A NATIONAL STUDIO PROJECT | UN PROJET NATIONAL D'ATELIERS 2021-22
University of Guelph
SCHOOL OF ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN + RURAL DEVELOPMENT
MASTER OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE PROGRAM
LARC 6030 | MLA STUDIO III
Zannah Matson’s research and design work focuses on the histories and contemporary reinterpretations of landscapes throughout processes of colonization, violence, and state infrastructure projects. Her current work traces the afterlives of coloniality through highway construction in Colombia’s Eastern piedmont landscapes to think about power structures, transportation infrastructure, and visual representation in Latin American landscapes more generally. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph School of Environmental Design and Rural Development.
Previously, Zannah taught at the Penn State Department of Landscape Architecture and was a Design for Spatial Justice Fellow at the University of Oregon Department of Landscape Architecture. She has a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and in professional practice worked with OPSYS Landscape Infrastructure Lab as Project Manager and Lead Exhibition Designer for the Canada Pavilion at the Venice 2016 Architecture Biennale. Matson is currently a PhD Candidate in Human Geography at the University of Toronto, where her work has been funded by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Award.
Re-Configuring Aggregate: Critical Optimism for Post-Extractive Futures at the Waynco Pit
This studio focuses on the design and representation of landscape projects that leverage spatial form as a way of addressing existing social and environmental site conditions and projecting more equitable and resilient futures. We will explore these design goals through three main landscape elements: landform, planting design, and (to a slightly lesser extent) materials. The studio is structured into modules that build on one another and offer an opportunity to examine the same site at a number of different scales, considering how the design of space is articulated across a large site, and how this is refined when design decisions are made in a phased approach and focused on a smaller scale. Following a short introductory module that orients us towards our experiences of landscape forms in our everyday life, the remainder of the studio will focus on a re-design and re-imagining of the Waynco Pit, a decommissioned gravel pit in the Township of North Dumfries. In the process of designing this site, the studio will consider what the site can become to better support its local communities, environments, and economies.
In addition to engaging with the social and historical context of the site, the modules develop and refine design strategies to create landscape form that supports overall programmatic goals for the site. Moving between scales, proposals will consider both the broader context that the project is situated within, as well as the human-scaled design elements that are essential to creating nurturing spaces for collective life. In the final module for the studio, we will focus on the entry sequence to the larger site design proposal, iterating the planting, landform, and material choices that shape the threshold for this site and its interface with its context.
This studio is a part of the collective studio coordinated through the Land | Terre Design Research Network, a collective from across Canadian Landscape Architecture schools that is aimed at increasing awareness and research in landscape architecture across the country. More information on the Land | Terre Design Research Network will be uploaded to CourseLink and discussed in class as we advance through the studio. In embracing this y ear’s collective studio theme of “Optimism | Thinking critically about Canadian landscapes” this studio considers the ways in which a former extraction site can become the site of optimistic proposals that engage with local communities and broader movements to achieve one (or more) of the following objectives: returning Indigenous land and supporting the Land Back Movement, mitigating the impacts of climate change at a local scale, developing material re-use and nonextractive building practices, and strengthening and diversifying local economies.