Landscape architecture students gain experience building benches

Caitlyn Jones, sophomore in architecture, works on her portfolio in the College of Design. 

Kiana Brincks

The traditional bench project for landscape architects in the landscape construction class has just been completed.

Landscape architecture majors take this class to work on construction for landscape architecture. The bench project has been a fun project students may look forward to taking on as a part of this class. This year a total of fifteen benches were constructed.

“Basically we’re learning all the basics of how construction documents work and how to put things together,” said Zoey Mauck, senior in landscape architecture and community and regional planning. “I think it’s important we understand how things work and how things are put together.”

This class project in particular left a wide range of creativity for the students. Criteria for the project was minimal but still offered a learning experience.

Students were to work with a partner and create construction documents for a bench, construct the bench itself, have sketch models, think of a theoretical location for the bench and be creative. Using recyclable materials was encouraged as well.

Mauck discussed how the projects and material covered in the class have really opened her perspective and thinking process.

“A lot of our classes are more theoretical, leaving room for experimenting,” Mauck said. “This class is more technical, learning more specifics.”

However, making these benches are outside of the norm for this class, since they usually focus on construction documents. With this assignment, students were able to perform the actual constructing aspect of the project.

For the project, Mauck and her partner, Fan-Kai Lin, made their bench entirely out of sustainable material.

“We did a lot of dumpster diving,” Mauck said. “We found a lot of random material by the design building’s dumpster and the dumpster near State Gym.”

Some material Mauck and her partner used were from cabinets, an old door and old tables. All of the items they used were recyclable.

Since their bench was made completely of sustainable material, it is being stored in hopes of being used at an event called Sustainapalooza in February, along with one other group’s bench.

As previously stated, one criteria for this project was to come up with a theoretical location. Mauck and Lin each enjoy bike riding and this aided in their decision of choosing Mother’s Pub as a location. They thought a bike rack bench would fit really well at Mother’s Pub considering the active scene with plenty of people riding their bikes there.

Once they had a theoretical location to base their bench concept around, they got to work.

Riley Dunn and Emma Riordan, both seniors in landscape architechture, on the other hand, chose Ledges State Park as their theoretical location.

With their location in mind, they decided on materials like wood, screws and stain.

“Our material selection was pretty simple. Since we wanted it at Ledges, we only used wood in order to blend well with the natural surroundings of the park,” said Dunn.

Michael French and Sujing May are another example of a different perspective on the bench project.

“Sujing and I designed our bench to be installed in the courtyard of Collegiate Wesley United Methodist Church,” said French, senior in landscape architecture. “We were able to get in contact with the church’s property board, build the bench on-site, and have it become a permanent feature of the courtyard.”

The bench project allowed collaboration between students to show their creativity and apply it towards a unique concept of their own.