Mary Pat McGuire is a Registered Landscape Architect, Principal Designer at The Water Lab, and Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois (UIUC), where she collaborates with geologists, hydrologists, and engineers on urban water design. Her work telescopes between scales of the raindrop to the region, by investigating historic control of rainwater on the surface of cities that contributes to extreme flooding, overflows, and severe downstream impacts, all resolvable through design. By transforming the surfaces of cities for water, McGuire believes we interrelate human and hydrologic systems, formalize ecological democracy, and productively link the future of water to our forgotten landscape histories. As part of this research agenda, McGuire is developing a design proposal, Depave Chicago, to remove and redesign impervious pavements to hydrologically tap into geologic soil dynamics underneath the city. McGuire’s research is supported by Wright Ingraham Institute, University Research Board, Brent & Jean Wadsworth, and an Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and was recently profiled in LAM and Architects Newspaper.
Prior to academia, McGuire practiced at Peter Walker & Partners in Berkeley, CA and collaborated on stormwater design studies for the City of Chicago with Conservation Design Forum. The recipient of a US-EPA faculty research award, she has twice served as Research Fellow with the Landscape Architecture Foundation, and was an inaugural 2016-2018 Design Research Fellow in the College of Fine & Applied Arts at UIUC. McGuire holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia School of Architecture, a Certificate in Leadership in Sustainability Management from the University of Chicago, and a BA in International Political Theory from the College of William & Mary.