LNAK10032U Terrain and Technology in Landscape Architecture

Volume 2013/2014
MSc Programme in Landscape Architecture

The course improves the student’s ability to design terrain. Through three projects participants study and train important stages of terrain inventory and devellopment of design. All projects focus on the appearance of the terrain surface and the problem to be solved.


Digital terrain modelling plays an important role. All analyses and design development is carried out on computers. The software is the media for exploration and sketching using analysis, cut and fill calculations, surface and spotelevationsplans etc. In that regard the course is a landscape approach to BIM (building information modelling) which is developing within the building sector.


As prerequisites it is expected that student have experiences in landscape design and basic computer (CAD) technique. Based on this modelling software (Civil 3D) is introduced.


Throughout the course the following subjects are presented in lectures and through discussions: model based design, surface analysis, reading landscape surfaces, terrain styles, terrain form elements, contour patterns and form, professional approaches to surface design, terrain form in landscape history, visualizing landscape form. The knowledge gained by these discussions is brought into action in the projects and on several excursions.


The three projects play their specific educational role. In the first two teaching support students with a considerable input whereas students in the third project prove their competences gained and teaching is limited to mainly studio critiques. In project 1 students in groups are asked for an analysis of a Danish Landscape design or a specific landscape theme (E.G. terrain management in detached housing areas). Project 2 is done individuately and normally includes a technological theme (E.G. stormwater management). In the last 4 weeks the students make a landscape design in which terrain modelling has a certain importance. The landscape design plays an important role in the evaluation The subject is fixed each year by the choice of project area.


Project 1 and 3 are organised in groups and presented at the course in a Power Point/Pdf- version, but students hand-in individually as posters in A3-format. Some extra time allow an individual reflection on comments and critique. Project two is fully individual. All projects posters are also a personal course documentation. The work is done in mixed groups of Danish and international students


Learning Outcome

Learning Outcome

After having completed the course the student should be able to:



- import and assess the quality of 3D – surface information

- understand a contour plan

- produce a surface elevation plan



- give an overview of the historic development in terrain modelling

- reflect on the use of digital terrain modelling tools for design

- understand the conditions for a surface design



- apply digital terrain modelling as part of a landscape design

- read a landscape design and understand the reasons behind a given surface form and the impact of these

- discuss alternatives analysing, programming and designing terrain

design a terrain on a specific site.

Course Literature

Newest edition of Site Engineering for Landscape Architects; in 2012 Strom, Steven,Nathan, Kurt and Jake Woland, Site Engineering for Landscape Architects, Fifth Edition, John Wiley & Sons. 2009. 358 pages.




Terrain and technology is a projectbased full time course with a mixture of lectures, exersices and studies based on group- and individual work. Access to the computers is reserved in at least 2 out of three moduls. Main course information is found on Absalon at www.punkt.ku.dk which is the university site for course communication. Here you will find the course time table, assignments, tests, messages given through the course, a list of course participants etc. Students also establish digital work-group space at Absalon. The course is described in a programme and also lined out in Absalon´s calendar. Here students will find links to literature, lectures, plan material etc. All this material is organised in Learning Units (Thematic workshops). Students are expected to have read the articles, done the tests, found supplying examples etc. for the workshops and be active in the discussions. We strive to make lectures function as workshops – that is, as a discussion which is just introduced and organized by the lecturer. The second main source for communication is the WEB-portal about digital terrain modelling in landscape architecture www.land-3d.com. This site is launched as an international portal for both landscape students and practitioners within the field. Here students will find articles and tutorials and possibilities for uploading, commenting and discussing the subject. Teaching builds on the Autodesk software CIVIL 3D. Students can download this software to their personal computer through Autodesk’s student community
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 20
  • Lectures
  • 30
  • Practical exercises
  • 120
  • Preparation
  • 82
  • Project work
  • 160
  • Total
  • 412
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Studerende afleverer udørte projekter, som bedømmes skriftligt, jf. procentfordeling ved kursets start
Exam registration requirements
Hand-in of all 3 projects
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
See learning outcome