genes!

Terry Clements for continuous guidance, suggestions, and for taking on a project that didn’t really have an answer or final product at the onset! The Landscape Architecture faculty and staff for allowing me to explore my passion and guiding me in the right direction. (Thanks for the leaves Ben!!!) Matt Gart for your approval, denial and assistance with each installation. I think I’d be arrested if it weren’t for your help! To the LAR Class of 2012 for the GREAT memories, encouragement, and motivation day and night. I’ll look forward to finding you in the future and wish you all the BEST! It’s been real. Laurel Heile for all the late nights and early mornings (that sometimes turn into late afternoons), the girl talks and studio talks that really push our work. One, two, punch, baby! Christine Ly for all the inappropriate drawings that make me giggle...oh, and your keen design sense! Kaitlyn Illmensee for always wanting to celebrate accomplishments and for being on the same page (rolls eyes and puts on headphones)! Lynda Manden and Will Hopkins...the BEST Partners in Crime a girl could ask for!


Andrew Fenstermaker and Brian Blevins for the use of vehicles to haul things. Dana Cruikshank for the photos of impART and for spreading the word. The maintenance crew (who left my leaves alone) and staff (who swept leaves out of the buildings for a few days). Susan Day, Eric Wiseman, Bob Youngs, Ester Youngs, and Jeff Kirwan for your dedication to Stadium Woods, knowledge, and help with Finding Foundations. Jenny and Trev Schwanke for the wood sections used for FOUNDations. My focus group members and all the survey takers...who must remain anonymous or the IRB will be after me!

Because I believe that no task is truly individual and I thrive on my relationships with my friends, family and colleagues.




background, art in history, artists, art theory, criteria, process



first temporary art installation on Burchard Plaza, Blacksburg, VA

Finding Foundations






second temporary art installation in Stadium Woods, Blacksburg, VA

finding that the impact of temporary art installations permeates through the design process

concluding artful exhibition on the Graduate Life Center Lawn, Blacksburg, VA





summary of impact

list of references used

CONTENTS “Accents on the off beats, the placements of the notes slightly ahead of or behind the beat, and the overlay of multiple rhythms provide jazz with its kinetic drive and enable the expression of variable and complex temporal manifestations within a small interval.� -David Brown, Noise Orders: Jazz, Improvisation, and Architecture


1 This project: -allowed me to break away from the drawing board and witness how a design intervention influences a space. -investigated the impact of temporary environmental art on the user AND the designer. -used art as a tool for understanding any site, no matter what the design outcome is.

This map shows the sites of the temporary art installations described in this porject. Each installation was located on Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg, VIrginia.


Design as a profession, hobby, or passion yields some sort of impact on the audience, site, or designer. Design is an opportunity to have an effect or influence on another person, place or thing. Powerful design acts as a catalyst for action. However, how powerful can a two dimensional master plan be on the understanding of specific site characteristics? What impact does the drawing on your desk have? Sure, it is beautiful, but does it show how a pedestrian walks through your space? Does it show the cultural value of the site? Does it reveal historical information about its past? Does it emphasize the dramatic topography of the site? What is its influence?

The broad goal of this project is to evaluate the impact of temporary public art. Art is what captures our attention, slows us down, and forces us to recognize who we are, where we are, and what we are doing. The subjective nature of art creates a dynamic project originally focused on the impact that temporary environmental art has on the audience’s perception of their surroundings. However, the project process has resulted in a new outlook on the role of art in the design process. The experimental and research basis of the project demands a break from the masterplan and requires physical interventions in the landscape. The process included the design, installation, and observation of two temporary art installations on the Virginia Tech campus and one culminating art exhibition. At each phase of the project there was an action, interaction, and reaction. These terms are the framework for measuring the stimulation, interaction, and recognition catalyzed by the installations. The epiphany I had in this project was both unexpected and thrilling and yielded ideas that provoked and pushed the boundaries of Landscape Architecture. Inserting art into the design process allows for greater exploration of a site and an artful understanding of the place, no matter what the design outcome is.

“Design is an opportunity to have an effect or influence on another person, place, or thing.”



