Landscape Architecture

Madeleine Ghillany-Lehar, a Master of Landscape Architecture student, completed a virtual externship with renowned landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations, in January. Madeleine came from a different field before deciding to study design at Penn, so the externship helped her see how a design practice differs from other offices she has worked in. 
James Corner
Professor Emeritus James Corner (MLA‘86), the renowned landscape architect and urban designer who is founder and CEO at James Corner Field Operations, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Corner is the fifth Penn-affiliated architect elected to the Academy, widely considered the highest form of recognition of artistic merit in the United States.
Plan of southeast Philadelphia site showing location of urban farm system and public spaces.
A team of Master of City Planning and Master of Landscape Architecture students at Weitzman won an Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Award from Philadelphia’s Center for Architecture and Design. Asked to reimagine the 1300-acre Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery site located along the Schuylkill River in Southwest Philadelphia, the winning students proposed re-imagining the site as the hub for vertical farming and a food share system, new transit connections, and outdoor recreation spaces.
Illustration showing a stone wall with lettering reading Angola Memorial Justice Center

“It was really exciting how [the students] did not even try to pretend that landscape architecture or other design professions are neutral,” says Beka Economopoulos, an artist, activist and founder of the Natural History Museum, who served as a guest critic and juror for the studio. “They’re always serving some end.”

A Fall 2020 interdisciplinary studio at Weitzman called Designing a Green New Deal asked students to produce a digital “atlas” documenting three different American regions’ carceral, fossil fuel, and industrial agriculture landscapes. Billy Fleming, the Wilks Family Director of The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology, then asked the students to create set of ‘futures’ based on the Green New Deal. “Rather than focusing on a piece of technology or faux-ecology, we asked them to think about how they might produce speculative work that advances the project of abolition and climate justice, as described to them by the movements we worked with in the studio,” Fleming says.
Book cover for Beautiful China
Beautiful China: Reflections on Landscape Architecture in Contemporary China (ORO Editions, 2020) is the first serious consideration of Beautiful China, the title of the Chinese government’s broad pol
Rows of smiles
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, outdoor recreation spaces worldwide have been more popular than ever—sometimes to the detriment of the landscapes themselves, as foot traffic has increased dramatically.
Keke Huang, a Master of Landscape Architecture student, completed a virtual externship with Interface Studio LLC, a Philadelphia-based planning and urban design practice, in January. Her experience gave her a sense of how important work environment, office atmosphere, and project types being taken on are when looking for a firm to work in.
Billy Fleming, the Wilks Family Director of The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology, will deliver the keynote address at the 2021 Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Annual Conference. His talk, "Design in the Time of Crisis: Landscape, Climate Politics, and the Green New Deal," will take place virtually on the opening day of the conference, Wednesday, March 17.
Ferda Kolatan and Nick Pevzner
The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design congratulates Ferda Kolatan and Nicholas Pevzner on joining the standing faculty: Kolatan as associate professor in the Department of Architecture, and Nicholas Pevzner as assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture.
A terraced hillside is interrupted by low rise buildings and ends with a green space
For years, students in David Gouverner's interdisciplinary Urban Design Studio have helped to build an understanding of how cities can manage and improve informal settlements that develop on their peripheries. In the 2020 version, they pushed the limits of remote learning to study three sites, in three countries. 
A multi-pronged spiky brown tower rises above a dense pine forest with a flock of birds in the air above
The LA+ CREATURE international design ideas competition, organized by the interdisciplinary landscape architecture journal LA+ at the Weitzman School, asked designers to choose any non-human creature as their client and then design something that would not only make its life better, but also create greater human empathy for the creature.

Photo Eric Sucar

In a year marked by COVID-19, renewed calls for racial justice, a contentious presidential election, and an active wildfire and hurricane season, Weitzman faculty from the departments of city and regional planning and landscape architecture suggest what’s needed to make urban areas more resilient to future crises.