The process of design is not something given, as there is no correct set of methods that apply to every situation. Instead, the design process is something that is crafted, curated, and continually evolving. This process of continual evolution is fueled by the curiosity of the designer – a desire to know more about the worlds we work within and how to engage them more meaningfully. Our working methods must be contingent, not steadfast. Curiosity, or the ongoing process of questioning, can be much more valuable in design than the desire to solve simple given problems.

The processes of classification and judgment are at the fundamental core of our current paradigm of Western science, with the role of experimentation serving as one of its most trusted methodologies. The work shown here attempts to turn the role of the experiment on its head. Instead of providing justification for generalizations, the experiments attempt to open up possibilities, highlight specifics and anomalies, and provide support to ideas and questions that might otherwise be overwritten or overlooked. Experiments are seen as tools for pluralism, not simplification. Their results make things more complex and confusing instead of more precise and logical – they produce more questions than answers – and assist in understanding landscapes as events in time that will never be entirely understood, not static things sitting dumbly on the surface of the earth.

The work here was completed by students enrolled in LARP 780 in the department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design, instructed by Sean Burkholder and Yang Du, with teaching assistant Lesia Mokrycke.

The Galleries below show the same content in two formats, organized by either the ACTIONS that governed each weekly assignment or by individual STUDENT.