Alum in Action: 24-25 McHarg Fellow Leah Kahler is an Emerging Voice in Landscape Architecture

Leah Kahler

Leah Kahler (MLA '21)
McHarg Fellow, Weitzman School of Design

Alumna Leah Kahler (MLA '21) was recently named the 2024-2025 McHarg Fellow by the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Weitzman School, University of Pennsylvania. The $72,000 McHarg Fellowship is awarded annually by The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology at Weitzman to recognize and support emerging voices in the field of landscape architecture.

Kahler joins the Center with a critical focus on the nursery trade and the complex horticultural histories of the profession. Kahler is a landscape designer and researcher whose work is motivated by justice-oriented storytelling though the lens of landscape. Her research explores the socioecological legacies of the plantation landscape, focused on sites of labor, extraction, and production in the American south.

Leah Kahler 1
Fall 2020 Landscape Architecture Studio. Industrial Swamp Sublime: Wetland Revitalization and Workers' Justice in the Crescent City. Image © L. Kahler

Kahler received a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia, where her research as a Benjamin C. Howland fellow explored the possibilities of an abolition ecology through speculative fictions at the site currently known as the Louisiana State Penitentiary or Angola Farm. She was a 2021 Landscape Architecture Foundation Olmsted Scholar finalist, was awarded the ASLA Certificate of Merit, and she received the LAF Honor Scholarship in Memory of Joe Lalli, FASLA.

Leah Kahler 2
Fall 2019 Landscape Architecture Studio. Weaving Memory: An Evolving Dye Garden for Charlottesville's Historic Silk Mill. Image © L. Kahler

At the UVA School of Architecture, Kahler coordinated public talks for ManifestA, a student collective for equity in the built environment and edited UVA’s design journal, LUNCH

LUNCH 15 spread
LUNCH 15 turns to the concept of Thickness and considers what possibilities lie in poché, thick description, thin assemblies, and in the many layers of the built environment. Kahler joined Colleen Brennan and Ben Small as co-editors of this journal's 15th issue, published in 2022.

Kahler joins Weitzman from Reed Hilderbrand's practice in Boston, where she played a key role in the design and construction of a 24-acre public park on the Tennessee River in Knoxville. Kahler has also taught landscape architectural representation at Boston Architectural College. No stranger to Philadelphia, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and the Growth and Structure of Cities from Bryn Mawr College.

The McHarg Center was founded in 2017 as an interdisciplinary platform for faculty research, teaching, and advocacy supporting the future of our planet.

Got it!

This website uses anonymous cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our use of analytical and performance tracking.
We do not sell or share any personally identifying information. More info