Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Christian Werthmann
Christian Werthmann is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Design at the Leibniz University Hannover.
As a practitioner Werthmann has completed major built projects in world renowned design firms in Germany and the United States. As an academic, he has written numerous books and articles, exhibited globally and has been a speaker at international conferences on landscape and urbanism. He is also active in curating and co-curating interdisciplinary symposia. His research concentrates on the potentials of landscape architecture in heavily urbanized, socially conflicted hazardous terrain. His work makes him part of a small but growing group of landscape architects engaged in non-formal cities and disaster zones, where he overlays technical innovation with social and natural systems to foster productive and engaging public spaces.
Until 2012, Werthmann was an Associate Professor and the former Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture Degree Programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Part of his research there resulted in the book Green Roof: A Case Study (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007), which has since become a staple in the curricula of North American design schools. Since 2007, Werthmann has focused on the phenomena of informal urbanism as the dominant force for urban growth on the planet. In Spring 2008, together with landscape theorist John Beardsley, he staged a travelling exhibition entitled Dirty Work: Transforming the Landscape of Nonformal Cities in the Americas, showcasing landscape based projects in the non-formal sector of seven Latin American cities. He also edited a studio report Tactical Operations in the Informal City (2009), which was awarded the 2010 Award in Communication Excellence by the American Society of Landscape Architects and is considered one of the early academic resources featuring landscape-based visions for non-formal cities.
Based on his innovative, risk-related research investigations, Werthmann has been awarded the prestigious Hans Fischer Senior Fellowship of the Technical University in Munich (2011), where he curated two major conferences on informal urbanization (Metropolis Nonformal, 2011 and 2013). Based on these conferences he published a book with the journalist Jessica Bridger on the strategic approaches of 25 experts towards informal urbanization (Metropolis Nonformal, 2015).
Since 2011 his focus went towards landscape based resilience strategies for low-income communities threatened by natural disaster. The ensuing work included studies for post-earthquake communities in Haiti (jointly with MIT and Harvard), strategies for informal urbanization in the landslide-prone hills of Medellin, Colombia (Rehabitar la ladera, 2014) and studies on flooding issues in São Paulo (2015). In 2017 he curated the Dangerous Landscapes conference at the Herrenhausen Palace in Hannover. Based on this work he co-curated the exhibition "out there. Landscape Architecture on Global Terrain" at the Architectural Museum of the Technical University Munich (2017) that was subsequently shown at the Museum of the Herrenhausen Palace in Hannover (2018).