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Hi everyone!

This past week has been filled with studying, Starbucks, projects, and more Starbucks. All the hard work and late nights have paid off, and we have all made it through finals week. I can now say I am officially half way done with college! Now all that stands between us and summer is the posting of our grades. Once they are posted, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief and truly enjoy the sunshine and warm weather.

Summer is the best time to explore and enjoy the city. Minneapolis has so many great parks and sights to see. One of my favorite summer spots is Minnehaha Falls. The park was designed by landscape architect Horace Cleveland as a part of the Grand Rounds.

Although Minnehaha Falls is beautiful all year round, I especially like to visit in the summer when the water is rushing and surrounded by greenery. It's a great place to spend the day with friends where you can enjoy the beautiful landscape and stop by the restaurant for a refreshing ice cream cone.

Have a great summer!

Landscape Design and Planning

Designed Landscape Project

Hey Everyone!

Finals are officially here! It seems like each semester goes by faster than the last. It is hard to believe that after a few more projects and papers, I'll be half-way done with college. Last week I presented my final project for LA 2302. In this class, we learned about computer representation for environmental design and became familiar with programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Sketchup. Although I'm not great with computers, I learned so much from this class that will help me in future courses and jobs.

For the final project, we were asked to combine everything we learned in a representation of a designed landscape. I decided to continue working on a riverfront park that I designed in a course last semester. Using mostly Illustrator and Photoshop, I created a rendered plan and section view of the space as well as an exploded axon. We built a 3D model of the park in Sketchup for a previous assignment, so I was able to further render graphics from this in Photoshop to create two perspective views. I think using Photoshop is really fun, and I enjoy depicting how people can experience spaces.

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I mentioned earlier that I don't have the best luck with computers, so naturally I experienced a minor complication while working on my project. As I was finishing up my perspective views, my computer froze and started flashing. After a few hours at the bookstore and a new hard drive cable, I was able to continue working. Thankfully the tech people at the bookstore were very helpful and all my files were saved in time for my presentation.

Cameron Zuck
Landscape Design and Planning

Design Inspiration

Hey everyone!

Spring is finally here! The weather this week has been wonderful, and everything is beginning to turn green. It was nice to finally be able to open the windows in my apartment and let in some fresh air. I know the plants in my apartment were happy to get the extra sunlight. With spring here, it means the end of the semester is approaching as well. I'll be hard at work on my final projects and paper these next couple of weeks.

This past Saturday, I decided to take a little break from writing my paper and explore a vintage market expo that was happening in the metro area, and maybe get a little inspiration for my final projects. The expo was filled with rows of people selling various items, from refurbished tables made from old car parts to handmade jewelry. One of my favorite vendors was a man that made artwork and framed mirrors from old ceiling tiles. He showed a video that depicted his entire creative process, from taking down the ceiling tiles at an old house to the creating the finished products. His pieces and the other artwork at the expo reminded me that I can draw inspiration for my designs, including landscape plans, from just about anything, whether it's the geometry of a painting or an old ceiling tile.

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Landscape Design and Planning

Registration Time

Hello Everyone!

Last week, I registered for my fall 2015 classes. For me, this process is always exciting because I get to see the different courses that I can take. Here is a photo of all the courses that the Landscape Architecture department offers for the fall semester.

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Although registration is fun and exciting, it can also be a bit stressful at times because it takes careful planning to make sure you meet all the course requirements while trying to fit everything into your schedule. I always find it useful to talk with my adviser as I prepare for registration to make sure all goes smoothly when the time comes. He offers great advice on what courses I should take and when I should take them. Another great tool I use while registering is graduation planner. This allows me to plan out potential schedules for my four years in college and also tells me what requirements I might be missing.

I am really excited about the classes I am taking next semester!

Here is a link to grad planner:

Landscape Design and Planning

Winter Break Life

Winter break, one of the most relieving times of the year for college students, has been pretty low-key so far. My fall internship is over and now I don't work unless it snows. Given the fact there hasn't been much snow, I've found myself just relaxing, where as normally I would be plowing if there were snow.

Currently, I am working on an application for the Accelerated Track for Landscape Architecture, a program that would allow me to start graduate school a year early and would offer a rather reduced price tag. I've also spent my time on break going to the lake to enjoy some ice fishing and outdoor recreation. The picture below is of my dog out on the lake over the holidays.

If you are interested in the Landscape Architecture program, and possibly graduate school someday, visit the Masters of Landscape Architecture web page. Just checking it out is helpful and will give you an idea of what you can expect in the coming years.


Landscape Design and Planning

Masters of Landscape Architecture

Nearing the End

Finals are here and the Fall 2014 Semester is almost to a close. For the most part, my finals have not been too bad. In the Landscape Architecture program, most of our work is project-based, which means not a whole lot of tests to study for. However, it does mean you are working hard to get that final project complete. Luckily, for me, my finals end pretty early this year. Four of my five classes are already wrapped up, and all I have left is a drawing project to present on Monday.

If you enjoy working on projects rather than memorizing things, Landscape Architecture might be a good fit for you. If you like gluing things together or drawing, it might be a good fit as well, and finals may be a little less stressful. Nonetheless, I am excited to finish up my fall semester on Monday and have a nice winter break. It will be nice to relax and enjoy some free time.

Pictured is a plan from one of my final projects.


Landscape Design and Planning

Bachelor of Environmental Design Open House

Last Thursday, there was an open house for Bachelor of Environmental Design (BED) students, Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) students, and College of Design faculty and alumni to discuss the work of LA 3001 Understanding and Creating Landscape Space in LA 3001 studio.

The models were admired and critiqued at the open house event and the current curriculum of the BED was discussed by all who attended. Current students and graduate students were put into groups with faculty and alumni. The groups discussed landscape in general, work done in 3001, and the general curriculum of the BED program. It was a great opportunity to meet professionals and fellow classmates to discuss and learn more about the field and journey we're embarking on. These opportunities to network are really special and ones you should take advantage of in college!


Landscape Design and Planning


Snow! Snow seems to bring mixed emotions to many people. I find it exciting. Yes, it brings extra work and cold temps, but it creates a completely different mood and world. If anyone understands the added work it brings, it would be me.

I work for a landscape company that does snow removal in the winter and have spent plenty of sleepless nights plowing and shoveling. However, the white snow brings out every color and makes a sunny wintery day brighter than mid July.

Also, campus becomes a completely different place: roller blades are replaced with cross country skis, hockey and basketball become prevalent again, and everything is covered in snow. Bikers fall because they think they can still bike, and folks waiting for the campus buses--the Campus Connector and Campus Circulator--become covered in a breath-made cloud. Maybe the snow is just a sign that the holidays are right around the corner. I find it refreshing!

A snowy scene from around campus:


Some more inspiring winter images:

Landscape Design and Planning

Afternoon Trip to Ft. Snelling State Park

Today I took a trip to Fort Snelling State Park, located along the Mississippi River in the heart of the Twin Cities--just another example of how unique the Twin Cities metropolitan location is.

The park, named after an old military camp used to control transportation on the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, is filled with amazing walking paths, bike paths, and skiing and hiking trails. Other activities include, canoeing, swimming, fishing, bird watching, and so much more. The park itself is hundreds of acres, and after factoring in other adjacent parks, you have access to thousands of acres of river and forest land to explore. Just in one trip I saw deer, beavers, ducks, and a fox.

I recommend a trip to the state park because you get to enjoy some beautiful nature and learn about a piece of Twin Cities history. Just remember to bring a camera!

Landscape Design and Planning





Trip to D.C.

This summer, I had the opportunity to visit our nation's capital. As a landscape architecture student, I found it really cool to visit all the monuments and the city of Washington D.C. These monuments have a lot of meaning behind them, and it showed more than I imagined. I found the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, and the Arlington National Cemetery particularly interesting.

