Assistant Director, Graduate Programs in Landscape Architecture + Urbanism; Associate Professor of Practice; Diversity & Inclusion Liaison
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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.
- 439Landscape Architecture Foundations WorkshopLandscape Architecture Foundations Workshop
This intensive pre-term course prepares students for their academic career in landscape architecture with a particular focus on familiarizing students with (1) the region’s ecological and cultural context; and (2) tools and techniques for seeing and representing landscape. It is structured in two parts with the first focused on field studies: both exploring the ecological and cultural landscapes of the Los Angeles region and developing field-drawing skills – perspective, depth of field, texture, tonality, sequence (etc). The second part is dedicated to developing media techniques for reading, representing and designing landscape as a dynamic medium. Particular software platforms will be stressed in order to facilitate ease of entry into the design studio curriculum (Adobe Creative Suite, Autocad, Rhinoceros, GIS).
- 530Landscape Architecture PracticeLandscape Architecture PracticeThe 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.
- 538LPlanting DesignPlanting Design
Landscapes are living systems that can contribute to the health and success of urban environments. This course focuses on the liveness of plant matter as a primary design medium of landscape architecture. Focusing on the cultural, aesthetic and performative roles of plants, the course asks students to develop planting designs and design methodologies for sustainable urban landscapes that benefit the more-than-human world. Investigating urban forestry techniques and their effects will require students study trees as critical urban infrastructures that can help achieve urban landscapes with increased levels of habitat diversity and ecosystem services.
- 542bLLandscape Architecture DesignLandscape Architecture Design
The final of the “core” studios, the scale moves into the territorial dimension, and tackles existential threats caused by one or more impacts of anthropocentrism – climate volatility, species extinctions, soil depletion, sea-level rise, air/water contamination, deforestation/desertification, etc. Working across scales, students will generate both site-specific strategies and replicable principles that can be deployed in multiple contexts. The studio will synthesize the material of landscape with economic, infrastructural, technological, scientific, social and cultural systems to generate ideas that have the potential for policy impact.
- 544Landscape as Urbanism: Case StudiesLandscape as Urbanism: Case Studies
Through the presentation of a case study index of cities and projects, this course situates the designed landscape as a framework and catalyst for urban form and process. In other words, it presents landscape as a medium of urbanism - embedded in processes of urbanization. The course starts with a historical review of the development of the profession of landscape architecture in the 19th- and early 20th-centuries, examining its evolution as fundamentally urban and infrastructural. This builds on knowledge gained in ARCH 565. It is then structured topically and geographically, focusing on a small number of cities each week to explore particular themes (scarcity, informality, wetness, etc). The final weeks transition from regional to planetary urbanization. This portion of the course explores landscape architecture’s role as a critical medium of cultural production that has the capacity to negotiate the increased scale and scope of anthropogenic impacts on the planet.
- 546Topics in Landscape Architecture Issues and PracticesTopics in Landscape Architecture Issues and PracticesAnalysis 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.
- 635Landscape Construction Assembly and DocumentationLandscape Construction Assembly and DocumentationThis 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.
- 642Landscape Architecture DesignLandscape Architecture Design
Prerequisite(s): ARCH 542abL
This course is an option research studio that tackles questions integral to the current practice of landscape architecture. Options offer diversity in scale, scope and geography, often with international possibilities. Opportunities for collaboration with other disciplines in the school (including Architecture and Heritage Conservation) are sometimes offered at this level. The expectation for this course is students have developed skills and values that ensure more self-direction in research and design development, culminating in a diversity of final proposals.