Landscape Architecture

Initially established in 1924 and later revitalized under the leadership of Professor Ian McHarg in the 1960s, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning is recognized around the world for its pioneering contributions to ecological planning and design. Today, the Department advances this legacy through its commitment to innovative design as informed by ecology, the history of ideas, techniques of construction, new media, and contemporary urbanism. The work of both faculty and students reflects the ambitious character and intense design focus of the Department, and continues to be deeply influential internationally. Rapidly changing social and cultural conditions around the world require that future professionals will be able to respond with new concepts, forms and methods of realizing projects, and it is to the global future that we look.

The diversity of the profession of landscape architecture is well represented at Penn. Students are introduced both to the varied scales of practice (from gardens and small urban parks to larger territories such as city sectors, brownfields, regional watersheds, megaregions and world heritage conservation areas) and to its broad scope (from formal and material issues to techniques of reclamation, management, and communication). These concerns are most developed in the design studios, where students are encouraged to explore and expand their own creativity while learning the necessary conceptual, visual and technical skills to properly develop their work. Seminars and workshops in history and theory, technology (ecology, horticulture, earthwork, construction, and project management), and visual and digital media further complement and are designed to synchronize with the creative work being undertaken in the studios. Advanced, speculative work takes place in the final year of study, where students may choose from a wide array of offerings across the School and/or pursue independently conceived research projects.

The faculty is internationally distinguished and provides expertise in design, urbanism, representation, technology, and history and theory. Faculty specialize in subjects such as advanced digital modeling, global biodiversity, landscape urbanism, urban ecology, form and meaning of design, cultural geography, representation, brownfield regeneration and detail design. In addition, leading practitioners and theorists around the world are regularly invited to lecture, run seminars, or teach advanced studios. Together with very strong links to the other departments in the School and the wider university the Department is exceptionally well served by talented and committed teachers, each a major authority or emerging voice in the field.

The department is represented in the broader public and academic arenas by a prolific array of important books from faculty (see recommended readings) and two biannual journals devoted to advancing ideas and critical inquiry in Landscape architecture: Scenario and LA+.

Similarly, Penn faculty are renown for the exceptional quality of their built works of landscape architecture, for example; James Corner’s Highline and Laurie Olin’s Bryant Park both in Manhattan.

The Department offers two primary courses of study leading to a professionally accredited Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA). The first professional degree program is three years in length and is designed for students with an undergraduate degree in a field other than landscape architecture or architecture. The second professional degree is two years in length and is designed for those who already hold an accredited bachelors degree in either landscape architecture or architecture. Students may be admitted with advanced standing into either of these programs depending upon their respective backgrounds. Dual degree programs with architecture (MLA/MARCH), city planning (MLA/MCP), historic preservation (MLA/ MSHP) or fine arts (MLA/MFA) are also available. All of the above named degrees may be combined with certificate programs in Historic Preservation, Urban Design, or Real Estate and Development. The Department also offers a Certificate in Landscape Studies, designed for students who may wish to augment or focus their prior work through research into landscape topics.
 

Contact Information

Richard Weller
Professor and Chair
119 Meyerson Hall
210 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia PA 19104-6311
T: 215-898-6591
F: 215-573-3770
rjweller@design.upenn.edu

Diane Pringle
Coordinator
119 Meyerson Hall
210 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia PA 19104-6311
T: 215-898-6592
F: 215-573-3770
dianep@design.upenn.edu

Darcy Van Buskirk
Administrative and Academic Coordinator
119 Meyerson Hall
210 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia PA 19104-6311
T: 215-898-6591
F: 215-573-3770
darcyv@design.upenn.edu

General Department e-mail: 
landarch@design.upenn.edu