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The Korean War Veterans Memorial was somewhat eerie because you are surrounded by statues of soldiers lurking through a garden of juniper. It was especially neat at night. Lights dimly lit the monuments so all you saw were figures coming out of the garden, and with a little fog that night, it was spectacular.

The National World War II Memorial portrays a sense of one nation. Every state is represented by large columns that create an arcade outlining a fountained pond. This is one of the newest memorials on the campus, which opened in 2004.

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Lastly, the Arlington National Cemetery may have been the most impactful to me. The cemetery is massive. It would take a couple of days to see the whole thing. You get amazing views of the city, including some incomparable views that mix emotion, patriotism and a picturesque landscape.

I think the trip to Washington D.C. helped me see the impact that landscape architecture has on a country, a cause, and a person. These monuments will stand for years to come and represent history and lives. Not many other professions get the opportunity to make impacts like landscape architecture.

Attached is a link about the monuments in Washington D.C.:

Landscape Design and Planning

Designing Landscapes

The drawings pictured are of a front yard landscape design that I made for my landscape drawing class. I was given some specific guidelines of what I had to include, like a water feature, gradation changes, and I had to keep a rectilinear design. Even with those guidelines it was pretty much a free design exercise, with no budget and no certain region or program we had to design for.

My final design had many subtle grade changes, and included a large pond/pool that expanded into a patio area. Hopefully the drawings speak for themselves!

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This link shares a little bit about different landscape geometries:

Landscape Design and Planning

The First Review of 2014

Today was the first Review Day of LA3001 "Understanding and Creating Landscape Space." This class is all about creating models. After a couple semesters of drawing and creating two-dimensional art works, it is so rewarding to be able to create three-dimensional spaces that you could imagine occupying.

In this studio-based class, we are instructed to take inanimate objects and use them as inspiration for creating a space. I chose a leaf and a pine cone for my first project. We had just over a week to create a still life drawing, a contour line drawing, an abstract two-dimensional plan, and finally, a final model. The final model had to be inspired by the original objects, but in an abstract way. The drawings were stepping stones for reaching our final product.

Pictured is a view of our studio space and the class during the review, and some photos of my work. I was intrigued by the way the pine cone fanned out, and by the topography the leaf created. I morphed the two together to make the pine cone into the wave motion of the leaf. Review Days in studio classes are like tests. You get your chance to share your work, explain your thought processes, and receive critiquing.

The following link has some TED talks about using nature as inspiration for design, also known as biomimicry:

Landscape Design and Planning

Summer Time

water lilies.jpgSummer is in full swing and so is my internship at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. I was excited to work there and I can say it is the highlight of my summer so far! Getting dirty and being hands on with the plants is a wonderful way to spend my days. My favorite job so far is working out front in the water gardens. I get to wear tall boots and long gloves and help place the water plants in their place of the design. One of the most unique plants in the water gardens are the Victoria water-lilies. These lilies are native to the Amazon River and can grow up to 9.8 ft in diameter! When I'm not at my internship I am exploring the cities with my friends and working at my job on campus at the Herbarium of the Bell Museum. Having a job on campus is really nice to help keep you on schedule and to give you a little extra spending cash for activities. To search for jobs on campus you can click here and follow a link to the U's employment page. Good luck and enjoy your summer!

Landscape Design & Planning

Round 2: Complete

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It's hard to believe I am FINALLY done with my Second Year here at the U! I encountered many new experiences this past year and successfully completed them. Now that I am more than half done with my undergrad career, I can honestly say I could not be happier with my decision to study Landscape Architecture, especially here at the U. Why is that you ask?

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1. The majority of my classes have around 30 students. This has allowed me to make valuable connections with other students and receive the help I need from professors. The support system I have formed here has been an important part in all of my successes.

2. The Twin Cities has many great opportunities to study landscape architecture through its comprehensive park system, but it also offers many chances for cultural activities. The museums and theaters are must sees!

3. I have had the opportunity the enhance my creativity and strategic thinking skills through the College of Design. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be drawing and sketching as much as I have! Don't get me wrong, I am extremely happy about it. If you look at the two drawings on this page, you can see how much progress I made in my skills in LESS THAN ONE WEEK! During our study abroad program, we were sketching EVERY day. Some days I didn't want to, but I kept at it. The sketch on the left was my first in Venice and the one on the right was on the last day. To me, this shows that with a little patience and dedication anyone can improve their skills.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog posts this year as much as I have writing them! Have a wonderful summer, and make sure to get out and enjoy all of the places the Twin Cities has to offer.

Landscape Design & Planning

Where Do I Go From Here?

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..."
-Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Giycek_69.jpgIt's a bittersweet day here in Istanbul. Today is my last day here. In less than 24 hours I'll be surrounded by my loving family and friends, tacos, and bacon. As excited as I am for all this, I can't help but feel a twinge of sadness in my heart knowing that my study abroad experience is ending. This chapter of my life is over, all that needs to happen is for me for turn the page and begin the next. But before I do, I want to take a moment and flip back through the pages of the previous chapter.

It all started in Paris: Lights, being submersed in a foreign language, seeing iconic architecture for the first time and having the ability and opportunity to touch it with my own hands. I was learning how to define myself while being miles away from my home.

Then it was on to Rome, with trips to Orvieto, Florence, and Venice. Here I was surrounded by ruins from times past and the challenge of moving forward while preserving them. I had all the gelato I could ever imagine, leather goods and masks, and never thought twice about eating an entire pizza alone. This continued my exploration into new cultures, and showed me that sometimes iconic places can be stunning.

Finally I ended in Istanbul with a Spring Break trip to Cappadocia. I don't think words will ever be able to explain how much this city has changed me. Mosques, scooters, chai, simit, a trip to Asia, and crazy topo changes will forever be ingrained in my memories. It may not have ever been a place I thought I would study in, but looking back, I could not imagine myself going anywhere else. I know many will ask me why I loved Istanbul so much, but I will never be able to explain this city to them and do it justice. All I know is that Istanbul will forever hold a place in my heart.

Landscape Design & Planning

Internships & Accelerated Status

como.jpgEven though my time in Istanbul is coming to a close (17 DAYS!) and the pressure of final review looms over me, I can't help but be excited for this upcoming summer and semester! As you know all Landscape Design and Planning majors are required to have an internship in order to graduate, and I am excited to say I will be interning at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory this summer. I will be working in a variety of areas such as the Sunken Garden, North Garden, Palm Dome, Fern Room, Tropical Encounters, and the Victoria Water Platters. The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory has always been one of my favorite places to visit since I was a child. They have a great variety of animals and stunning gardens. Oh and did I mention that entry is FREE? They do have a suggested donation of $3 for adults and $2 for children to help with maintenance and upkeep costs, but regardless Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is a fun place you MUST check out. Besides being selected for an internship this summer, I am excited to say that I was accepted into the Accelerated Landscape Design + Planning track for this upcoming fall! As you may recall I earlier wrote about compiling my portfolio to include in my application and that by being accepted into the program I will be able to start my 1st year of Master's courses in my final year of the Landscape Design and Planning program. I am nervous about making the transition from undergraduate to graduate classes, but I am always searching for a challenge!

