Date of Award
Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
Martin J. Holland
Design is considered to be a learnable skill. Students of landscape architecture are often introduced to the study of design by first gaining an understanding of the design process. The process of design is simplified for educational training for new designers and for an introduction to the foundations. (Lawson 2006) Norman Booth, defines the linear process as “a series of analytical and creative thinking steps…” (282). The step-by-step approach to design and a strong understanding of standardized techniques and process methodology is considered to be essential in learning design. (Steinitz, 1995) While the design process acting as a checklist, provides a sound foundation to ensure that the site is understood, analyzed, and design decisions are backed up with reason and justification, this approach may hinder creativity. In reality, design problems are not as straight-forward as they are taught to be, but non-linear, complex, and often unique. As a designer matures, they develop their own process that should stress design thinking over adhering to a step-by-step process. Design thinking enables a designer to flexibly address and adapt to each complex situation. (Sasaki 1950) This specific project undertakes a non-linear approach and goes even further by partaking in discovery based research and design. While the discovery based approach is non-linear, it is not goal oriented. With deterministic objectives and guidelines, exploration and discovery are hindered. If the end of the journey is known, why go on the journey at all? This investigative work does not aim to discredit the traditional linear design process’ value in design education, but proposes a different approach that is more open in order to overcome deterministic outcomes and advance knowledge within the field. The non-linear process of discovery is undertaken through a situationalist lens. Situationalists follow the values of discovery based research, stressing the importance of process over end product, of exploration and discovery rather than justification. Design is a creative process and this project aims to explore the depths of that process. Film was chosen as a media to capture the spontaneity, emotions, senses, memories, and feelings of place, layers of information that are not developed within the traditional process. Graphics aiming to traditionally represent understanding is critiqued. The ground level of the city, the movement and noises on the street, become a central focus over the detached bird’s eye perspective. Wander through the city to understand the city.
Mirza, Sana, "How to get lost to find yourself: an exploration in the design process through a situationalist lens" (2016). Master of Landscape Architecture Terminal Projects. 32.