Master of Landscape Architecture program receives accreditation

Young program reaches important milestone

Site plan by MLA candidate Sarah Wang, from the studio “Building Wild: Placing Security in a Fluid System,” led by visiting professor Kristi Dykema.

The Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts has received a full, six-year term of accreditation from the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB).

Launched in 2010, the MLA is the first such program in Missouri. It enables students to earn a professional MLA degree in either two or three years, depending on undergraduate background.

Curator Cathy Lang Ho included the MLA project Parking Plot in Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good, the U.S. Pavilion exhibit at the 2013 Venice Architecture Biennale.

“Earning professional accreditation marks an important milestone for the MLA,” said Bruce Lindsey, E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration and dean of the College of Architecture and the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design.

“While the program has been in place for four years, the accreditation substantiates the work of the students and faculty and helps direct the program toward its mission of educating future leaders in the field,” Lindsey added. “I’d like to congratulate our faculty and students; without their dedication and passion, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this in such a short period of time.”

Accreditation followed a series of site visits from LAAB representatives during the 2012-13 academic year. These included interviews with Sam Fox School faculty, staff, students and other area architects; an independent evaluation based on program objectives and professional standards within the field; and a process of self-evaluation by the school.

“Residing in St. Louis, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, one comes to appreciate the enormous complexity of natural and manmade systems as well as the intersections between them,” Lindsey said. “At the same time, working within the context of a world-renowned research institution provides both international and interdisciplinary perspectives. It helps to shape the questions we ask and the problems our faculty and students set out to solve.

“Sustainability is today’s most pressing challenge, for architects and landscape architects alike, but also its most promising opportunity,” Lindsey added. “Sustainability is not a single, discreet discipline. It is an approach, an emphasis, a value. It is a practical and philosophical ideal that informs everything we do.”

For more information about the Sam Fox School’s MLA program, visit here.

For more information about LAAB accreditation, visit here.

Work by Yang Shi for the “Building Wild” studio.