Landscape Design & Planning

Kick Back & Relax

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After being in the crazy, fast paced lifestyle of Istanbul for over a month, our Spring Break trip to Cappadocia was well needed. As much as I have come to love the city, I found myself missing the natural landscape and activities like hiking, swimming, and exploring. The first place we went was Ürgüp where we stayed in a cave hotel. The entire surrounding landscape varies greatly from Istanbul by being composed of villages that have carved out houses, churches and monasteries from the soft rocks of volcanic deposits.
The best part is that you are allowed to climb and explore them as you wish. As much fun as that was, my favorite activity there was the sunrise hot air balloon ride we took. I won't deny that I was extremely nervous, however it was the best experience of my life. Floating above a landscape that I'd never seen anything like, surrounded by many other balloons made the experience feel as if it was something out of a novel.
After spending a few days there, we headed to Kuşadası to spend our time on the beachfront swimming and getting some sun (maybe too much sun). I loved relaxing and swimming in the clear, blue water of the Aegean Sea and taking a day trip to Ephesus. The trip to Ephesus not only sparked my interest because of the Library of Celsus but also because it contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Only an estimated 15% has been excavated. I loved having the opportunity to walk through an active dig site and see excavation in process.
Overall, my Spring Break trip was exactly what I need. It was a chance to have a small break from a stunning city to see more of a country that I did not know much about before coming. It's sad for me to think that I have only a few weeks left before I come back to Minnesota, so I will have to make the most of the limited time I have left!

Landscape Design & Planning

Sancaklar Mosque

I can't believe I've already been in Istanbul for two weeks! Life here is very different from Rome and I'm happy to say I love every second of it. Fast paced and filled with people/cats, Istanbul has so much to offer, especially for architecture students. The skyline varies from that of Minneapolis because it is speckled with minarets and other distinct features of mosques.
However, no matter how beautiful mosques are, is there only one way in which to design them? This past week for our Visual Culture class, we visited Emre Arolat Architects here in Istanbul to learn more about their projects. The one that really sparked my interest was the Sancaklar Mosque. Instead of building it out of domes and minarets, it is built into the land, playing off the tension between man-made and natural.
I enjoyed listening to some of the architects talk about the process they went through to make this mosque contemporary yet respectful of the Islamic faith. The end result in my view is a beautiful space that is a simple cave, which is awe inspiring. I hope that I will be able to bring this respect for nature and culture into the landscapes I design.

Landscape Design & Planning

Lights All Around

010.JPGThis past week we had our final review for our drawing course. I spent hours hyped up on coffee, working with my partner to develop our pieces based on the Vatican City and I'm extremely happy with the results. However, the review was different than any other I've ever done before. Instead of being inside, we were outside in a piazza where our map spread in ever different direction. I enjoyed this format because it allowed others walking pass to stop and look at our work. It was interesting to see what others chose to include in their projects. After our project though, I had to say ciao to the beautiful city of Roma. The five weeks I spent there were some of the best in my life (except for the inconsistency of public transit.) I loved having the opportunity to see all of the sights and eat my fair share of pizza and pasta. My favorite thing to see was the Trevi fountain at night. 079.JPGUnfortunately I waited until the last night to see it, but I DID toss a coin into it. The original legend says that if you throw a coin into the Trevi - with your back to the fountain, throwing the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder - that will ensure a return to Rome. I really hope that this comes to be true! Having such a positive experience there made me sad and nervous to leave for Istanbul. Roma lived up to every expectation I had, however all I really knew about Istanbul was that it is filled with millions of people. When we flew into the airport, all you could see below you were lights spreading out all around. We then piled all ourselves and luggage into two vans and headed to our apartments. The lights continued the entire way there, brighter and more vibrant than I've ever see. I needed the night to get settled in, eat some baklava, and relax. This morning Ozayr took us around and showed us how to navigate the city. After seeing it during the day with some help, I am starting to feel less intimidated by the city and am excited to see what Istanbul has to offer!

Landscape Design & Planning

Andrea Ponsi

ponsi clock.jpg During my weekend visit to Florence, I had the opportunity to meet the Italian architect Andrea Ponsi at his studio to learn more about his work. He has completed several commercial and residential buildings. The inside of his studio contains not only his building designs, but also his own furniture and objects. My personal favorite is his solar image clock, which shows at any time of the day the exact hour, sun's position in the sky, the length of the day and night, and the times of sunrise and sunset. At first glance, you would never have expected that it was a clock, but after taking a closer look, you can see the intricacy and appreciate how useful it is. Besides seeing his work, Andrea also talked to us about his design process. One thing that he said that I found inspirational was that the human body is the center of all designs. When taking this statement at face value, you will find it has truth, but when I thought about it, I fell in love with this statement. Every project I work on for class is dictated by the human body. The goal of every landscape architect and architect is to design spaces that people can enjoy, that evoke emotion and have a purpose. That is why I enjoyed listening to Andrea speak; he summed up the main goal of architecture in one amazing sentence. All in all, my visit to Andrea Ponsi's studio in Florence was just what I needed to keep my energy going with all of the sketching I've been doing lately for class. With only two weeks left in Rome I hoping for less rain so I can get out and sketch!

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Ponsi Sketch

Landscape Design & Planning

The Eternal City

It's only been two short weeks since I left Minnesota but it feels like just yesterday! During my first week away I had the best time exploring all of Paris with three other Landscape Architecture majors and one Architecture major. We went just about everywhere you can think of. From the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Les Invalides, the Panthéon, Notre Dame, Sacré Cœur, Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Centre Georges-Pompidou, Palace of Versailles, Musée Carnavalet , Musée de l'Orangerie, the catacombs, and the Champs-Élysées, our days were always packed with activities. Out of all these activities, my favorite was going to Versailles because it was a dream come true. Even though the gardens weren't in bloom, the strong axial geometry and expanse of the site was more than enough to take my breath away. Besides Versailles, my unexpected favorite thing was going to the catacombs. I found the way they laid the bones to create walls fascinating, with a sort of haunting beauty. I never would have thought that something so personal could be used in design.

After Paris, we all headed to Rome to begin classes. I was not sure what to expect for a schedule, but I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that basically my five weeks in Rome will be spent drawing. Most of my time here will be spent going to a site, exploring, and sketching. The rest will be working with my partner on our section of a map of Rome for the final project mixed with walking history tours. I'm excited to say that we received the Vatican area for our portion of the map and I could not be happier. It is a vibrant place that changes mood daily and always has something new to show me when I return. I can't wait to start on the final drawings and share with all of you this vibrancy.

Also, the internet here is extremely unreliable and slow, so please check out the Instagram page to view my photos! The username is umndesign and just look for #Theresa!

Landscape Design & Planning

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Well, it's that time! I'M LEAVING! I cannot wait to experience all the world has in store for me within these next four months. However, there were so many things to organize before leaving. The hardest thing for me though was packing! How can I possibly fit everything I need for four months in 1 suitcase plus a carry on? Is that even possible? Well, I'm proud to say that yes it is, even for an overpacker like myself. Some of my tips for effective packing are:
1. Pack quality over quantity. It's better to have fewer items that will keep you warm/dry than lots that will not successfully do so.
2. Cut everything you are taking in half. This tip should be taken within reason. I've found that I tend to think I need everything plus the kitchen sink in my bag, but I really need about half of what I am taking.
3. Choose the fewest pieces that will make the most outfits. I try to pick one nice skirt that has multiple tops to match that can be worn either everyday or for classy nights out.
4. Don't forget your chargers! Yes, you will need adapters, but your laptop will do you no good without that charger.
5. Check the weight limits for your bags before going. Some airlines will have lower weight limits than those within the US. Make sure to check beforehand to save yourself the extra charges.
6. Bring a padlock. This may seem silly, but if you like to save money during your short trips to other cities, you will probably be staying in a hostel. Hostels are great places because they can offer lower rates, but because there may be people you don't know in your room, you should have a lock to secure your belongings.
7. Relax, you can always buy it there. Worst case scenario, you forget something at home and you have to buy it. Yes it may not be the ideal situation, but it is always a possibility.

For a more comprehensive list on what to pack, you can check out this link!

