University of Calgary

Dean Pollock-Ellwand on landscape architecture and heritage conservation

Submitted by jwalla on Tue, 2012/10/30 - 1:58pm.

Pollock-Ellwand advising on Mt. FujiDean Nancy Pollock-Ellwand’s personal, professional and academic life has centred on landscapes, an amalgam of the tangible and intangible. Landscapes are a shared resource variously understood. They are a piece of land measured by science and law but all landscapes retain an elusive quality created by their associations. This complex resource has taken Pollock-Ellwand to many different parts of the world as a landscape architect, educator, design juror, researcher and heritage advisor.

As a practitioner, Pollock-Ellwand has a diverse background.  Her work ranges from municipal playgrounds and civic plazas, to her role as an Expert Advisor with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) helping define World Heritage sites around the globe. Projects include reviews of World Heritage nominations in Japan, China and the United States. As well, she has advised on the protection of cultural resources in places as diverse as Mount Fuji and the Isle of Wight.

With Parks Canada she worked on some of Canada’s most important cultural landscapes, including Batoche, York Factory, and the Chilkoot Trail.

In private practice, Pollock-Ellwand was part of a team wrestling with the tangible and intangible at Kekerten Island, a 19th Century whaling station in Canada’s High Arctic. On a haunting site in a harsh environment they created an unconventional open-framed structure which interprets and honours a place important in Inuit history.

Other projects with powerful cultural dimensions include work on the Ontario terminus of the Underground Railroad in Buxton National Historic Site; and leading an urban design studio for the University of Tokyo on the historic Yanaka district, one of the few locations in that city not bombed during the Second World War.

Transformation of the landscape is the focus of her current work. These ideas have been central to her work in design competitions in Toronto and Abu Dhabi; and her research on sustainable urban environments in Adelaide, Australia.

What are the factors that bring change and community reform?  Kerkerten Interpretive Facility (Simulation, Mansoor Ma)It is an inquiry that has led her to explore the largely unheralded work of three Canadian-based landscape architects and town planners, Gordon Culham, Rickson Outhet and Frederick Todd. All three are linked to the Boston-based Olmsted Firm – the founders of landscape architecture and the designers, most famously, of Central Park in New York. The tangible and the intangible remain central to Pollock-Ellwand’s scholarly work as she contemplates the role of landscape as a reflection of reform, economic forces, charismatic politicians and persuasive developers.

Dr. Nancy Pollock-Ellwand is the Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Design. To learn more about her research click here to view her profile.

For more Faculty research, click here.