Science, Beauty Go Together in Landscape Architecture Program

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2009) – Suppose you are a student who is intrigued by the natural sciences, yet also have an eye for the aesthetic. It could be that you are a candidate for the University of Kentucky's highly-regarded Landscape Architecture program, housed within the College of Agriculture.

A recent survey (2008) by a national publication, Design Intelligence, ranked UK Landscape Architecture 15th in the nation, based on a survey of employers and professionals who were asked to rate their level of satisfaction with graduates of programs from across the country.

The 'science' of landscape architecture is concerned with conserving and managing natural resources. Its 'art' involves creating more enjoyable, comfortable, and safe outdoor areas in places where the natural environment must be adapted for human use.

"Some people think that the profession is all about bushes, trees, and other plantings," said Professor Horst Schach, the founding chair of UK's Landscape Architecture program, who has been on the university's faculty since 1969. "While horticulture certainly is one element of the field, these days landscape architects are involved in everything from large-scale regional planning, to parks, to residential developments, to urban renewal, and more."

Here in the Commonwealth, Schach cites the reconstruction of Paris Pike in Central Kentucky and the redevelopment of the Louisville waterfront as recent examples of major projects which were directed by landscape architects.

The five-year Landscape Architecture program at UK is fully accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and meets all necessary requirements for licensing of landscape architects in Kentucky and other states.

And speaking of the ASLA, the organization recently bestowed a prestigious award to a group of fifth-year UK landscape architecture students for their work on a project in Kenton County, Ky., called "The Hills Project." The adviser for the students on the project was Brian Lee, associate professor of landscape architecture.

This summer, Lee was named a 2009-10 National Teacher Fellow by the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA). He also continues to work on one of the University of Kentucky's 36 Commonwealth Collaboratives, where UK faculty researchers are engaged to meet and solve challenges facing the state. The ongoing project that Lee and students in the service-learning studio are part of is focused on Land Use Planning.

One other note about NACTA - the organization's national president for 2009-10 as selected by his peers is UK's Mike Mullen, newly named as the university's associate provost for undergraduate education. Until recently, Mullen served as associate dean for academic programs in the College of Agriculture. He is a tenured faculty member in the college's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Merging the spheres of art and science together quite beautifully - The profession of landscape architecture.