I can't wait to share my adventures with all of you! Below is a photo from myself on the beach in Florida to inspire you until my next post.

Landscape Design & Planning

Let's Get Going!

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Well, I am happy to say the first semester of my Sophomore year is done. I had many hard classes and am proud to say that all of my hard work paid off! My final projects went better than I ever could have imagined and were great pieces to feature in my portfolio (which I also have finished). DSC_0018.JPG With all of this hard work behind me, I am off for a quick vacation to Florida before going to Paris(for a week of fun), Rome, and Istanbul! It is hard to imagine that in just under 20 days I will be in a different country. However, I could not be more excited. I went to England and Scotland this past summer and have been anxious to travel ever since. It is important for Landscape Architects (and designers in general) to travel in order to experience a place first hand. Being in a space and feeling its essence allows you to decide what elements you like and want to incorporate into your own designs. How do you know what works unless you see it for yourself? I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel all over the U.S. from an early age and am happy to continue this lifestyle. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and experience a new place, from a new country to maybe a nearby local park you've never been to. Find what interests you and what you are passionate about!

Landscape Design & Planning

Bundle Up and Buckle Down

It's that time of year again, filled with chilly weather, flashcards, presentation boards, and packing to go home. Yes everyone, I'm talking about finals week of Fall Semester. While I have been keeping up on my projects and studying, I have also been trying to organize all of the final details for my study abroad program (35 days left!).img006.jpg Needless to say I have been surviving on coffee and the thought that my new art supplies will be delivered in a week. But what are some of the best ways to make it through finals week? First off, as tempting as it may be to pull an all nighter before an exam, you will only perform at your best on a full night's sleep. Many experts recommend between 6 and 7 hours. Second, think about what is needed to be accomplished for each exam/project and set small reasonable goals to break up the work. Third, allow yourself one minute at the start of your exam to look it over and panic a little. It will help you to realize during the exam you know more of what is on it than you initially thought. Finally, make sure to leave time to take breaks from studying. Give yourself an activity and a time limit to keep yourself on schedule. For more tips on how to survive finals week click here.

Image: Color Rendered Plan View for LA 2301 Final Project

Good Luck Studying Everyone!
Landscape Design & Planning

Group Work: Good or Bad?

With the end of the semester quickly approaching, I find myself surrounded by projects, presentations, and group work. While I don't mind working on my individual projects, I sometimes find it difficult to do group work. From finding time/somewhere to meet to dealing with someone who isn't pulling their weight group projects can drive anyone crazy. However, I have come to find that they can sometimes be enjoyable. It's nice to have someone else to bounce ideas off of and to share in the work load. The projects/presentations completed are more complex and detailed than anything I could do on my own. cedar riverside 2.png For example, in GEOG 3371 W my group is putting together a presentation on how the area of Cedar-Riverside has changed over the years. We were required to do research, create maps, and interview businesses in order to make our presentation. It would have taken me hours to complete, but by working in a group I was able to learn more about this area than I could on my own and expand my knowledge of the Twin Cities.

Landscape Design & Planning

Ciao & Merhaba

I've been deciding when to share this information, but I can't wait any longer. I'm studying abroad this Spring! I will be participating the Rome and Istanbul Program offered through the University of Minnesota's School of Architecture and Department of Landscape Architecture.Rome.jpg I will be going for the entire semester along with 19 other students from the U. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be studying abroad in Italy and Turkey, however I could not be more excited. Rome and Istanbul are two cities that are profoundly connected through the shared histories of the Roman, Christian and Mediterranean worlds. They are diverse in their food, religion, and their transition between tradition and modernity. We will be spending 5 weeks in Rome and 11-12 in Istanbul. Colosseum_in_Rome,_Italy_-_April_2007.jpgAlso, we will be taking trips to Florence, Orvieto and, time-permitting, Venice when in Italy and the original capital cities of Bursa and Edirne, as well as as a week long excursion through Central Anatolia and into the spectacular geologic landscapes of Cappadoccia and the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts in Turkey. If you have ever thought about studying abroad you need to check out the Learning Abroad Center. They can help you find a program that will fit with your program and scholarships to make it affordable. The programs vary in length and you can go for however long you are comfortable.
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Images from:

Can't wait to share my experiences with you!
Landscape Design & Planning

Wait, I Need A What?

Unlike many freshman, I came to the U wanting to pursue a degree in Landscape Architecture. With this interest in mind, I was able to start taking classes in my major right away and loved them. Now I am a year and almost a half into my college career and have enough credits to apply for the accelerated landscape design + planning track here at the U. The accelerated track allows qualified undergraduates to complete the LDP and MLA in six years rather than seven years. This past week I attended a meeting with other students to learn more about applying for the accelerated track. With the information I gained here, I learned I need to submit a portfolio along with my application. Luckily, I have saved all of my drawings and projects from previous classes to compile my portfolio. One piece of advice I'd like to give is to never get rid of your coursework without either photographing or scanning a record of it for your future use. There are many options of where to do this in either a computer lab or imaging lab here on campus. They have great hours to work around any schedule. Keep checking back on to learn more about the process!

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Left: My friends and I on a field trip for LA 1401
Right: Shadow Studies for LA 2301

Theresa, Landscape Design and Planning major

Hello Color and Contours!

With fall and midterms in full swing here at the U, my days are filled with tests, drawing/painting exercises, and model making. This time of year usually drags on with having to study flash cards of vocabulary words, but this year I am lucky enough to have lots of projects to work on. The first set of projects I completed was for LA 2301, Advanced Representation for Environmental Design. Over the first few weeks of school we have reviewed drawing basics and started working with color theory. I loved getting the opportunity to leave behind my graphite pencils and black pens for my new box of colored pencils and watercolors! After practicing hard in class and on my own, I feel I now have a better sense of how to use color to enhance my drawings. Click the following PDF link to check out some of my work. Sketch 3.pdf

Besides working on color theory, I have been designing my fourth model for LA 3001, Understanding and Creating Landscape Space. This time around we were only allowed to use cardboard and started working with land contours. I struggled at first with moving the contours around to work with my design, but in the end I feel that I created a space that works well with the contours and surrounding land. However, I did not reach my final design without the help of other students, my professor, and TA. All of them spent time with me looking over my model and figuring out how it could be improved. Being critiqued is something all design students have to be open to no matter what their area of interest is. A critique is important to help you see how others view your design and to help you decide what to change and what to keep.
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Above is my sketch and the start of my landform model. Check Instagram this week to see the final product!

Until next time,
Landscape Design and Planning

Stone's Throw

stonethrow1.jpg stonethrow2.jpg Over the past few weeks I have been learning about urban farming in my class ESPM 3108. Having not heard about urban farming until this class I found it to be extremely fascinating. Never had I thought about people re-purposing vacant lots in cities into farms. This past Tuesday I went with my class on a field trip to a local urban farm called Stone's Throw Urban Farm ( Here I learned first hand how they obtain and manage their land in order to produce the largest crops possible. Even though they are not an organic farm, they do not use any synthetic or chemical fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides. Instead they use lots of compost, Sustane, straw and leaf mulch, and kelp for seedlings. I also learned that they have not only 1 plot of land, but 16 to work on! That is more than I could ever hope to keep track of. Until next time!

