• Unearthed: The Landscapes of Hargreaves Associates
    Karen M'Closkey
    University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013
    Karen M'Closkey

Louisville Waterfront Park, the Overlook, a shaded terrace (right) that sits between the cut of the fountain (seen here) and the expanse of the great lawn, Louisville, Kentucky, 2011. Photo: Karen M'Closkey.

Unearthed: The Landscapes of Hargreaves Associates utilizes a selection of work by this highly regarded landscape architecture practice as a vehicle by which to gauge recent disciplinary trends. This book is written at a time with increasing emphasis on interdisciplinarity and sustainability—and the propagation of terms that attempt to tie them together—such as landscape urbanism, which suggests that landscape architecture be liberated from its traditional concerns (form, aesthetics, representation)  by subsuming it under a different rubric and mode of practice. Furthermore, in the profession, a turn toward quantification has resulted in a set of predictable responses to environmental sustainability. The prominence of this utilitarian approach to function has eclipsed questions about the equally relevant social, experiential, and symbolic functions of landscape. Unearthed is a critique of these developments, arguing instead that the pragmatic efficacy of landscape cannot be detached from its expressive and experiential agency.

Karen M'Closkey is a landscape design scholar and practitioner. Her writing focuses on contemporary landscape architecture, in particular the role of design methodology in terms of what particular representational techniques privilege and engender. Karen is assistant professor of landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and cofounder (with Keith VanDerSys) of an internationally recognized design practice, PEG office of landscape + architecture. Through new media and fabrication technologies, PEG's work explores methods of systemic patterning to expand landscape's expressive agency in the shaping of the public realm. The firm has been published extensively and won numerous design awards, including the Emerging New York Architects prize (2010), and the Architectural League Prize (2010). PEG was also the featured practice in Landscape World (September 2010). Karen has an MArch in landscape architecture with distinction from Harvard University and a BArch with distinction from the Southern California Institute of Architecture. She is a 2012-13 recipient of the Garden Club of America Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture from the American Academy in Rome.