View of Airport Landscape: Urban Ecologies in the Aerial Age, Gund Hall, Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2013, Cambridge, MA. Photo: Justin Knight/Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Airport Landscape: Urban Ecologies in the Aerial Age presents and contextualizes important case studies that examine the contemporary airport as a landscape with complex ecologies. While some planners and designers have considered the airport as a form of urbanism to be developed as a city in its own right, others have proposed reading the airport as an ecological or environmental field to be managed. Focusing on both operating and recently decommissioned airports, this exhibition explores the implications of repositioning the airport as a landscape and cultural space central to the city. In association with the exhibition, Harvard is hosting the conference "Airport Landscape: Urban Ecologies in the Aerial Age," on November 14-15, 2013 that brings together a range of leading international voices, to explore the history, design, planning, development, and operation of the airport landscape.
Sonja Dümpelmann is an associate professor of landscape architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). She was an assistant professor at the University of Maryland (2007–12) and Auburn University (2005–07). She holds a PhD in landscape architecture from the University of the Arts, Berlin, and a MLA from Leibniz Universität Hannover. Dümpelmann has curated exhibitions in the field of landscape architectural history in Germany, and has worked as a landscape architect in Studio Paolo Bürgi, Switzerland. Dümpelmann's research focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century landscape history, and contemporary landscape architecture in the Western world, with a particular focus on the urban environment in Germany, Italy, and the United States. Her work explores the transatlantic transfer of ideas, the role of politics, technology, and science, and the work of women in the field. Her bookbook Flights of Imagination: Aviation, Landscape, Design is forthcoming from University of Virginia Press (2014).
Charles Waldheim is the John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture and chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. Waldheim is a licensed architect and principal of Urban Agency, a multidisciplinary consultancy in design and contemporary urbanism. Waldheim holds an MArch from the University of Pennsylvania and is a recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship; the Visiting Scholar Research Fellowship at the Study Centre of the Canadian Centre for Architecture; and the Cullinan Chair at Rice University. He is currently writing the first book-length history of Chicago's O'Hare Airport: Chicago O'Hare: A Natural and Cultural History.
Dan Borelli is the director of exhibitions at the GSD. He holds a master’s in design studies from Harvard University and a BFA in printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design. With over fifteen years of experience executing exhibitions, Borelli has collaborated with a variety of local and international design practitioners in many capacities. In addition to his work at GSD, Borelli maintains an art-based studio practice that focuses on socially engaged subjects. He's currently tracking the social histories surrounding one of the first Superfund sites in the United States, the Nyanza Dye plant in Ashland, Massachusetts.
The mission of the Harvard Graduate School of Design (founded 1936) is to advance the professions concerned with the planning and design of buildings and landscapes, together with their urban, suburban, and rural settings; and to matriculate students poised to challenge the conventions of design and transform the built environment in an increasingly complex and competitive global landscape.