• Friends of Fairsted Programs



Monday, April 26, 2021

Ecologies of Memory

A talk by Sara Zewde
Founding principal of Studio Zewde
Assistant Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture
Graduate School of Design, Harvard University


In the context of rapid urban development, a changing climate, and the clarified political tensions of the day, the narratives embedded in the ecologies of memory can offer creative departures for contemporary design. Sara Zewde will discuss the recent design work of Studio Zewde in this context and reflect on the potential of landscape architecture to engage the biggest challenges of our society. Drawing upon the cultural narratives layered on the urban landscape and integrating community engagement with creative design processes, Zewde explores ways to create “enduring places where people belong.”

Thaisa Way, Program Director for Garden & Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, serves as respondent.

Sara-Zewde-Spring-2021-LectureSara Zewde is founding principal of Studio Zewde, a design firm in New York City practicing landscape architecture, urbanism, and public art. The studio is devoted to exploring the “aesthetics of being” and creating enduring places where people belong. The firm was recently named a 2021 Emerging Voice by The Architectural League of New York. In parallel with practice, Sara serves as Assistant Professor in Practice at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is writing a forthcoming book on Frederick Law Olmsted’s travels through the South and the implications for his practice of landscape architecture. Sara was named the 2014 National Olmsted Scholar by the Landscape Architecture Foundation, a 2016 Artist-in-Residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and in 2018, was named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s inaugural “40 Under 40” list. Most recently, she was named a 2020 United States Artists Fellow. Sara holds a master’s of landscape architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a master’s of city planning from MIT, and a BA in sociology and statistics from Boston University.

Thaisa-Way-FSLA Thaisa Way, FASLA, is the Program Director for Garden & Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington DC. As an urban landscape historian, she seeks to challenge the canon of landscape architecture to engage with the inscriptions of race, gender, and class on the profession, practice, and pedagogy of the field.

Signature image: Infinity (3 of 3) by Sara Zewde. Headshot of Zewde: Carolyn Wheeler.


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April 2021
Ecologies of Memory

Sara Zewde

December 2020
The Olmsted Brothers’ Planning in California: A Prescient Approach to Ecological Design

Christine E. O’Hara

November 2019:
Climate Change and Urban Landscapes: Extending Olmsted’s Legacy

Chris Reed

December 2018:
Saving Central Park: A History and A Memoir

Elizabeth Barlow Rogers

April 2018:
What Is a Park For? Olmsted, Obama, and the Meanings of Urban Landscape

Carlo Rotella
December 2017:
Beyond Drawings: The Olmsted Archives as Muse and Vision

Lucinda Brockway

March 2017:
Lewis Mumford’s Green Urbanism

Aaron Sachs
December 2016:
From the Granite Garden to West Philadelphia (with a nod to the Fens): Restoring Nature & Communities

Anne Whiston Spirn

April 2016:
Parks: Cornerstone of Civic Revitalization

Rolf Diamant
December 2015:
The “Fairsted School”: An Enduring Legacy

Ethan Carr

March 2015:

Gary Hilderbrand

December 2014:
Dwelling in Landscape

Daniel Bluestone