LA 4301 . Advanced Site Grading and Terrain Manipulation


Seth Rodewald-Bates . Office Hours by appointment

Bradley Cantrell . Office Hours MW 9:30-11:30

Class Meeting Time: F 9:40-12:30

College of Art and Design Room 308


This seminar focuses on the study of landforms and their manipulation in the built landscape.  Students will explore landforms at various scales through the dissection of existing precedents in the natural and built environment.  Using both digital and physical modeling the seminar will develop students understanding of three-dimensional form in the landscape. This format aims to establish a fluency in digital terrain modeling, process representation, and 3D communication as well as to provide a point of departure for an in-depth exploration of how landforms are designed and constructed.

Learning Objectives

  1. identify and apply appropriate terrain modeling methods for site documentation and translation into digital models and illustrations;
  2. create digital and analog terrain models from surveyed drawings, precedents and/or site inventory;
  3. apply knowledge of terrain data models to the manipulation of surfaces;
  4. classify and explain the intricacies of terrain data models;
  5. demonstrate knowledge of terrain data models through applicable representation formats;
  6. express knowledge of terrain volumes in applicable design projects;

Course Materials


You will need to have your own computer for this course. This can either be a laptop or desktop computer that will run Microsoft Windows. Your computer will need a video card that is compliant with either di­rect x or open gl in order to run Autodesk Civil 3d properly.


Civil 3d 2011

Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium CS4

Available from Journey Ed or Academic Superstore


Mastering AutoCAD Civil 3d 2011

Site Engineering for Landscape Architects

Course Policies

It is mandatory that you keep up with weekly assignments. Late or in­complete assignments are not acceptable.

Because of the volatility of digital media it is important that you keep a backup of your work in a safe place at all times. It is recommended that you keep a copy on your local hard drive as well as a backup on CD/DVD Rom, external hard drive and/or flash drive. Never use a flash drive as the only place to store your data, a jump drive is a device to transfer information from one hard drive to an­other and should be used accordingly. Losing your information because of a computer failure is NOT an excuse for turning in a late project.

It is your responsibility to make sure you have access to the CADGIS server and the shared space available there. All assignments will be delivered to the server and collateral material will be available there.

Final course grade will be determined according to the following course work:

  • Participation . Readings, Discussion 5%
  • Project 1.0 – Documentation and Deconstruction 20%
  • Project 2.0 – Iterations 20%
  • Project 3.0 – Composite Site Design 35%

Total = Cumulative Points for the Course Work 100.0%

Grades are based on a 100 point scale where;

“A” 90 – 100 : Superior performance demonstrating complete and thorough understanding of the problem and the means for its solution. Solution is presented clearly.

“B” 80 – 89 :  Good performance demonstrating and understanding of the problem and means for its solution — yet lacks the thoroughness and completion of an “A” solution. The approach may be creative, but the solution may not be totally justified; requiring minor changes; solution is presented clearly and logically, yet not totally convincingly.

“C” 70 – 79 : Acceptable performance; lacks total understanding of problem, process, and/or means for its solution. Major changes are required for solution to solve the problem; changes seriously affect overall solution. Ability to communicate solution is weak, incomplete or unclear. Basic skills are not totally understood, although strengths are being developed.

“D” 60 – 69 :  Marginal performance; lacks complete ability to solve the problem, apply the process, or communicate solution. Disregard for alternatives; solution does not resolve problem; major changes are required which radically change overall solution. Ability to communicate solution is poor, incomplete, and illogical in terms of process.

“F” 0 –  59 : Inadequate; makes no attempt to understand or apply process; solution does not work; most phases of work unacceptable; or project not submitted.