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Art of Horticulture students create sod sofa

sod sofa

Taking advantage of the great weather this afternoon, students in the Art of Horticulture (HORT 2010) installed a crescent-shaped sod sofa in front of Fernow Hall on Tower Road. The experience is as much about building teamwork among the students as it is creating a living work of botanical art says  Marcia Eames-Sheavly, Senior Extension Associate and Senior Lecturer in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, who teaches the course.

“It’s got a great view of the sculpture in front of Fernow, alumni field and the hills beyond campus,” she says.

Frank Rossi, associate professor and turf specialist in the Horticulture Section, provided additional coaching, and shared lively guidance that ranged from the science of working with turf, to how to lay sod. Cornell Grounds Department collaborated to have the materials on site, and supported the work in numerous ways.

The sofa needs a few days to firm up and dry out. So best to test feel the sod with your hand before testing it out.

View pictures and video of previous sod sofa installations.

Shaping the compost and topsoil that make up the base of the sofa.

Shaping the compost and topsoil that make up the base of the sofa.

Frank Rossi, associate professor and turf specialist in the Horticulture Section

Frank Rossi, associate professor and turf specialist in the Horticulture Section coaches students in shaping the base.

Art of Horticulture students install sod over the base.

Art of Horticulture students install sod over the base.

Testing comfort after sod installation.

Testing comfort after sod installation.

Time lapse of the installation:

Art of Horticulture students create sod sofa

students on finished sofa

In what has become an annual tradition, a dozen students in the Art of Horticulture (HORT 2010) installed a sod sofa — this year on the south side of Corson-Mudd Hall. The experience is as much about building teamwork among the students as it is creating a living work of botanical art says  Marcia Eames-Sheavly, Senior Extension Associate and Senior Lecturer in the Horticulture Section of the new School of Integrative Plant Science, who teaches the course

Frank Rossi, associate professor and turf specialist in the Horticulture Section, provided additional coaching, and shared lively guidance that ranged from the science of working with turf, to how to lay sod. Cornell Grounds Department collaborated to have the materials on site, and supported the work in numerous ways.

The sofa needs a few days to firm up and dry out. So best to test feel the sod with your hand before testing it out.

Turf specialist Frank Rossi explains the science of growing and installing sod.

Turf specialist Frank Rossi explains the science of growing and installing sod.

Students begin shaping the soil and compost.

Students begin shaping the soil and compost.

Checking out the work in progress.

Checking out the work in progress.

Testing the shape.

Testing the shape.

Muddy gloves.

Muddy gloves.

Rossi demonstrates how to install sod.

Rossi demonstrates how to install sod.

Installing sod.

Installing sod.

 

It's all about the teamwork!

It’s all about the teamwork!

 

 

 

 

 

Art of Horticulture students create sod sofa

Art of Horticulture students lounge on the sod sofa they built.

Art of Horticulture students lounge on the sod sofa they built.

From Marcia Eames-Sheavly, Senior Extension Associate and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Horticulture, who teaches HORT 2010:

On Tuesday, students in the Art of Horticulture (HORT 2010) enjoyed a beautiful afternoon of collaboration, camaraderie, and creativity, as they brainstormed together to plan and then build a piece of sod furniture. They shaped and firmed five cubic yards of soil, installed the sod, and frolicked on their creation.

The resulting sofa, located near the permaculture garden and adjacent to the Trillium, will offer students a chance to enjoy our beautiful campus from a unique vantage point. The smaller group of students in the studio class (which is taken for an additional credit) drew inspiration from models created the previous day by the entire class.

The ultimate design evokes a spirit of intimacy, with a larger seating area, along with smaller ‘pods,’ a love seat, and chaise area. I was pleased to see how the design appeared so intimate, cohesive and integrated, despite combining a number of elements. It was exciting to witness the number of observations students had about how much they learned, as well as the their feelings of pride and affection for their work of art.

Students observed the initial daunting feeling of being faced with a large mound of soil. But they quickly arranged themselves into teams, and tackled different facets of the task seamlessly.

Frank Rossi, associate professor and turf specialist in the Department of Horticulture, provided additional coaching, and shared lively guidance that ranged from the science of working with turf, to how to lay sod. Kevin McGraw, Cornell Grounds, collaborated to have the materials on site, and supported the work in numerous ways.

Our hope is that the Cornell community enjoys the chance to take a seat – literally.

(The sofa needs a few days to firm up and dry out. We will remove the ropes when it’s ready for sitters.)

View time lapse video:

View images and video from previous installations.

