Landscape Architecture Students Practice Alternative Approach to Surveying

Feb. 15, 2017

Rose_Turpin LandArch_Osborn WorkshopIn early February, students in Landscape Architecture took part in “Surveillance Practices,” a collaborative workshop led by Brian Osborn, assistant professor of architecture at California Polytechnic State University. The three-day workshop explored methods of surveying the environmental phenomena that shape a landscape.

Student teams designed environmental sensing devices to reveal the processes that influence the physical environment, including micro-topographic changes, thermal energy transfers, species behavior and more. Practicing with a microcontroller development platform, a wireless sensor network and a graphical algorithm editor, students learned how to engage with dynamic environmental conditions to create more precise designs.

The workshop encouraged students to understand landscapes as dynamic rather than fixed and to practice surveillance rather than surveying, observing closely the ongoing processes that regularly influence a site. This alternative approach will allow students to develop designs that truly embody the landscape.

Osborn holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Pratt Institute School of Architecture in Brooklyn, New York, and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Osborn has taught at Rutgers University, Pratt Institute and the best-img_0678University of Virginia, where he was the 2012-14 Virginia Teaching Fellow before becoming an assistant professor of landscape architecture.

Osborn also is director of the design firm, BOTH. His research investigates digital design and production methods in the constructed form and biological systems. Through this, he studies the applications of digital imaging and data collection, computational design tactics and responsive environments.