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Common Lecture Series - Spring 2022  

Wednesday @ 4:00 pm (GMT-5), unless otherwise noted (*)

All lectures are online via Zoom. If not enrolled in the course and you wish to attend please request a link via Gail McKenzie -

*Please note : Links to view previous lectures can be streamed only by people with current Rutgers NetIDs.

Jan 19  SEMESTER INTRODUCTION - Richard Alomar and Kate John-Alder  
Jan 26

Peggy Deamer
Re-Working Architectural Work

Peggy Deamer is Professor Emerita of Yale University’s School of Architecture and principal in the firm of Deamer, Studio. She is a founding member of the Architecture Lobby, a group advocating for the value of architectural design and labor. She is the editor of Architecture and Capitalism: 1845 to the Present and The Architect as Worker: Immaterial Labor, the Creative Class, and the Politics of Design and the author of Architecture and Labor. Articles by her have appeared in Log, Avery Review, e-Flux, and Harvard Design Magazine amongst other journals. Her theory work explores the relationship between subjectivity, design, and labor in the current economy. She received the Architectural Record 2018 Women in Architecture Activist Award and the 2021 John Q. Hejduk Award.

Feb 2

Alexa Vaughn
Including the Deaf and Disabled Communities in the Design Process

Alexa is a Deaf landscape designer and accessibility specialist at MIG, a 2020 Landscape Architecture Foundation Olmsted Fellow, and two-time alumna of the University of California, Berkeley, where she received her BA in Landscape Architecture in 2016 and her MLA in 2018. Prior to starting her position with MIG, she worked for OLIN for three years in their Los Angeles office, where she took part in several large-scale projects such as the Los Angeles River Master Plan. Alexa has particular expertise in designing for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, facilitation of disabled community engagement during the design process, a working knowledge of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design through a landscape architectural lens, and a passion for Universal Design. Her goal is to create a more inclusive design process and a more accessible public realm that centers the Deaf and disabled communities, with disabled experts and stakeholders fully participating in the process. She has been published twice in Ground Up Journal (Issue 7 and Issue 10), has written for ASLA’s "The Dirt" and LAF's Landscape Performance Series, and advised the ASLA Universal Design Guide (published online in Aug 2019). Her DeafScape work (Ground Up, Issue 7) has been widely featured in publications such as ArchDaily, Curbed, and Elle Decor (2020 A-List Architecture). She continues to research and lecture widely about designing with Deaf and disabled people and her most recent work can be found at

Feb 9 Margaret Cekada Memorial Lecture: Elijah Anderson

Black in White Space: The Enduring Impact of Color in Everyday Life

Since the end of the civil rights movement, large numbers of Black people have made their way into settings previously occupied only by whites, though their reception has been mixed. Overwhelmingly white neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, restaurants, and other public spaces remain. Blacks perceive such settings as “the white space,” which they often consider to be informally “off limits” for people like them. Meanwhile, despite the growth of an enormous Black middle class, many whites assume that the natural Black space is that destitute and fearsome locality so commonly featured in the public media, including popular books, music and videos, and the TV news—the iconic ghetto. White people typically avoid Black space, but Black people are required to navigate the white space as a condition of their existence.

Elijah Anderson is the Sterling Professor of Sociology and of African American Studies at Yale University. He is one of the leading urban ethnographers in the United States. His publications include Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (1999), winner of the Komarovsky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society; Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community (1990), winner of the American Sociological Association’s Robert E. Park Award for the best published book in the area of Urban Sociology; and the classic sociological work, A Place on the Corner (1978; 2nd ed., 2003). The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life, was published by WW Norton in 2011, and his latest ethnographic work, Black in White Space: The Enduring Impact of Color in Everyday Life, will be published by Chicago University Press in January 2022. Professor Anderson is the recipient of numerous professional awards, most recently, the 2021 Stockholm Prize in Criminology. 

Feb 16 Richard Roark

Ruderal Landscapes at the Water’s Edge

Richard serves on the board for Studio Ludo, an innovative play research non-profit in Philadelphia, and was recognized as an outstanding volunteer of pro bono design services and outreach through Philadelphia’s Community Design Collaborative. He holds Masters of Landscape Architecture and a Masters in Community Planning from Auburn University.

Feb 23

Francesca Ammon
Bulldozer: Demolition and Clearance of the Postwar Landscape

Francesca Russello Ammon is an Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning and Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design. She studies the history of the built environment, focusing on the social, material, and cultural life of cities in the twentieth-century United States. She is especially interested in the history of urban revitalization, with a particular emphasis on urban renewal; digital public history as a tool for research and community-based engagement; and the ways that visual culture has shaped understanding of what cities are, have been, and should be.

