Landscape Architecture Faculty Present at 2019 CELA Conference

Four landscape architects at CELA conference

Professors of the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture presented their research at the 2019 Council of Educators of Landscape Architecture (CELA) conference in Sacramento, CA at UC Davis March 6-9, 2019. The CELA annual conference brings over 400 attendees from across the world to exchange their recent scholarly activities from teaching, research and service engagement projects. The 2019 CELA Annual Conference was hosted by University of California at Davis (UC Davis) Landscape Architecture + Environmental Design Program. The theme of the conference was “Engaged scholarship: bringing together research, teaching & service.”

Mark Boyer at podium

Mark Boyer at CELA 2019

Landscape architecture professors Lake Douglas, Nicholas Serrano, and Bruce Sharky presented their respective research topics at the conference. Mark Boyer, Director of the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture and Reich Teaching Professor, the outgoing CELA president, had privilege of introducing William “Bill” Johnson, the 2019 CELA Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

lake douglas

Lake Douglas

Lake Douglas, associate dean of research and development and professor of landscape architecture, and Nicholas Serrano, assistant professor of landscape architecture, presented in the History, Theory, and Culture panel, with the research focus “Symbols of Division: Deploying Narratives and Counter-Narratives in Public Space.”

Nick Serrano

Nicholas Serrano

Professor Serrano, a landscape historian, has focused on themes of counter-narratives throughout his research. He explores the ethics and aesthetics of greenways in urban form, argues that the concept of greenways serve as landscape buffers that have been, and often remain, social borders between neighborhood units. “I argue that greenways naturalized the white privilege of past socio-spatial practices and racialized urban geographies through normative planning policies of ‘designing with nature,’” Serrano asserted. He also presented on this topic at the Bordering On Symposium in Baton Rouge, hosted by the LSU School of Architecture, in February 2019.

Professor Sharky presented his research titled “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Importance of Shadow (Awareness) in Landscape Architecture Design.” His paper analyzes the importance of perception and impact of shadows in the landscape; introduces how to bring affecting shadows as an intentional rather than accidental design enterprise; and offer suggestions for designers to incorporate shadows in landscape design.

Trees cast shadows on path

Shadows on steps

“For a long time I have had an interest in the play of sunlight and shadow on planer surfaces, more recently evolving an idea that the study and consideration of shadows—in particular shadows cast by plants—is worthy of serious study,” said Professor Sharky.  “I argue that shadows should be one of the considerations in addition to the standard plant selection criteria of form, color, texture, and seasonal variations that a landscape architect considers.”

Numerous LSU landscape architecture alumni attended and presented at the conference as well, including: Timothy Baird, BLA 1972, who presented “Design as Research: Adopting Creative Work as a Viable Path to Tenure”; Natalie Yates, MLA 2008, presented in the Design Education and Pedagogy panel “Drones In (and Out of) the Classroom: Experiences and Outcomes of a UAS Technologies Course and beyond”; and Andrea Galinksi, MLA 2010, who gave the Landscape Planning & Ecology talk “The Role of Landscape Visualization in Large-Scale Ecological Restoration Planning: A Review of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.”

“It was great to see some familiar faces, students who are now excelling in their careers,” said Professor Douglas.

Learn more about the landscape architecture professors’ research expertise.