“Alongside environmental science, aesthetic education requires immersion in the technologies and materials of landscape... from the hand to the machine.”


Catherine Dee, Form, Utility, and the Aesthetics of Thrift in Design Education


As a pedagogical model, maintenance can form an important bridge between the abstractions of our drawings and the concrete landscape. By taking care of a place, we directly mediate it at a 1:1 scale. Our senses take in all the information around us, and we experience the site through movement. Maintenance becomes an experimental practice to understand landscape spatially and discover how materials behave.
Trial Ground introduced the lawnmower to an Introductory Design Studio as a research instrument in the development of their design concepts. Each student mowed their partí at 3” = 1’-0 scale to understand how their design might feel at a human scale, and then documented the experiment through field sketches. Most students had never used a lawnmower before, and the field experiment also served as an opportunity to learn how this landscape technology forms the material landscape. The mock-ups were displayed at the University of Oregon SW Campus Green during Dead Week of Winter Quarter.
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