“Keen observers of the natural world, artists throughout history have sought metaphors in nature to help define human existence.�-Barbara C. Matilsky Historically, art was used as a tool for communication. Ancient artists have recorded, preserved, and expressed knowledge of past centuries in a variety of art forms, including Chinese scroll paintings, cave paintings, and sculpture. In the past, art has captured the role of the environment in our lives, from hunter-gatherers with a respect and reverence for our surroundings to the Industrial Revolution when progress referred to the demise of the environment for human expansion.





Environmental artists, such as James Turrell, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Andy Goldsworthy have impacted how I designed, implemented, and evaluated this project. Environmental artists create projects that draw attention to particular aspects of an existing landscape, emphasizing the physicality and uniqueness of the environment. Their projects are memorable and increase the viewer’s recognition of the environment or underlying aspects of a specific site. Christo and Jeanne-Claude create temporary installations to change the viewer’s perception of space. Their projects, such as The Gates in New York City’s Central Park, impress a view upon the visitors, who, after the removal of The Gates, still remember the vibrant orange fabric that floated above and marked the park’s path. James Turrell, who created Roden Crater in Arizona, visually frames the way visitors see the landscape, encouraging

“...ordinary landscape, but suddenly energized by underlining invisible topography of the land.” -Christo a new connection and appreciation for the environment. Turrell states that his work in the environment is to dissolve the “ideas that we are apart from nature and the great conceit of nature being something different from what we are” (Art in the Landscape, 92). Andy Goldsworthy creates his installations from materials that are found on the site. His installations are dynamic and dependent upon site qualities. Goldsworthy allows environmental elements to dictate the timeline of his projects. Tides, currents, and wind are some of the actions that determine the decomposition, destruction, or continuation of his installations. Like these artists, I have created temporary art installations that use elements of the site to reframe or refocus our perception of the landscape. I have taken cues from their work and created a criteria to measure the sensory, social, cultural, and environmental values of each installation. This measurement was used to determine the impact of each installation.


aesthetic theory of art.

stimulates response to justify order, and clarify our interpretation and appraisal of beauty.

expressive theory of art.

public opinion is irrelevant as the artist creates the criteria for judging the product.

mimetic theory of art.

the imitation of naturally occurring objects and events.

ART THEORY “A work of art is an experience, not a statement or an answer to a question. Art is not only about something; it is something.” -Susan Sontag

objective theory of art.

the purpose is to simply exist, with no responsibility to teach, please, or express. art for art’s sake.


pragmatic theory of art. the purpose is to please, teach, or move the audience. disseminating knowledge.

Steven Krog questions whether or not Landscape Architecture can be considered art in his article “Is it Art?” featured in Landscape Architecture magazine. Krog outlines five theories of art that he states are crucial to understanding if the work of a landscape architect is to be considered art. These theories are a way to understand and critique art. If the critique is ignored, the art is significantly impacted. Krog states, “Ignorant or unquestioning of its historical nuances, and lacking a critical theory, landscape architects believe theirs can be an art by simply saying that it is.” It is important to convey that the purpose of our work is not simply to solve problems, but to create an experience that shows how committed we are to landscape architecture as an art, and accept the critique of our work for improvement. The installations created in this project identify with the pragmatic theory of art. How do the installations impact, teach, move, or please an audience in terms of the sensory, social, cultural, and environmental values?




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stimulation: senses are the basis for interaction in the public realm

“Art is what captures our attention, slows us down, and forces us to recognize who we are, where we are, and what we are doing.” “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” -Pablo Picasso

l a i l c a o r s u t l u c and interaction: responds to people: needs, wants, uses, diversity, access

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recognition: qualities and importance of where you are and your actions towards the land

CRITERIA Because of the subjective nature of art, it became important to develop a criteria in which I could objectively measure the impact of the temporary installations. Each installation was measured in terms of sensory, social, cultural, and environmental value. The methods used to evaluate these values were behavior mapping through video and site observations, on-site interviews, and online surveys. The resulting measurements informed each following action within the project.


“It’s really there. That’s what really gets you. But you gotta stop and think about it to really get the pleasure about the complexity, the inconceivable nature of nature.”-Richard Feynman



My process for creating and evaluating the temporary environmental art involves an action, interaction, and reaction at each phase of the project. This process is combined with a measurement framework (sensory, social, cultural, and environmental value) that resulted in a cohesive project with clear actions and outcomes at each stage.

