Alexander Robinson, FAAR
MLA, Harvard Graduate School of Design
BA, Swarthmore College
Landscape architecture design, landscape performance, landscape infrastructure, and digital and physical media for landscape architecture research and design
Alexander is the director of the USC Landscape Morphologies Lab and principal of the landscape design, research and planning practice, Office of Outdoor Research based in Los Angeles. He received his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and his Masters of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). Robinson’s research and practice is focused on the means necessary to advance the design and implementation of high performance landscapes and infrastructures. He is motivated by multiple qualities that synthetic landscape solutions can offer urban life across numerous spectrums ranging from experiential to performative. Within each project his work operates in multiple arenas such as landscape material theory, landscape infrastructures, landscape modeling, landscape performance metrics, and the development of design tools and technologies. Motivated by long-term aspirations to expand the scope of the field, Robinson’s research is empowered by direct engagements with pressing practicum bottlenecks.
Current research, under the umbrella of the Landscape Morphologies Lab, Robinson works primarily within Los Angeles regional sites, such as the Los Angeles River and Owens Lake to create new design methodologies necessary to allow emergent design within engineering paradigms. Research on the Owens Lake dust mitigation project hybridizes physical modeling techniques, robotic technology, digital projection, and 3D scanning to create a new multi-sensory design platform that is responsive to the complex issues present on the lake. Additionally, a project with the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering on the Los Angeles River employsphysical hydraulic modeling as part of a landscape design process, allowing designers to search for solutions within the hydraulic constraints of the site. Both approaches seek to create an unprecedented common ground where designers, engineers, and the public can effectively collaborate in seeking alternate futures for our landscape infrastructures.
With his book, Living Systems: Innovative Materials and Technologies in Landscape Architecture, Robinson seeks to provide both a theoretical framework for innovation in landscape materiality and a resource for the construction of advanced systems. Through a dissemination of case and material studies, co-authored with Liat Margolis, Robinson outlines a new scope of material operations and demonstrates a process and performance based approach to landscape architecture. He continues this research including recent publications, funded research, and lectures at Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State University, and the University of Texas at Austin among others.
Alexander Robinson was awarded the 2015-2016 Prince Charitable Trusts Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture.