Niall Kirkwood

Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs


Niall Kirkwood is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where he has taught and carried out research since joining the faculty in 1992. He was educated and licensed as a landscape architect and architect in the United Kingdom and as a landscape architect in the United States. 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’s in Landscape Architecture Degree Programs (MLA), and from 1999-2003, he was the coordinator of the “Design and Environment” track of the Master’s in Design Studies Program (MDes), the mid-career program at the GSD.

He is currently the Co-Director of the GSD Technology Platform, Chairman of 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 has served as a member of the Advisory Board and External Examiner, Landscape Architecture Program, School of Architecture, Hong Kong University, and a member of the On-Site External Examiners Review Committee to the School of Landscape Architecture, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China.

Kirkwood holds courtesy academic appointments including the Dr. Gerard O’Hare Visiting Chair, University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, Founding Professorship and Dean of Landscape Architecture, School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Beijing University (BUCEA), Beijing, China, and a Member of Academic Advisory Board of Beijing Advanced Innovation Center of Urban Design for Future Cities, Beijing, China. During Fall 2017, he was on sabbatical at Smith College, Northampton, MA. as the William Allen Neilson Visiting Professor.

Kirkwood is Editor-in Chief of Nakhara: Journal of Environmental Design and Planning (Bangkok, Thailand), RISE Journal (Seoul, Korea) and Advisory Editor of Landscape Architecture Journal (Beijing, China). His essays and articles on research 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 Architecture of Korea, Urban Space Design (China) and Harvard Design Magazine.

He was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2009 and an honorary Fellow of the Kew Guild, The Royal Gardens at Kew, England also in 2009. He was recognized for his global leadership in the area of post-industrial regeneration and brownfields by an honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

He 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.

The 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 the fields of landscape architecture and planning.

Kirkwood teaches in core and option landscape design studios and offers lecture courses and seminars on the subject of design and aspects of technology in Landscape Architecture and Urban Landscape Design. Option design studios include: GSD 1400 Ireland Remade: Post-BREXIT, City Regions and the Northwest Irish Landscape (2019), with Associate Professor Gareth Doherty, GSD 1407 Korea Remade: Alternate Nature, DMZ and Hinterlands (2018) with design critics Jungyoon Kim and Yoonjin Park, GSD 1409 Ulsan Remade: Manufacturing the Modern Industrial City- The Case of Ulsan, Republic of Korea,  (2017), GSD 1406 Seoul Remade: Design of the ‘Kool’ and the Everyday- Regeneration of the EBS District, Gangnam, Seoul, Republic of Korea (2016), GSD 1401 Mumbai Metropolitan: Adapting the Township Lands, Mumbai, India (2008); GSD 1402 Mumbai Margins: Rethinking the Island City, Mumbai, India (2007)GSD 1402 Maximum Mumbai, Minimum Mumbai: Repositioning the Cotton Textile Mill Lands, Girangaon, Central Mumbai, India (2006); GSD 1404 Altered Faces: Reworking the Teheran Corridor, Seoul, Korea (2004) and GSD Motor City Landscapes: Detroit Riverfront (1999).

Core studio courses include: GSD 1211 Landscape Architecture III; GSD 1211 Planning and Design of Landscapes

Lecture courses include: GSD 6242 Ecologies, Techniques, Technologies IVGSD 6323 Brownfield Practicum: Regeneration and Reuse of Brownfield Lands; GSD 6219 Plants and Technology II, GSD 6206 Landscape Technology; GSD 6442 Rebuilding Devastated Environments: Sustainable Landscape Development in the 21st Century; GSD 6304 Site-works,  GSD 6303 Site Planning; GSD 2103 Drawing the Landscape.

Research seminars have included: GSD 6454 Poetics of Landscape Construction; 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 6323 Brownfields: 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;  GSD 6323 Advanced Seminar on Landscape Technology: Brownfields; GSD 6323 Manufactured Sites.

Professor Kirkwood carries out research into the reuse of former industrial and polluted land, site remediation technologies, urban landscape planning and design, landscape reclamation, landscape detail design, traditional and emerging construction technologies and the on-going weathering and durability of built landscapes. He is a leading academic internationally in the field of land and landscape regeneration across a range of geographies, countries and scales of landscape. Areas of specific focus include mining extraction sites, urban brownfields, municipal landfills, the regeneration of superfund sites (USA), decommissioned military bases, closed manufacturing facilities and the invention and production of remade land using applied remediation technologies. More recently his research has focused on aspects of landscape, technology and urbanization in Ireland, South Korea, P.R. China, Thailand and India.

He is the founder and director of the Center for Environment and Technology (CTE), a research, advisory and executive education initiative at the GSD. The Center since 1997 has focused on site analysis, remediation, sustainable reclamation issues, emerging landscape materials and educational design outreach in North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Research projects include: Expo 2106 ‘City and Nature’ Regeneration Site Design, Tangshan, China; Urban Ireland: The City of Belfast as a Laboratory of Change; Dongchun New Town Housing Landscape, Korea; Hanam Misa Housing Landscape, Seoul, Korea; Post-mining reclamation strategies for the Pingshuo Mining Company, Shanxi, China; Vertical and Horizontal Moss Panel Surface Technologies with Il Song Landscape Research, Seoul, Korea; Strategies for development of the DMZ National Forest- ‘Forest of Peace’ for Ministry of Forestry, Korea; 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.

Prior to joining the Harvard faculty Kirkwood worked in private design practices as a registered landscape architect and architect in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, London, England, UK and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA carrying out urban land reclamation, landscape architectural design, urban architecture, and development projects in Europe, Middle East, and the U.S.A. These included Ardeer Quarry and Saltcoats Landfill Reclamation, Ayrshire, Scotland, Canary Wharf, London Docklands UK, Hotel del Artes, Vila Olimpica, Barcelona, Spain, Royal Albert Docks, London Docklands, Bishopsgate and Ludgate Developments, City of London, UK, Wexner Center, Columbus Ohio, and the British Embassy and Chancellery, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He worked as a member of a landscape office (Hanna/Olin Ltd, now renamed The Olin Studio) consulting with the design offices of Eisenman and Robertson, New York, Foster Associates, London, UK, Richard Rogers Partnership, London, UK, Office of Frank O. Gehry, Los Angeles, David Chipperfield, London, UK, Eric Parry, London, SOM, Chicago and London UK.