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In 2008 Michael Sanchez, a Masters of Landscape Architecture student at the University of Oregon, won the GCA/Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design. His proposed project — to explore, document and present one of California’s most treasured outdoor spaces, the gardens of Mission Santa Barbara — ultimately became his master’s thesis. The $4,000 fellowship award helped Michael fund travel and supplies for a two-week research trip to the site and its archive.
Michael’s research examines the integration of landscape representation, through a series of ‘over-drawings’, as a method of exploring and promoting the historic preservation of landscapes. Through mapping, photography, painting and intaglio printmaking, he aims to portray landscapes in a way that engenders future exploration and preservation of these valuable cultural resources.
His recently-completed thesis work, Mission Santa Barbara | Visually Explored, showcases Michael’s rich and diverse artistic skills while exploring aspects of the site’s history, context, and scale. According to his synopsis:
“This project is not a typical historical analysis of the landscape of Mission Santa Barbara, nor a detailed historic rendering of the beautiful architecture and surrounding landscape. Nor is this merely a literary compilation. This project is a unique perspective between all of the professionals that tell stories of the missions — architects, landscape architects, planners, artists, historians, archeologists, anthropologists, Padres, tourists, etc. — and is woven into a product rich in illustrations and backed by interesting facts and sources.”
With his MLA now in hand, Michael’s immediate priorities are sleep, recovery and spending time with his family. Ultimately he would like to teach, and plans to do some adjunct teaching at the University of Oregon next year. He currently works as a landscape architect for a small design firm in Eugene.
Download Mission Santa Barbara | Visually Explored manuscript (pdf, 12.8MB)
Download Mission Santa Barbara graphics (pdf, 5.8MB)
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