How Designers Think

Where
Oak Room, Fellowship House
When
November 3, 2017
09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Register for the event
Garden and Landscape Studies colloquium, Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies

In the past generation, humanity has crossed a number of significant thresholds: over half the world’s population now lives in cities, a percentage that is sure to grow, and we are living in an age characterized by significant and potentially irreversible anthropogenic climate and ecological transformations. Designers now in the middle of their careers are the first generation to have come of age with the challenge of imagining landscapes that might achieve long-term sustainability, resilience, and adaptability in the face of warming temperatures, rising oceans, and changing weather patterns. We will assemble a group of six to eight midcareer landscape designers to present how they think about a range of topics from urbanization and globalization to cultural and biological diversity, ecosystem services, and environmental justice in the city, in an effort to explore the conceptual contours of contemporary practice.

The colloquium is part of our program in Urban Landscape Studies, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through their initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, which is intended to foster the joint contributions that the humanities and the design and planning disciplines may make to understanding the processes and effects of burgeoning urbanization. At Dumbarton Oaks, the program brings landscape architects and historians together to explore how urban environments got to be the way they are and how best to manage them today. The colloquium provides the opportunity for our scholarly community to hear from a range of contemporary designers who are active in imagining better futures for our cities, and for the designers to engage with a historically informed audience.

The goal for the colloquium overall, as well as within individual presentations, is to bridge design and the humanities: to suggest the ways that humanities research and practice can inform each other in service of better understandings of cities past and present.

Speakers include Gina Ford (Sasaki, Boston) on flood management and coastal resilience; Aki Omi (Office MA, San Francisco) on working in a globalizing context, especially China; Sara Zewde (Gustafson, Guthrie, Nichol, Seattle) on community, race, and commemoration; Jose Castillo (Architecture 911, Mexico City), on the ways food and cooking transform cities; Michelle Delk (Snohetta, New York) on her firm’s interdisciplinary approach, using the Willamette River project as an example; Bas Smets (Brussels), on his explorations of the links between landscape design and film; and Jennifer Bolstad and Walter Meyer (Local Office Landscape Architecture, New York) on historical ecology and urban resilience.

Image: Design proposal for the Willamette Falls Riverwalk, Oregon City, OR, courtesy Snøhetta.

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Program

Abstracts + Speaker Biographies

This event has been approved for 6 Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LACES) credits.

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Mellon Colloquium Award for graduate and undergraduate students

Bliss Award for Harvard University students