Landscape Architecture

Susan Herrington & Cornelia Oberlander: Design in the Age of Climate Change

Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:00pm
Add to Calendar

Lower Gallery, Meyerson Hall

210 South 34th Street, Philadelphia

A discussion of recent work by Susan Herrington and Cornelia Oberlander, from the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Susan Herrington is Professor and Chair of the landscape architecture program. She teaches in the landscape architecture, environmental design, and architecture programs. She regularly teaches histories of landscape architecture, theories in landscape architecture, vertical studios, and core studios. She leads studios that investigate contested landscapes, including landscapes for risk, and seminars that explore the competing ideas underpinning modernism versus postmodernism.

Susan is a licensed landscape architect in the United States and consults professionally in Canada and the US. Her research concerns design theories of contemporary landscape architecture, including theories regarding children’s landscapes. In 2016, she received the 2016 Anne de Fort-Menares Award for her article, “Restoring a Modern Landscape in the Anthropocene: Cornelia Hahn Oberlander,” on the Friedman Residence. She received a 2015 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize for her book, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander: Making the Modern Landscape. She has conducted research with funding from the Graham Foundation, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and in Germany with support from the German Academic Exchange and in Cambridge as a visiting researcher at Harvard University. In 2011, Susan received a UBC Killam Faculty Fellowship. She is currently the newsletter editor of the Society of Architectural Historians Landscape History Chapter, and she served as Chapter president from 2011 to 2013.

Susan has published chapters in books such as Women, Modernity, and Landscape Architecture (Sonja Duempelmann and John Beardsley, editors, 2015), Managing the Unknown (Frank Uekötter and Uwe Lüb, editors, 2014), The Routledge Companion to Landscape Studies (Peter Howard, Ian Thompson, and Emma Waterton, editors, 2013), The Right to Landscape: Contesting Landscapes and Human Rights (Shelley Egoz, Jala Makhzoumi and Gloria Pungetti, editors, 2011), Festival, Hybrids: Reshaping the Contemporary Garden in Métis (Lesley Johnstone, editor, 2007), Contemporary Garden Aesthetics (Michel Conan, editor, 2007), and Eating Architecture (Jamie Horwitz and Paulette Singley, editors, 2004). She has written articles for professional magazines such as Architecture-Québec, Landscape Paysages, Landscape Architecture, and the Italian publication Costruire and academic journals, such as the Journal of Landscape Architecture, Landscape Journal, Landscape Research, the Journal Architecture Preservation Technology, and Children, Youth, and Environments. She also led the Seven Cs guidelines, which have been used in communities throughout the world.


Born in Muelheim-Ruhr, Germany, Cornelia Hahn immigrated to the United States as a child with her mother and sisters. She earned a diploma from Smith College in the early 1940s, and continued her studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, graduating in 1947.

As a recent graduate, Oberlander worked briefly for landscape architect James C. Rose. In 1951, she moved to Philadelphia to serve as Community Planner for the Citizens’ Council on City Planning. She was enlisted by architect Oskar Stonorov to work on his Schuylkill Falls public housing project in 1952, with Dan Kiley as senior landscape architect. Oberlander went to work with Kiley in Vermont, where she also collaborated with Louis Kahn on Philadephia’s Millcreek Housing Project.

In 1953 she moved to Vancouver, Canada, with her husband, architect and city planner H. Peter Oberlander. She established her own design firm and became known for her collaborative, socially responsible, and environmentally thoughtful work. Her most influential playground, the Children’s Creative Center at Expo ’67 in Montreal, led her to assist in drafting national guidelines for children’s playgrounds. Robson Square and the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology are two of many collaborations with architect Arthur Erikson.

For her life’s work and contributions to the profession of landscape architecture, Oberlander has been named a Fellow in both the Canadian and the American Societies of Landscape Architects.


Licensed landscape architects may register for CEU credit at the event.