Theresa, Landsca0pe Design and Planning


Ski-U-Madness that is! This week was busier than most, filled with homecoming activities, a football game, models, videos, and papers. Since I had so much to do I really had to budget my time. I find it helpful to sit down at the beginning of the week and plan out when I am going to complete my assignments so I can finish everything on time and in order to have fun during homecoming as well! With the busy schedule I had to do my homework in many different places this week in various study spaces. From the Architecture Library to STSS there was never a shortage of spaces to work. With all of my homework done, I was able to participate in the homecoming parade with my dorm and go to the homecoming game against Iowa (in the rain.) Even though we lost the game I had a great week and an even better homecoming!
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Left: My roommate and I at the football game
Right: My dorm in the Homecoming Parade

Landscape Design and Planning

Cheese Curds & Landscape Architecture

Hello everyone! My name is Theresa and I love cheese curds. I am delighted to be the blogger for the Landscape Design and Planning major here at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Check back frequently to to read my updates all year about my experience as a student in Landscape Architecture and at the U. This is my third semester on the planning track and I could not be more thrilled to be back. I chose the U for its great location in the Twin Cities (close to my home in Wisconsin), the technology, class size, knowledgeable professors, and the opportunity to join a vast array of clubs here on campus. Last year I took a variety of classes, from landscaping to acting to the history of King Arthur, went on a Spring Break trip with the student group Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF) to Dallas, and joined Greek Life here on campus by becoming a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. I had such a great time last year, I can't wait for this year and those to come. I'm still unsure of what I want to do after graduating, but as of now I think I want to work on city parks and other things of the sort.
Until next time!


A few of my STLF friends and I working on a tree farm in Dallas, TX.

Landscape Design & Planning

Week In Itasca State Park

Thumbnail image for 29760015.jpegI just returned from the Masters in Landscape Architecture Week research course in Itasca State Park. The trip seemed to be aimed at exploring the themes, goals, work and theolgy behind landscape Architecture and the MLA program we will be completing over the next three years. We met at Rapson Hall at 7am on Saturday...a bit early for us design students. 29760003.jpegThe 4 hour drive went quickly, and we arrived at the research facilities in Lake Itasca State Park in good humor. We got started right away, learning and designing every day under the tutelage of Professor David Pitt, Adjuncts Sam Geer and Michael Keenan (who own and run ReGen Land Design), along with one 3rd year MLA student and two 2nd year MLA students. We had a great array of voices, experiences, and professional interests that made our trip well rounded and eye opening to all us new MLA students. I can't really believe how much I fun I had learning about Minnesota's geological landscape and how that has affected and formed the current situation in Northern Minnesota. We developed site plans and planting gradients for the prairies, we worked on thing about how place and space can enlighten one's design, and got to immerse ourselves in the woods while doing some really cool work!29760014.jpeg
Thats not to say we didn't have a ton of fun all week long. We swam in Lake Itasca, we canoed to a bog and walked gently on a rarely touched place, we visitied the old fire tower and got to see a view of the pine forest almost 10 stories high. All said and done we had a lot of laughs, made a ton of new friends and got some well deserved bumps, bruises, and itchy bites from the woods that I will never forget.

Until Next Week,
Sarah S.
MLA accelerated program 2013

Designing and Planning Your Garden

Espalier is the art of training branches to grow in lines on small woody plants and trees. This summer I have had a great experience with working in a private garden with a master gardener. I am doing work that I know and feel confident from working on my own garden. There are so many things to do, however, that I am just learning. Like espalier, adding sulfur to the soils for coniferous plants, using grey water for plants, and learning that this is not acceptable for your edibles!!! Being smart and having a planting plan, weeding plan and harvesting plan is super important when creating a outdoor layout.

Not only does taking a garden and making it your own, transforming it to express your stylistic views and your production goals, if you have any.

So much for summer plans, starting your own garden takes a long term plan as well as seasonal planting. Bulbs need to be started the fall before they will bloom, the cold process will open them up when the warm season begins. Things like this can make the difference between a strong healthy garden and a struggling one. So plan ahead, do some research and ask people who have gardens or plans you like! Its easy to do a garden DIY!!!

Until Next Time

Sarah S.

Finding Purpose With Odd Jobs


Summer can be a time to get a lot of things done that had to be put off during the school year. For instance, getting started on a design competition entry, remodeling your hard drive, organizing that portfolio, or something as simple as cleaning your room for the first time since winter break. Just getting things accomplished feels great, no matter how big or small the accomplishment. garden remodel.jpg
As you may be able to tell I have a few random things entertaining my time this summer. I am taking summer classes to get my pre-requisites out of the way for the upcoming semester of graduate school. That's just during the day. On my off days and at night I am working a variety of jobs. My favorite is aiding a master gardener who has a broken wrist. On my first day we did 3 soil tests, transplanted about 10 plants, picked A LOT of weeds, and cleared out a vegetable garden. I am so lucky to be working with them, even though the hours are limited, because even a master gardener has to work! On top of all that I am redesigning my mom's front yard. I began by taking up the existing pathway, garden lining cobblestones and picking out rocks. I will till out the soil that was a pathway to expand the workable garden area.
Although working with one's family can be stressful, it also provides me a lot of flexibility to have ideas and express them visually in the yard. Now this summer side project is one of my most exciting summer activities. I am super excited to see how it turns out and put this into my portfolio. Remember summer goes by fast so make the most of it!!

Until Next Time,

Sarah S.
Landscape Planning and Design

Minneapolis for the Win!!

Well I am officially back in Minneapolis. It feels really nice to be somewhere so familiar. I am having a good time back on my bicycle, trying to remember the streets that are good for bikes, and the construction routes that are in the way. Two good sites I use are Cyclopath for a customized route and Minneapolis City of Lakes this one is a larger view of the Twin Cities bike-able streets.
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I have to say Minneapolis is a manageable city. Going from Rome to Istanbul then to New York I fully realize and appreciate how easy this city can be to navigate, connect with and interact with, even if your just visiting. Although all these cities are amazing, historic, and engaging. Minneapolis is seriously beautiful and green. We have a good relationship with the natural elements. Thanks to landscape architects Charles Loring and Horace Cleveland
These two men designed and orchestrated the Twin Cities so that natural amenities are public areas. The chain of lakes, Hiawatha trails, Minnehaha, Mississippi River, and Theodore Wirth parks just to name a few, are publicly used spaces that are cared for by the city of Minneapolis. Thumbnail image for ladies pavilion.jpg
I saw some amazing places in New York City: the Ladies Pavilion and some meadows in Central Park. I visited the 9/11 Memorial (pictured). It was an amazing experience, although a bit cumbersome to enter. The memorial site is gorgeous, done by Davis Brody Bond and Snøhetta Architects. The memorial site is so subtle yet easy to use. There are electronic kiosks that help people find any name that as been etched into the side of these voids, there are 2. So if you lost someone that day you can look up their name placard easier, you can also donate money and view the map through these stations. Its a great site. I highly recommend a visit if you are in NYC!!

Ancient Smyrna, Constantinople and then the States

This week changed everything. I was traveling by myself in Turkey. Not something done by a lot of women apparently. But I got a very hospitable and warm welcome where ever I went. I began in Izmir, formerly known as Smyrna. A large city, possibly the 3rd largest city in Turkey in recent years. It has a completely different feeling than Istanbul. The city lines the Aegean Sea and used to have the streets lined in Greek style summer homes. However, the city created a boardwalk to line the sea, covered up the beaches, and tore down the majority of the two story homes that allowed the sea air to penetrate the city streets. Now 5 and 6 story mixed-use apartment complexes line the boardwalk, giving the city's edge a defined line. The city is most well known for the Clock Tower, Konak Ferry Station, and Agora.
Next I ventured off to Kusadasi, pronounced Kushadasuh. It is a beautiful beach town inhabited by local Turks, Kurds and Greek born Turkish people. It is very near to many Greek Islands, and the ownership of these islands is a hot topic for any Turk. The main beach is called Ladies Beach. It has a high volume of Irish and English tourists, many of which own property and vacation there regularly. I recommend staying in Kusadasi a couple nights, it is a good distance from Ephesus and many other archaeological sites around the Aegean Sea.
My vacation time was wonderful. I am now recently in the United States, visiting family and loved ones is New York. I will write you all about the things I'm up to this week soon.

