A 50-year Journey to Discover a Fun, Comfortable Way to Learn Landscape Architectural Design (20/38)

My “discovery” of narrative opened a whole new approach to my understanding of design. While narrative is an entire study unto itself (Chatman, 1980; Aminzadeh et al., 2016), we can, with exploratory studies in sketch books, self-reflective thinking, and critical discussions among groups of students, faculty and practitioners shine a light on our tacit, subconscious, understanding of narrative in its various forms: literary texts, film and film scripts, dance choreography, and the culinary preparation and delivery of a meal. By exploring how these narrative productions hold together as a cohesive flow that provides a sense of continuity, we further expand our understanding of landscape architectural design.

Combining narrative and narrative form (Chatman, 1980; 1990), Simonds’ emphasis on designing for people’s experiences (1961, 225), along with Cullen’s serial vision (1961, 17), and Bacon’s (1974) studies of circulation systems through history made total sense. Their areas of study not only deal with but also build upon sequences of additive information being delivered and received along a line of travel. The sequencing of words in a sentence, leading to paragraphs in turn leading to volumes, each meticulously chosen and organized to build upon the previous words, sentences, and paragraphs’ messages as they build into a story or narrative. Thank you John Conron.

Aminzadeh, B., Motevali, M., and Nikooparast, S. 2016. “A Proposal for Landscape Design Process Based on Scenario Writing Phases in Cinema and its Application in the Darabad Route, Tehran, Iran.” Urban Design International 21, no. 2: 175-189.

Bacon, E. 1974. Design of Cities. New York: Viking.

Chatman, S. 1980. Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film. Ithaca, NY: Cornell.

Chatman, S. 1990. Coming to Terms: The Rhetoric of Narrative in Fiction and Film. Ithaca, NY: Cornell.

Cullen, G. 1961. Townscape. New York: Reinhold.