Niall Kirkwood Appointed Charles Eliot Professor of Landscape Architecture

Niall Kirkwood

Niall Kirkwood, Photo credit: Orah Moore.

The Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) announces Niall Kirkwood as the Charles Eliot Professor of Landscape Architecture, effective January 1, 2024. Established in 1926 by alumni in honor of former Harvard president Charles William Eliot (AB 1853), this professorship recognizes Kirkwood’s 40 years of service to the University. Niall Kirkwood is also currently the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Kirkwood was educated and licensed as a professional landscape architect and architect in the United Kingdom, and as a professional landscape architect in the United States. From 2003–2009, he was the thirteenth Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the GSD, 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 (MDes).

“Niall has consistently devoted himself to teaching GSD students how to tackle–through cultural awareness, through design, and through remediation–seemingly impossible contemporary sites: brownfields, superfund sites, landfills, and sites of extraction. Niall teaches advanced option landscape design studios and offers lecture courses, workshops, and seminars on the interrelation of design and technology in Landscape Architecture, Planning and Design,” says Sarah M. Whiting, Dean and Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture. “The scope of Niall’s teaching, research, publishing, and landscape consulting practice all emphasize a broader understanding of current and emerging technologies from landscape and environmental engineering and how this understanding can best result in more creative, progressive, and ethical design work in the fields of landscape architecture and urban planning and design.”

“My career at the GSD, like that of so many of my colleagues, has risen to the global challenges before us—and with effectiveness, functionality and, we hope, artfulness!”, Kirkwood says. “I have found with support from the school’s leadership we have addressed them with a breadth of vision and striking creativity and in doing so laid the foundations and structure of the unique pedagogy and ethos that is the GSD. Through this honor, I am happy to be linked to the history of the larger University as well as to the advancement of teaching and research at the GSD.”

Kirkwood was elected a Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Architectural Registration Council of the United Kingdom (ARCUK) in 1978, an Associate Member of the Institute of Landscape Architects, United Kingdom (ILA) in 1988, a Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in 1989 and was made a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA) in 2009.

Niall also chairs the GSD Faculty Review Board and Academic Misconduct Panel and has served as 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 currently serves as the GSD representative on Harvard University’s Title IX Policy Review Advisory Committee and the Vice Provost for Advanced Learning’s (VPAL) Planning Council.

Kirkwood holds courtesy academic appointments including Distinguished Visiting Professor, Tsinghua University, Beijing; Founding Professorship and Dean of Landscape Architecture, School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Beijing University (BUCEA), Beijing,vand is a Member of Academic Advisory Board of Beijing Advanced Innovation Center of Urban Design for Future Cities. During Fall 2017, he was on sabbatical at Smith College, Northampton, MA, in the Landscape Studies Program as the William Allen Neilson Visiting Professor. He was recognized for his global leadership in the area of post-industrial regeneration and brownfields by an honorary Doctor of Science (DSc.) from the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 2009.

Kirkwood is currently Deputy Editor in Chief of Landscape Architecture Journal (2020–present) and formerly Advisory Editor, (2015–2020, Beijing) was formerly Editor-in Chief of Nakhara: Journal of Environmental Design and Planning (2015–2018, Bangkok), Managing Editor, Worldscape Magazine, Chief Editor, RISE Journal (2015–present, Seoul). His essays and articles on design research, practice and teaching have been published in Landscape Architecture Magazine (USA), Landscape (UK), Journal of Chinese Landscape Architecture, Landscape Architecture Korea, Business World India, City Planning Review: Journal of City Planning Institute of Japan, Landscape Architecture Journal (China), Eco City and Green Building Journal, Landscape Record, China, Worldscape (China), Environment and Landscape.