Niall Kirkwood

Charles Eliot Professor of Landscape Architecture

Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

“My subject is technology, technology in landscape architecture and its relationship to design.

A professional landscape architect makes a landscape through the natural and constructed landscape medium across the territorial scale to that of individual sites. Landscape architects act deliberately and imaginatively through tactile and material physical design, therefore technology (emerging and traditional) is the most important subject in the discipline of landscape architecture and central to education and professional practices.

The topics of my research, teaching, publishing and design practice include the global post-industrial landscape and innovations in regenerating brownfields, superfund sites, landfills, extraction and mining lands and remediation techniques for polluted air, water, soils and sediments. More recently this has focused on aspects of land retreat, urbanization, flooding, phytoremediation techniques, waste legacies and themes of community and environmental justice.”

Niall Kirkwood FASLA is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where he has taught and carried out research, publishing and consulting since joining the faculty in 1992. He 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, 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). He is also currently the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Graduate School of Design.

Kirkwood serves as 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 the Vice Provost for Advanced Learning’s (VPAL) Planning Council.

Externally, he has served as a member of the Advisory Board and External Examiner, Landscape Architecture Program, School of Architecture, Hong Kong University, External Examiner, Landscape Architecture Program, University of Toronto, a member of the On-Site External Examiners Review Committee to the School of Landscape Architecture, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China, a member of External Examiners, Landscape Architecture Program, School of Architecture, Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, a member of Visiting Curriculum Committee to University of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico and is currently a member of the ASLA National Mentorship Program.

Kirkwood holds courtesy academic appointments including 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 is 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. in the Landscape Studies Program as the William Allen Neilson Visiting Professor.

Kirkwood is currently Deputy Editor in Chief of Landscape Architecture Journal (2020-present) and formerly Advisory Editor, (2015-2020, Beijing, China) was formerly Editor-in Chief of Nakhara: Journal of Environmental Design and Planning (2015-2018, Bangkok, Thailand), Managing Editor, Worldscape Magazine, Chief Editor, RISE Journal (2015- present, Seoul, Korea). 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 Architecture of Korea, Urban Space Design (China) and Harvard Design Magazine.

He was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA)  in 2009 and is 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 doctor of science (DSc.) from the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2009.

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 from landscape 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 and urban planning and design.

Kirkwood teaches core and option landscape design studios and offers lecture courses, workshops and seminars on the subject of design and aspects of technology in Landscape Architecture, Planning and Design. Option design studios include: GSD 1409 Tar Creek Remade: Environmental Legacies and Re-Imagining the Future of the Tar Creek Superfund Site, Tri-State Mining District, Ottawa County, Oklahoma, USA (2021),  GSD 1408 Thailand Remade: The Lower Chao Phraya Flood Plain, Pathum Thani and the Technological Imagination, (2020) co-taught with Kotchakorn Voraakhom, GSD 1407 Fieldwork: Brexit, Borders and Imagining a New City-Region for the Irish Northwest (2019), co-taught with Gareth Doherty, GSD 1407 Korea Remade: Alternate Nature, DMZ and Hinterlands (2018) co-taught with Jungyoon Kim and Yoonjin Park, GSD 1409 Ulsan Remade: Manufacturing the Modern Industrial City- The Case of Ulsan, Republic of Korea,  (2017), co-taught with Francesca Benedetto, 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) co-taught with Nazneen Cooper,  GSD 1402 Mumbai Margins: Rethinking the Island City, Mumbai, India (2007) co-taught with Nazneen Cooper,  GSD1402 Maximum Mumbai, Minimum Mumbai: Repositioning the Cotton Textile Mill Lands, Girangaon, Central Mumbai, India (2006), co-taught with Nazneen Cooper, GSD 1404 Altered Faces: Reworking the Teheran Corridor, Seoul, Korea (2004), co-taught with Alistair McIntosh, and GSD 1403 Motor City Landscapes: Detroit Riverfront (1999) co-taught with Mary Margaret Jones.

Landscape Core studio courses have included: GSD 1211 Landscape Architecture III and GSD 1211 Planning and Design of Landscapes

Lecture courses have included: 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 and GSD 2103 Drawing the Landscape.

Seminar courses 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 IAP/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: Rethinking the Post-Industrial Landscape.

Professor Kirkwood studies technology and its relationship to landscape architecture through a series of research topics including 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 on-going weathering and durability of built landscapes related to climate change. He is a leading academic internationally in the field of site remediation, regeneration and recovery across a range of geographies, countries and scales of landscape. Areas of specific focus include mining extraction sites, urban and rural brownfields, waste 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.

He is the co-founder with Professor Xiaodi Zheng of the Center for Brownfield Research at Tsinghua University, Beijing, P.R. China.  He was also the founder and director of the Center for Environment and Technology (CTE), a research, advisory and executive education initiative located at the GSD. The CTE (1997-2017) 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 included: 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; Zinc Smelting Plants Reuse in Monterrey and Chihuahua, Mexico with Grupo Diseno Urbano, Mexico City; Hiriya Landfill Reuse and Ayalon Park, Tel Aviv for District Planning Office, Tel Aviv and Beracha Foundation; 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 offices in 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 Restoration, and Saltcoats Landfill Reclamation, Ayrshire, Scotland, Canary Wharf, Phases 1- 3, London Docklands UK, Hotel del Artes, Vila Olimpica, Barcelona, Spain, Parc de le Draga, Banyoles, Spain, Kings Cross Redevelopment, London, UK. Chiswick Park, London, UK, Royal Albert Docks, London Docklands, Bishopsgate and Ludgate Developments, City of London, UK, Wexner Center, OSU Campus, Columbus, Ohio, the British Embassy and Chancellery, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Colfes School Arts Center, Barnes, London, UK.

He was a project architect with the Office of Derek Lovejoy & Partners, Landscape Architects and Planners (now DLP), Edinburgh, Scotland and Trevor Dannatt & Partners, London, UK.  He also worked as a senior associate of the landscape architecture office, Hanna/Olin Ltd, Philadelphia (now The Olin Studio, Inc.) consulting with the design offices of Eisenman and Robertson, New York, Foster Associates, London, UK, Richard Rogers Partnership, London, UK, Ove Arup & Partners, London, UK. Office of Frank O. Gehry, Los Angeles, Aldo Rossi, Milan. Italy, David Chipperfield, London, UK, Eric Parry, London, SOM, Chicago and London UK.

In addition Kirkwood has consulted for Weston & Sampson, Boston, MA (2016), Group Han, Seoul, Republic of Korea, (2014- present), Eastwood Design Company, Beijing, P.R. China (2006-2010), the Clean Land Fund, Rhode Island (2005-2012), District Planning Office, Tel Aviv and Beracha Foundation on Hiriya Landfill, (2001), Fresh Kills Regeneration Professional Advisory Forum, (2001), City of New York Department of City Planning on Freshkills Landfill (1999-2001), and US EPA Region 1, New England (2000).

Kirkwood was awarded a BA. (Hons Arch) and a BArch from the University of Manchester, England, UK, an MLA from the University of Pennsylvania, a AB (Honorary) from Harvard University and a Doctor of Science (Honorary) from the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland.