E. Umbanhowar

Elizabeth Umbanhowar


Elizabeth Umbanhowar, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP is a registered landscape architect in Washington state and a lecturer at the University of Washington. In her practice, Elizabeth has focused on large-scale public infrastructure, nonmotorized transportation, urban design, public involvement and habitat restoration.

In fall 2015, Elizabeth was invited to be a visiting faculty at the University of British Columbia, where she taught courses in history of landscape architecture and a graduate design studio focused on False Creek Flats, a complex 450-acre brownfield in the heart of Vancouver BC. The site retains active rail, transit, light and heavy industry, as well as parks, community gardens, a burgeoning arts and technology economy, and the promise of additional green business and infrastructure. Students focused on soils as the basis for developing small-scale and replicable site interventions to address larger issues of transportation, community and ecological connectivity, waste cycling and design resiliency.

Prior to completing her Masters in Landscape Architecture, Elizabeth served as the Executive Director of the Kirkland Arts Center and as Director of Fund Development for the Wing Luke Asian Museum. She continues to focus on public art and community advocacy in her practice, volunteer and creative work. In 2014, with her brother, John Umbanhowar, a Los Angeles architect, Elizabeth developed Evaporative Fault, a 10-day temporary installation presented through the Lerata Skyline event. Evaporative Fault investigated the processes of erosion and accretion at the interface of landscape, architecture and urban environment by creating a large-scale “hour glass” in the lobby of the historic Los Angeles Case Hotel using 15,000 pounds of salt, Plexiglas and blue theatre lighting.

Elizabeth has co-published in Landscape Architecture Magazine on cultural landscapes, innovation in design thinking, and design pedagogy and healing landscapes. She has taught both graduate and undergraduate studio and lecture courses, including: L212 Designing the Future, L302 Urban Sites Studio, L303 Ecological Systems, L402 and L498 Neighborhood Design Studios, L507 Art and Landscape graduate design studio, L498/ART234 Public Art, Public Space, the L552 and L553 History of Landscape Architecture series and Arch591 Architecture in the Landscape in the Department of Architecture at UW. She has served as an advisor for graduate and undergraduate thesis committees for students in landscape architecture, architecture, political science and CEP.

She has contributed to the civic conversation about the role of landscape architecture, history, sustainable practice and transportation design in the city and region through such forums as the Seattle Architecture Foundation, Washington Chapter of ASLA Annual Conference, National Garden Club Shirley Meneice Horticultural Conference, ODOT GeoEnvironmental Conference, and the American Metropolitan Planning Organization and will be working with Atlas Obscura Seattle Chapter to lead tours of the curious and arcane spaces of Seattle’s hidden urban fabric. Research interests include: the history of urban form and specifically how transportation systems have shaped and misshaped cities; design for movement in landscapes—walking, running, hiking—to promote individual health, place attachment, and social healing and awareness; the value of mentorship in developing new and diverse landscape practitioners; the use of film and digital media as research and teaching tool in landscape architecture; the role of art in expressing the relationship of time and the body to city form, architecture, and landscape; and mapping and the medieval landscape.