Hope your first week of freedom is going well. Until next week!

Sarah S.
Landscape Design and Planning.
BED 2014

Synthesis, Process and Final Reviews

Reviews are done, although it truly does not feel like it yet. I need time to come down off the high of studio work. Time was, as is for any studio project, not on my side and I went a few nights in a row with very little sleep and a lot of caffeine. Now that I am "done" there is lots of time to chill and re-experience the city. Thumbnail image for me in the palacechairs.jpgfarewell dinner.jpgYesterday our amazing Accent Center director Deniz B. took us all out for a farewell dinner. It was in a neighborhood called the "women's bazaar" it sold a lot of cheese and honey. There were some cool streets with kids playing soccer, they didn't allow cars through. It was a fun time. The we went to the Pera Palace for dessert. It is a great hotel now, an 18th century morish influenced building. I got an delicious strawberry cake.Thumbnail image for stawberry cake.jpg
Today Rachel, Andrea and I went to Tophane to get haircuts, then walked to the train and went to Eminonu aka the Spice Bazaar stop. We literally went shopping to find extra luggage so that we have enough space for everything we have acquired throughout the trip. We have been so many places that ticket stubs, t-shirts, hookahs, and gifts have really added up! Now we are packing, some of us staying in the region for a bit longer and have to say goodbye to those who are leaving. Its a crazy time of transition. I think traveling, living and studying with the same 12 people has een one of the most intense experiences of my life. I learned a lot about myself and what I want out of life and my degree. Next year I will be starting the accelerated Masters of Landscape Architecture at UMN. I am really excited to have my own desk! and meet the people I will be working closely with for the next couple of years! Wow. One adventure to the next. I hope things are wrapping up for everyone well back at the U.

If anyone has any questions or wants to chat about the trip or the MLA please feel free to write me a question via the comments.

Until next time,

Sarah S.

Intensive Levels Of Design

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Hey UMN!
Well we are really getting close to finishing up the school year. But finals and presentations are still in our future!
In Turkey we are still working on a design project the involves a ferry, bus, and 2 types of Metro-Tram stations. It is an intensive almost semester long project. So far we have had to work at all scales, almost city/region,neighborhood, site, and details on the site. It has been difficult to work long term on this project, because there are so many elements to keep track of and design. A lot of times I get frustrated with my own work and think it is incomplete or just plain ugly. However, my professor Ozayr has been helping us all through these moments of doubt and uncertainty. rumis tomb muzesi.jpg
We did have some relief this week as the whole group traveled through Turkey from Istanbul to Urgup, a day trip through the mountain formations of the Devrent Valley and Cappadocia, even a hot air balloon ride at dawn. Then we made a quick pit stop at Afghani poet, Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi's, tomb. Tombs, or Tumbesi, are structure attached to the mosque complex, with large headstones that are used to signify importance or position of the people that are buried. Rumi seemed amazing, his tomb was giant, and his work is epic!

From Central Anatolia we traveled about 13 hours to Kusadasi, a small beach town with a lot of fun exciting tourist activity. We took a day trip to Ephesus, as you can see in the pictures to the left and below. We all took notice of how well preserved these ruins are, for a city that was established over 8 thousand years ago. It was a new type of experience, and the day put all of us in good spirits, and gave us some much needed fresh air!
We are finally back in the city of Istanbul, with only 10 days left to be together, learning and traveling all the time. It feels surreal how fast the trip went and how many things I have seen and done. Next week will be my final review so I will be writing with that experience and some final words from the session in Istanbul.

Until Next Week,

Sarah S.
Landscape Design and Planning

Class Schedule and Internship

Hey UMN,

It is so close to the beginning of Summer! Most of us are excited, but for a few of us, including me, things are getting down to the wire. Expected graduations, class schedules not being perfect. Its a lot to handle on top of the semesters work!
So I am reporting back to you about class schedule issues, internship status and the MLA program. Update: I did get into the MLA (Masters of Landscape Architecture) at the U of M. So starting next fall I begin with my accelerated masters degree curriculum. Im so happy that I was introduced to the idea and pushed to apply by my Professor and head of the LA Department, Brad Agee. Brad was here in Istanbul, and really helped me along with the process. Now I am getting ready to start a new chapter in my academic journey. However, the MLA course work is very demanding. I still have some undergraduate credits to finish up and was having a hard time figuring out my schedule with the MLA requirements. So I got out some emails to Brad and my advisor Chris Schlichting...having trouble getting things figured out in Istanbul. They were super helpful and now I'm going to be taking summer courses at Minneapolis Community and Technical College to get myself in good shape for the fall. Focusing on my Masters courses is super important and I do not want any further distractions coming at me next fall. Both Brad and Chris have been helping me figure out things to make sure I graduate, like summer courses and the required internship, which I still do not have set up. Things are looking complicated, but I know I have people at the U of M who are there to help and encourage me through the tough times.
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Back to the present time in Turkey. These pictures are all of the Topkapi Palace. We had two classes in one day at the site, it was a long fun beautiful day of sketching. The group was getting ready for some reviews last Monday, mostly re-figuring some plan work, and taking the comments from our amazing critic panel last week to help push our designs. We are also heading out to Cappadocia, Turkey in central Anatolia on Tuesday. Its a semi spring break that we are having almost at the end of the term. I am hoping for clear sunny skies for the hot air balloon ride we will take at about 5:30 am Wednesday morning.

Until next week,

Sarah S.

Bazaar of Life

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This week is the start of the end. Its 3 weeks til finals. Our reviews are intense and getting the project at Kabatas is getting detialed like i never have done before. It is exciting seeing a place where you are "working" coming to life through drawings. But its also important to give all the courses and lessons here in Istanbul a highlight on the blog. Today we went on a walking tour of the Grand Bazaar. Not a shopping tour, like it may seem, but Ozayr had a friend come and walk us through all the intricacies, HANS, history, hidden passages, antiquated productions, rooftops and great merchants' stores. han courtyard with palimpsest.jpg
There are tons of amazing sites in Istanbul that we all have become familiar with, but there so many places we would never get to see if not for Ozayr and his amazing array of contacts. We got to see a collapsed in roof that housed a giant loom. The weaving industry of Istanbul had to be pushed out by the government because of the intense vibrations the machines caused. We walked up onto the roofs of a han courtyard, the same roof featured in James Bond Skyfall. on top of han.jpgAlthough it seemed much too small to actually facilitate that great chase seen, it was beautiful the views spectacular and the city was all around us. We stayed up there until the sounds of the call to prayer began. Then i shut my eyes and heard so many sounds I never let myself hear before. My experience was one of a kind. And i cant believe how nice it was to shut my eyes and let myself experience the city which is so vivid and visual, in a different way. Let yourself be influenced by out of the ordinary happenings. The design college is always telling us to go out and experience things in order to gain a better understanding of what we want to do and what we like. Do these types of things while you can.
loom with no ceiling.jpgGo to the Mississippi River, Draw, Photograph, Listen, Collage, Paint and Write. These types of memories will do you much better than doing just one or even studying from the images found on the internet or just a book. its these types of analysis images that help our designs and can create a really dynamic and inspired design. Im trying to learn to trust my own designs by doing these things more often. So go try something new or different than your used to. Incorporate this into your work at school. Have fun, and stay strong for just a few more weeks!
Until next time,

Sarah S.

