Esther Margulies

Associate Professor of Practice, Interim Director Landscape Architecture + Urbanism

MLA, Harvard GSD; BS, Landscape Architecture, Cornell University

Esther Margulies, ASLA is a licensed Landscape Architect and founder of The Office of the Designed Landscape (OotDL). As a practice leader at nationally recognized firms she has led multi-disciplinary integrated teams of on public realm and private sector projects including urban transit, park and mixed use projects. Her work has included award winning cultural preservation, urban storm water, K-12, planning, higher education and park projects. She is a long time advocate of a revitalized Los Angeles River serving as the co-chair of one of the first professional design charretes to re-imagine the river in the Studio City area in 1997, and the co-founder of The Los Angeles River Public Art Project. Esther is a part time lecturer in the University of Southern California Master of Landscape Architecture program where she teaches graduate level studio, theory, and construction courses. Ms. Margulies received her undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University and her Master of Landscape Architecture degree from The Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetii as a commissioner on the West Los Angeles Planning Commission. She is a former board member of the USC Architecture Guild. Ms. Margulies is licensed to practice landscape architecture in California and Massachusetts.

Currently Teaching
  • 530
    Landscape Architecture Practice
    Landscape Architecture Practice
    The purpose of this course is an introduction to the practice of Landscape Architecture. Topics include the expansive knowledge necessary to engage in all levels of practice from entry level designer to sole proprietor of a small business. Regardless of the size and type of practice landscape designers and architects need a working command of the principles of successful practice. Students will learn basic principles of practice organization, management, ethics and culture. Topics include history of the profession, practice management, project management, risk management, business and practice ethics, licensure, marketing and the laws and guidelines that guide landscape architecture. Guest lecturers and field trips will illustrate the importance of collaborative relationships between landscape architecture and the allied professions of architecture, urban design, civil engineering and planning. Students will develop tools to think critically about their goals for practice type and structure.
  • 544
    Urban Landscape Process and Place
    Urban Landscape Process and Place
    This course examines the processes of building the urban landscape as products of man and nature. Cities evolve as cumulative layers and projects applied under theoretical constructs in the context of economic, social, ecological and natural forces. Arch 544 examines the growth of Cities including Los Angeles. Readings and projects will focus on Urban evolution from migratory settlements dependent upon natural systems to a new forms of globally connected Urbis with complex communications, political, transportation, housing, infrastructure and technology systems. Students explore the past and present to better understand and speculate about the future.
  • 546
    Topics in Landscape Architecture Issues and Practices
    Topics in Landscape Architecture Issues and Practices
    Analysis and solutions conceptualization for a wide range of topics of public health related to land use and open space. Topics will include: air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, lack of open space, nature deficits, isolation and monotony, temperature rise, gun violence, drought and childhood diseases. The class will meet with public health faculty and researchers at the USC Keck School of Medicine, and make site visits to better understand the sites where health risks are in conflict with current and future land uses. Students will apply their research to selected sites analyzing issues of equity, disease and long term health costs and then develop conceptual guidelines to inform future policy development and site design. ARCH-546 may be repeated for a maximum of 6 units when topic is different.
  • 635
    Landscape Construction Assembly and Documentation
    Landscape Construction Assembly and Documentation
    This course builds an understanding of landscape materials and assemblies, construction documents and sequencing. Students will learn the content and organization of construction documents and specifications. Lectures, site visits and field trips will provide opportunities for students to observe multiple approaches to the use of site materials. Students will learn the basic vocabulary of site construction documentation and detailing and how to modify and adapt details for specific site conditions.
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