Leena Cho



Harvard University, MLA with distinction; Wellesley College, BA


Leena Cho is an Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture, co-director of Arctic Design Group (ADG), and co-principal of design practices Kutonotuk and TempAgency.

Leena’s design research resides at the intersection between science and the humanities with a geographic focus in the Arctic—a vast, heterogeneous, and rapidly transforming region that is at the frontline of climate extremes and climate change. Her current work focuses on the three themes: 1) cold materialities, their significance and potentials as design mediums, 2) comparative investigations of urbanized arctic landscapes and cities, and 3) scientific practices in the Arctic that catalyze emerging forms of landscape and design approaches. Present in all three themes is an examination of climate change outcomes such as novel climate epistemologies, intensifying scientific landscapes, and new intellectual and methodological synergies in climate-driven interdisciplinary research that can expand the agencies of landscape practice. Leena was selected as Outstanding Researcher in 2022-23 by the UVA Office of the Vice President for Research, and the work of Arctic Design Group was chosen as one of one hundred “protagonists of the design world” in 2019 across ten creative fields worldwide by ICON Design based in Italy.

Her work has been funded by numerous federal and international agencies as well as cultural organizations including the US National Science Foundation, US Embassy in Iceland, World Bank, and the Anchorage Museum in addition to the grant awards received at UVA. Concurrently, her design work is published and exhibited in Europe, Asia and North America and has received high-level recognitions including via Europan, Jardins de Metis, MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program, Helsinki Guggenheim Museum and Central Library competitions.

In addition to her courses on landscape technology and extreme environments, Leena teaches both foundation and advanced research studios that foreground material and socioecological linkages, site observations and design experiments. Leena received her BA from Wellesley College and MLA with distinction from Harvard University. Prior to joining UVA, she practiced in Cambridge, MA and Rotterdam, Netherlands on wide-ranging projects in landscape architecture and urban design.


Cho, L, 2022. “Climate Inquires from Arctic Fieldwork,” In R. Monacella and B. Keane (eds.), Designing Landscape Architectural Education: Studio Pedagogies for Unpredictable Futures, Routledge.

Orttung, R., O. Anisimov, S. Badina, C. Burns, L. Cho, B. DiNapoli, M. Jull, M. Shaiman, K. Shapovalova, L. Silinsky, E. Zhang, and Y. Zhiltcova, 2021. “Measuring the Sustainability of Russia’s Arctic Cities,” Ambio, 50:11, Special Issue: Siberian environmental change.

Cho, L, 2020. “Permafrost Politics: Toward a Relational Materiality and Design of Arctic Ground,” Landscape Research, 46:1

Cho, L, 2020. “The Perennial Solidity of Water,” Journal of Architectural Education, 74:1

Cho, L., M. Burtner, H. Epstein, C. Griffin, and M. Jull, 2020. “Bridging Science, Art, and Community in the New Arctic,” The Polar Journal, 10:1

Cho, L. & M. Jull, 2019. Mediating Environments, AR+D.

Cho, L. & M. Jull, 2019. “Virginia Reaches North: Designing Future Arctic Cities,” Our Arctic Nation: Connecting the United States to the Arctic

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