Landscape Architecture Students Design and Build Seating for Centennial Garden


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Media contact: Jami Mattox | Agricultural Communications Services | 405-744-7063 | [email protected]

Students accustomed to working with crayons in quiet studios got their hands dirty for a class project. Using power tools such as drills, sanders, circular saws and nail guns, the landscape architecture students took their outdoor seating designs from the paper and incorporated them into the workshop using reclaimed and recycled materials.

Qing Lana Luoteacher at OSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecturesaid its Sustainable Building course is designed to give students an in-depth knowledge of the theory and practice of sustainable architecture.

“There are large-scale examples of environmental reuse projects where landscape architects will take a space, like the underside of a freeway overpass, and turn it into a functional space like a skate park,” Luo said. . “In this class, we use a focused object at a manageable scale (outdoor seating), and students can apply the concepts they learned earlier in the semester.”

Each student was tasked with designing a chair using withdrawn materials, in other words used materials that can be reused to create a new product without harvesting new raw materials. This umbrella term can refer to any material ranging from lumber to metals and plastics.

Students voted for their three favorite designs, and winning designers became team captains who helped guide their classmates through the project.

Daisy Shadley, landscape architecture junior and team captain, said it was a welcome change of pace to trade in her ruler and protractor for safety glasses and a tape measure.

“I remember being afraid to use power tools,” Shadley said. “My favorite thing about being a team captain is helping my classmates gain confidence so they can feel the empowerment that power tools give you.”

Jake McTee, a landscape architecture junior and team captain, said he had limited knowledge of sustainable building before taking the course, but is glad he learned the critical thinking skills needed to design with sustainability in mind.

“The hardest part of the whole project was sorting out the removed materials and selecting boards that could be reused without compromising quality,” McTee said. “While building with used materials can present unique challenges, it’s more rewarding to know that you’ve created something useful while reducing environmental impact.”

Daisy Shadley was part of a team tasked with constructing outdoor seating for the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine Centennial Garden using removed materials.

Beyond understanding how sustainable practices can be implemented in landscape architecture, Luo said students learn soft skills that will follow them in their careers.

“I love seeing great partnerships forming in every group,” Luo said. “They help each other solve problems and make design adjustments during construction.”

Connor Moses, a landscape architecture junior and team captain, said he was grateful for the experience he gained leading a team.

“My biggest lesson from this experience is that you always have to trust your teammates, regardless of their experience level,” Moses said. “The insight you can gain from a fresh look is priceless.”

McTee said the use of mostly retired materials was what made this project creatively challenging.

“It’s very common in the industry to have a co-worker have something they’re going to throw away or extra materials left on a job site,” McTee said. “Professor Luo encouraged us to switch to these materials before purchasing new ones. Not only does this reduce costs for the customer, but it also reduces waste on the job site and the overall carbon footprint.

Shadley said it’s refreshing to have a tangible end product because most of the time the final draft of his classes is still just an illustration or landscape plan on paper.

“It’s so rewarding as a student to see something you designed in the classroom come to life and be implemented in the real world,” Shadley said.

The outdoor seating projects are expected to be installed at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine Centennial Garden (also known as the poisonous plant garden) once the revitalization project is complete.

Story by: Hunter Gibson


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