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Merit Award -- Communications

Landscape Modeling: Digital Techniques for Landscape Visualization

Stephen Ervin, Assoc. ASLA, and Hope Hasbrouck, Co-Authors, Harvard Design School

Stephen Ervin
Assistant Dean for Information Technology
Harvard Design School
48 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-495-2682
Fax: 617-496-5866
servin@gsd.harvard.edu

Statement of Purpose: This book was designed to present the state of the art in using CAD, GIS and related software to create digital models and produce visualizations of landscapes and landscape elements --notably landform, vegetation, water and atmosphere -and present the fundamental principles of the technology. It is planned to serve both as a professional reference, with enough detail and good examples to warrant a place in a landscape architect's professional library; and a graduate-level textbook with enough rigor to serve as a complement to a hands-on curriculum. It is intentionally not about any specific software, and seeks rather to ground the techniques of visualization in well established and emergent principles of computer graphics on the one hand, and the subtleties of landscape representation and perception on the other.

Role of the landscape architect / entrant: Both the authors are landscape architect and academics. The publisher, McGraw-Hill, has a well-respected 'Professional Architecture' series, with a landscape-specific component, of which this book is a part.

Special Factors: Although much of the material in the book has been available in a scattered set of references and "grey literature", no equivalent comprehensive reference text is otherwise available. There are many software-specific tutorials, and many computer-graphics primers, available on the market, but nothing designed by and for landscape architects, focused in the complexities of digital landscape modeling. The book is also accompanied by a CDROM that contains digital material and representations not easily done justice in the printed medium, such as animations and interactive computer programs. An associated website, at http://www.landscapemodeling.org makes a subset of the material freely available over the web.

Significance: Digital tools and techniques are widespread, and used not only by landscape architects. Other allied professionals and various kinds of digital artists are engaged in making models of landscapes, from advertising backgrounds to video games and Hollywood sets. We hope this book fills a void by informing landscape architects of appropriate digital techniques, as well as informing digital illustrators and computer artists of a range of landscape concerns, from understanding choreographic sequences when making animations to respecting angles of repose when designing landform. The text is intentionally made to be free of jargon and accessible to the interested lay public as well, further broadening the potential impact.

2002 Award Winners
Press Releases
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