Students from OSU’s Department of Landscape Architecture, site model for Bigger Darby. Courtesy of the Ohio State University.
This is a Test: Landscape as Site for Research assembles designers, scholars, scientists, and artists to discuss the role of experimentation, research, and prototyping in the wider field of landscape architecture. Today’s landscape architects draw from the methodology of agronomists, foresters, and horticulturists as well as from art experiments to analyze ecological patterns and generate design proposals—from garden to river and forest. Often small in scale, these experimentations inform larger landscape systems and offer a measure for spatial, material and ecological conditions. This is a Test celebrates the 100th anniversary of landscape architecture at the Ohio State University by building on the legacy of a land grant institution, namely the connection to agriculture and the reliance on empirical research.
Dorothée Imbert is professor in and head of the Department of Landscape Architecture, as well as the Hubert C. Schmidt ’38 Chair at the Ohio State University. Prior to joining OSU, Imbert practiced at Peter Walker and Partners, taught at Harvard University, and founded the master’s degree program in landscape architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. While at Harvard, she curated the symposium Territories: Contemporary European Landscape Design (2001) and the exhibition/symposium Constructing the Swiss Landscape (2006), as well as the symposium Food and the City at Dumbarton Oaks (2012). Her publications include The Modernist Garden in France (Yale University Press, 1993), Garrett Eckbo: Modern Landscapes for Living, coauthored with Marc Treib (University of California Press, 1996, 2005), Between Garden and City: Landscape Modernism and Jean Canneel-Claes (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009), and the edited collection Food and the City: Histories of Culture and Cultivation (Dumbarton Oaks, 2015). She continues to engage in design practice.
Sarah Cowles is an assistant professor of landscape architecture at the Ohio State University. Her research engages dialogue between representation and material processes in the making of landscapes at three nested scales: regional identity, disturbed sites, and the garden as research. Her exhibitions include The Salt Mountain Disturbance (Artisterium, Tbilisi, 2010) and Elegantly Wasted (MASS MoCA, 2012). In 2012, she was a Fulbright Scholar in the Republic of Georgia. Prior to her appointment at OSU, she was a designer with Tom Leader Studio. Cowles received her MLA from Harvard University’s GSD and her BFA from the California College of the Arts.
Established in 1873, the Ohio State University admitted its first landscape architecture students in 1915. Landscape architecture at OSU builds on a historical kinship with agricultural sciences and a conceptual sympathy with architecture and city and regional planning to educate environmental citizens, thinkers, and practitioners. It is through the critical examination of landscape architecture's relationships to technology, art, ecology, and theory that we can advance the discipline academically and professionally.