The mission of the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) degree is to equip students with the tools of landscape architecture and to prepare them to contribute meaningfully to society as designer-citizens. Our undergraduate program allows students to spend all eight semesters of their undergraduate career in a studio-focused curriculum. The BLA has been built upon the solid foundation of our Graduate Landscape Architecture Program, and we enjoy introducing undergraduate students to the focus areas of landscape practice that distinguish our curriculum, student work, and faculty research:
Fieldwork: We believe that landscape education and landscape practice begins outside, in the landscape. But we aren’t tourists. When we’re outside, we’re working. We measure and observe, we experiment when called for, we learn to test our assumptions from the studio against the messy (and sometimes thorny) realities of mud, vines, and stone. We fly drones to make our own maps; we draw to understand what we see.
Landscape Advocacy: We don’t wait for work to find us. We believe in the value of public interest design, and we seek out opportunities to serve communities. Landscape architects engage the public to shape our work to respond to its needs. We help rally communities around issues. We build constituencies and momentum.
Design Excellence: We learn by making. We prototype. We generate propositions and test them. Much of our time is spent exploring potential futures through drawings and models. These are the methods that allow us to design landscapes that are both forward thinking and will stand the test of time.
Expanded Field: Landscape architecture is a broad and varied profession, with roots in a diverse set of disciplines, including architecture, gardening, and ecology. We value that breadth and encourage undergraduate students to explore the many ways that their training in reading, understanding, and shaping landscapes may form a career trajectory. We also believe that landscape architects can and should continually find new ways to apply our skills to address the ever-shifting needs of society. This requires being comfortable working in new terrain, with new problems, and with new collaborators. We seek out opportunities to engage this expanded field.
Fieldwork, landscape advocacy, design excellence, and the expanded field permeate our curriculum, culminating in the synthetic final year of the undergraduate program, when students typically participate within the Alabama Lab.