Keith VanDerSys

2013 PEW FELLOW
Updated
30 Nov 2016

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Karen M'Closkey and Keith VanDerSys, 2013 Pew Fellows. Photo by Colin Lenton.

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Karen M'Closkey and Keith VanDerSys, Not Garden, 2009. Geotextile, grass seed, gravel, 400 square feet. Part of the Incremental Infrastructure series. Photo courtesy of the artists.

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Karen M'Closkey and Keith VanDerSys, Not Garden, 2009. Geotextile, grass seed, gravel, 400 square feet. Part of the Incremental Infrastructure series. Photo courtesy of the artists.

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Karen M'Closkey and Keith VanDerSys, Dew Point, 2010. CNC custom-cut cardboard templates, concrete waterproof sealer, 1,500 square feet. Photo courtesy of the artists.


"We argue that patterns—due to their legibility and coherent structure—carry the potential to bind together landscape's utilitarian and aesthetic functions: system and composition; performance and appearance; matter and sign."

Karen M'Closkey (b. 1969) and Keith VanDerSys (b. 1968) explore the potential of new digital tools, fabrication technologies, and construction to expand the beauty and sustainability of the contemporary urban landscape. Their projects experiment with patterns that intrigue the eye as well as enhance natural functions, such as water flow and plant growth. Together, M'Closkey and VanDerSys have created techniques that result in a signature aesthetic, leading the way in the next generation of landscape design and contradicting notions that patterns are pretty but useless. They have worked with agencies such as the Philadelphia Water Department and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and they recently finished writing a book about the effects of digital advances in their field (Dynamic Patterns: Visualizing Landscapes in a Digital Age, forthcoming from Routledge).

VanDerSys received his M.A in critical studies in architectural culture from UCLA. He and M'Closkey are founding partners of PEG office of landscape + architecture as well as PennDesign faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.