McHarg, Ian L

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Ian L. McHarg, born in Clydebank, Scotland in 1920, was the founder and chairman of the department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, pioneer of ecological planning, author of Design With Nature and co-founder of the firm Wallace, McHarg, Roberts and Todd. He served in World War Two as a paratrooper and demobilized at the rank of major in the British military. He received his professional education from Harvard University, earning a Master in Landscape Architecture in 1950 and a Master of City Planning in 1951.

McHarg was brought to the University of Pennsylvania by G. Holmes Perkins to re-establish the Department of Landscape Architecture in 1954. His ecological approach based upon the "layer cake method" of mapping revolutionized the field of landscape architecture both at the University of Pennsylvania and across the United States. McHarg's influence can also be seen in the development of geographic information systems, which utilize the same "layer cake method" developed in his teaching. He was a key proponent of a world ecological inventory to integrate data sets already present in organizations around the world to produce a world ecological model. His groundbreaking book Design With Nature disseminated his concept of ecological planning to an international audience making his ideas the foundation for many landscape architecture programs across the United States and beyond.

McHarg chaired the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania from its founding until his retirement in 1986, and continued to teach as emeritus professor until 1999. Beginning in 1959, he developed a revolutionary course "Man and the Environment" which employed interdisciplinary research to obtain a better understanding of the human relationship to the natural world. For this course McHarg invited experts from a variety of different fields to lecture to his students on (in his words) "scientific conceptions of matter, life and man; the views of God, man, and nature in the major philosophies and religions, and, last, an examination of the interaction of man and nature, mainly ecological." He continued to teach this course to succeeding generations of students during the following decades. He also adapted the course lecture format into the television interview series The House We Live In, focusing on the "evolution of matter, life and man." McHarg conducted interviews with specialists in a wide variety of fields, some of whom were important figures in 20th century thought. The series, originally broadcast on CBS in the early 1960s, was later rebroadcast on PBS.

McHarg and his Harvard classmate David Wallace founded the design firm Wallace-McHarg Associates in 1962, commissioned by the Green Spring and Worthington Valley Planning Council to address the threat to the valleys by urban expansion of metropolitan Baltimore. Renamed Wallace, McHarg, Roberts and Todd in 1965, this design firm led the fields of city planning, urban design and landscape architecture during the 1970s by approaching design from an ecological perspective. Significant projects include the "Inner Harbor Master Plan" for Baltimore, Maryland, "A Comprehensive Landscape for Washington D.C." and "Woodlands New Community" in Houston, Texas. McHarg established his own practice after his resignation from the firm in 1979.

McHarg was honored with numerous awards and medals, including the Harvard Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Medal of Art, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture and the Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Certified Planners. In April 2000, he received the Japan Prize in city planning. Ian McHarg died on March 5, 2001, at the age of 80.

From the description of Ian L. McHarg papers, 1942-2001. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 232578742