The action is the design and implementation of the installations including site selection, message, and goals for stimulation, interaction, and recognition. The interaction is the physical engagement with the site, installation, and people observed while the installations are in place. Lastly, the reaction is the cognitive response or understanding of the site provoked by the art.


7 Cowgill


temporary art installation static structure vs. dynamic nature

Burchard Plaza Johnston Student Center



impART aimed to emphasize the static structure of Burchard Plaza by creating a dynamic installation that would result in a contrast of materials and an increased recognition of the site. The first step of ACTION of impART was to find a location. Burchard Plaza, on the Virginia Tech campus was chosen because the installation required daily observation to understand how the installation impacted each user’s interaction with the space. Site characteristics of Burchard Plaza include: a majority of hard materials, enclosed by buildings, high visibility (lots of foot traffic), and few plants around the perimeter.

Message: -Juxtaposition of static structure and dynamic nature. -Interrupting human patterns of movement -Decomposition of leaf litter and the figurative planting of a tree. -Use of leaves-temporal, seasonal, cycle, engage senses.


5 5expectations .all senses engaged .texture .scent .crunch .vibrancy

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Materials: -20 yards of burlap -100 bags of leaves -1 purple leaf plum tree -A crew of friends to set up

.leaf stomping .pulling leaves out of bag .raking .leaf pile jumping .walking by .visiting website

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.wind blows leaves off plaza .rain makes leaves slippery .rain deters interaction .cycles of decomposition obvious .nature imposed on man obvious .pattern to forest floor


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impART action

The second ACTION was to collect the materials and install them on Burchard Plaza. The design of impART aimed to engage all the senses, encourage active interaction with the installation elements, and to reveal the environmental site qualities to the audience.





“Dana Cruikshank shares this photo of a leaf “masterpiece” created by Caitlin Edenfield, a Virginia Tech landscape architecture student. Edenfield used leaves and live tree to cover Burchard Plaza on Tech’s campus to create this installation called “impART.” -The Burgs

10 Images of impART on Burchard Plaza. The leaf tendrils manipulated the way people travelled through the space and the large burlap sack caught people’s eye.


impART immediately captured the attention of the audience. Next step was to measure the physical interactions and cognitive reactions of the audience with the site and installation.




your life

your life with art

impART interaction

Before impART was even installed I recorded people’s movements and interactions through Burchard Plaza to witness firsthand the impact that the installation had on people’s physical interaction with the site. This behavior mapping exercise revealed how impART could interrupt patterns of movement by increasing stimulation, interaction, and recognition. The pre-installation showed that most people traveling through the plaza would avoid the center. impART responded by pulling people into the center of the plaza.

Video was used to document the movement through the plaza. Please visit for the blog containing the video documentation as well as a summary of the project.


.sight engaged (something different, pattern) .hearing engaged (diminished after rain) .touch engaged (few people actually felt materials) .smell engaged (scent did not fill the plaza) .taste...not engaged (hopefully) .interrupting status quo

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Physical interaction with impART included slowing down, pausing, rubber neckin’ for a reason, stimulation, recognition, direction.

.tip-toe over piles .rarely pulled leaves out (unless provoked) .leaves were rarely manipulated by passerbyers .few jumped in piles, but the sack was sat on .tree was moved .people walking by looked, slowed down and sometimes looked back (SMILING). .website was visited .photo from roof was on facebook + vt news .photo from roof was a small blurb in The Roanoke Times insert The Burgs .power in directing people’s movement

l a i l c a o r s u t l u c d an


you are

.wind blew leaves towards Cowgill ce .tendrils collected leaves that blew around here .it did rain and the leaves stuck together .people continued walking through the plaza .leaves didn’t seem as related to the installation .the leaves never covered the plaza entirely .it was hard to measure if people were just noticing the installation or the relationship of man and nature

