College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

Chair's Message


Welcome to the Department of Landscape Architecture!

It has been an exciting first year serving as the department’s founding chair. At the 2014 Tri-State (Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina) American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Chapter biennial conference, our students swept the Student Awards category. Along with their Clemson faculty advisors, our students received the Certificate of Recognition, Honor and two Merit awards. Their work represented a variety of projects including independent research on urban stormwater management; the formulation of an innovative master plan and open space strategy for the Clemson Sandhill Research and Education Center located in Columbia, S.C.; and a service-learning project that investigated a long-term vision and sustainable landscape strategies for the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center, a laboratory, test track and research campus in Greenville, S.C.

Our faculty members presented their peer-reviewed research at the annual conferences for the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) and Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) held respectively in Baltimore and New Orleans. The Clemson University Board of Trustees and the State of South Carolina’s Council of Higher Education’s Advisory Committee on Academic Programs (CHE-APAC) approved the modification of our accredited Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) program enabling the shift of its delivery from five to four years. This is a major milestone that follows the national trend to sustain the relevance of landscape architecture with a high quality four-year undergraduate experience; this is coupled with our innovative platform to incorporate interdisciplinary educational opportunities, off-campus (Fluid Campus) studies, community engagement and service-learning, and design-build projects.

Our newly established Professional Advisory Board had its inaugural meeting, when they were introduced to the work of our students and faculty, and the administrative leaders in our College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. Clemson’s new facility for our Charleston-based programs received preliminary approval from the Charleston Board of Architectural Review in June. The proposed 30,000-square-foot Spaulding Paolozzi Center will be located on Meeting Street and will accommodate our students who choose this Fluid Campus location. Just before arriving last year, the DoLA celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of our Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program; and just around the corner in 2015, it will bethe tenth anniversary of the founding of our Master of Landscape Architecture. Our faculty members are enthusiastic teachers who are gaining international recognition for their research in areas such as learning gardens, design theory, design-build and landscape performance, community development and urbanism. Now housed in the AIA award-winning, LEED Gold, Lee III studio, the DoLA is part of an exciting cross-disciplinary collaborative learning environment that includes the School of Architecture and the Departments of Fine Arts, Construction Science & Management, and Planning, Development and Preservation.

South Carolina is enriched by its legacy of landscape architecture. Our state has one of the oldest traditional “designed landscapes” in America: a plantation garden at Middleton Place. This cultural landscape, a National Historic Landmark, was created in 1741, more than a century before Frederic Law Olmsted designed New York’s Central Park. The Middleton Place garden followed the rational design principles employed by André Le Nôtre at Vaux-le-Vicomte and the Palace of Versailles in France. In the twentieth century, South Carolina has been home to distinguished projects in landscape architecture such as the Sea Pines resort development at Hilton Head Island and Greenville’s Main Street designed by National Medal of Arts recipient Lawrence Halprin. Clemson carries these rich landscape architectural traditions into the twenty-first century to eet today’s critical challenges: America’s aging population and changing social needs, post-industrial towns and economic development, climate change, food crisis, urbanization and sustainability.

Our program emphasizes creativity, critical thinking and research, and advocacy for good global citizenship – all key foundations of design inquiry in landscape architecture. The DoLA faculty and students practice design activism through service-learning studios that involve regenerating local communities in the region and helping them rebuild their civic legacy. Our students are asked to challenge environmental and social injustice and we foster a design ethos that advocates for “smart, restorative landscapes, socio-culturally responsible designed environments and healthy places”. The Fluid Campus experience expands our students’ breadth of knowledge and design literacy through study at our learning facilities in Genoa, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; and Charleston. We are exploring program fluid campus locations in East Asia and anticipate a pilot to be launched soon.

Like our peers in the allied professions who work in the built and natural environments, the discipline of landscape architecture is constantly challenged by rapid changes in technology and the globalization of design. Our response to these challenges builds on the strengths of the DoLA faculty and students, our local and global involvement, and South Carolina’s landscape heritage that also includes agriculture, also known as “working” or “productive landscapes”. Our goals are to build on our design legacy and advocate for design that is sensitive to the socio-cultural, ecological and aesthetic complexity of today’s environment. We foster a supportive learning environment where future generations of landscape architects can learn to embrace and adapt to this constantly changing complexity through critical engagement, design and exploration. We know landscape architecture can serve as a tool for economic development with adaptive strategies to reinvigorate our communities. We believe in the power of landscape architecture and ways it impacts how we live, work, play and thrive.

Dr. Mary G. Padua, ASLA, CLARB, RLA (CA #2934; SC #1256)
Professor and Founding Chair