Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture


Landscape Architecture


This thesis explores the importance of recovering the design process within the work of landscape architecture. Each landscape design process encourages some paths of exploration and discourages others and so the choice of process is vitally important to the depth and meaning of the designed landscape. I outline three reasons why the practice of landscape architecture today fails to live up to the promise of creative expression, and propose a site-generated design process method called 'Ground / Work' that addresses these problems. Through the Ground / Work process, the physical form of the landscape and the complex layers of human occupation and memory become catalysts for the creation of a site specific process of landscape exploration. The process then contributes to a deeper understanding of the land itself as well as our place as landscape designer within it. I describe the creative processes used by five contemporary designers-Lawrence Halprin, Walter Hood, Peter Latz, Maya Lin, and Rachel Whiteread-and the influence that their alternative design processes had on the development of the Ground / Work process. I used the Rockford Fossil and Prairie Park and the remains of the Rockford Brick and Tile works located in north-central Iowa as an experimental site for exploring the Ground / Work process. I extracted from the interstitial spaces found between layers of landscape form and experience, an experiential design process that consists of personal site exploration over a long period of time, and the expression of this work in poetic text and journals, and the construction of three-dimensional Event Maps. This particular Ground / Work process culminated in the design of five landscape interventions that were inspired by a heightened awareness of the dynamic nature of landscape and a renewed understanding of the effects of human occupation. Layered collages representing both landscape experience and landscape form, express the nature of a design process that was built upon layers of physical work and within interstitial spaces of landscape inspiration.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Ruth Laurine Fox



File Format


File Size

249 pages