Third years explore Vienna on field study trip

Third year Department of Landscape Students at Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna

Third year undergraduates from both the BSc and BA Landscape Architecture degrees have recently returned from a six-day study trip to Vienna.

The paid-for excursion, which is part of the International Field Study module, allows students to get out of the studio and explore well-known examples of Landscape Architecture, history and culture in a European setting.

Organised by University Teacher Laurence Pattacini, the trip also provided an opportunity to meet with professionals working across the public and private sectors. The group travelled to the Austrian capital on Thursday 21st September with Laurence, Senior Lecturer Andy Clayden and Marketing Officer Hannah Whitelam-Hodges.

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The 40 students explored a huge variety of sites, including Schonbrunn Palace, the squares, parks and housing of the city centre and the new development of Aspern Die Seestadt. They were met by experts Elisabeth Maschat and Kirsten Müllner from the Council’s Department of Landscape Planning; Barbara Mayer from Architect Gebietsbetreuung Stadterneuerung and Marvin Mitterwallner from development company wien3420.

The students gave presentations throughout the city, based on research they had conducted, into topics ranging from native flora and fauna and the evolution of urban forms to river-bank planning. These formed 10% of their assessment for the module.

Laurence Pattacini said: “the recent field study trip to Vienna was a great opportunity to explore housing projects past and present. The projects we visited illustrated how you can achieve high quality affordable housing for all. It also illustrated how designed landscapes can be instrumental in delivering inclusive, community driven and playful living environments.”

“We were received in Vienna by landscape professionals involved in urban strategies. They guided us through a series of interesting projects that demonstrated the importance of landscape architecture in urban renewal and strategies for city expansion. The projects selected also illustrated that spaces between buildings are essential in ensuring lively, inclusive and stimulating urban living environments.”

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The group spent most of the six days exploring the city on foot. They clocked up an impressive number of miles, one morning walking 4.5 miles to their first site. In an extension of the Department’s Technology Enhanced Learning programme, the group completed a digital scavenger hunt around Schonbrunn Palace, using the Actionbound App,

BA Landscape Architecture student Simon Cording said: "being part of an academic field trip, as opposed to socially visiting a foreign city, we became more focused on understanding how a different culture and society approaches the way they think about and design a landscape.”

“My preconceptions of Vienna were that the city is all about the grandeur of its architecture and heritage, however in reality it had far more consideration for its communities. Vienna taught me what it means to have a socially sustainable community, by using green space to cleverly distinguish public and private spaces and the power of communal areas that encourage an ideal of knowing your neighbours."

The third years will go on to present the results of their explorations in early December.

Photos from the trip are available to view here.