ENGAGING THE COMPLEXITIES OF OVERLAPPING PHYSICAL, CULTURAL + ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS
Landscape Architecture at UVA strives to educate and inspire the next generation of landscape architecture leaders. As a department, we develop critical perspectives on issues that affect landscapes across a broad range of scales, including issues of technology, social and environmental justice, ecology, and design culture. Drawing on the skills and expertise of internationally-recognized academics and practitioners, the Landscape Architecture, we promote a global perspective on socio-ecological contexts, inter-species articulation, cultural meaning, ecological fitness, and the challenges of adapting to a rapidly-changing environment. We prepare our graduates to be critical thinkers and global citizens to form a more inclusive and resilient world.
2 year, 2.5 year, or 3 year graduate program
Our curriculum challenges our students to imagine new landscape systems through rigorous research, design speculation, and the deployment of nascent technologies while remaining grounded in the discipline's professional practices and methods of material construction.
Our curriculum is built around the design studio (6 credit hours), taken each semester. The studio sequence exposes students to the range of scales and topical issues in landscape architecture. In emphasizing the ability to read and interpret a site within its context and shape its future based on those findings, the initial studios are based locally and emphasize on-site experience and documentation of place. Studios in the second and third years offer students opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary studios in cities and locations around the country and abroad. These advanced studios are research based, which encourages students to investigate the broader issues beyond a specific design problem and arrive at innovative and bold proposals.
Supporting the design studios are four tracks of curricula related to technical and theoretical content:
+ Eco-Tech (Ecology and Technology): integrates landform, water systems, bio-engineering, and regenerative technologies; focuses on innovation through living and computational systems
+ Planted Form and Function: investigates the art and science of plants in both native and urban contexts
+ Digital Practices: presents a broad range of design tools, including drawing, modeling, simulation and advanced fabrication
+ Histories and Theories: establishes conceptual underpinnings of ancient and contemporary precedents, challenging students to put their work into an evolving body of critical thinking.
We promote and create global research and travel opportunities for our students, with the recognition that the future of landscape architecture is increasingly global. Direct engagement with the sites and communities we are studying and designing for is a critical part of our curricula. Our students travel locally and nationally, but also internationally to experience design in-situ, to engage in fieldwork, and to gain a deeper awareness of global cultures.
Students have many options to study abroad for summer sessions or for full semesters. UVA School of Architecture offers ongoing programs in Venice, Vicenza, Barcelona, China, and Ghana, and continues to build its study abroad opportunities.
In addition, our research studios focus on global sites, cultures and questions; Recent studios, as well as ongoing research developed by faculty, have speculated on design propositions in India, China, Argentina, Japan, Germany, the Arctic, and more.
As part of a leading research institution, UVA School of Architecture offers our undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to work directly with faculty on a variety of relevant contemporary topics that frame a consistent multi-year research agenda. Two studios are defined specifically as "Research Studios" and build upon our faculty's research trajectories and expertise.
Research studios are also often interdisciplinary and enhanced by collaborations with non-profits, organizations, communities, and leading-edge design practitioners. Internationally known visiting faculty further build upon the rich and diverse approaches and themes addressed within research studios.
CREATING LIVING INFRASTRUCTURES with Brad Cantrell
SKIP GRAFFAM (BS ARCH, 1985; MLA, 1990) PARTNER + DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AT OLIN STUDIO
As Partner and Director of Research, Skip Graffam leads design and planning projects as well as research initiatives at OLIN based in Philadelphia. OLIN’s research initiative is historically-grounded in academia, and explores and analyzes how landscape architecture can positively enhance life and environment in the 21st century. Skip led the competition-winning design for the OMA+Olin's winning design for the 11th Street Bridge Park Competition in Washington, D.C., currently in the design development phase.
11th STREET BRIDGE PARK: OMA + OLIN
Roxi Thoren (M.ARCH. + MLA, 2002) ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR + ASSOCIATE DEAN OF THE COLLEGE OF DESIGN, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
Roxi Thoren is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Associate Dean for the College of Design, and Director of the Fuller Center for Productive Landscapes. She researches the integration of productivity in landscape architectural design, including a series of research and design projects around agriculture, forestry, and power. Thoren is the author of Landscapes of Change, listed by the ASLA as a 2014 Top Ten book in landscape architecture.