I have a problem with saying yes too often.
Do you want extra Queso?
Should we run an immersive learning project through the Second Year Landscape Architecture Parks and Open Space Studio?
Should we run THREE immersive learning projects through the Second Year Landscape Architecture Parks and Open Space Studio all at the same time?
Are we crazy?
If you are not familiar with the term immersive learning, Ball State defines Immersive learning projects as high-impact learning experiences that involve collaborative student-driven teams, guided by faculty mentors. The idea behind an immersive learning heavy studio is to prepare students for the rigors of practice long before the internship, and pro practice courses. We partner with community stakeholders throughout Indiana who have real sites, real programmatic needs, and real projects. For many this studio is arduous: rapid decision making, shifting deadlines, unclear expectations, concurrently running studio projects that don’t allow the time to really focus (waste time) on a single project. Meanwhile wrestling with the notion that there is not a single clear solution to any of the given design problems. Oh, and that even after weeks of work the client might not like their design. Oh, and we make the students work in teams, just like in practice.
Another important factor in this studio is a focus on conceptual design. In the studio sequence this studio provides the opportunity for students to rapidly produce multiple conceptual designs throughout the semester. Is this approach to teaching studio more difficult and time consuming for the professors?
Does it expose the students to a wide range of design projects?
For example, During the Spring 2022 Semester students created designs for: The Second Harvest Food Bank in Muncie, a park on an abandoned highway near Fountain Square in Indianapolis, and a community garden in Vernon Township/Fortville. Students were able to showcase models and drawings of their Designs at the 2022 Ball State Immersive Learning Showcase in March and the questions they got asked more than any other was, did you design that? It was always a treat for me to hear them respond.
By Jeremy Merrill
Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture