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SNRE Dean's Speaker Series
Laurie Olin March 26 SNRE Lecture
Landscape Architect William J. Johnson

Landscape Architect William J. Johnson discusses sustainability at March 13 Whittemore Lecture

William J. Johnson, founding partner of the landscape architecture and urban design JJR, delivers this year's Whittemore Lecture on Thursday, March 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the Samuel T. Dana Building, Room 1040. The title of his lecture is "PLACE DESIGN – Strategy, Process and Form. Lessons learned along the way."

William Johnson formed Johnson, Johnson and Roy (JJR) in 1961, a partnership with his brother Carl and Clarence Roy. A master plan for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor established the firm’s approach of integrated planning and analysis. The search for fitness, harmony, and community involvement became William Johnson’s core design philosophy and a trademark of JJR’s work. A professor of landscape architecture from 1958, he became Dean of the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan (1975-83) and Professor Emeritus in 1988.

Lecture statement:

Often on my mind are Landscape Architect Professionals-to-be…emerging professionals gearing up for intriguing careers, facing some of the most important sets of issues in the 21st Century – how to understand, protect, and restore sustaining natural systems while accommodating overlapping human development aspirations. Finding a responsible FIT between the two is a complex, formidable and worthy challenge.

Landscape Architecture is a DESIGN Profession focused on that search for fit in partnership with several sister design professions, key science disciplines among many others. The nature of the practice is marked by interdisciplinary exchanges and collaborative teamwork. I have come to know Design as a continuum; interconnecting strategy, process and form towards responsible and inspirational completed works. There have been many lessons learned along the way during some disappointing shortfalls along with some remarkable successes.

Accordingly, I want to highlight some Key Design Insights and Precepts that I believe are central to a sound professional practice. In concert with my brother Carl and Clarence Roy, these precepts became clear early in our careers - during undergraduate, graduate work and within the first few years of practice. These precepts formed much of the basis for my 30 years of teaching at Michigan begun in 1958 as well as the joint founding of Johnson, Johnson and Roy as a parallel professional practice in 1963. There are 7 precepts all centered on PLACE DESIGN … Design as uniquely approached by designers of the land in a breadth of scope consistent with the magnitude of the challenge. I trust their descriptions will be both interesting and helpful.

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