Student reaction to Thomas Rainer lecture

Thomas Rainer, MLA ’02, recently came back to the CED to give a lecture on “Planting in a Post-Wild World.” Revolutionary to students and professors alike, this rebellious approach to planting design can make for more complex and ambitious planting plans. An expertise that is often neglected in the profession of landscape architecture, Rainer reminded CED faculty and students alike why planting design is a vital and thrilling part of our craft.

Rainer called for a shift in our perception of plants. Rather than hatches tamely bound by curving lines, we need to see plants as layered communities. Intricate and intermingled ecological plantings require less maintenance and more management. As landscape architects, we need to embrace what makes our profession unique through increased knowledge and a more in-depth design phase.

His advice to future landscape architects was to be consumers of planting design, to be inspired by artists, and to broaden your palette. Most importantly, however, remember why you became landscape architects and fall in love with plants again.

Mr. Rainer is currently working on variety of projects in Washington, DC and New York state. They include several green roofs with amenity spaces for new urban residential towers; streetscape designs for Pennsylvania Avenue, DC; a combination of historic preservation and ecological restoration for Jones Beach State Park; and a variety of urban plaza and garden projects.