LAR-28806 Concepts and Approaches in Landscape Architecture


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. dipl. ing. S Lenzhölzer
Lecturer(s)dr. dipl. ing. S Lenzhölzer
dr. ir. I Duchhart
dr. ir. R van Etteger
Examiner(s)dr. dipl. ing. S Lenzhölzer

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

LAR-38303 Landscape Aesthetics, LAR-37809 Studio Regional Design


This course introduces a range of basic concepts and design approaches that address the typical issues that landscape architects as designers are confronted with. The aim of the course is to make students aware of different design concepts and approaches. The course gives a rough overview of general concepts and world views, such as positivism and constructivism that can influence design procedures. Then, procedural design approaches will be presented to the students in a polarized way to trigger flexible design thinking and intense common discussion and reflection. On the one hand, these approaches concern the 'internal factors' - the designer's personality and the related types of creativity. Design approaches that relate to these 'internal factors' are: intuitive versus rational designing. They will be discussed and experienced 'hands on' in small exercises. The second set of approaches concerns the 'design context' - amongst which the type of design brief, the (urban) landscape context, its scale, the factor time, (un)expected changes and stakeholders. Design approaches that pertain to these contextual issues are 'closed' (e.g. fixed 'master plans', operational design) versus 'open' or strategic design approaches (amongst which are scenarios, frameworks, and also first insights into Research Through Designing). Design approaches relating to 'design context' will be discussed and compared with reference projects and in relation to ongoing studio work in other courses. Finally, the students will critically reflect the different approaches in which they correlate the different approaches with each other and discuss their suitability to different preconditions and world views in a written report.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the difference between the internal and external factors influencing design procedures;
- distinguish the most important design methods in relation to the most common spatial and temporal scale levels;
- compare similarities and differences between different design approaches;
- analyse reference projects according to the design strategies applied;
- evaluate design approaches on their potentials and appropriateness to solve complex design problems within different natural, cultural and political contexts;
- propose suitable (combinations of) design approaches to creatively address such complex problems;
- critically reflect on results of design exercises, research on reference project and own design project work;
- write a critical reflection paper in correct English.


- lectures;
- literature study;
- precedent study and analysing own design work;
- design exercises;
- writing an individual reflection report.


- participation in discussions and quality of verbal contributions (20%);
- outcomes of design exercises (20%);
- reflection report on different approaches (60%).


- Cross, N. (2006) Designerly ways of knowing, Springer publishers, London, pp. 77- 93;
- Edwards, B. (1979) Drawing on the right side of the Brain, J.P. Tarcher, Los Angeles, pp. 26- 43;
- Koberg, D.& Bagnall, J. (new edition, 2003) The Universal Traveller: A Guide to Creativity, Problem Solving & the Process of Reaching Goals, Crisp Professional, pp. 66-79;
- Lawson, B. (1980) How Designers Think, Architectural Press, London, pp. 106- 118;
- Vrijlandt, P. (1990) Landscape Planning for Industrial Agriculture: A Proposed Framework for Rural Areas, Landscape and Urban Planning 18: 275- 287;
- Marshall, Stephen (2009) Cities, Design and Evolution, Routledge, N.Y., pp. 268- 277; - Weller, Richard. Planning by Design Landscape Architectural Scenarios for a Rapidly Growing Cit. Journal of Landscape Architecture 3, no. 2 (2008): 18- 29;
- Petrow, Constanze A (2011). Hidden Meanings, Obvious Messages: Landscape Architecture as a Reflection of a City's Self, Conception and Image Strategy. Journal of Landscape Architecture 6, no. 1: 6- 19;
- Prominski, Martin. Designing Landscapes as Evolutionary Systems. The Design Journal 8, no. 3 (2005): 25- 34;
- Hester, R. Community design (1974) in: Swaffield, S. R. (2002). Theory in landscape architecture: a reader, University of Pennsylvania Press.
Subjected to change according to the latest literature.

Compulsory for: BLPLandscape Architecture and PlanningBScA: Landscape Architecture6WD