The practices of A.E. Bye and others will be explored Sept. 6

Thaisa Way, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), will give a lecture, "Earth Forms as Landscape Architecture: The Practices of A.E. Bye and Contemporaries," 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6, in the Stuckeman Jury Space, Stuckeman Family Building, on Penn State’s University Park campus.

Way plans to share her research findings as inaugural A.E. Bye/Landscape Architecture Archives Research Fellow for Penn State's Department of Landscape Architecture, Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

She will discuss how land and earth forms, including what has been termed land art, have been a critical part of landscape architectural practice. "We find it in the work of A.E. Bye, Richard Haag, Laurie Olin, and as far back as Frederick Law Olmsted," Way said. "This lecture suggests it is not Robert Smithson who discovered the power of artfully forming earth and ecologies to explore aesthetics, but landscape architects. These designers have shaped earth and land for ecological, social, cultural, political and aesthetic purposes, thus providing an intriguing area of study and inspiration."

Way, a landscape historian currently teaching history, theory, and design at the University of Washington, is currently completing two weeks of archival research in the Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Penn State's University Park campus in State College, Pa. The drawings, papers, photographs and videos of the celebrated 20th-century American landscape architect A.E. Bye (as well as those of landscape architects John Bracken and Stuart Mertz) are held at Penn State.

Way's research focuses on historic narratives that shape alternative views and perspectives of landscape architecture and urban design. Her current scholarship investigates women's role in the emergence of modernism. She also is writing a critical inquiry into landscape architect Richard Haag's influence on the design of post-industrial sites. A book, "New Eyes for Old: Rich Haag and Post Industrial Landscapes," is expected to be submitted in the summer of 2013.

"Our imagination of the future is often limited by what we know, thus history provides an opportunity to expand our thinking and our creative responses. To build on the knowledge, ideas, and even the crazy concepts of the past is one of the most exciting parts of being a historian in a design program," Way said. "Bye's work offered an amazing approach to landscape that artfully merges land, art, and ecology in ways that inspire students and practitioners today. Such practice offers a way to rethink some of our most derelict urban spaces as potential places for such artful ecological design."

The A.E. Bye/Landscape Architecture Archives Research Fellow, funded through the Landscape Architecture Chair in Integrative Design at Penn State's H. Campbell and Eleanor R. Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, requires a subsequent dissemination of the research in the form of a public presentation, essay, or small publication to be delivered within six months after the archival research period.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015