Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' dispossession and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters. 

Cornell Land Acknowledgment, 2021

History of Landscape Architecture at Cornell

Liberty Hyde Bailey. Photo Credit: Cornell Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

Founding

1888 Liberty Hyde Bailey, formerly professor and chair of the Horticulture and Landscape Gardening Department at Michigan Agricultural College comes to Cornell to provide instruction in landscape design.

The Horticultural ‘Lazy Club’, featuring David A. Williston and Liberty Hyde Bailey. Photo Credit: Cornell Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Kroch Library.

1898 Studying under Liberty Hyde Bailey, David Williston receives a degree in agriculture from Cornell and goes on to become the first professionally-trained Black landscape architect in the United States.

1904 The undergraduate department is formally established by Liberty Hyde Bailey at the founding of the new College of Agriculture at Cornell University, of which he is appointed first Dean. For Bailey, committed to the service mission and cooperative extension activities of the new College.

The first landscape studio space in the top floor of White Hall in the Arts Quad.

1907 Of its original quarters located above the Lazy Club, Bryant Fleming, the Department’s first full-time instructor, noted that “the heat was quite insufficient during the winter months and the moisture so condensed that almost no work could be performed in the drafting room except on those days when a special effort could be made to heat the room.” At the invitation of Clarence Martin, Dean of the College of Architecture, the drafting space is moved to the fourth floor of White Hall. This decision creates an exceptional opportunity for collaboration between architecture, landscape architecture, painting, and sculpture students at Cornell.

1909 Bryant Fleming, Department Chair, first proposes Trips of Inspection, tours to nearby destinations (Albany, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C.) designed to acquaint students with exemplary works in the fields of landscape architecture, planning, and architecture. This practice is still widely in use to this day.

The ‘Chicken Coop’ facility off Beebe Lake. Image courtesy of Daniel Krall, Emeritus Faculty.

1912 The Master of Landscape Design degree is established.

1912 The Landscape Art Department acquires its own, stand-alone facility overlooking Beebe Lake on a noll behind present-day Warren Hall. Nicknamed the Chicken Coop, the two-story wood structure, originally built for poultry science, had been moved from its previous location during the construction of the Ag Quad. Rules for the new Landscape Building kept the second floor drafting open from 8am-5pm and prohibited the playing of the piano while classes were in session.

1914 Prior to his retirement, Liberty Hyde Bailey, Dean of the College of Agriculture, proposes a model landscape gardening curriculum that includes courses such as Elements of Landscape Gardening; General Design; Civic Art; Trees and Shrubs; Advanced Landscape Design; Landscape Practice; Exotic; Plant Materials; and Decorative and Bedding plants.

 

1915 A Fellowship in Landscape Architecture is formally established at the American Academy in Rome. Cornellians were the first, second, and third winners of this prestigious award (as well as nine of the first ten), marking the department’s ascendancy as one of the major professional programs in the United States.

1917 Marjorie Sewell Cautley is the first woman to receive the bachelor’s degree.

1918 Catherine Elizabeth Koch receives a Master in Landscape Design degree, becoming the first female graduate student in landscape architecture in the Ivy League to complete this degree.

Dean Gilmore D. Clarke instructing a joint studio of landscape architecture and planning students. Image courtesy of Cornell AAP.

College of Architecture Years

1922 Following nearly two decades in the College of Agriculture, the Department is relocated into the university’s College of Architecture.

1938 Gilmore D. Clarke (1913) is appointed Dean of the College of Architecture, expressing a strong desire for interdisciplinary studio collaborations between planners, landscape architects, and architects.

1939 Cornell becomes one of the first 10 landscape architecture schools accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

1962 After 40 years, Landscape Architecture undergraduate studies move to the newly named College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), while the graduate degree continues to be administered by the Graduate School.

Marvin Adleman (left) Peter Trowbridge (center), and Thomas Johnson (right) at studio review in the 1980s. Image courtesy of Daniel Krall, Professor Emeritus.

Resurgence in CALS

1969 Cornell University hosts the Earth Art exhibit in the Andrew Dickson White House. Curated by Willoughby Sharp, the exhibit features artists like Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, Dennis Oppenheim, among many others.

1970s Students (including 1973 alumnus Michael Van Valkenburgh) protest for a reinvigorated faculty. Under the leadership of Marvin I. Adleman, the Department hires a number of new faculty, working to maintain its horticultural legacy while stressing contemporary environmental and professional design approaches.

1990 Under the leadership of Peter J. Trowbridge, the graduate and undergraduate studios unite in a new (and still current) home under the soaring vault of Kennedy Hall, designed by the award-winning, NY-based firm of Gwathmey-Siegel Architects.

Professor Marvin I. Adleman in a desk crit with students in the current Kennedy Hall studio space. Photo Credit: Robert Barker.

Today

2004 The Department of Landscape Architecture and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences celebrate their 100 year anniversary.

2021 The students in the Department of Landscape Architecture host the 50th annual LABash (Landscape Architecture Bash) Conference, which had been initially planned for 2020 but postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 3-day virtual event attracted 450 participants from 18 departments of landscape architecture internationally.

The challenge of keeping the earth artistically fit...which is the essential result for our occupation of the planet, lies in the professional artists, and particularly with the engineer, the architect, and the landscape artist.
Liberty Hyde Bailey

Department Chairs

1888-1906 Liberty Hyde Bailey

1906-1915 Bryant Fleming

1915-1930 E. Gorton Davis

1930-1944 Eugene D. Montillon

1944-1959 Frederick W. Edmondson

1972-1985 Marvin I. Adleman

1985-1995 Peter J. Trowbridge

1995-2001 Herbert Gottfried

2001-2007 Kathryn Gleason

2007-2017 Peter J. Trowbridge

2017-present C. Timothy Baird