Sod sofa in 100 seconds from Cornell Horticulture on Vimeo.

Two dozen Art of Horticulture students transformed several truckloads of compost and pallets of sod into a huge and surprisingly elegant sofa outside Roberts Hall on Cornell University’s Ag Quad September 7.

With hands, rakes and shovels, they molded the sofa’s compost frame. Then they upholstered the frame with carefully cut and fitted sections of sod. A week or two of watering will help the sod take root.

“We start off each semester with a team-building project,” says Marcia Eames-Sheavly, HORT 2010’s instructor. “It’s a chance to be outside, to get to know each other, to work and laugh and get dirty together.

“If all you see is the final product – the sofa – you’ve missed the most exciting part: This process cements us together as a class,” she adds.

Last year’s class created a similar sofa carved into a bank overlooking a pond at the F.R. Newman Arboretum at Cornell Plantations, and previous classes have built abstract turf sculptures at the Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Center.

Department of Horticulture turf specialist Frank Rossi lent his technical expertise to the installation. Cornell Grounds Department’s Peter Salino and his staff provided invaluable help and support.

Next spring, the sod and soil will be recycled into new landscaping beds outside Roberts Hall to be planned and planted by another group of students taking HORT 4910 – Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment.

See also, Cornell Chronicle article.

Art of Horticulture students get a quick lesson on sod from turf specialist Frank Rossi.

Art of Horticulture students get a quick lesson on sod from turf specialist Frank Rossi.

The formidable pile of compost that will form the soda's framework.

The formidable pile of compost that will form the soda's framework.

Shaping the pile.

Shaping the pile.

Forming the seat.

Forming the seat.

Laying the sod.

Laying the sod.

Finished sod sofa outside Roberts Hall on Cornell University's Ag Quad.

Finished sod sofa outside Roberts Hall on Cornell University's Ag Quad.

From the class journal of Art of Horticulture student, William Barnes:

I really appreciated how everyone contributed his or her share of the project too. There was no one person who did not pull his weight, which I really admire. Everyone was into the project and wanted to see it through! I without a doubt feel closer to the class and my classmates since we all built something together that wasn’t very easy to build. It reminds me of the cross country team that I served as captain of in high school. You go through the tough workouts day in and day out and you cannot even avoid being friends by the end of it. Overall, it was a great project on a beautiful day that I spent outside, what more could you ask for in a class at an Ivy League school honestly?

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