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6 4 impART day



Once impART was in place, I observed the physical engagement of users with the site, the installation elements, and others. From a bird’s eye view in Johnston Student Center, I was able to observe people stepping over the leaves carefully, moving the tree from the center of the plaza, and stopping to take photos. Within a few hours, a photo of impART was circulating on Facebook within the college and university pages. It was obvious that the installation had successfully interrupted the status quo. People’s senses were engaged and they seemed to be curious about why the tree was in place. The physical impact that impART had on the way people moved through the site was clear, but I needed a way to measure if they were understanding the message of the installation.





pyramids: most noticeable

I hardly ever walk through this site. The first things I notice about this site are the pyramids and how much concrete there is. I only like to stay here 10 minutes or less, but would probably stay more if there was some vegetation and/or shade to sit under. I am not really positive about ecosystem services, but I would guess that it has something to do with the environment benefiting man. I suppose the vegetation around the edges of the site provides some sort of ecosystem services.

free button 1

visit Burchard Plaza once between Oct.12-19.

2 questions? contact


go to www.impart. and take the 5 minute survey.

receive your free button.

spatial qualities decomposition of leaves added aesthetic interest mostly passive interaction

d) (misurvey

I occasionally walk through this site. The installation changed the space from a transition space to a place that I might stay a bit longer so I could interact with the project. You could describe my interaction with the site as passive because I definitely noticed it, but was hesitant to change anything. I think the installation added aesthetic interest and emphasized the spatial qualities of the plaza. The leaves used in the installation made me think of decomposition, especially after it rained. Ecosystem services are provided by the environment to benefit humans.

remembrance ) t s (po survey

I hardly ever walk through this site. I experienced Burchard Plaza when the installation was up. Now that the installation is gone, the site is rather empty and dull. I will remember the installation and look for traces of it, but the interaction with the installation will be lost. I did not really understand ecosystem services, but I would agree that they are the collective benefits humans receive from the resources and processes supplied by natural ecosystems.

limitations A postcard was distributed during the Cowgill Lobby Pin-Up to promote the installation and ask for responses to the survey.

impART reaction

A series of surveys were created, approved by the Institutional Research Board, and then distributed to a focus group before the installation, during the installation, and after the installation. A random sampling of students, faculty, and staff who interacted with impART also took the mid-installation survey. The pre-installation survey showed that the most noticeable aspect of the plaza was the group of pyramids. The mid-installation survey, given while impART was in place revealed a greater awareness of spatial qualities of Burchard Plaza and its relationship to the surrounding buildings. The environmental implications of the installation were also noticed in the decomposition of the leaves. Mostly passive interactions with the installation, such as slowing down or taking a picture, were also recorded.

focus group completed each survey, but range of the group was not general. perhaps a random sample would produce more complete results. .mid-installation survey was open to anyone so there was a greater amount of results and broader range. .survey may include bias towards expected answers.

Survey results reveal cognitive awareness.

The post survey was given 2 weeks after the installation in order to understand the impact of the installation after it was removed. This was difficult to measure because the focus group was aware that the survey was connected to the installation. However, they did express a remembrance of the installation and that, while visiting the site in the future, they would continue to think of impART.



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impART was engaging to people who walked by. It demanded a second look and stimulated people’s senses. The leaves crunched beneath their feet and the bag with the tree sprouting from it encouraged questions. Opportunities for the second installation include: enhancing the provoking qualities of the installation and testing the timeline and materiality.

Designer’s reaction to impART.

l a i l c a o r s u t ul c and weak

impART responded to the pre-existing site interactions but was not very successful in getting people to actively engage with the site. Opportunities for the second installation include addressing a social or cultural issue in the community, increasing awareness of the project, and investigating other methods for measuring recognition.


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impART avoided being another plop art project by responding to site specific qualities that emphasized the message. Opportunities for the second installation include man into nature and making a greater long term impact.

impART reaction

Based on my observation of interactions and the responses from the surveys impART’s sensory value was measured as strong, the social/cultural value as weak, and the environmental value as average. These results were taken into account in the design of the second installation. Overall, impART focused on the user’s recognition of the site and interrupted the status quo.



