Nancy A. Takahashi
The current Department Chair, , Ms. Takahashi has been teaching the first-year landscape studios, Dew Travel Studio to Barcelona, and the Eco-Tech Site Assembly course in Landscape Architecture since 1985. Her interest in bringing design/build initiatives to the curriculum has led her to serve for the last four years as the Landscape Architectural Advisor to the school’s EcoMOD Project where last summer the student team worked in Falmouth, Jamaica to rebuild a historic freed slave house. She also has taught design/build courses, last year one in concrete furniture.
The design of school grounds has been the focus of her research since 1997. Her 1999 handbook "Educational Landscapes: Developing School Grounds as Learning Places", published by the Thomas Jefferson Center for Educational Design, proposes a new design process for creating school landscapes and improving the instructional value of school grounds. In 2003, Ms. Takahashi contributed chapters to the Virginia Department of Education's first guidelines for public K-12 school grounds. School grounds projects include the Princeton Junior School in New Jersey (2000-03), a entry garden for the Village School in Charlottesville with Hays-Ewing Architects (2005-06) and the State Arboretum at UVA's Blandy Farm Research Station,the Science Center Courtyard at University of Virginia at Wise (2003), and Hereford College at UVA with Williams/ Tsien and VMDO Architects (1992). From 1999-2006, Ms. Takahashi chaired the University's Arboretum and Landscape Committee, a faculty/ student advisory committee charged with exercising broad design oversight of the Grounds.
Ms. Takahashi’s current research focuses on the history and significant role of a tract of land on the grounds of the university, called Observatory Hill, which was one of the original land purchases made by Jefferson in creating the university. Her other uilt works include Canal Basin Square Museum Park in Scottsville, Virginia with VMDO Architects which was awarded a 2005 Central Virginia AIA Honor Award and the Old Michie Courtyard in Charlottesville (1995);
Since 2006, Ms. Takahashi has served as the Principal in-residence at UVA's Hereford College, a 300 student residential community whose living/learning focus on sustainable initiatives is joining students and faculty fellows in experimental research projects such as The Hereford Mini-Farm, an on-site food garden, and a project to install a filtering station that reuses the dining hall waste vegetable oil to fuel a converted university mowing vehicle.