Landscape architecture develops, analyzes and designs open spaces and landscapes. It is a cultural and social contribution to the important issues of the present and future: health and well-being, urbanization, climate change, biodiversity, resource consumption, migration and mobility. Landscape architecture thereby focuses on the preservation, development and design of attractive and sustainable open spaces of all sizes in urban and rural environments.

We build on the experiences and achievements of the past. At the same time, we react to the continuously changing socio-political framework and planning tasks.

The complex tasks can only be handled in interdisciplinary cooperation and in close collaboration with stakeholders, practice and administration. This approach is a fixed component of teaching and research.

Our focus topics

Basic and applied research is conducted at the Institute of Landscape Architecture. The methods range from qualitative and quantitative analyses, design analyses, social science approaches to design-based research.

The following research fields are covered:

Open space and urban development

In urban areas, green and open spaces have an important ecological, climatic and social significance. In times of urban densification and climate change, quality and quantity of open spaces as well as their distribution are crucial for the quality of life. Resource consumption and potential cycles are reflected in space.

Inter- and transdisciplinary research addresses the possibilities of designing, securing, transforming and reinterpreting urban open spaces for sustainable development. This includes public parks, squares, street spaces, but also semi-public and private open spaces.

Selected projects

Persons: Jürgen Furchtlehner, Cecilia Furlan, Dagmar Grimm-Pretner, Nora Heger, Daniela Lehner, Lilli Lička

Infrastructure and landscape

Infrastructure such as railroad lines, roads or pipelines are components of the landscape. They have a direct influence on the appearance of the landscape. The design concepts and possibilities, the impact on perception and development and the possibilities of using infrastructures are explored and their interaction and integration with the environment is analyzed.

Selected projects

Persons: Erwin Frohmann, Dagmar Grimm-Pretner, Roland Tusch

History of landscape architecture

No future without present, no present without past. Therefore, it is important for research, teaching and practice to understand the development of landscape architecture as a temporal continuum. Research topics in the field of "History of Landscape Architecture" are the development of the discipline, biographies of landscape architects, historical open spaces and projects as well as landscape architectural trends. The temporal focus is on the 20th century.

A comprehensive study of the history of the profession is essential to understand and development the discipline and helps to contextualise current and future challenges.

The Archive of Austrian Landscape Architecture (LArchiv) professionally preserves the estates and bequests of Austrian landscape architects and makes them accessible for research, teaching and practice. In this way, cultural heritage is secured for the future.

Selected projects

Persons: Ulrike Krippner, Gerhard Kainz, Lilli Lička, Dominik Rosner, Roland Tusch

Use of plants

In landscape architecture, the plant is an important actor, its design use must be based on horticultural knowledge and an extremely diverse plant culture. In the open space, the plant is multifunctional: structuring spatially, acting aesthetically and technically, it influences our social behavior and our health. Above all, its irreplaceable value in the environmental system.

Accordingly, the use of plants confronts us with exciting tasks and also takes the rank of the unique selling point in landscape architecture: rich in traditions, it appears wildly dynamic to artistic-architectural, always guided by new inspiring movements and personalities, and with an increasing future value as far as its contribution to the sustainable quality of life in our open spaces is concerned. The expansion of the horticultural plant spectrum with corresponding planting concepts and open space designs will be indispensable within climate change: it is a matter of keeping diversity and literally a cool head!

Detailed info on the use of plants »

Persons: Sabine Plenk, Julia Backhausen-Nikolic

Spatial effect, spatial perception and design of the landscape

Landscapes and open spaces have a design expression that directly interacts with the use of space through the spatial effect. Through spatial perception, a physical and psychological interaction arises, which can be experienced by humans as an empirical experience of spatial form in the context of its aesthetic and atmospheric character.

Theories of space are complemented by the practice of spatial perception, and aesthetics is understood as a design-related as well as use-related expression of different spatial qualities. Accordingly, the examination of spatial effects through methods of spatial perception forms a basis for a comprehensive understanding of space and further foundations for design work within the field of landscape architecture.

Selected projects

Persons: Erwin Frohmann

Teaching and learning through competitions

Complementary to teaching, the topics of landscape architecture are also researched via "Real Life Settings" and scientifically examined. Requests from communities and institutions are interwoven and offer students and recent graduates an increase in their expertise.

The spectrum of this work, which is located supplementary or prior to professional services, forms a building block in the individual lifelong learning process.

Selected projects

Persons: Julia Backhausen Nikolic, Roland Tusch, Roland Wück

Teaching at the ILA

Research and teaching are closely linked at the Institute of Landscape Architecture. We teach the understanding and analysis of design, spatial and socio-cultural issues in urban and rural contexts.

The design teaching is characterized by conceptual design with special consideration of spatial and ecological developments on different practice-relevant scale levels. Students acquire basic knowledge and advanced skills in the use of drawing and digital tools as well as model making and design processes. Current topics in landscape architecture are integrated into teaching in the form of presentations, reflections, discussions and excursions.


  • Analysis, planning and design of different types of open spaces (parks, public squares, gardens, residential open spaces, streets, cultural landscapes, etc.)
  • Spatial, social, and economic context
  • Design-theory and practice
  • Contextualization of landscape architectural design within historical and contemporary aspects
  • Competencies in garden design and historic preservation, as well as the history of the designed landscape
  • Understanding of spatial qualities and aesthetic issues
  • Methods for holistic spatial perception
  • Knowledge of construction management within the aspect of sustainable care and maintenance
  • Knowledge of construction and materials
  • Interdisciplinary project management

Our contribution

We work along the competence fields of the BOKU Development Plan 2027 "Landscape, Water, Habitat and Infrastructures", "Ecosystem Management and Biodiversity" and "Resources and Societal Dynamics".

The Institute contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities, 13 - Climate Action, and 15 - Life on Land.