Research TEAM Mentor

Principal Investigator
Micah Stanek, MLA, MArch

Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
Faculty portfolio:

Research focus for summer 2019

Landscape architects work at the intersection of environmental research and the design of human environments. Ecology research informs the discipline of landscape architecture, though these fields are not always in alignment. This interdisciplinary fellowship is an opportunity to couple ecology research and design practice, for the purpose of informing and generating an urban ecological restoration project, which will in turn generate further research.


Through hands-on fieldwork, analytical drawing techniques, and design tools, fellows on this team will survey existing Tyson research and then use their knowledge to inform a design proposal for a new ecological restoration project in the City of St. Louis.

For the first half of the summer, we will shadow Tyson research projects that relate to restoration ecology. First, we will simply tour the projects and lend a hand in the fieldwork. Then, we will document the research gardens as well as the projects’ findings. Students will learn field drawing as well as digital techniques, which will help us to analyze the goals, constraints, and spatial protocols of the projects we are studying.

In the second half of the summer, we will tour existing urban ecological restoration projects, drawing them to compare our findings from the Tyson research gardens. Finally, we will learn more design tools and put them to use as we select a site in the City of St. Louis, come up with our own design research framework, and propose the urban research garden. We will draw our ideas and invite feedback from Tyson investigators, and then return to the drawing board and refine. Depending on project development, we may use digital fabrication techniques to make prototype components for the project.

Research conditions

The design + ecology team will spend most of the time during the first few weeks outdoors in the research plots and gardens. There will be some drawing instruction that takes place indoors. Then, as the summer goes on, we will increasingly be indoors, but we will also find opportunities to draw and prototype outdoors.

Our project will take us to a range of Tyson research sites as well as field trips in St. Louis City and Granite City. As we narrow our search for an urban plot for our ecological restoration project, we will also engage neighbors of potential sites.

Team structure and opportunities for independent research

The mentor and undergraduate fellows on this team will work collaboratively on the analytical drawing set and the final design proposal. The project also presents opportunities for independent work, especially during the Tyson research shadowing and field drawing portion of the summer.

Banner photo: Chris Bowman