Dietrich Tennis Courts

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Stadium Woods

nS o t ng i h Cassell as W Coliseum

Lane Stadium

finding foundations

Finding Foundations responded to the recent proposal to develop half of the 11 acres of old growth woods behind Lane Stadium. In the design of the installation it was important to expose both the impact of the proposed building as well as the benefits of the woods as an ecosystem. The installation also responds to the evaluation of impART and seeks to increase the sensory, social, cultural, and environmental recognition of the users. To meet these goals, contrasting materials were used, a community issue was addressed, the complexity and importance of the woods was shown, and the impact of the proposed building was revealed.

My perceptions of Stadium Woods before the installation: large tract of land, buffer from campus, forgotten, variety of species, ecosystem, threatened by development.

The proposed building footprint and a 40’ construction offset are marked in the woods. Based on these flags I used red tape to approximately show the building footprint, orange to show the 40’ construction offset, yellow to show trees that would probably be removed for construction, and pink to show trees that would probably die in five to ten years because of compaction.

Message: -Provoke the moral conscious -Visually communicate the complexity inherent in the woods and the impact of the proposed building -Interrupt your typical view of the woods -Demand a second look into the rare old growth trees.


.all senses engaged .contrast to woods .vibrancy .texture .materiality

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.walking between tape .observing connections .passing by .visiting website .walking deeper into woods .recognition of cultural issue .class participation .potential conflict .conversation


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.wind blows tape .man imposed on nature .expose root protection zone .extensive system within woods .impact of proposed building .importance of woods

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expectations e

The tree protection zone is the area around a tree that should be protected during construction. A chain link fence should be placed around the tree at a distance in feet equal to the trunk diameter at breast height (inches) X 1.5 to protect the roots from compaction and the trunk from physical damage.

Materials: -8,300 feet of surveyor’s tape -Stakes -4 friends + 1 professor

finding action foundations

The process of installing Finding Foundations started by reaching out to professors and students who might be interested in participating in the project. This step was important because it increased the social value by involving more people in the actual creation of the installation. It was also important for people to understand the message of the installation and to increase awareness of the environmental value of the woods. Professors in Forestry expanded my knowledge of the woods and helped me create an informed art installation. It was in one of these conversations that I learned the importance of tree protection zones during construction. I used this information to create the pattern of tape in the woods.



finding foundations “This is not what I usually classify as “art” but the ribbons in the various colors certainly helped me to see the extent of the project much more clearly than when I just spent time wandering among the trees.”

-Anonymous answer to survey


God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. -John Muir

Finding Foundations: Art in the Woods. The colored tape is a student project and although it doesn’t mean that the marked trees are being cut down right now, they may be in the near future. Please take a minute to explore the woods and keep in mind the strong tree foundations that you are walking over. As you move through the woods notice the progression of colored tape. The trees marked in red tape are in the proposed building footprint. The trees marked in orange tape fall within the 40’ offset alloted for construction. The yellow tape is the next perimeter around the building and the pink are the outliers. Each tree will be impacted having implications for the entire ecosystem (that includes you). To learn more about this project please visit:


finding foundations

Your help is needed for the creation of an art installation in the Stadium Woods (behind Lane Stadium and the Washington Street tennis courts). The Stadium Woods are being threatened by proposed construction and may be destroyed in the future. The installation, created with surveyor’s tape, will expose the tangible and intangible benefits of the stand of old growth trees.

Interested? Visit the woods on Monday, February 6 between noon and 5pm to get involved. Follow the lines of surveyor’s tape to find us! The installation will remain in the woods until Monday, February 13 for exploration. Contact: Caitlin Edenfield (

The physical interaction with Finding Foundations was measured through on site observations. Environmental interactions, such as tape fluttering in the wind, were recorded on video.

finding interaction foundations

The interactions observed while Finding Foundations was in place were similar to the interactions of impART. The brightly colored tape pulled across the paths and spread through the woods caused people to slow down and question its purpose. The installation sparked countless conversations and allowed me to be included in a forum to discuss the fate of Stadium Woods. Each of these engagements increased the social and cultural value of the installation. The imposition of the installation on the woods enhanced environmental elements such as the sun peeking through the bare winter trees and glaring off the plastic tape and the almost constant breeze that caused the tape to flutter.




