Esther Margulies

Director, Graduate Programs in Landscape Architecture + Urbanism; Professor of Practice


MLA, Harvard GSD BS, Landscape Architecture, Cornell University

Esther Margulies is a professor of practice and faculty member in the Master of Landscape Architecture + Urbanism program where she teaches courses in the practice of landscape architecture, site materials and construction, periodic interdisciplinary studios and elective courses.

Professor Margulies is a research faculty member of the USC Urban Trees Initiative, a collaborative project with the City of Los Angeles to address current inequities in the City’s urban forest, and to develop evidence based tools to bring resources and innovative nature based solutions to underserved communities.

She is a licensed and practicing Landscape Architect and founder of The Office of the Designed Landscape (OotDL). As a practice leader at nationally recognized firms she has led award winning landscape design and planning on multi-disciplinary integrated teams for public realm and private sector projects including urban transit, education, commercial, hospitality, park and mixed use projects.

She is a longtime advocate of a revitalized Los Angeles River serving as a co-founder and board member of The Los Angeles River Public Art Project. She provides public service as a West Los Angeles Planning Commissioner.

Professor Margulies serves as the USC School of Architecture Diversity,Equity & Inclusion Liaison, and advisor to the school’s National Organization of Minority Architects student chapter.

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.

Professor Margulies is licensed to practice landscape architecture in California and Massachusetts.

Currently Teaching
  • 403
    Principles of Spatial Design II
    Principles of Spatial Design II
    Prerequisite(s): ARCH 303 Emphasis is on developing advanced urban spatial design solutions set within contemporary urban conditions, with a particular emphasis on ecology, public space, neighborhoods and districts
  • 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.
  • 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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