Pending approval from the LSU System Board of Supervisors, Cantrell will assume directorship of the school effective in January 2013.
“It is an honor to be named director of the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture at LSU,” Cantrell said. “The faculty’s consensus in my nomination gives me great confidence moving forward with the challenges of this opportunity.”
Cantrell, who currently holds the Emerson Womack Design Professorship within the school, was recommended for the position by school faculty as well as LSU College of Art & Design Interim Dean Ken Carpenter.
“I’m delighted to appoint Brad to this position,” Carpenter said. “While he is an internal appointment, I’m convinced he is the very best person available to us for the job. He will be a good leader for a very good school.”
The process to find a new director for the school began in 2010. After an extensive search, three external candidates were interviewed by LSU College of Art & Design administrators. However, it was concluded that promotion of an internal candidate was the best option.
Cantrell, who joined the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture faculty in 2005, received his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Kentucky and his master’s degree from Harvard University. His research and teaching focus on using digital techniques to represent landscape form and processes. This work in digital representation ranges from improving the workflow of digital media in the design process, to providing a methodology for deconstructing landscape through compositing and film editing techniques. He is the co-author of “Digital Drawing for Landscape Architecture,” a widely adopted textbook, and, more recently, “Modeling the Environment.”
In addition to teaching at LSU, Cantrell also teaches new approaches to landscape visualization to design firms throughout the U.S. and lectures at universities, symposiums and conferences internationally.
Cantrell is also actively involved in research through the creation of responsive environmental technologies and infrastructures that develop symbiotic relationships between biotic and abiotic systems. The research examines methods to engage complex biological systems through nuanced responsive systems that interact on a variety of scales. This research is recognized through peer reviewed publications and implemented in professional projects and the teaching of advanced design studios. His research has also been honored by the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Honor and Excellence awards for research and communication.
“The history of the school and its founder, Robert Reich, strong alumni support, exceptional faculty and high caliber of students provide a strong network of support for our future evolution as one of the premiere international programs in landscape architecture,” Cantrell said. “The BLA and MLA curriculum is already undergoing substantial changes as it continues to adapt to and provide leadership for contemporary academics and practitioners. The school will continue efforts to bolster faculty and graduate research while fostering our established ties to the profession through affiliated firms and alumni.”
Cantrell also lauded the work of current Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture Interim Director Van Cox, adding that his leadership efforts have been invaluable over the past two years of transition.
Cox, who is also a professor in the school, will continue as interim director through December 2012.
“It is gratifying to see Brad who, though still in the early stages of his career, has been an energetic and accomplished faculty member stepping up and taking over leadership of the school,” Cox said. “As our graduate coordinator, he has shown his innovative and creative vision in making the program the best it can truly be. He is dynamic in nature, smart and deliberate in his decision-making, and holds the respect of both junior and senior faculty as well as the students in both the BLA and MLA programs. Brad is also gifted in his understanding of the use of digital representation and has a good command of contemporary design in the profession of landscape architecture in general. I expect he will continue to make a mark in academics at a national level and keep LSU on the leading edge of design teaching, as it has always been.”
Cantrell said as director, he will focus on continuing the efforts that have garnered the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture top billing in annual rankings of U.S. landscape architecture graduate and undergraduate programs compiled by DesignIntelligence, the leading journal of the design professions.
“I expect to continue the great traditions of LSU and the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture as we continue to define landscape architecture globally through the lens of the Gulf Coast region,” he said.