Rod Barnett

Professor; Chair, Master of Landscape Architecture Program

Rod Barnett is professor and chair of the Master 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 nonhumans in the ongoing construction of a shared world. In 2012, he was selected as one of the top twenty design educators by DesignIntelligence. In 2013 Barnett published Emergence in Landscape Architecture and in 2017 The Modern Gardens of Ted Smyth: Landscape Modernism in the South Pacific (with Jacqueline Margetts).

More information about Professor Barnett can be found on his website.