Spring 2015 Newsletter

Message from the Head: With a beautiful new webpage, an intense department-wide spring charrette, a highly successful career fair in Chicago, some wonderful faculty awards, and lots of new publications and design work, the Department of Landscape Architecture is a lively place. We welcomed two new faculty members this year: Jessica Henson now divides her time between her practice for OLIN and teaching design workshops for UIUC as Clinical Assistant Professor, and Assistant Professor Mary Pat Mattson joins us from IIT. Additionally, Tawab Hlimi is bringing new energy to the department as our Designer-in-Residence for 2014-15. This year we also pay tribute to Deb Mitchell (MLA 1975), who passed away after a short illness on April 5, 2015. I serve as Interim Head in this critical year while we search for a permanent Head, an appointment that we expect to announce very soon. I hope you will enjoy the e-newsletter and stay in touch with us. 

D. Fairchild Ruggles
News & Events
Deb Mitchell hosting the Sophomore and Junior Studios field trip, September 26, 2014, at Northerly Island in Chicago.

Deb was a highly influential, award-winning designer, respected leader, and great friend of Landscape Architecture at Illinois. We mourn her passing after a short illness in early April.

Deb earned her MLA from Illinois in 1975. She joined SmithGroupJJR, where she served as Senior Vice President, in 1989. She went on to become a Fellow in the ASLA, President of ASLA, and President of the Landscape Architecture Foundation.

Deb was a vital leader and consistent resource for us here in Landscape Architecture at Illinois. She served on the Department's Resource Committee for over 25 years, established our JJR/Deb Mitchell Lecture series, hosted field trips, gave lectures, and mentored our students. Recently, she established the Debra Lee Mitchell Trust to benefit our students and faculty. You can read more on the LA website here. We'll miss her vitality, good humor, leadership, mentoring, and friendship.

March 30-31: The Department hosted a 2-day design charrette led by Gina Ford of Sasaki Associates, Shane Coen of Coen + Partners, and Tom Oslund of Oslund and Associates. The charrette, which focused on the railway stations and transportation corridor of Champaign, culminated in an exhibition in the atrium of Temple Buell Hall. For a closer look at the exciting process and final work, click here


March 13: The Department held its Career Fair at the Morton Arboretum where alums, friends of landscape architecture and more than 19 firms were welcomed to come network and find the latest design talent emerging from UIUC. Many thanks to Susan Jacobson (landscape architect at the Morton Arboretum and the Illinois Chapter of ASLA) for hosting us!  

Images from the 2015 Career Fair at the Morton Arboretum 

May 4: Visiting Designer in Residence Tawab Hlimi will post an exhibition of recent collaborative work among students across the University on the topic of stormwater management strategies and resilient design.  

Design and Public Health: The American Institute of Architects, along with the AIA Foundation and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, named the Illinois School of Architecture and 10 other architecture schools and schools of public health as charter members of the AIA Design & Health Research Consortium, which will help fund basic research on how design affects public health. Professor of Landscape Architecture William Sullivan, PhD is on the team along with seven other professors and professionals.

CELA loves UIUC! The Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture honored Professor William Sullivan and Professor Elen Deming (seen below) with the 2015 CELA Awards for Excellence in Research



UIUC and National Taiwan University have developed a partnership to help address the challenge of creating sustainable, healthy places through the International Study of Landscapes and Health. Find out more about the NTU exchange program on our website, and keep up with current UIUC students abroad here

More comprehensive news is found on the department website and for up-to-the minute news, see our Facebook page.
2014-2015 Lecture Series

May 6: Doug Reed from Reed Hilderbrand will give the annual Sasaki Day Lecture
April 6: The Belgian landscape architect, Bas Smets, visited Temple Buell Hall and spoke about his experiences with how landscapes take shape, how they are designed and how they are then constructed.
March 9: Kristina Hill spoke about her dynamic work regarding hybrid urban edges and sea level rise.
January 20: Carey Lundin, Director of Viva Lundin Creative Media, joined us for the film screening of “Jens Jensen: The Living Green.”
December 8: Alpa Nawre, Assistant Professor at Kansas State University spoke about her significant efforts to map and investigate alternative urban strategies for effective water management in India.   
November 19: Anne Spafford, Associate Professor of Landscape Design at North Carolina State University, visited to share her ongoing work surrounding the activation of interstitial spaces into drought tolerant and stormwater mitigating rain gardens.
October 13: Jonathan SolomonDirector of the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture and Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago shared his "Cities Without Ground" lecture.  

September 22: Cynthia Barton, Housing Recovery Program Manager at the New York City Office of Emergency Management, discussed new approaches to housing recovery.  

More information on the 2014-2015 Lecture Series found here.

Out & About
Henson with her Spring 2015 Design Studio at the top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch

Studio Field Trip: Jessica Henson’s Design Workshop River+Town traveled west to visit their project site, braving extremely cold weather to explore a 150-mile stretch along the Upper Mississippi River.

Sinha with her students in India

Workshop Abroad: Amita Sinha led a group of students to India last spring for a week-long workshop on the historic conservation of the ghats (steps) along the River Ganga in Varanasi (Benares). These proposals were developed in studio on campus and exhibited. The Project Report has been submitted to the Government of India. 


ASLA Volunteers in Action: The UIUC ALSA chapter offered to lend a hand with the Boneyard Creek Riverfront Development in downtown Urbana. 

Other field trips have explored Chicago, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. Every fall Carol Emerling-Dinovo’s Professional Practice students visit design offices in the Chicago area. 

Lectures Delivered Internationally:
William Sullivan: Keynote address to, “Healthy Cities.” (Taipei, Taiwan)
Amita Sinha: “Gaze and the Picturesque Landscape of Amber, India.” (Delhi, India)
D. Fairchild Ruggles: “Celebrating Islam in the Architectural Monuments of Modern Spain.” (Bandung, Indonesia) 
Dianne Harris: “Little White Houses: Displaying Jewish Identity in the Postwar American Home.” (Paris, France)

For more detailed information regarding faculty background, research and ongoing project work, click here