1st Edition

Conceptual Landscapes Fundamentals in the Beginning Design Process

Edited By Simon M. Bussiere Copyright 2023
    276 Pages 212 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 212 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Conceptual Landscapes explores the dilemma faced in the early moments of design thinking through a gradient of work in landscape and environmental design media by both emerging and well-established designers and educators of landscape architecture. It questions where and, more importantly, how the process of design starts.

    The book deconstructs the steps of conceptualizing design in order to reignite pedagogical discussions about timing and design fundamentals, and to reveal how the spark of an idea happens – from a range of unique perspectives. Through a careful arrangement of visual essays that integrate analog, digital, and mixed-media works and processes, the book highlights differences between diverse techniques and triggers debate between design, representation, technology, and creative culture in the field.

    Taken together, the book’s visual investigation of the conceptual design process serves as a learning tool for aspiring designers and seasoned professionals alike. By situating student work alongside that of experienced teachers and landscape architects, the book also demystifies outdated notions of individual genius and sheds new light on the nearly universally messy process of discovery, bridged across years and diverse creative vocabularies in the conceptual design process. Lavishly illustrated with over 210 full color images, this book is a must-read for students and instructors in landscape architecture.


    Part 1: The Spark of an Idea

    1. Excavating Ideas
    2. Elizabeth Mossop

    3. Obsessions
    4. Emma Mendel

    5. Composite Drawings + Landscape Ideations
    6. Karen Lutsky

    7. Pictorial Cartography and Digital Printmaking:
    8. Experiments in Representing the Working Landscape

      Forbes Lipschitz

    9. Materiality as Inquiry: Environmental History for Enacting New Worlds
    10. Sara Jacobs

    11. Developing Concepts
    12. Scott Jennings Melbourne

    13. Critical Making
    14. Emily Vogler

      Part 2: Concept in Translation

    15. Materializing Atmospheres: Translating the Immaterial
    16. Zaneta Hong

    17. Tacit Concepts
    18. Ferdinand Ludwig & Sergio Sanna

    19. Sediment in Process: designing an active channel for Alameda Creek
    20. Justine Holzman & Rob Holmes

    21. Grounding the Site: Uncovering Concepts in the Landscape Architecture Design Process
    22. Mary Pat McGuire

    23. From Ideas to Design Actions
    24. Yun Hye Hwang

    25. Translations between Patent Innovation and Environmental Design Pedagogy
    26. Richard Hindle

      Part 3: Forming Futures

    27. Designing Parks – The Art of Creating Lively Places
    28. Leonard Grosch

    29. Disrupted Futures: The Rise of Speculative Digital Landscape Simulation in Conceptual Design.
    30. Aidan Ackerman

    31. Landscape: "For Illustration Purposes Only"
    32. Fadi Masoud

    33. Conceptualizing the Design of Fluid Geographies
    34. Kees Lokman

    35. UX for Landscape Architects: A New Paradigm for Conceptual Design

    Andrea Hansen

    Afterword: A concept, in five parts

    Simon Bussiere


    Simon Bussiere is Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Ecological Design at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. His research explores intersections of ecological urbanism, design communication, and pedagogy.

    "How do we initiate the sometimes exhilarating, sometimes frustrating, sometimes daunting process of creativity that leads from inception through iteration and interrogation to a coherent and lush and functional design? Simon Bussiere and his colleagues from teaching institutions around the world probe the depths of this question for landscape architecture students and emerging professionals—and even the more seasoned among us—exploring not one or two but a multitude of starting points for the creative process. In doing so, Bussiere offers us insights into the critical minds of leading academics—giving us a clear and comprehensive sense of the state of the contemporary academy. More importantly, however, the sheer diversity of approaches invites young and aspiring designers into the conversation, begging for them to write the next chapters of design teaching as they explore their own individualized and situated understandings of the world today. A remarkable collection for those interested in understanding how new ideas are born."

    Chris Reed, FASLA, Founding Director, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design

    "The design "concept," and the mysteries of how conceptualization ossifies is always a profound topic among beginning design students and among seasoned practitioners. What Simon expertly curates in Conceptual Landscapes is a series of essays that unpack a plurality of approaches to concept generation. Importantly, the manuscript highlights the humanity in design and makes the case for promoting a diversity of voices in the design professions in an age where society is often looking for technologies and metrics to solve complex problems. Conceptual Landscapes will serve as an important text for beginning design students and those interested in the formation of landscape design ideas for years to come."

    Bradley Cantrell, FAAR, ASLA, Chair and Professor in Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia School of Architecture

    "What I appreciate most about Simon Bussiere's approach to the topic of ‘conceptualization’ is his understanding that ideas are found in myriad experiences, sources and processes, from individual to the collective consciousness. He has assembled the knowledge base and reflections of significant practitioners and academics to explore the realm of creativity, and how that informs how landscapes are written and read. This publication will surely be on every burgeoning landscape architect’s ‘must read’ list."

    David A. Rubin, FASLA, Founding Principal, DAVID RUBIN Land Collective

    "Clearly, Bussiere delights in the ‘ephemeral, sporadic, recursive, and bewildering’ nature of the creative process. Fortunately for readers, he has assembled here a diverse and charismatic array of landscape architecture professors and practitioners, whose approaches and methods embody the endless possibilities of conceptualizing landscapes. Readers are likely to leave this volume more humble yet more courageous designers."

    Timothy A. Schuler, Contributing Editor, Landscape Architecture Magazine