90 Years of Landscape Architecture: Celebrating TxDOT’s History

by Sandra Chipley, RLA, ASLA

Bluebonnets in Ellis County near Ennis, Texas / image: Michael Amador, TxDOT Photo Library Archives

The Texas Department of Transportation’s landscape architects have been designing safety, comfort, and aesthetics into our Texas roadways for 90 years. In celebration of this monumental 2023 anniversary, TxDOT has produced a short video chronicling their contributions and accomplishments. In 1933, Chief Engineer Gibb Gilchrist hired the Texas Highway Department’s first landscape architect, ‘Jac’ Gubbels, who immediately championed the benefits of roadside beautification to the public, contractors, and highway engineers. Gubbels’ 1938 book, American Highways & Roadsides, promoted his design philosophies on highway alignment road profiles, erosion control, and driver safely. Today, TxDOT’s transportation landscape architects are answering the questions of how best to integrate roads into the environmental context; they are designing with native plantings to reduce heat islands to lessen impacts of a warmer environment as well as designing for improved air and water quality. Share in TxDOT’s celebration by viewing the video!

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