Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Robyn Reed

Second Advisor

Claire Fellman



How can film inform landscape architectural thinking? In narrative film, we are spectators of unfolding space. In landscapes, our bodies enable us to author its unfolding.

In many ways, film is a well-suited and under-theorized territory for landscape. Its intersections are not without precedent, and in the following pages, I hope to describe the experiments, failures and potential scenarios I have uncovered for future practitioners of landscape architecture. A secondary intention of this thesis is as an articulation of my own practice, walking toward disciplinary edges, but always looking back to landscape architecture.


Roma (2018), directed by Alfonso Cuarón, serves as a case study of the perceptual dimensions of watching film, and on the interacting systems and forces that are manifested through its narrative. Still, Roma serves as a point of departure to investigate the emerging cross-disciplinary research of using moving images as a design tool.

At the heart of the film is Cleodegaria Gutierrez (Cleo), a maid who serves a well-off family of seven in the Colonia Roma district in Mexico City. Often the camera tracks her as she moves through various oppositional domains: interior and exterior, public and private, urban and rural. Through film we are also able to visualize material artifacts of culture and psychology. I want to understand the structure of this film, and how that structure is able to generate the particular qualities of space in the film.

Research Question:

Materially speaking, Roma, the film, is a movie, a sequence of projected light, two hours and fifteen minutes long. Geographically speaking, Roma is also a real place, a district in Mexico City and the setting for most of the film. Through the course of this thesis studio, Roma, the film, will serve as a site in which to investigate notions of space, place, time and memory using the following thesis question: How can film inform existing contemporary landscape practices in representation?



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