.sight engaged (something different, pattern) . touch engaged (find out what the material was) (stepping over/under tape) .connections and ties .interrupting status quo


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.conversations about the fate of the woods .a lot of “thank you’s” from people concerned with the woods .silent 1960’s protest .police report- vandalism .photo from roof was a small blurb in The Roanoke Times: Pictorial Opinion section .who is impacted by the woods?

l a i l c a o r s u t l u c and

finding interaction foundations

Finding Foundations definitely interrupted the status quo. A student commented that she went for an evening jog and almost tripped over the tape. She was hesitant to accept the installation and was confused about the tape, but soon figured out that the woods are, in fact, valuable to our campus, especially since running through a closed practice facility would be a lot more difficult that maneuvering through the tape. I also witnessed a few Cadets who were upset that the tape was interrupting their drills in the woods. They were forced to move through the woods in a different way, which reinforced the impact that the building would have on their use of the woods.

you are here

.overlap of the tape symbolizes intricacy of ecological processes .tape fluttering in the wind .tape broken by the wind .tape wrapped around twigs by wind .sun glare off of the tape .health of the woods .what is the impact of the building

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Physical interaction with Finding Foundations included reading the sign, pausing, stepping over the tape, recognizing the woods, going under the tape, sketching in the woods, videoing the tape, investigating what the tape meant, and taking photos.


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In your own words what is the meaning or purpose of this installation? -it demonstrates the inter connectedness of the woods -it shows the impact that the proposed athletic facility will have on the woods

Have you visited stadium woods before visiting the art installation? If so, describe the woods without the installation. -yes, the presence of animals, trees, and life calming and relaxing qualities -no In your own words what is the meaning or purpose of this installation? -it shows the impact that the proposed athletic facility will have on the woods -attempts to show what we may not see What does your participation in this installation mean to you? -the chance to be a part of something bigger than myself -the opportunity to educate others about their surroundings Do you think art can impact our recognition of our surroundings? If so, how? If not, why not? -yes art gives us the opportunity to make change. ARTivism art can help spread awareness art encourages us to think about where we are and what we are doing

Have you visited stadium woods before visiting the art installation? If so, describe the woods without the installation. -yes beautiful, unique, and peaceful haven for humans, plants, and animals recognize the seasons buffer from campus and community usually walk through for football games -no Do you think art can impact our recognition of our surroundings? If so, how? If not, why not? -yes art helps us recognize and identify our surroundings art gives us a new lens to observe installation specific about the impact of proposed building.



ail t e d

art for change

I have been to Stadium Woods before the installation. I am attracted to the peacefulness of the woods. My favorite description of the woods would be a haven. It is a place for plants, animals, and humans to thrive. I am intrigued by the installation because it reveals the impact of the proposed building and it also shows the connections through the woods. I think art is a tool that helps us recognize and identify with our surroundings.

I have been to Stadium Woods before the installation. I always notice the presence of the animals and trees when I am in the woods. It is a very calm place. The purpose of this installation is to show the impact of the proposed athletic facility. It also shows the extensive root system that we cannot see and often ignore. By participating in the creation of this installation, I have the chance to be involved with something bigger than myself. Art gives us the opportunity to make change.

finding reaction foundations Survey results reveal cognitive awareness.

The cognitive reaction to Finding Foundations was measured by two surveys. The first was a participant survey given to people who helped install the tape in the woods to gain an understanding of the impact art has on its creators. The finding was that people felt rewarded by doing something that was larger than just themselves and may have implications for a major decision in the community. The explorer survey was taken by anyone who visited the woods while the tape was in place. The explorer survey aimed to find out if the meaning of the installation was obvious and if they felt like art could change people’s perception of place. These responses revealed that most people understood the tape to symbolize the building footprint and the impact that the building would have.




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Diagrams from a Compendium that a first year studio put together illustrate paths, users, ages of trees, distribution of impact, characteristics of the woods as well as of the installation.

finding reaction foundations

More importantly, I recognized how much information I had gathered about the woods. I had set out to increase the audience’s awareness and recognition of Stadium Woods; which was the same goal as impART, but I had essentially done a comprehensive site analysis of Stadium Woods. As a designer of an art installation, I was able to speak with professors, students, and community members to gain a deeper understanding of the woods rather than simply conducting site visits or searching for the appropriate maps online. The focus of the installations was shifting from the user to the site and I began to understand the impact that art could have on the designer and the design process.

