LUCIA PHINNEY

Distinguished Lecturer, Architecture

Education: University of Virginia, Master in Landscape Architecture and Master of Architecture; New College, Bachelor of Architecture


A Lecturer at the University of Virginia since 1981, Lucia Phinney has been a Distinguished Lecturer since 1996. Lucia Phinney notes that while common sense reveals a vital biotic and meteorological milieu, representations of new construction nearly always portray buildings as sited in a context of blank surfaces. Seeking to remedy this lapse, her research and studio teaching are directed towards the rescue of the natural world through both representation and presentation. Her work explores the means to reveal rather than erase the incredible potential for natural systems to effectively engage and inform the places we make. Drawing on the history of painting, poetry, drama, and music, where hypotheses about the relationship between nature and the human condition are a constant thematic presence, she and her students propose interventions that change the definition of architecture to encompass natural process. Lucia Phinney has addressed these issues outside of the classroom through \"The Covesville Odyssey\", a hypothetical reconstruction of the island landscape and home of Odysseus (a metaphorical tale of how humans dwell in the natural world); and through the research and design associated with the management of the gardens, fields, and forests of a farm in the Virginia Piedmont. Lucia Phinney's recent work has been published in the following books and magazines: House Beautiful; Elle D├ęcor; Storage, by Sally Clark; Architects House Themselves by Michael Webb; and Eighteen Houses, W. Jude LeBlanc, ed. A 2003 graduate in Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia, her master's thesis examines the possibility that weather construction can instigate active urban life.