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Building to Learn, Part I
Design/build studios enrich students' understanding of the entire design sequence as nothing else can. So why do so few landscape architecture departments offer them?
By Lolly Tai, ASLA, and Baldev Lamba, ASLA

Design/build studios in landscape architecture schools offer hands-on experience geared toward the understanding of design, site, and materials. Such studios challenge students to be responsible, teach them respect for those in the trades, and build their confidence. Unlike conventional design studios, design/build studios enrich students' understanding of the entire design process by using an applied teaching model, which demonstrates the critical link between design and building. Thinking and making become interrelated components, and service learning projects, which are often undertaken by students in design/build, provide amenities for communities in need.

Courtesy Rob Cardillo

Students have the opportunity to design, prepare construction documents, build, and implement elements of their design. They learn about the possibilities and limitations of materials through hands-on construction work. Students have direct exposure to landscapearchitecture drawings and learn how to interpret them. They also acquire "real world" experience and understanding of every aspect of the profession, including coordination, teamwork, communication, project sequencing, cost estimations, and code issues. "It's great to see how our design translates into reality from 2-D to 3-D and to see all the stages in between," says Janet Salsbury, an alumna of a design/build studio at the University of Washington (UW).

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