2017 Program Brochure

Applications for the 2017 Field School are available online. The deadline for summer 2017 is January 31, 2017.

Students earn 6 – 10 University of Oregon credits while living and learning for four weeks at Overlook, a 400-acre property in northeastern Pennsylvania designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm in the early twentieth century, and currently being re-imagined by the fourth-generation owners and Nelson Byrd Woltz landscape architects. The summer field school at Overlook offers students a unique opportunity to live, study and create on an evolving cultural landscape. With faculty and a visiting artist in residence, students examine the enduring connections between landscape, culture, and production.

The program includes multi-day site visits to New York and Philadelphia. Weekly activities include design charettes, fieldwork, seminars, expert speakers, and site visits to regional cultural and productive sites.


overlook_poster_20172017 Program Overview: Landscapes of Waste

In 2017, the program focuses on the topic of how we perceive wastelands (those which are unwanted, disused, discarded, and/or considered unusable, worthless, defective), and their potential. This topic will be explored through three thematic courses:

  • 2 credit field seminar
  • 4 credit design charette
  • (6 credit studio option available)
  • 2 credit regional study course


Field Seminar: Wastelands and Beauty 

Wastelands typically elicit fear and contempt, two emotions commonly associated with the sublime.  The sublime aesthetic has been vital in creating picturesque landscapes (especially as it relates to the history of the Overlook property and farm, and the Olmsted Brother’s original design). Together, we will speculate on the emotional responses to wastelands, and on how wastelands, fear, contempt and disgust relate to ideas about nature, beauty, and sublimity.


Media / Studio: Design Charette

The design charette uses Overlook as a case study to develop ideas from the field seminar. Students will design and build on-site installations that reflect on or reveal the presence of waste in the landscape. Research and prototypes will lead to a group or individual final installations on site and in the land, presented at a final show open to the public.

Regional Study Course

Students will study the designers, theories, and monuments of regional landscapes and landscape architecture through field trips and site visits. In New York and Philadelphia, we visit design firms to discuss contemporary practice, and visit urban parks, infrastructure, and institutions. At Overlook, we explore the geology, ecosystems, and vernacular landscapes of Northeast Pennsylvania, through the lens of waste in the landscape.

Sites visited include gardens and museums in the New York and Philadelphia regions, including Storm King Art Center, DIA Beacon, Chanticleer, and Longwood Gardens.


Liska Chan manages the Overlook Field School and co-teaches the courses with scholars and artists in residence.

Roxi Thoren directs the Fuller Center for Productive Landscapes and teaches the spring seminar on Wastelands of Beauty.


2017 Key Program Dates

Saturday, July 1 Arrive at Overlook
Sunday, July 2 Orientation
Monday, July 3 Classes start
Tuesday, July 4 Kayak tour
July 10 – 13 New York field excursion
July 19 – 22 Philadelphia field excursion
Saturday, July 29 Final show
Monday, July 31 Depart Overlook

Fees and Budget


Airfare, local travel, housing and meals are paid for by the Fuller Center. Local travel includes the field excursions, including travel, hotels, admission to required sites, and a meal stipend.


Students pay tuition for summer credit hours, according to the Registrar’s fee schedule. For Summer 2016, tuition and fees for 10 credits of instruction were:

In-state, Graduate $6271
Out of state, Graduate $9662
In-state, Undergraduate $2593
Out of state, Undergraduate $7633


Students make their own travel arrangements to and from Overlook. A travel subsidy will be deposited to students’ UO accounts. The amount of the subsidy is based on round-trip airfare from Eugene to Scranton, PA, one checked bag fee each way, and round-trip shuttle costs from Scranton to Overlook.

Summer Financial Aid

Students are eligible for summer financial aid to assist with tuition. Students should follow the usual application process.

Graduate students with GTF appointments may be eligible for a “summer sandwich” tuition waiver. See http://gradschool.uoregon.edu/gtf/summer-sandwich for information on the waiver.

Graduate students may be eligible for a graduate research subsidy through the Fuller Center; applications and process will be sent to all interested students in winter term.

Application Process and Schedule

Admission is through the Landscape Architecture department, and considers academic standing and GPA, as well as relevance of the program to the student’s area of study.

Submit your application and supplemental materials (2-4 images of sample work) online.

January 31, 2017 Application deadline for the summer 2016 program. Applications are accepted by the faculty director, and applications will be considered as they are completed.
February 15, 2017 All students will be notified of their acceptance status.
February 28, 2017 Student confirmation of offer. All students who are accepted to the program must confirm their participation.

If there is a waiting list, students will be accepted from the waiting list following the February 28 confirmation deadline. Those students will then have two weeks to confirm their participation.