by Virginia Fall, Student ASLA
While the profession of landscape architecture is relatively old in practice, the contemporary network of professionals remains a small group of people with shared links in academic and professional lineages. In the same way that we value our understanding of ourselves relative to our biological heritage, it is equally as important to examine and identify our professional lineage, stemming from our beginnings in academia. This examination lends to reflection on how we, as students and practitioners, decidedly embrace or revoke the design thinking and practices of our predecessors and mentors.
During my time at North Carolina State University (NCSU), I often heard brief stories about faculty that collaborated with notable professionals, or of an individual that studied under particularly admirable instructors. As the number of stories and names grew, I realized that other people might benefit from making this information accessible, and I decided to document this information in a singular place. This project ultimately stems from a selfish endeavor to understand the extent of experience housed within our department, and to understand how my perspectives in landscape architecture are shaped through generations of education and practice.
When I initially mentioned this project to faculty, I emailed to ask them if they were willing to share and to identify their academic institutions with meaningful mentors from their academic and professional experiences. I had several faculty members enthusiastically respond, and some asked for a meeting to better understand the objective of the document. I tried not to put any parameters on what defines a mentor, and let their own interpretations shape the document. In the end, the graphic feels like a celebration of our faculty, recognizing the wealth of experience and exposure we have at NCSU.