Conceptual Design Group Process

As we move ever-closer to the final design phase, we worked together as a group to form a design concept – “a brief statement that arises from the goals and your analysis and assessment focusing on what the design will achieve and the means to achieving it on the site.” This was fun, and as we fired up our creative and literary flow we produced (patch-work style) a sensational commentary of the designed future version of the site. Next we laid out the map and our hands went to work, moving features and elements here and there on our base map as we envisioned possible designs. This process went much smoother than when we practiced schematic design earlier in the course. Our preparation and experience helped us focus in on what should go where.

Being in this class has transformed the way I think about environmental design and landscaping. As we put together various schematic possibilities I couldn’t stop thinking about the importance of relative location, elements and functions, inputs and outputs, energy cycling, optimizing diversity, zones of use, plant and time stacking, creating guilds, using biological resources, and the attitudinal principles – taking into account the general attitude of our client and our collective group attitude and how it was influencing our process in real-time. The schematic design process flowed well, but I was hardly satisfied because I knew that we could make a better design; during the process I noticed that our limited understanding of the functions of various elements and corresponding possibilities of relative location kept us working in relative confusion. We were having fun putting together the schematic design, but there was a continuous sense of frustration about what would be best.

Overall, the conceptual design process stretched our knowledge of the permaculture principles and further prepared us for smooth sailing to the final design and finish line.

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