Landscape Architecture

A model of a lakeside bridge surrounded by white bubbles.

Landscape architecture straddles the interface between the cultural and natural worlds, addressing design issues inherent in a range of typologies and scales, from specific sites to global systems. RISD’s program prepares students to thoughtfully examine the increasingly complex issues associated with these environments and to develop innovative design solutions.

Degree programs

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)

Offering a two- and three-year degree option, the Master of Landscape Architecture provides a rich context for you to learn the discipline alongside a community engaged in a diverse range of creative and critical practices.

Master of Landscape Architecture + Master of Marine Affairs (MLA + MMA)

In addressing urgent issues around coastal sustainability, this joint RISD/University of Rhode Island degree program enhances your design education with studies in coastal and marine social science, economics, policy, planning and law.

In the studio

Whether working in the field, the CAD Lab, the Model Shop or on their own laptops, students are challenged to think critically and develop self-reliant design processes. Studio work is complemented by the study of drawing, history, theory, ecology, cultural geography, plants and technology.

Featured stories

The Return of the Design-Build

First-year Landscape Architecture students learn valuable skills of the trade by collaborating on an observation deck at Tillinghast Farm.

Restoring the Blackstone River

Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Emily Vogler and alum José R. Menéndez are bringing communities together through the Blackstone River Commons.

Preparing for Rising Seas

Landscape Architecture students develop environmentally just proposals for managing sea-level rise in the Narragansett Bay as part of the Envision Resilience Challenge.

Student work

A student examines clay in their fingers.

Landscape Architecture students graduate with the versatility and self-confidence to work in a wide range of land- and systems-based design fields, pursuing interests they've typically begun to explore as graduate students. In general, they are collaborative in spirit, open-minded, innovative in their approaches to problem solving and blessed with a certain joie de vivre. Above all, alumni self-identify as creators – not merely consumers – of contemporary culture.

Alumni at work

Phoebe Lickwar MLA 06 | landscape architect

Phoebe Lickwar is the founder of FORGE, a Fayetteville, AR-based landscape architecture firm that, in harmonizing aesthetics and ecology, cultivates community through landscape design. Throughout her career has collaborated on several prominent memorials and cultural centers and in 2018 her installation Into the Woods! won the International Garden Competition at Chaumont-sur-Loire in France. Lickwar frequently shows fine art photography in juried exhibitions throughout the US and is an associate professor of landscape architecture at The University of Texas at Austin.

Ian Quate MLA 2011 | landscape architect/environmentalist

"Science is my muse for design," says Ian Quate, a landscape architect who expresses his commitment to scientifically-informed, green design through previous work with the New York-based firm Nelson Byrd Woltz and a variety of nonprofit organizations. At NBW, Quate's projects centered on cultivating environments that integrate urban wildlife with cities and other areas in the Northeast. In addition, he is engaged in interdisciplinary ventures like the BK BioReactor, an alternative cleanup proposal for Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal that won first prize in the 2015 Gowanus by Design competition. He is currently based in Asheville, NC and the founder of landscape design firm Fruit Studio.

Sketch of an aerial view of a river.