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Henry Belin du Pont, Jr., papers, 1920-1970. Hagley Museum & Library
creatorOf McHarg, Ian L. Correspondence, 1984, from Lewis and Sophia Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Haskell, Douglas Putnam, 1899-1979. Douglas Putnam Haskell papers, Series I: Pending correspondence, 1949-1964. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf University of Pennsylvania. School of Fine Arts. City and Regional Planning. Letters, 1952-1961, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf McHarg, Ian L. Ian L. McHarg papers, 1942-2001. University of Pennsylvania, Architectural Archives
referencedIn Ian L. McHarg : vertical file. Centre canadien d'architecture, | Canadian Centre for Architecture | CCA
creatorOf University of Pennsylvania. Dept. of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. Letters, 1967-1984, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Anderson, Robert J. person
associatedWith Arnheim, Rudolf. person
associatedWith Baxter, Samuel S. person
associatedWith Birdwhistell, Ray L., 1918- person
associatedWith Cammann, Schuyler V. R. (Schuyler Van Rensselaer) person
associatedWith Christian, John Jermyn, 1917-1997. person
associatedWith Cohen, Jack, 1919- person
associatedWith Coon, Carleton Stevens, 1904- person
associatedWith Crane, David Alford, 1927- person
associatedWith Darling, F. Fraser (Frank Fraser), 1903- person
associatedWith Duhl, Leonard J. person
associatedWith Dunham, Barrows, 1905- person
associatedWith Du Pont, Henry Belin, 1898-1970. person
associatedWith Edelen, George W. person
associatedWith Eiseley, Loren C., 1907-1977. person
associatedWith Eisenstein, Ira, 1906-1991. person
associatedWith Elsom, Katherine O. person
associatedWith Eyck, Aldo van, 1918-1999. person
associatedWith Fogg, John M. (John Milton), 1898-1982. person
associatedWith Fromm, Eric. person
associatedWith Garvan, Anthony N. B. person
associatedWith Goddard, David R. person
associatedWith Goodenough, Ward Hunt. person
associatedWith Hallowell, A. Irving (Alfred Irving), 1892-1974. person
associatedWith Halpern, Jules, 1912-1972. person
associatedWith Halprin, Lawrence, 1916- person
associatedWith Hammel, H. T., 1921-2005. person
associatedWith Harnwell, Gaylord P., 1903-1982. person
associatedWith Haskell, Douglas Putnam, 1899-1979. person
associatedWith Heschel, Abraham Joshua, 1907-1972. person
associatedWith Huxley, Julian, 1887-1975. person
associatedWith Jackson, John Brinckerhoff, 1909- person
associatedWith Kilpatrick, Franklin P., 1920. person
associatedWith Klimm, Lester Earl, 1902-1960. person
associatedWith Leopold, Luna B., 1915-2006. person
associatedWith Linn, Karl. person
associatedWith Lustig, Irma S. person
associatedWith MacArthur, Robert H. person
associatedWith McHarg, Ian L., 1920-2001. person
associatedWith McHarg, Pauline Crena de Iongh, d. 1974. person
associatedWith Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978. person
associatedWith Morris, Clarence, 1903- person
associatedWith Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990. person
associatedWith Murphy, James J. person
associatedWith Nemerov, Howard. person
associatedWith Nikhilananda, Swami. person
associatedWith Osborn, Fairfield, 1887-1969. person
associatedWith Osterweil, Jerry. person
associatedWith Page, John. person
associatedWith Peckham, Morse. person
associatedWith Pope, Arthur Upham, 1881-1969. person
associatedWith Protheroe, W. M. person
associatedWith Richards, Horace Gardiner, 1906-1984. person
associatedWith Ruff, George E. person
associatedWith Sears, Paul Bigelow, 1891- person
associatedWith Selye, Hans, 1907-1982. person
associatedWith Shapley, Harlow, 1885-1972. person
associatedWith Smith, W. John (William John), 1934- person
associatedWith Spiller, Robert Ernest, 1896-1988. person
associatedWith Stunkard, Albert J., 1922- person
associatedWith Tillich, Paul, 1886-1965. person
associatedWith Todd, Thomas A., 1928- person
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. Dept. of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. Graduate School of Fine Arts corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. School of Fine Arts. City and Regional Planning. corporateBody
associatedWith Wallace, Anthony F. C., 1923- person
associatedWith Wallace-McHarg Associates. corporateBody
associatedWith Wallace, McHarg, Roberts, and Todd. corporateBody
associatedWith Watts, Alan, 1915-1973. person
associatedWith Weigel, Gustave, 1906-1964. person
associatedWith Welch, Claude. person
associatedWith Wenar, Charles, 1922- person
associatedWith Wheaton, William L. C. person
associatedWith Woidich, Francis S. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Architectural design
Architectural drawings
City planning
Ecological Landscape Design
Geographic Information Systems
Highway planning
Human ecology
Landscape architects
Landscape architecture
Landscape architecture
Land use




Ark ID: w6154jtr

SNAC ID: 17106676