Doctoral Thesis Defence – – Jonathan Lachance (Director Louis Martin) – March 17th 2017

« Les fondements architecturaux et écologiques de l’Environmental Design aux États-Unis : 1953-1975 »

Under the supervision of professor Louis Martin at UQAM, the thesis examines the nature of the intersection in between Environmental Design and the natural sciences, and its effects on architecture both as a discipline and as a profession in the 1960s’. The first chapter retraces the origins of the discipline of Environmental Design in the 1950s’ in the teachings of Serge Chermayeff at Harvard and in the College of Environmental Design in Berkeley created by William W. Wurster, and it gives an overview of its successive development, dissemination and gradual institutionalization throughout the United States in the 1960s’. The two following chapters are case studies of two landscape architects who have introduced ecology, biology and other natural sciences in their discourse during this last decade: Ian McHarg from the University of Pennsylvania and Lawrence Halprin from San Francisco. My thesis shows that, although McHarg and Halprin approaches ecology from two different points of view, the aim of the intersection with the natural sciences in the 1960s’ was to help formulate a new unified theories of design and sciences which gives the landscape architect the responsibility to both solve the environmental crisis through enlightened and inclusive design practices, and solve the internal problems of post-war American architecture through the dissemination, among the anglo-saxon architectural culture, of a new definition of architecture as «natural process» rather than «design object».