Niall Kirkwood

Niall G. Kirkwood is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he has taught since 1992. From 2003-2009, he was the thirteenth Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture, the oldest such program in North America, founded in 1901 by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and Arthur Shurcliff. From 1999-2003 and 2005-2007, he was Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture Degree Programs (MLA), and from 1999-2003, he was the coordinator of the "Design and Environment" track of the Master in Design Studies Program (MDesS), the mid-career degree program at the GSD. In addition he is the Gerald O'Hare Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and holds appointments at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, Korea University, Seoul, (Visiting Scholar) and University of Hongkong (Advisory Council and External Examiner). He is a faculty member of the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment, the Harvard University Center for the Environment and a member of the faculty steering committee of The Harvard Global Health Institute.

He teaches in core landscape design studio and offers lecture courses and seminars on the subject of design and aspects of technology in Landscape Architecture. Previous advanced option design studios include: Mumbai Metropolitan: Adapting the Township Lands, Mumbai, India (2008); Mumbai Margins: Rethinking the Island City, Mumbai, India (2007); Maximum Mumbai, Minimum Mumbai: Repositioning the Cotton Textile Mill Lands, Girangaon, Central Mumbai, India (2006); Altered Faces: Reworking the Teheran Corridor, Seoul, Korea (2003) and Motor City Landscapes: Detroit Riverfront (1999). Previous lecture courses include: GSD 6242 Ecologies, Techniques, Technologies IV, GSD 6323 Brownfield Practicum: Regeneration and Reuse of Brownfield Lands, GSD 6219, Plants and Technology II, GSD 6206 Landscape Technology, GSD 6304 Siteworks, and GSD 6303 Site Planning. Previous research seminars include: GSD 9108 PHYTO Remediation and Rebuilding Technologies in the Landscape, GSD 9206 Mumbai Matters: Assembling Urban India, GSD 9206 Reimagining India: A New Urban Enterprise?, GSD 3501 MLA I AP/MLA II Landscape Architecture Professional Seminar, GSD 6442 Rebuilding Devastated Environments: Sustainable Landscape Development in the 21st Century, GSD 6323 Brownfields, GSD 6323 Sustainable Redevelopment of Brownfield Sites in Dorchester and East Boston, MA,  GSD 6400 Landfill Enduse: Freshkills Landfill Regeneration, Staten Island, NY, GSD 6440 Land Reclamation and Remediation Technologies and GSD 6323 Advanced Seminar on Landscape Technology: Brownfields.

Kirkwood's teaching, research, and publishing broadly concerns technology and its relationship to design in the built landscape environment. He currently carries out research into land reclamation, the reuse of former industrial or polluted land, urban landscape planning and design, landscape detail technologies and the durability of built landscapes. Areas of specific focus include mining extraction sites, urban brownfields, municipal landfills, the regeneration of Superfund sites, decommissioned military bases, closed manufacturing facilities and the invention and production of landscape site materials and applied technologies.  More recently his research has focused on aspects of landscape, technology and urbanization in India, Korea and China. He is the founder and director of the Center for Environment and Technology (CTE), a research, advisory, and executive education initiative at GSD. The Center since 1997 has focused on site analysis, remediation, sustainable reclamation issues and educational outreach in North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Research projects include post-mining reclamation strategies for the Pingshuo Mining Company, Shanxi, China, Research on the low carbon city for the Mayor’s Office, Metropolitan Region of Seoul, Korea, an analysis and report on U-Eco Cities, for the Korea Institute of Construction & Transportation Technology Evaluation and Planning (KICTEP) and collaboration with MK Singh, (Delhi) and Samsung C&T Corporation, Engineering and Construction Group on sustainable design and development in Mumbai.

The general scope of Kirkwood's teaching, research, publishing and landscape consulting practice all emphasize a broader understanding of current and emerging technologies and techniques from landscape, civil and environmental engineering, and how this understanding can best result in more creative and progressive design work in landscape architecture.

The Art of Landscape Detail

Weathering and Durability in Landscape Architecture

His award winning book The Art of Landscape Detail (1999), (Chinese translation 2004), examines the materials, structure, and language of detail as a means of not only understanding contemporary landscape design work, but as a source of future ideas and creative expression in landscape architecture. Weathering and Durability in Landscape Architecture (2004) (Chinese translation 2012) continues this research by examining the topics of materiality, time, and change in the constructed landscape. Detroit Riverfront: Motor City Landscape (2000) (with co-author Mary Margaret Jones) illustrates the studio results of a re-imagining of downtown Detroit in the transformation of the post- industrial waterfront.


Detroit Riverfront: Motor City Landscape

Manufactured Sites: Rethinking the Post-Industrial Landscape


Principles of Brownfield Regeneration: Clean-up, Design and Reuse of Derelict Land

Principles of Brownfield Regeneration: Clean-up, Design and Reuse of Derelict Land, Korean translation

Manufactured Sites: Rethinking the Post-Industrial Landscape (2001) is an acclaimed publication resulting from an exhibition and international conference of the same name that brought to the landscape architecture field the concerns of land reclamation and the integration of innovative technologies and design strategies in their redevelopment and regeneration. Principles of Brownfield Regeneration: Clean-up, Design and Reuse of Derelict Land(2010) (Korean Translation 2011, Chinese translation 2012) concerns contaminated sites, including derelict abandoned land from former heavy industrial and manufacturing uses.

Prior to joining the Harvard faculty Kirkwood worked fifteen years in private design practice in Edinburgh, Scotland, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and London, England as a registered landscape architect and architect carrying out urban land reclamation, landscape architectural design, urban architecture, and development projects in Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S.A. These included Ardeer Quarry and Saltcoats Landfill Reclamation, Ayrshire, Scotland, Canary Wharf, London Docklands, Hotel del Artes, Vila Olimpica, Barcelona, Bishopsgate and Ludgate Developments, City of London, Wexner Center, Columbus Ohio, and the British Embassy and Chancellery, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and an honorary Fellow of the Kew Guild, The Royal Gardens at Kew, England in 2009.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institute of Landscape Architects, United Kingdom (ILA) in 1988 and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Architectural Registration Council of the United Kingdom (ARCUK) in 1978.

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