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Letter from Department Head William Sullivan

Awards and recognitions have been streaming in this fall! College Factual ranked our BLA program third in the nation. A group of our graduate students won an ASLA Honor Award for their design work. And one of our PhD students won a prestigious award for her research.

Two new Designers-in-Residence have joined us for the year: Juila Kim and Danika Cooper. You can read about them and a number of other wonderful recent events below.

In August, I assumed the responsibilities of Head of Landscape Architecture with three clear goals: to raise our visibility, increase our undergraduate enrollment, and reconnect with practitioners, alumni and friends. Regarding this third goal, I’m engaged in a listening and learning tour to understand the challenges that practitioners face and the opportunities we have to reshape our relationships in ways that strengthen all of us.

I hope to see many of you at the ASLA meeting in Chicago. Please stop by the Alumni Tailgate or the reception for Illinois alumni and friends on Saturday, November 7, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, hosted by Site Design Group, at 820 S. Michigan Avenue.  

University of Illinois Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Program Ranked #3

Thinking about pursuing a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree?

College Factual, which identifies the best colleges for each major based on ten objective factors (such as early-career salary, market share, and related major focus), has ranked our BLA program as #3 in the United States.

Read more.

Reverse Engineering wins 2015 ASLA Student Award

Developed with guidance from 2014-15 Visiting Designer-in-Residence Tawab Hlimi, Reverse Engineering: Reconfiguring the Creek-Campus Interface, won a 2015 ASLA Student Honor Award in the Student Collaboration category.

Read more.

The 2015 Robert Ferber Dissertation Award

Ph.D. candidate, Dongying Li, received the 2015 Robert Ferber Dissertation Award from the University of Illinois Survey Research Lab at a reception on Wednesday, October 8. This award recognizes excellence in survey research as part of a doctoral dissertation. Dongying is conducting survey research that examines the relationship between high school student’s exposure to urban green spaces and their cognitive and emotional functioning.

Read more.

Olmsted Scholar, Heena Gajjar, featured by Landscape Architecture Foundation

Thesis work by MLA candidate and 2015 University Olmsted Scholar, Heena Gajjar, is featured this month by the Landscape Architecture Foundation. Gajjar’s thesis, “Journeys in the Cultural Landscapes of Okhamandal, Gujurat, India,” proposes a series of site-specific design interventions to address pressures of climate change and development in one of the most important holy sites on the Indian subcontinent.

Read more.

A digital edition of Gajjar's work is available through

Faculty-Practitioner Round-Table Discussion

Twenty-three Chicago-based practitioners and seven members of our faculty met at the Sullivan Galleries (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) on Thursday, September 17, for a round-table discussion on design pedagogy and the priorities of contemporary practice.

This discussion was held in conjunction with the Outside Design exhibit running through December 19, 2015.

Read more.

Outside Design Artist Discussion

Outside Design artists and designers were in the gallery for a discussion of their work on Thursday, October 2. Among the exhibitors, University of Illinois Landscape Architecture Associate Department Head and Associate Professor, David Hays, Analog Media Lab, Urbana-Champaign.

Outside Design, curated by Jonathan Solomon, brings together five firms whose research-based work develops new knowledge at the edges of design practice.

2015 Summer Intensive

Students from Champaign-Urbana high schools participated in the five-day College of Fine and Applied Arts 2015 Summer Intensive taught by Professors David Hays and Stephen Sears. Five high school students accomplished a lot in just five 2 1/2 hour sessions!

Go to the Department's facebook page to view additional photos from this event.


Conor O'Shea and Logistical Ecologies

BLA alumnus Conor O'Shea is featured in this month's issue of Architectural Record as part of "Chicago's Next Generation," which showcases young designers participating in the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Conor received his BLA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007 and MLA from Harvard University in 2012. He is currently serving as visiting Assistant Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology, College of Architecture, and Founder and Principal of Hinterlands Urbanism and Landscape, Chicago, IL.

Image courtesy IIT College of Architecture.

Landscapes and Health Exchange Program

Five students from National Taiwan University (NTU) are with us this fall as participants in our Landscapes and Health Exchange Program. Department Head Bill Sullivan, Prof. Rebecca Ginsburg and a group of graduate students gathered with them recently for a welcome reception.

Learn more about this program.

Eujin Julia Kim pictured left; Danika Cooper right. 

The Department of Landscape Architecture is pleased to have two designers-in-residence who will help to enhance the curriculum offered this year:

Eujin Julia Kim is interested in city resiliency and brownfield-planning responding to global issues, urban design focusing on regeneration process, collaborative planning models, and the integration of site design and remediation technology.

Read More.

Danika Cooper is a landscape designer, urbanist, and researcher; her work strives to highlight and strengthen connections between practice, research, and teaching. Currently, she is focused on giving expression to underrepresented materials and methods in the practice and representation of landscape architecture.

Read More.


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