Designer’s reaction to Finding Foundations. To expand the impact of the installation, a first year design studio spent a morning in the woods diagramming and representing aspects of the woods and the installation that they thought were intriguing or powerful. They compiled their cognitive responses in a compendium. My reaction to Finding Foundations concluded by measuring the sensory value as average, the social/cultural value as strong, and the environmental value as strong.

22 impART


finding foundations

impact the AUDIENCE’s recognition of place didactic form of art. art to show.

impact MY recognition of place investigative form of art. art to know.

art as an investigative tool to gain valuable

information about a site

artful. (adjective)

performed with or showing art or skill. using or characterized by art and skill. clever or skillful, crafty, cunning. creative skill or taste.

the artful manipulation of landscape elements for enhanced human experience.

method quality

both designer and user gain deeper understanding of the site. INFORMED.


art. (noun) product or process of deliberately arranging items (often with symbolic signicance) in a way that or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect.


An artful design process and an engaging method of investigation.

impART and Finding Foundations were both didactic forms of art, trying to reveal site qualities and raise recognition for the use. However, at the culmination of Finding Foundations, I realized that art can be used as an investigative tool for the designer to gain valuable information about a site. I was not only informing the user of the site qualities, but I was observing how people moved through the space, learned the ecological functions of the site, and understood the cultural significances of the site.




intuitive nonlinear

expansion competition

rational analysis


landscape object

interrupt status quo process product



landscape architecture permanence function

synthesis landscape experience holism


didactic linear

uid emphasizes physicality and uniqueness of landscape


product process

fulll the needs and wants of people






landscape R chitecture A T



art becomes a critical part of the design process.

If you call out the extreme sides of landscape architecture and art you may find that they do not overlap a lot. Is the site analysis phase where art and landscape architecture combine? I do not think this is the only option, but one that is extremely intriguing, feasible, and engaging. Art provides a new lens framing a landscape, an issue, or idea. Each designer has his or her own way of approaching a site and I am suggesting that art may be a helpful tool resulting in an artful understanding of the place, no matter what the design outcome is.


communicates partnership

increase consciouness and recognition

Using art as a tool for gaining a deeper understanding of the site leads to a more informed program and concept yielding a design that values stimulation, interaction, and recognition.




Newman Library

Virginia Tech Bookstore


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Architecture Annex

Donaldson Brown Graduate Life Center

This exhibition concludes this project by showing the site analysis information, but does not end my exploration of art as an investigative tool.

FOUNDations In reaction to my epiphany that art facilitates a designer’s understanding of the site, I recorded the knowledge of Stadium Woods that I gained from Finding Foundations in an exhibition titled FOUNDations. Whereas the installations were aimed at the experience of place this exhibition is not site specific, but conveyed the information typically presented in a site analysis. The exhibition embodied the sensory, social, cultural, and environmental values of the previous installations. The exhibition was placed on the Graduate Life Center lawn on Virginia Tech’s campus because it is on the edge of campus and town and is visible to a wide range of visitors. Interaction with this exhibit reflected the active and passive interaction observed in the installations.



walk in the woods While walking in the woods with forestry professor Dr. Kirwan and other students representing the Environmental Coalition I was able to develop relationships with other disciplines and gain valuable ecological information about the woods and notice physical characteristics unique to the old growth woods.

on site interviews

chat with Bob and Ester Youngs

A lot of students walk past the woods on a daily basis and were interested in expressing their opinions about the fate of Stadium Woods as well as the impact that the installation had on them. They revealed multiple uses and other social information and shared how the woods impact the surroundings.

While visiting the woods one day I entered through the International Peace Garden. It turns out that the founders of the garden were being interviewed by the Roanoke Times. This was the first conversation that I had with someone outside of studio about Stadium Woods. Ester shared a lot of the historical information about the area and the reporter filled me in on a lot of the politics and discussion surrounding the newly proposed athletic facility.


