Parker Sutton

Parker Sutton

  • Professional Practice Assistant Professor

Knowlton Hall
275 W Woodruff Ave

I am an Assistant Professor at the Knowlton School and one half of Present Practice. With Present Practice, I write, draw, build, and grow. I like landscapes that are abundant and chemical-free, that express regionality and embrace spontaneity. Our name reflects an intention to be present in the work that we do and for that work to be sustaining. We are recipients of the Center for Land Use (CLUI) Residency, the MacDowell Fellowship in Architecture, and the Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture. In 2022, Present Practice was profiled in Metropolis Magazine. We have lectured on our work in the United States and Europe. 

I regularly teach on the theme of landscape care, including courses at Ohio State (Aesthetics of Care design studio) and the University of Oregon Overlook Field School (On Maintenance, with K. Jenkins). This pedagogy explores approaches to care that enhance landscape function and adaptability, promote vegetative abundance, and model new aesthetic norms. My writing on the subject was published in the Journal of Architectural Education in an article titled “A New Aesthetic of Care.” In 2022-23, I was awarded the Gilmore D. Clark and Michael I. Rapuano/Kate Lancaster Brewster Rome Prize for Landscape Architecture with Katherine Jenkins for our proposal, “Taking Care of Rome,” a study of Roman aesthetics of care. 

I am similarly preoccupied with the aesthetics of wildness—how wild-seeming landscapes are perceived in the popular imagination and the ecological and spiritual benefits that accrue when landscapes are granted greater autonomy. I have explored this pedagogically through the Wilding studio, which cultivates wild landscapes in response to the global extinction crisis. Pollinator Column, the first of a series of grant-funded habitat sculptures for midwestern fauna, is also borne of this research. In 2024, I will co-lead an OSU study abroad program in the UK that looks at rewilded landscapes through the lens of species migration. 

Underlying my practice and pedagogy is an interest in the ways that aesthetics structure our interactions with the landscape, from the scale of individual choices to environmental policy. My essay, “Trending Green: Landscape in the Age of Digital Reproduction,” (LA+ Interdisciplinary Journal of Landscape Architecture), considers how the visual culture of the internet aestheticizes the landscape, with real-world repercussions. Another essay, “Digital Monocultures and the Future of Landscape Modeling” (under review), warns against the aesthetic convergence and coercive biases of digital modeling platforms.

I have a B.A. from Princeton University and M. Arch. from the University of Virginia.