Time to Recharge

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bikes Princes Islands.jpgSo we have just 6 weeks left of the semester. Time has flown by, moving from Minneapolis to Italy and then to Istanbul has been a crazy experience. I feel like I am working so hard, and getting so little done at times. In Istanbul are doing an amazing studio project, learning HIstory of the Mediterranean region, from Byzantium to Constantinople to Istanbul, and taking a Visual Cultures course that requires presentations on different themes around the city. That plus blogging for the trip and CDES, trying to stay in shape for soccer season, cooking, and sharing the slowest internet possible with 3 other people, it feels like time is not on my side. I am sure you can relate! somehow at the end of every semester, no matter how well you mangage your time, there is so much to do. climbing the rocks Princes Islands.jpgThese pictures are of our excursion to the Prince's Islands, a day full of biking and climbing up some rocks and fun with the whole group.
I decided to try and stay calm, keep exercising, and make the most of the time I do work. Its okay to manage your time so that you have free/relaxing hours in your day. Although when your trying to reach multiple deadlines it seems like the worst idea ever. It is important for students to take time for ourselves. If not we might end up stressing out too much, not being productive, getting emotional, all in all make ourselves sick or unhealthy.
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Dont get me wrong, if your stressed out and in a time crunch, go do something that you enjoy that might inspire a project or assignment. For example, last Thursday I was feeling down, so I went on a walk around the Tophane Park area, above the main road. I found some great street art, views of the Bosphorous, an organic cafe (which are a rare treat in this city), and some awesome new staircases that cut straight down mountain sides. I was totally taken aback by how easy it was to change my mood, just by changing hat i was doing. Makes sense, but sometimes we all need a much deserved, albiet obvious, change of pace. I returned to my work the next day and felt more centered, able to concentrate and had some great stories to share.

Stay sane and happy out there guys. Until next week,

Sarah S.

Precedents, Reviews, and Designs!

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This week I had a large design planning review for the Kabatas Ferry Station/Site . On the study abroad trip we have BED, BS, and BDA students. As, you may recall from the previous posts, our assignment here in Istanbul tailored to our degree programs and everyone learns from each other for different components of their work. Its a very good experience to talk with designers from different fields and get some unique insights. The reviews were really exciting, and we all spent a lot of time on our drawings for a short time to explain ourselves, thoughts, and processes. I realized how unprepared I was for my presentation! I had worked so hard to get my lines and renderings down pat, but when I had my turn to talk, it all came out in a quick spattering of information that could have made a stronger case for either one of my design ideas. All I can say is to practice the speech before you get to the presentation, and remember to write down the notes of your critique. It will help you for future assignments!
Just click the image to enlarge!
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Precedents used for our designs include, but are not limited to :
historic Frogtown district urban farm...up and coming, thanks to the light rail project ....will connect you to the U of M
Kinetic energy pavement tiles...making energy out of traffic!
HighLine New York
Also if your looking for something cultural in the surrounding communities, Powderhorn Park is hosting a Holi Festival (Festival of Lights) with Bollywood Dancing and food this Wednesday April 3rd at 6:30pm.

Analysis to Design and Render


These are super key terms when going through a design project. In this program we meld a lot of architecture and landscape terminology and project concepts into one big old studio course. sat at review.jpgWe had our analysis review last week which was really cool, insightful and bringing peoples ideas together. Now I am collecting samples, examples, pictures and studies of design elements I like and want to include in either or both of the design schemes due Monday. Luckily I have some LA2301 digital graphic info stashed in my head and im ready to get to work on the Photoshop, Illustrator, AutoCAD and SketchUp. Yes, all of those programs just to do a couple designs this week. It is so important to know the fundamentals of each of these programs and they will save you time in the long run, plus they are great additions to your resume.
Speaking of resumes I have sent out mine to a handful of potential employers and Its scary waiting to hear from them. Internships and seasonal employment can be heard to come by but the U has some great opportunities. Last summer i got my job at a FREE environmental career fair that I went to at the St. Paul Student Center. I literally found out the day before. Its important to print your resume out, just incase they ask for it. Take a look at which companies will be there, have a game plan of which tables to hit so you dont look lost or bored! My advice is to play dress up. It shows you care, even though you have class for 6 hours that day. Also go to the portfolio and resume courses that the UMN offers for free. I am really sad that I have missed those opportunities this semester. It would have been great to have a solid resume and portfolio right now.
A great tumblr site the ARCH kids showed me today... you if you need another distraction. A cool firm doing cool things: KMD Architects blog besiktas.jpg And last but not least, I finally ate brunch with the boys and bought some very high quality salmon at the markets. sweeeeeet.

Until next week,

Sarah S.

Landscape Planning BED: 2014

Small Changes Big Effects: Ferry Site Design!

This weekend began with an amazing, almost too good to be true, celebration of the Accent center and first UMN-Rome-Istanbul-MSP trip. The party was awesome and I got a chance to mix, mingle, and share my experiences thus far with some amazingly talented and driven people. Must give a special shout out to my professor here Ozayr, who with the help of many, got the studio space looking great in less than a few days. This program would not be the same without you!
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Back to reality, we are designing a ferry and transit station on the coast of the Bosporous Straight known as Kabataş. To help our analysis we have chosen a secondary site to interact with. Mine is called Üsküdar, it is located on the Anatolian side of Istanbul City. I have learned a lot about how the pros and the cons of Kabataş can be reinterpreted to make the site be a better place, and space to be, instead of just a place to pass through. Make it usable! Wow, that's what I have been learning in Landscape Planning and Design courses all the time. Making a space a better place is not always a matter of vast changes or overhauling the original site. It is more likely that economically feasible alterations and deliberate planning ideas will end up being utilized. Cities like to conserve money and people like to use spaces they understand and are familiar with. In this context my site design might change only a little, but will allow for a number of affordances and amenities previously not offered. These can include a safe way to cross traffic, more lighting, better accessibility to the water/food/information areas, or even as simple as adding bathrooms. In a profession where building resources are becoming sparse and everyone wants a lot of design for a little cash, we need to be able to create design concepts that are environmentally aware and that give clients what they ask for. Good smart design practices are a good start. I hope you think about this next time you are doing a project for class. Hope this helps you start thinking about new cool ideas.

Here are some great articles on cool (and do-able) green designs:

Recycle, Reduce, Adaptive Reuse
Rain Barrels!
redesigning a Rooftop to produce food! One of my favorite ideas.

For a list of more green designs, go to the ASLA website

thanks for reading. Until next week

Sarah S.

Istanbul Swing

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Well, I have been in Istanbul 11 days already. Its going by quick and were learning a great deal about the city of Istanbul, the Bosphorous, Architecture, Golden Horn, Constantinople, Byzantine Culture and History. Classes started again on Monday we have a Design Studio course led by Ozayr, Turkish language lessons led by our ACCENT leader and awesome guide Deniz B. and a history class called "Byzantium Constantinople: crossroads of east and west" headed by Deniz K. We are busy. But we still have a lot of fun out in the metropolis that is Istanbul. This is possibly one of my favorite cities I have ever been. Last night I was asked where my favorite place to travel has been, although only a week and a half in, it is pretty close to the top. The weather is getting nicer, which you might not like to hear. I am sorry my MN snow bound friends. I really am sorry. blog march 12th.jpg
As I keep familiarizing myself with the city I am in awe of how fast I became comfortable here. The program, put in motion and set up by Ozayr and many supporters, is a culmination of his hard work and amazing ability to work alongside and befriend almost anyone he meets. It seems that Ozayr makes friends with everyone. By the end of the trip the whole block will know him. Which is a great thing for the UMN connection to Turkey! This program is open to all Architecture Students and Landscape Planning and Design Students. A trip like this is helping me build my portfolio and resume. Brad Agee, a 3 time professor of mine and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Landscape Architecture is here to lend a knowledgable hand in our studio design project. He is also visiting the center and helping put on the welcome dinner soiree that is being thrown in honor of the beginning of UMN in Istanbul. Lots of professors, Architects, Regents, and even the Dean Tom Fisher wil be in attendance. I wish I could tell you more! IF you do want more, you should check out our wordpress blog that the whole group contributes to. Its a better look into daily life and fun adventures.

