Principal, Michael Van Valkenburgh Assoc., Cambridge, MA
Lecture Title: Finding Opportunities to Link Landscape Performance and Place
November 1, 2018
Laura is widely regarded as an expert in the field of landscape technology and sustainability, and her leadership and knowledge inform the design, construction, and post-construction maintenance of MVVA’s projects. Her particular areas of expertise include the integration of stormwater management, complexities of on-structure landscapes, use of sustainable soil, innovative approaches for landscape materials, and techniques for organic maintenance. In collaboration with Matt Urbanski and Michael Van Valkenburgh, Laura serves as a managing principal for planning and design projects from their earliest phases and oversees the technical aspects of MVVA’s landscapes firm-wide.
As part of her professional advocacy, Laura lectures on technical innovations developed through MVVA’s work, highlighting the potential for creative overlap between landscape technology and landscape design. Laura has taught classes in landscape technology at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design since 1992, where she is an Associate Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture. Laura was a Resource Team Member for Soil in the development of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) undertaken by the American Society of Landscape Architects, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and United States Botanic Garden. She writes articles on technical topics for various publications and institutions such as Landscape Architecture Magazine, the Journal of Green Building, the National Building Museum, and University of Pennsylvania’s Scenario Journal and was a reviewer for Phillip and Timothy Craul’s book Soil Design Protocols for Landscape Architects and Contractors. She has served on multiple design and awards juries for professional design societies and private institutions. She has also participated in the Mayors’ Institute on City Design in Charleston, SC and Tulsa, OK where she completed urban design case studies. Laura received the Boston Society of Architects Women in Design Award of Excellence and was featured in Leaders in the Field: Women in Landscape Architecture, a film by Julie Gawendo and Izabela Riano. She served on the executive board of the Landscape Architecture Foundation from 2013 to 2016.
Laura received her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from The Ohio State University in 1983. Her undergraduate studies in botany at the University of Maryland helped inform her comprehensive and science-based approach to sustainable landscape practices. Laura is a licensed landscape architect in Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.