Creativity, Landscape Design Process, Maury Island Gravel Mine
Pan, Harley Shyh-Haur
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In the summer of 2007, I read a popular top-selling book by a Taiwanese playwright and theater director, Stan Lai (Lai Sheng- Chuan). This book, Lai Sheng-Chuan's Creativity, widened my vision and ignited my desire to explore creativity and innovation in the field of landscape architecture. He talked about perception, motivation, experience, habit, the ways to store memory, and the difference between method and wisdom. Together with a valuable experience to be a teaching assistant for planting design class, plant ID class, and studios in my undergraduate school, I set my life goal to become a landscape architecture design teacher in the future. In those classes that I assisted in Taiwan and the classes that I took in University of Washington, I have observed different styles of teaching, as well as the magical micro-moments when innovation and creativity emerges in students' minds. After these years of observation, I am still curious about ways to teach creativity. Can we teach landscape architecture students to be more creative or innovative? Or Can we teach creativity? I carried these questions all the way to graduate school. I found that lots of landscape architecture design teachers teach methods and skills. Few teachers stimulate students to create their own design processes or encourage students to critique about the design processes that they read in landscape architecture history textbooks. Why? Why do landscape architecture design teachers tend to directly give out sites and spatial assignments to students? Can teachers train students to be innovative? These questions gave birth to the ongoing idea of this thesis. This is a hybrid comprised of part research/part design. Perhaps it does not have the absolute answers to the questions above, but it digs into it. After exploring several literatures, I modified the typical landscape architecture design flow. By using this new design flow, I re-designed Maury Island Gravel Mine site, which I have already done once in a studio in University of Washington. I used this site to test out my design process, and compared to the process that I had in my previous studio. Maury Island Gravel Mine Site is a site that has complicated ecological problems due to human developments. Industries excavated Maury Island because of a huge demand of concrete in Seattle and Tacoma area (King County, 2011) . An intrusion from human in this natural island surprisingly created several strange situations: one mine was transformed into a residential village, and some others were abandoned. This mine, where my site is located, was left with complex conditions which allowed Madrone forest to grow well. This site today has two abandoned gravel mine machines. Their cranes became a visual focus of the entire site. Invasive species, the view of Mt Rainier, and toxic soils are some hot topics of this site. It needs to be restored and designed with innovative and creative ways. I thought this complex site would be a good project to test out my findings.
- Landscape architecture