Studio 501-001: PhotoWork

This is the photowork I did as part of my current studio project. The idea is to utilize photography as a way of representing landscape, with an emphasis on experience and materiality.  It seems to be the position of my instructors here in the PennDesign Landscape Architecture Department that the way in which we represent landscape is axial to what types of interventions will be subsequently developed.  This line of thinking is espoused by our department chair, James Corner, both in his book  Taking Measures Across the American Landscape and in an interview with Terragrams.


PennDesign LARP 501-001 Photowork Project

Work by Thomas Grant MacDonald | 2012 | All rights reserved

Concept Art vs Architecture

Work from Feng Zhu Design blog

Due to my artistic proclivities I am drawn to industrial design, or entertainment concept design (see FZD School of Design’s YouTube channel to see what I’m talking about.)  I oftentimes consider what the fundamental differences are between this type of media-driven conceptual work and the work of an architect.  What about the differences between architects and Hollywood set designers, cinematographers, or directors?  All are creating spatial experiences in one form or another and there are surely some crossovers in skills.  However, I was thinking today that there is one intrinsic characteristic that seems to set architecture apart from all else, which is this:

The media artist or industrial designer bases his work off imagery that has already proven successful.  He might push this envelope a bit or add his own style to it, but, in the end, he is constrained by what the public can easily accept, readily identify with, and quickly buy into.

The architect, on the other hand, is free to invert all conceptions, analyze time and space from new or unexplored perspectives, and foment completely new paradigms that might create far-reaching change.  The media designer pushes envelopes in the pursuit of marketing – the architect destroys and rebuilds envelops in the pursuit of a better world.


A wooden model made in a landscape architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania

Work by Thomas Grant MacDonald | 2012 | All rights reserved

I made this model as part of the mid-review presentation I will be giving tomorrow.  It investigates how connections can be made between the water and land at my project site.