Sonja Dümpelmann is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) where she teaches history and theory courses. She was previously an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland (2007-2012), and Auburn University (2005-2007) where she taught design studios and history and theory classes. She holds a Ph.D. 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. She has held research fellowships at the German Historical Institute, and at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC.
Dümpelmann’s research and writing 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. It is based on the recognition that designed landscapes both result from and shape the complex cultural, political and human relationships of society, and society’s relationship to its environment. Dümpelmann is the author of Flights of Imagination: Aviation, Landscape, Design (University of Virginia Press, 2014), and of a book on the Italian landscape architect Maria Teresa Parpagliolo Shephard (VDG Weimar, 2004). Her edited volumes include the Cultural History of Gardens in the Age of Empire (Bloomsbury, 2013), Greening the City: Urban Landscapes in the Twentieth Century (together with Dorothee Brantz; University of Virginia Press, 2011), and Pückler and America (Washington D.C., 2007). Dümpelmann has published articles in Landscape Journal, Landscape Research, Planning Perspectives, Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, Stadtbauwelt, Stadt und Grün, Die Gartenkunst, and others.
She currently serves as Senior Fellow of Garden and Landscape Studies at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington D.C., and as President of the Landscape History Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH).