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Completed TDG Projects

Experiential Learning

Student Practicum in Landscape Construction Techniques


Abstract

This TDG project established a new Landscape Practicum course within the Division of Landscape Architecture, as a core experiential learning component for final year students of the BA(LS) Program, to give students the opportunity for practical application of the technical and theoretical knowledge acquired in related courses, and to contextualise this within a real site conditions and working personnel.

The TDG project allowed the investigation of the various site, contextual and operational issues relating to the conduct of a student-led construction project, and generation of sufficient knowledge in delivering such a program (and a data base of contacts and construction information e.g. operational requirements, material supplies, contracting parties etc.) to facilitate future iterations of the course.

The initial offering of the Practicum was run between January and May 2013. Students were tasked with planning, designing and building a productive roof garden on the Runme Shaw roof deck. Through this they were to understand the technical challenges associated with productive green roofs (spatial, structural, financial and operational constraints), and to work with a specific site and typical stakeholders (site owner, user, professional advisors, contractor etc.). Students successfully completed their project, and were able to record both technical details and to reflect on the learning achieved in the process.

The Landscape Practicum course has since been run again, successfully on another site, and planning for the third offering (in Spring 2015) is well advanced. Both completed courses have received very favourable comments from examiners, reviewers, contributors and users of the facilities constructed.

Principal Investigator

Mr. M.R. Pryor, Division of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Architecture Contact

Project level

Programme-level project

Project Completion

November 2013

Deliverables

  1. A framework structure for running a landscape practicum course.

    The course was successfully run for a second time in Spring 2014 (by another instructor, Ms Vincci Mak) within Pokfulam Village, but using the course structure created under this project and drawing on the contacts and technical information generated in the 2013 course.

  2. A database of reference information to allow the course to be repeated.

    Several databases of information have been generated through the project to allow the Practicum to be run in subsequent years using different instructors, sites and participants.  These include data on: materials / sources; potential participants (construction specialists, clients, end users); and procedural aspects (insurances, forms of agreement with project site owners, financing, potential sponsorship etc.). This information is shared amongst staff and students of the Division of Landscape Architecture.

  3. An assessment of the effectiveness of the practicum.

    Student reflections generated during the first course and formal student evaluations (course 83.3%, teacher 83.3%) have been very positive.  In particular students appreciated the opportunity:

    to put knowledge into practice (link studio work to actual practice)
    to have a real-life experience (… it is not easy!)
    to have hands on experience (lacking in other courses)
    to gain a practical understanding materials and their application
    to undertake site visits with real practitioners (learn first-hand)
    to get practical help and feedback
    to gain access to intructor’s practical experinence and knowledge (… not just in the classroom, but by practical demonstration)
    to engage in bigger goals and challenges
    to interact / collaborate in the course
    to pursue further learning in the subjects / skills

    Participating professionals also commented very favourably, particularly in relation to the bridging of the gap between the classroom and the design office.  Graduates of the first class have also commented on how knowledge gained in the course has subsequently helped them in their professional work.

    The course has been highlighted by the external examiners, the BA(LS) Review Committee, and the HKILA panel (via the MLA accreditation exercise) as being a vital component in rounding out the student learning, and in giving valuable working experience to students.

  4. Publication of student research work.

    Details of the course have been shared within the University via a GHELC presentation in October 2013, http://ghelc.hku.hk/gallant-ho-experiential-learning-centre-seminar-series/ghelc-s6/

    The Practicum course has been highlighted on the Division’s website, http://fac.arch.hku.hk/courses/designsonthefuture/rms-edible-roof/ and on the faculty website, http://fac.arch.hku.hk/general/knowledge-exchange/engagement-projects/edible-roof/

    Student work from both the first and second iteration of the course can still be seen as permanent installations at the Runme Shaw Roof and Pokfulam Village.

    The research and technical information generated from the first iteration of the practicum, has been compiled into a book, which is currently in production and should be published in 2015.

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