The Big Idea

Jane Rumble 

Technological advancement of digital media is a fascinating topic for landscape architecture. Digital representation is certainly a relevant and invaluable topic of study within the academic realm. There is an intrinsic quality in the hands-on explorative process which is lacking in the digital format. Whether a makeshift model, a mosaic that has been cut up, folded & moved around, rough freehand drawing, or abstracted photographs -early explorations communicate design thinking.

Scrubby colonising grasses are contrasted with fruit trees, which make reference to the site's productive heriage. Leftover, incongruous materials become the feature of the design 

Scrubby colonising grasses are contrasted with fruit trees, which make reference to the site's productive heriage. Leftover, incongruous materials become the feature of the design 

Hands-on design processes offer an intimate approach to site conceptual thinking. These media can evoke the experience of a place in a way that offers richness to the conceptual process. With the recent surge in the use of digital representation hand-drawn images are a refreshing addition when integrated in to a design package. However, the drawing board alone will not keep Landscape Architecture in step with our partner industries. Tools such as GIS & AutoCAD have much to offer. GIS layering of site qualities, landscape patterns & connections inherent to site enrich a site analysis and feed into the design process. Programs such as photoshop, illustrator are useful for layering different types of media, testing a concept and adding texture and interest to a presentation.

Abandoned tires are claimed as boundary markers: some planted with flowering species/scrubby grasses. The illegal dumping of material has become ideal, boundary marker, habitat. 

Abandoned tires are claimed as boundary markers: some planted with flowering species/scrubby grasses. The illegal dumping of material has become ideal, boundary marker, habitat. 

The technical accuracy of computer programs such as AutoCAD (Computer Aided Design) enable drafting accuracy, modelling, flexible editing of drawings and are formatted to allow the transfer of information between construction & design industries. Digital software is an  invaluable tool for Landscape Architecture and sharpens our skills as designers, but the creative process should not be confined to a computer. 

Digital advancement will continue to pervade the industry thus technology is the future of Landscape Architecture. However, a visual representation can come to life through the thoughtful integration of hand-drawn conceptual thinking with digital technology. As designers we are taught to experiment and find new ways of doing: Discovering techniques to connect land and people through meaningful design, and then choosing the most effective means of visually communicating that information from the overall picture down to the smallest detail. 

Good design starts with an idea.

Site study: Fluctuation/corridor

Site study: Fluctuation/corridor



Suggested readings:

Digital Drawing for Landscape Architecture:

Contemporary Techniques and Tools for Digital

Representation: Bradley Cantrell (Author) and Wes

Michaels (Author)

Xsection Issue One 2011/12 Digital Technology is [not] the Future of Landscape Architecture