Faculty portfolios

  • Rod Barnett's design for Lumley Plaza in Auckland City.
    Rod Barnett's design for Lumley Plaza in Auckland City.

Rod Barnett


Chair, Landscape Architecture


Givens 111

Campus Box 1079

Rod Barnett is professor and chair of landscape architecture at Washington University. He was recently chair of the graduate program in landscape architecture at Auburn University, and before that held similar positions at Unitec in Auckland, New Zealand. He teaches studio and courses in theory, history, and drawing.

Barnett earned his PhD from the University of Auckland, where he researched the potential of nonlinear dynamical systems science to inform landscape architectural design and practice. As part of his studies he developed a self-organizing approach to urban development called Artweb, a multidisciplinary design and planning strategy that focuses on marginalized and underutilized urban terrains to create a network of arts and science projects throughout the city.

Barnett has written extensively on themes developed from his work in nonlinear design, including re-examinations of historical landscapes such as the sacred groves of ancient Greece, and reinterpretations of art-historical tropes, such as the medieval garden of love. He also has studied landscape systems as emergent conditions in sites as far-flung as the coastlines of Fiji and Tonga, the Mississippi Delta, and the stone alignments of Carnac in Brittany, France. Although he has spent many years in practice, developing projects both large and small, public and private, he now maintains an experimental practice that culminates in competitions and exhibitions.

Barnett has taught thesis studio for many years as a site of novel and innovative design research. His studios encourage students to explore the fluid and interactive connections between humans and non-humans in the ongoing construction of a shared world. In 2012, he was selected as one of the top twenty design educators by DesignIntelligence. Recently Barnett published Emergence in Landscape Architecture (Routledge, 2013).