Sod sofa in 60 seconds

Yesterday, Marcia Eames-Sheavly’s Art of Horticulture class built built a sod sofa on the Ag Quad. It took them the better part of the afternoon. But here it is in 60 seconds:

A different angle:

Art of Horticulture students build pair of sod sofas

In what’s become a September ritual, students in Marcia Eames-Sheavly’s Art of Horticulture class built a pair of sod sofas in front of the CCC building on the northwest corner of the Ag Quad. (View 2010 and 2009 installations.)

As a very special surprise, Dean Kathryn Boor stopped out to greet the students and test out the east sofa:

Dean Boor (center) with Art of Horticulture students.

Dean Boor (center) with Art of Horticulture students.

Here’s a look at the process:

Turf specialist Frank Rossi explains to students how to shape the pile of compost prior to laying sod.

Turf specialist Frank Rossi explains to students how to shape the pile of compost prior to laying sod.

Let the shoveling begin! (West sofa.)

Let the shoveling begin! (West sofa.)

Testing the shape of the seat.  (West sofa.)

Testing the shape of the seat. (West sofa.)

Shaping the east sofa.

Shaping the east sofa.

Fine-tuning the back.  (East sofa.)

Fine-tuning the back. (East sofa.)

Testing the seat. (East sofa.)

Testing the seat. (East sofa.)

Laying sod. (East sofa.)

Laying sod. (East sofa.)

Laying sod. (West sofa.)

Laying sod. (West sofa.)

West sofa.

West sofa.

East sofa.

East sofa.

Sod sofa ‘recycled’

'Urban Eden' students recycle sod sofa

'Urban Eden' students recycle sod sofa

On April 12, students from LA/HORT 4910/12 (Creating the Urban Eden) taught by Nina Bassuk and Peter Trowbridge tore down the sod sofa built last fall by students in Marcia Eames-Sheavly‘s HORT 2010 (Art of Horticulture) class.

But there are no hard feelings. It was all part of the original plan, says Eames-Sheavly.

The Urban Eden students are using the compost that formed the base of the sofa to improve the soil outside Roberts Hall, where they will install a new planting later this semester. As with other recent projects the class has tackled around campus, the Roberts Hall planting is designed to comply with standards for the Sustainable Sites Initiative.

This spring’s plans also include changes to the adjacent plaza, a parcel outside Kennedy Hall, a rooftop garden at Mallott Hall, and new plantings at Hedrick Hall in Geneva.

View construction of sod sofa.

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

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

Art of Horticulture class builds sod sofa – and teamwork – on Ag Quad

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?

Class builds sod sofa at Cornell Plantations

Update [9/25/2009]: See also Cornell Chronicle article, Class-sized sod sofa satisfies whims, builds teams.

Sod sofa in 60 seconds from Cornell Horticulture on Vimeo.

Marcia Eames-Sheavly‘s Art of Horticulture class — with the assistance of turf specialist Frank Rossi and Cornell Plantations staff — spent the afternoon of September 8 creating a sod sofa in the pond area of the F.R. Newman Arboretum.

Sod sofa in Cornell Plantations arboretum.

Students raked and shoveled to shape the sofa in a slope near the pond’s edge. Then under Frank’s tutelage put the sod in place. In 2007 and 2008, the class built sod sculptures at Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility adjacent to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.

Art of Horticulture students laying sod.

Signs of Fall #2

Via Cornell University on Tumblr:

Frances Zhu ’15 and Hunter Adams ’15 enjoy a beautiful day on campus sitting on the sod sofa  on the south side of Corson-Mudd Hall. The sofa was created by Art of Horticulture students in September.

sod-sofa-via-cornell-tumblr

‘Urban Eden’ students landscape CCC building

choice plants for CCC landscapeThe landscape outside the Computing & Communications Center on the Ag Quad got a major upgrade, thanks to students in Nina Bassuk‘s and Peter Trowbridge‘s course, Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920).

Earlier, the class tore down the pair of sod sofas created in the front of the building by Marcia Eames-Sheavly‘s Art of Horticulture class last fall. They spread the compost used as the foundations of the sofas to help improve the soil for the trees and shrubs they planted Tuesday.

This spring, the ‘Urban Eden’ class is also taking on a major project in the courtyard at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Because of the sheltered location and shifts in the USDA’s hardiness zones, that planting will feature many species more often found in landscapes farther south. More about that later.

Positioning balled and burlapped trees for planting.

Moving balled and burlapped trees into position for planting.

'Urban Eden' students move shrubs into place outside the CCC building on the Ag Quad.

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