Back to Faculty

Mary Pat McGuire, RLA

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). Her design research falls within the theory and practice of water urbanism and specifically confronts one of the biggest issues we face: how to redesign the (impervious) surfaces of cities for rainwater. She teaches design studios on this issue and collaborates with geologists, hydrologists, engineers, and artists on water, integrating scientific investigation, modeling, design research, and experiential learning so as to reunite people, land, and water in cities. McGuire proposed Cities as Hydro-Geologic Terrain (The Plan Journal, 2018) as the basis for a renewed relationship with water in the Chicago region, and she leads an Illinois/Indiana Sea Grant (NOAA) on this research in Chicago-Calumet. Her team is creating soils-based surface design prototypes and working with communities to integrate this break-through approach into their resilience planning. McGuire’s “Depave Chicago” work and surface design research has also been generously supported by the Wright Ingraham Institute, the University Research Board, the Brent & Jean Wadsworth Endowment, and a College of Fine & Applied Arts Design Research Fellowship. She has been interviewed on NPR on urban stormwater management, and her work has been profiled in Landscape Architecture Magazine and the Architects Newspaper.

McGuire chaired the Fresh Water (2018) design symposium, an event that brought together a multitude of people and projects from the Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, and she is co-editor of the forthcoming volume Fresh Water: Design Research for Inland Water Territories (AR+D, 2019). She is currently in production on a new book, Surface Design in Landscape Architecture (Routledge, 2021), consisting of case study research in landscape architecture.

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 the University of Illinois. 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.