how landscape architecture students are reimagining the Purdue campus – News & Stories


“It is an idea that is actively discussed in urban design, urban planning and in the field of landscape architecture. This is a strategy that cities will use to bring underutilized space to life and cultivate community spirit,” Huang explained. “It has become increasingly crucial as some cities are filled with parking lots and gray streets that look identical. These identical areas are considered a “space” rather than a “place”, so creating places serves as an effort to bring an area to life, creating an opportunity to create memories.

Huang said she knows students learn best by doing rather than just reading. So she teamed up with Shannon McMullen, associate professor of art and design and American studies, to create the Campus Living Room project, where the class would find an underutilized space and create a more inviting and interactive place.

“Campus spaces became what they are now for many reasons, including safety and hazard issues,” Huang said. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t transform them to be more responsive to the lives and interests of students. And temporary art installations can be the first step in initiating dialogues.

Four groups of students, each with a budget of $200, were tasked with creating a design or activity that would attract passers-by. As the semester progressed, two groups merged, with the other two also working closely together to connect every element of the “place” together, making for a larger and more interactive experience.

Encouraging participants to cross Marstellar Street was a sidewalk illustration connecting geometric shapes, with students working as quickly as possible so as not to interrupt traffic, but creating a meaningful image that caused drivers to slow down to see what was happening around them. ‘them. In another effort to attract spectators in the evening, light poles were constructed with PVC pipes.

Payten Keffaber, a senior landscape architect, said her group chose to merge with another group to create a maze of neon pink flags containing a collection of flower and grass seeds. Before the maze, participants were asked to paint a picture in watercolor in exchange for a plant or seeds.

“I came across the maze idea and kind of had a brain blast knowing it would be such a cool idea,” Keffaber said. “The purpose of the water-coloring section is to bring people into the maze as a sort of stopping point.”

While the project itself was fun for Keffaber, she said one of the best parts was how she and her classmates came together.

“We went to about five different stores as a group to get all the gear we needed, and it was a really good time,” Keffaber said. “Initially, I was just working with another student, but over time we all coalesced into this single project.”

Working to attract attendees in the evening, the fourth group of students designed a light fixture along the edge of the mall using PVC pipes and LED lights programmed to glow at sunset. The next morning, the Ag Mall was back to its blank slate, as students returned to collect what was left of their “place”.


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