SNAG invasives

reaction FOUNDations The site information conveyed in this exhibition is directly connected to actions taken during the design, installation, and observation of Finding Foundations. For example, a walk in the woods with Dr. Jeff Kirwan revealed massive amounts of environmental qualities inherent in the woods. Not only did this information impact the design of the installation, it also revealed why the old growth stand is unique and rare. Other actions, such as a conversation with Bob and Ester Youngs, who started the International Peace Garden by the Cranwell Center, led to a greater history lesson about the use of the woods for housing soldiers returning from World War II. This knowledge is represented by the arrangement of multiple segments of tree trunks on the lawn. The varying ages, sizes, and species of wood is representative of the unbalanced varying nature of Stadium Woods. The conscious arrangement of the logs encourages visitors to stop and look closer into why each log is placed where it is and what it symbolizes. This exhibition is important because, in the same way that a site analysis is shown to a client to support the designer’s decisions, the audience should understand qualities of the woods so that they are informed of the impact of the decisions made concerning the woods.


upper mid lower story

An exhibition is not site specific and does not aim to reveal something about the site, but focuses on the information gained from the temporary art installations.


“A passion is the part that you cannot leave behind.” -Mark Baldwin


On one of my favorite pieces of stationary Mark Baldwin states, “A passion is the part that you cannot leave behind.” My passion is embedded in the artful manipulation of the landscape for increased human experience and stimulation. This project reflects my personal dedication to pushing the bounds of landscape architecture and has encouraged me to investigate different lenses through which we experience the circumambient world. My aim through art and landscape architecture is to draw attention to particular aspects of the existing, or hidden, landscape emphasizing the physicality and uniqueness of the environment. This is crucial in creating a memorable and stimulating design, while increasing recognition and catalyzing change. Because I was committed to implementing my designs I was given lots of opportunities to interact with the Blacksburg community, university officials, and students and professors in many other disciplines. Each of these connections deepen my understanding and relationship with Blacksburg. Each temporary intervention in the landscape was an opportunity for me to formulate proposals for art installations and learn about authorization processes. This is just another example of how the impact of this project has expanded into the designer’s process. This project does not follow the typical process of a fifth year project and it does not yield the same product. This is fitting, because I do not envision myself in the role of a traditional landscape architect. Although, it was challenging to try not to compare my project progress to my peer’s, as we have done for the past 4 years, it was intriguing to see where our projects overlapped. When I was choosing the site for impART, many of my colleagues were also collecting site information, and a lot of the information influenced our projects in the same way. However, when it came to producing a final design, I was confronted the questions What is my final product? and Where would this project end? The FOUNDations exhibition serves as the conclusion of this project, but I see it as finishing a chapter in a very long and intriguing Choose-Your-OwnAdventure novel.



27 Print.


Matilsky, Barbara C. Fragile Ecologies: Contemporary Artists’ Interpretations and Solutions. New York: Rizzoli International, 1992. Print.

“Save Stadium Woods.” Save Stadium Woods. Friends of Stadium Woods. Web. 02 Feb. 2012. <>.

Weilacher, Udo. Between Landscape Architecture and Land Art. Boston: Birhauser, 1999. Print.

“Public Opinion.” The Roanoke Times. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <>.

Dunay, Donna. Town Architecture: Blacksburg : Understanding a Virginia Town. [Blacksburg, Va.]: Town of Blacksburg, the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and the Extnesion Division, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1986. Print. Oakes, Baile. Sculpting with the Environment: A Natural Dialogue. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1995. Print. Greenberg, Jan, Christo, Jeanne-Claude, and Sandra Jordan. Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Through the Gates and Beyond. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2008. Print.

Newspaper. Magazine.

“International Peace Garden Volunteer.” The Roanoke Times 5 Feb. 2012: 6-7. Print. Krog, Steven. “Is It Art?” Landscape Architecture Magazine May 1981. Print.

Fineberg, Jonathan D. Christo and Jeanne-Claude: On the Way to the Gates, Central Park, New York City. New Haven: Yale University Press in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2004. Print. Kastner, Jeffrey, and Brian Wallis. Land and Environmental Art. London: Phaidon Press, 2010. Print. Tufnell, Ben. Land Art. London: Tate, 2006. Print. Grande, John K. Art Nature Dialogues: Interviews with Environmental Artists. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004. Print.


Impact: Evaluating the role of temporary environmental art in landscape architecture  

a documentation of my fifth year thesis project.