Updates from ASLA

ASLA 2021 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. Ghost Wash. Paradise Valley, AZ. COLWELL SHELOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE >

ASLA's 125th: Our Story – The Pennsylvania-Delaware Chapter

James Bush-Brown, Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women (PSHW) Landscape Design Department Head, 1940 / Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA

By Carl Kelemen, FASLA, RLA; Richard Rauso, ASLA, RLA; and Cicely Elliott,

Our Chapter

The Pennsylvania-Delaware Chapter of ASLA (PA-DE ASLA) comprises four unique geographic regions:

  • Western PA
  • Central PA
  • Eastern PA
  • Delaware

These span Pennsylvania and Delaware and host six undergraduate and graduate landscape architecture programs:

Nearly 600 practicing landscape architects and students are PA-DE ASLA members.

Our History and Licensure

Our chapter was organized in 1940 (the eighth ASLA chapter!) and was called the Pennsylvania Chapter until 1977. On June 29, 1981, the Pennsylvania-Delaware Chapter filed its articles of incorporation with the Pennsylvania Department of State.

1963 ASLA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh1963ASLA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. L-R: E. Lynn Miller, Eugene R. DeSilets, Wayne H. Wilson, Robert Pierson, J. Scott Calkins, George Patton, Robert Fenton. Front, seated are William Swain, Clifton Rogers, and Paul McCloud / PA-DE ASLA Archives

The 1963 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects was held in Pittsburgh, PA. During that meeting, some of the most influential landscape architects of the time, as well as ASLA national, strongly advocated that landscape architects pursue a registration law. Prior to that time, there was no law regulating the practice of landscape architecture in Pennsylvania. Many PA-DE ASLA members called upon their state legislators to gain support for the registration law.

Signing the Pennsylvania Landscape Architect Registration ActSigning the Pennsylvania Landscape Architect Registration Act / PA-DE ASLA Archives

Thanks to their dedication and advocacy, Act 535 of 1965 (Public Law 1527) was enacted in early 1966. The Act defined the requirements that delineated the practice of landscape architecture in Pennsylvania. Registration of landscape architects in Delaware was initiated in 1975, and Delaware licensure is now administered under Title 24 of the Delaware Code, Chapter 2.

Our Roots

The legacy of landscape architecture has deep roots in Pennsylvania and Delaware, dating back to the Olmsted firm. In Pennsylvania, Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. projects include Bryn Mawr College, Fairmount Park (Philadelphia), Vandergrift town plan, and other city parks. In Wilmington, Delaware, Olmsted, Sr. notably drafted the Brandywine Park plan.

Additionally, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and the Olmsted firm managed or contributed to the following Pennsylvania projects:

  • “City of Pittsburgh Report: Pittsburgh Main Thoroughfares and the Down Town District,”
  • Swarthmore College
  • Chatham University
  • The Bryn Athyn Cathedral
  • Skytop Resort
  • The Pennsylvania State Capitol complex

Our Book

PA-DE ASLA celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2015 and compiled a book to commemorate the occasion. Titled 75 Years, the book features detailed state landscape architecture history, key players, key landscapes, and other chapter history. Hardcover and PDF versions are available for purchase.

Carl Kelemen, RLA, FASLA, is principal at KMS Design Group. Richard Rauso, RLA, ASLA, is founder of R.P. Rauso Landscape Architects. Cicely Elliott is the executive director of the Pennsylvania-Delaware Chapter of ASLA. 

Leave a Comment