Skip to Content
Skip to Search
Skip to Navigation
Skip to Content

University of Connecticut University Libraries

Undergraduate students from the Department of Plant Science will display their completed student landscape architecture projects in Babbidge Library’s Plaza Alcove from March 1 – April 30. Timing couldn’t be better: our thoughts naturally turn to the outdoors about then, and those of us who work in our gardens sometimes dream of grand designs while we toil in the soil. Perhaps we have a flare for design but lack the expertise to know which plants will do well in our environment. Or maybe we know the level of acidity in our soil but are clueless about choosing plants that will harmonize with buildings or other environmental features.
Professors Kristin Schwab and Mark Westa aim to develop both design skills and plant knowledge in budding landscape architects. To integrate the students’ educational experience with the research and outreach mission of the faculty, Schwab and Westa employ a “service-learning” model. The real needs of communities from around the state are introduced in the teaching studio.Landscape Architecture professors Mark Westa (left) and Kristin Schwab (right) review student projects with Alex Schmalzle (standing center) and Bradley Frankel Students then go out into the communities to apply their skills in analysis, planning, and designing for parks, town centers, gateways, greenways, and other civic projects. The projects are selected and structured by the instructors to provide learning opportunities for students and assistance to communities in need. Sometimes the projects result in implementation of the ideas proposed; sometimes the work generates interest in further detailed study of an idea; sometimes the projects simply give community planners fresh thinking or valuable mapped data.
Professor Schwab explains, “Landscape architecture is a broad field that deals with the art and science of creating memorable, functional, and environmentally sensitive outdoor spaces. This exhibit illustrates the dynamic dimensions of the land and human response to it —ecological, temporal, spatial, cultural, and emotional—as a medium for design. It will showcase the unique skills of the landscape architect and demonstrate their development in undergraduates at the university through real-world, studio-based projects that provide valuable design and visioning assistance to communities throughout the state.”
The instructors and their students are also designing the freestanding display modules on which the exhibit panels are mounted, with the intention of displaying the exhibit in other venues after it is removed from the library.

---from an article in UConn Libraries (February/March 2004) by Jane Recchio