Until Next Time,

Sarah S.
Landscape BED May 2014

Thrown into the Bosphorous

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...not literally of course! I do, however, feel an immense wave of culture and language washing over me here in Istanbul.
So we have been immersed into Istanbul. I am loving the city so far, especially the cuisine. We dined at JUNO a really hip young place near our apartments last night. We started with a meat and olive plate, then I had Izgara tavuk salata, or grilled chicken salad! It was so good. Finish it off with a tasty brownie and our night was complete...and stomachs were full. Then today, Tuesday we started our day in search of waffles, expertly filled with candy and fruit, and what else but Nutella. Some of us walked up to get coffees and street breads (mine was "potato" but it was mostly just bread. A great breakfast. kanyon mall copy.jpgThe off to sketch at the mall, Kanyon Mall, which was gorgeous. It also happened to have the same architects as the Mall of America back in MN; coincidence, I think not Ozayr. The mall was cool, and we were cold so we hurried off to the Ferry.dolphins Bosphorus copy.jpg The trip across the Bosphorus was so beautiful. Dolphins swam along side our ferry and the colors and view were great, even though most of us freezing cold. The trip is shaping up to be great, and Ozayr is showing us our new grounds for the project as well as good places to eat and get chay (tea) along the way!

Hadrians Villa & Villa D'este

This week is going to be huge for the MSP-UMN-FCO-IST crew. hadrians villa.jpgWe have our projects finishing up...they are so cool! Huge maps of the city of Rome. Narratives melding with history and imagery. Its taking awhile to get them together, but I am looking forward to the review!
We went to Tivoli, Italy Saturday. It was a rainy day trip, still so lovely even though it was raining. berry e tree.jpgWe talked about the wild expanse of Hadrians Villa and the controlled upkeep and management of Villa D'Este. Hadrian created an imperial compound, acres of densely built up structures, Biblioteche (libraries), Gardins (gardens), Stadio (stadiums), multiple chapels, and so much more. It is a huge complex now in ruins and exposed brick. To warm up midday we all stopped in the caffe and got cappuccino e cioccolato caldo. Delicioso. balcony .jpg
Next stop: Villa D'Este. My favorite garden from LA 3413...Landscape History. Completely changed my view of the site however, to be there was so cool. The slope was insane, feeling at times like atop a cliff then flat. The upkeep on the Cardinal's villa is handled well and the parterre de broderie is well manicured and full. What is the most engaging feature of this site is the water. Its everywhere, flowing, gushing, standing, shining, running freely yet highly controlled. Somehow the engineering conquers gravity and is dispersed throughout the villa. The avenue of One Hundred Fountains, the Neptune Fountain, Oval Fountain, paths lined with rills. Hydrology is essential to this site and Hadrian's Villa. Italians do it well.

I'm off to bed (sufficiently needed!) and you will be hearing from me next time from Istanbul!

Sarah S.

All Roads Lead to the Duomo

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Or Rather, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. This amazing building was the landmark of the city for sure. We could not walk anywhere without referencing the Duomo! In a smaller city like Florence we got to experience a lot more of the city in just a few days, although most of us fell in love with Florence. synagauge.jpgThe Arno River cuts through the city, similar to Rome and the rough Tiber, although the multitude of pedestrian bridges really captured a more intimate relationship with the natural realm than I have felt in Rome. The Piazzas were always full of activity and sunny most of the day. It felt easy to sit and draw most places, people stopped to look at a lot of the work we were doing. island fountain.jpg
We went to the famous Uffizi Gallery, spent the better half of the day within the great halls lined with paintings, sculptures and etchings. The Piazza Uffizi lines the river banks creating some outstanding vistas and vantage points. The kinetic energy was outstanding in Florence. Between the walkability level, series of connected Piazzas and large "must see" architectural monuments within Florence, there was always something going on. The city had an interesting transition between day time and night time. Day time was filled with Gelato, lunch on the streets and strolling leisurely, leather markets, and a strict (much appreciated) following of the afternoon siesta. ponte vecchio.JPGThen the evening, which starts after dinner around 9pm. It is couples walking hand in hand, with friends, strolling the main walks and piazzas. My sketches increased in volume in Florence and I was continuously inspired to be out and experiencing the city. It was an amazing look into classic Tuscan city developments, religious changes and integration of the modern with the classical and medieval. Such a cool place full of so much history.

Until next week, stay warm MN!!

Sarah S.

Palimpsest of the Jewish Ghetto

Latest adventure: traveling through the Jewish "Ghetto" of Rome. There were once walls that separated the religious sector of the city from the Catholic majority. Pope Paul the IV put them up in 1555 with hopes to convert the Jewish population. His attempts failed. The Jewish population actually grew and attracted refugees from Spain and Germany. The walls were torn down in 1846, with cool left over ruins as markers and memory, and this part of the city is now full of valuable real estate, kosher delis and markets and a serious sense of community. jewish ghetto walls.jpgThere are delicious bakeries and fun gift shops that make it a great destination spot for tourists and Romans. The Jewish sector lines a series of ruins including the Portico d'Ottavia and Teatro d'Marcellus, both built by Augustus I for his niece and nephew, respectively. marcellus theater.jpgThe streets here are narrow and winding, making it an easy place to get lost.
Nearby is a really interesting Roman National Museum containing the Crypta Balbi and cistern and a series of layers of buildings piled on top of on another. This is a great example of Palimpsest that exists everywhere in Rome. Layers of materials and history compounded through the ages, telling us stories of architecture and social hierarchies. Antonella told us the importance of knowing these different materials. baldi crypt column and materials list.jpgThis "Cheat Sheet" is posted at the museum. The column seen in this image is also at the Crypt. It is in different stages of remaking, to show how the column would have been placed within the site. The historical imagery here is amazing and really inspiring to me as I go forward with my drawings and sketches. Layers and Layers just laying below the city waiting to be discovered.
So this weekend we are going to take a train trip to Florence. I will be really busy exploring this gorgeous city and visiting the Uffizi Gallery.
Until next week,

Sarah S.

Roma: Project Underway

Hey guys! Returning this week to report a million things from Rome! So we continue to go all over the city. An average day goes like this: take the train to meet at a choosen location at 8:45am, Ozayr our architecture professor from the UofM gives us some background morsels to start us off, we go into the site and draw for a hour or so, regroup and walk around with Ozayr and get more seriously interesting information's about how modern Rome, and Empirical Roman, structures and leaders tie together and have changed throughout the centuries. Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for castel di San Angelo.JPG the picture to the right is the second floor portico at Castel Sant'Angelo
The weekend was sweet. flea market.JPGWe have a giant flea market right in front of our "apartment" each Sunday. It literally spans almost an entire half of our neighborhood. It has everything from old school leather furniture, to socks and leather handbags, to furs and old Italian magazine print ads. It was a serious excursion. Thumbnail image for roman forum pathway.JPG It was and eventful day to say the least. We started the week with the Coloseum or coloseo, and then of course the Roman Forum where we saw the Arc of Titus, Emperor Augustus' house and gardens, in the picture to the left, the procession of the Via Papales or where the ancient procession connected St. Peter's Basilica and the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano. coloseo.jpgYou can see some awesome ancient maps from the talented mapmaker Giambattista Nolli. He solidified accurate mapping techniques in Rome. Everyday is something different here. We see gardens and ruins, modern interiors with 5th century carvings intertwined. Its an amazing city with so much history and culture and I am glad to be a part of it.