Pratt’s School of Architecture is launching a partnership with Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) that will center on its new Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program. The initiative will strengthen the offerings of the MLA program through the resources of BBG, which, along with its 52-acre living collection of plants and landscapes, has worked with some of the most innovative landscape architects over the past 12 years to create pioneering public gardens and green infrastructure on its grounds. In turn, the MLA program will engage BBG in Pratt’s educational resources.
“Brooklyn Botanic Garden is thrilled to partner with Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture on their new landscape architecture program,” said Rowan Blaik, vice president of horticulture at BBG. “We strongly support programs like this that prioritize plants, ecology, and conservation as much as design aesthetics. BBG has always been a living classroom, and we are excited to continue to be one for the next generations of Pratt graduates designing NYC and beyond.”
BBG was founded in 1910 and is an urban botanic garden connecting people to the world of plants. Located in the heart of Brooklyn, it is open year-round and is home to over 12,000 kinds of plants and more than 30 specialty gardens. The two Brooklyn institutions will collaborate on potential resources such as work placements at BBG for the graduate students, free places on select MLA electives and participation in School of Architecture events and conferences for BBG employees, and free access to BBG teaching areas for MLA lab work. Additionally, School of Architecture-BBG elective-based micro-credentials are planned to be part of the School’s Executive Education suite.
“As a graduate program committed to research focused on the making, testing, and prototyping of landscape architecture in ways that are accessible to the public and which bolster climate literacy, the partnership between the newly launched Master of Landscape Architecture program and Brooklyn Botanic Garden is indeed exciting,” said David Erdman, chair of the Graduate Architecture & Urban Design (GAUD) program. “The commitment the Garden has made to research on landscape and horticulture while also foregrounding their growing interdisciplinary relevance, reinforce our overlapping pedagogical interests that lie squarely between architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism, and the built environment at large. Our partnership reflects the urgent and important bridges we must establish and cultivate for the future climatologically oriented practices in which our graduates will engage.”
The School of Architecture and BBG have a shared dedication to building a network of locations and community-based clients for experiential learning projects and this opportunity will facilitate collaboration on research initiatives to develop and advance this network. The partnership will also have opportunities to expand this network to K-12 schools in Brooklyn through a BBG outreach and student placement program.
Applications remain open for the first cohort of MLA students joining the program in either January or August 2022. The School’s aim is to attract graduates from a rich array of disciplines, professions, and diverse backgrounds.
“All future landscape architects will be required to work at the intersection of climate justice and social justice and combine deep disciplinary expertise with advanced digital technologies to design the relational, community, and city infrastructure needed to sustain advanced landscape systems, strategies, and spaces,” said Dean of the School of Architecture Dr. Harriet Harriss.
A major community space, BBG has recent initiatives like a sustainable water management project as well as education programs for kids, families, and local schools which all complement the mission at the School of Architecture to establish an MLA program that is engaged in design, curation, and custodianship.