Workshop 04 / Landscape Notation / Sept 9, 1:50-4:30


This workshop will help you develop techniques for making volumetric and programmatic maps of the landscape.

This workshop also asks you to pay absurdly close attention to the ground.

Nearly every inch of the urban landscape is a highly controlled surface.  Even when it resembles a natural environment it is often a designed composition in natural materials.  Once sensitized to this, you’ll observe that the texture, hardness, porosity, order, ornamentation, graphic systems, and other properties of the landscape have enormous power precisely because they are infra-ordinary: they enter our consciousness as subliminal instructions and codes.


  1. One 15” x 15” sheet of heavyweight, bright-white, paper.
  2. One 15’ x 15” sheet of velum
  3. A rigid surface to draw on
  4. Some binder clips
  5. Portable drafting implements and tools.


Work in groups of no more than 2. Pick a location on the attached map.  Do not repeat the work of another group.

Step 1 –  Landscape Survey – 90 min
Draw to scale:  1/32” = 1’-0”   /   15” x 15” white paper   /   480′ x 480′

You will need to invent techniques for drawing the spatial conditions that you encounter in the field, for example:


Go to one of the cross-hairs on the attached campus diagram.  These locations are origin points (0,0) for separate survey areas.  At 1/32 scale, the 15″ square of paper represents a 480′ x 480′ plot of space.

Initiate the process of drawing by locating the crosshair near the center of the paper.  Model a space found at the crosshairs.  Then build the map from the inside out, methodically modeling each adjacent space, layers of overlap, characteristics and features, etc.  Continue the process  until you’ve filled the sheet from edge to edge.    Working in partners you can use your body to measure distance (e.g. at a walking pace, each step is more or less a yard).

Exhaust the Territory
60 min  – 15” x 15” white vellum overlay

Secure a sheet of vellum on top of the map from Step 1 above.  Use the map as a reference to record/describe as many activities (human and non-human) as possible and note the height implied by them.  Pay attention to superimposed or shifts in activity over time.



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