Phenomenology and Ideation

Neil Denari_poster

Free public lecture by James A. Garland, founder of Fluidity Design Consultants

18 March 2019 | 5:15pm
Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
1309 Euclid Avenue, 2nd Floor

How does phenomenological awareness and a practiced optics skill set inform the design process, and what are their conceptual limits? How does symbolic meaning relate to design today, and how might poetic integrity be distinguished from pragmatic ‘truth’? How can the regular analysis of historic examples relate to a vibrant contemporary practice? How are the issues of social equity, healthfulness and sustainability applied to contemporary water design in the public realm? Finally, how might a freshly minted ‘water idea’ provide a narrative and activate space? Jim Garland will briefly survey these topics with archetypal examples and current designs.


James A Garland founded Fluidity Design Consultants in 2002 after twenty years of practice in water design, architecture and urbanism. He holds a Masters degree in Architecture from UCLA, with a focus in architectural design and urban design. His undergraduate degree, also in architecture, was obtained from the University of Louisiana. James interned at Urban Innovations Group under Charles W. Moore, FAIA, an internationally celebrated architect who was known, among many things, for his enthusiastic and skillful use of water in architecture.

Fluidity was established to create a new generation of water features conceived, crafted, and engineered for a more sustainable century with a fresh, invigorating aesthetic.

Concurrently with directing Fluidity’s design efforts, Jim is writing two books about fountains, one covering a 2,000 year history of best examples, and the other focusing on Fluidity’s projects, with speculations on the future of water design.

Organized by the Kent State University Landscape Architecture Program, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, and Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.


Kent State’s Master of Landscape Architecture I program was awarded full accreditation status from the Landscape Architecture Accrediting Board (LAAB) in the Spring of 2018. The program is intended for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree with a major other than a design profession. Offered at the Kent State University’s Cleveland Studio located in the urban core of Cleveland, Ohio at Playhouse Square, an urbanized landscape edging the international waters of Lake Erie, the program offers students a local laboratory to study global landscape issues including: reclamation of urban vacancies, infrastructure systems, living architecture, natural resources and water quality for landscapes of health and social justice through inclusive and interdisciplinary design methodologies and community engagement while adapting to the demands of change brought on by the nature of the region and global practice.

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