Mar 2

Karen M’Closkey
Ground Control

Karen M’Closkey is associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design and co-founder, with Keith VanDerSys, of PEG office of landscape + architecture, and co-founder of the Environmental Modeling Lab. Their work focuses on the opportunities and limitations enabled by recent advancements in digital mapping and modeling and how they shape our understanding of landscapes and environments. Their work is recognized through a body of peer-reviewed scholarship and an award-winning practice that has been acknowledged through numerous publications, exhibitions, and fellowships. Karen and Keith received a PEW Fellowship in the Arts, and Karen was the recipient of the 2012-2013 American Academy in Rome Prize in landscape architecture. They are authors of Dynamic Patterns: Visualizing Landscapes in a Digital Age (2017), and guest editors of LA+ GEO (2020), and LA+ Simulation (2016). Karen is also co-editor and co-curator of the book and exhibition Design with Nature Now (2019) and author of Unearthed: the Landscapes of Hargreaves Associates (2013), which won the J.B. Jackson Book Prize awarded by The Foundation for Landscape Architecture.

Mar 9

James Nichols
Tolima Finca: Critical Regionalism in the Colombian Andes

The design of a modest 1,000 SF Guest House for an existing farm or finca on a remote site in the Colombian Andes – 10,000 feet in elevation ‐ with an unusual physical and socio‐economic context provides an opportunity for the architect to revisit aspects of architectural theory – like critical regionalism – that were part of his training and to consider their relevance to the design process and to everyday practice. The project site, located in Tolima department is highly inaccessible ‐ a four‐hour drive eastward from the nearest airport, over an unimproved road, followed by two hours on horseback. The nearest town, Murillo (population 5000), is a one hour away on horseback and two hours on foot. The single unimproved road also provides access to the Nevada del Ruiz, an active volcano less than twenty miles from the site. The volcano, numerous hot springs and the uniquely biodiverse paramo grassland ecosystem have begun to make this region an important destination for both ecological investigation and ecotourism as Colombia begins to recover from decades of political instability and violent insurrection. 

Mar 30

Keith McPeters
Drawn West: Design and Collaboration at GGN

Keith McPeters will talk about the work of GGN and how, through design and collaboration, the projects connect communities and concepts through drawing landscape stories. A diverse design background allows Keith McPeters to merge architecture and landscape architecture with his interests in art, music, and history. By engaging with cross-disciplinary teams from concept through construction, Keith emphasizes connections between a site’s natural and cultural history, produces environmentally sustainable landscapes, and addresses infrastructure issues within an urban context. Keith’s design advisor role at GGN involves him in the concept and design phases of projects across the office. His work focuses on the design of public landscapes, urban designs, and master planning.

Apr 6

Felecia Davis
Seams: Crafting an Architecture

Felecia Davis’ work in computational textiles questions how we live and she re-imagines how we might use textiles in our daily lives and in architecture. Davis is interested in developing computational methods and design in relation to specific bodies in specific places engaging specific social, cultural and political constructions. Davis is an Associate Professor at the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing in the School of Architecture at Pennsylvania State University and is the director of SOFTLAB@PSU. She completed her PhD in Design Computation at MIT. Davis’ work in architecture connects art, science, engineering and design and was featured by PBS in the Women in Science Profiles series. Davis’ work was part of the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Reconstruction: Blackness and Architecture in America. She is a founding member of the Black Reconstruction Collective a not-for-profit group of Black architects, scholars and artists supporting design work about the Black diaspora. Davis is also principal in her own design firm, FELECIADAVISTUDIO where the firm has received several finalist awards for her architectural designs in open and invited design competitions.

Apr 13

Meg Calkins
Closing the Loop: Carbon, Resources, and Construction Materials in the Anthropocene

Meg Calkins, FASLA, SITES AP, is Professor and Head of the Landscape Architecture Department at North Carolina State University. She is the author of the book Materials for Sustainable Sites and editor of the Sustainable Sites Handbook. Calkins has taken an active leadership role in development and implementation of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) since 2003. She currently represents SITES on the Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI) Credentialing Steering Committee. She is a frequent Contributing Editor to Landscape Architecture magazine writing several articles on site construction materials and exemplary designed works.

Apr 20

Jeremy Foster
Designing Post-Industrial Sydney Harbor: The material politics of (in)visibility

Jeremy Foster is interested in the opportunities landscape thinking offers for environmental understanding, interpretation, and design practice. Although his teaching and research are informed by the representation and transformation of "nature," he has a transdisciplinary interest in the constructed environment as something made as much by those not trained in design and planning as by those who are.


See List of previous semesters Common Lectures