Index of Formation

Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge MA

A study of plant formation and transformation.

Collaboration with Harvard Graduate School of Design


Mount Auburn Tree Catalogue, over 100 freely available blocks of non-generic tree form

Rather than memorizing binomials or outlining generic form, this course emphasizes how plants grow, underscoring formation and transformation as a means to expanding design practices. Plants are a fundamental expression in landscape architecture. As our most explicit vertical parameter, plants combine the essential geometries of ecological, horticultural, and social traditions. They are nature and culture combined; a notion that resonates with particular clarity in the context of Mount Auburn Cemetery. 

Harvard Graduate School of Design; Ecologies, Techniques, Technologies Planting Design

lynchann_136513_3037320_Lynch_Ann_Assignment 1_In Situ Diagram
Student work by Ann Lynch
hicksemily_172143_3074950_Hicks_Emily_Ex 2_Platanus x acerifolia_Elevation_1 Historical
Student work by Danica Liongson
Student work by Emily Hicks

This lecture and workshop class takes Mt. Auburn Cemetery as a laboratory for the direct observation of woody plants and engages with critical analysis through an acknowledgment of the unique environmental conditions surrounding each individual organism. By placing emphasis on how plants grow, move, and act under a profusion of natural forces and human manipulations, and with an insistence on processes of formation over occurrences of form, students have the opportunity to develop their knowledge of trees and shrubs outside the 

dictatorial rubrics of generic models. Through observational and topological drawing, students develop a shared catalogue of images that highlight differences between standard representations of plant form and specific circumstances of observed growth. This knowledge is then used to develop an urban street planting plan that strategically employs plants for their anticipated response to site-specific conditions including physical adjacencies, tropisms, and soil conditions. 

wachirabuntoonparawee_183022_3267273_Wachirabuntoon_Parawee_ETT Module 2 Final Project
Student work by Parawee Wachira
matsonclaire_178605_3267666_Matson_Malone_Assignment 3_Final Board
Student work by Malone Matson