Landscape, Infrastructure and Ecology: Scottish Modernist Landscape Architecture through the work of Mark Turnbull

Funded PhD Scholarship


This is a fees-only scholarship which will cover your annual tuition fees (around £4,260). The project is also included in a wider open funding competition which may lead to a full scholarship being offered. We will confirm the funding available before we issue any offers. This project will also have additional income from 16 hours a week teaching in the School of Architecture, enabling the candidates to gain teaching experience while pursuing their PhD.

The Landscape Institute Scotland (LIS) and the Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) aims to launch a project that will build on the unique holdings of the LIS Archives and the academic and research experience of MSA.

The project will focus on two until now narrowly researched aspects of Scottish post-war modernist landscape architecture: its international links to the United States of America and its achievements in the field of landscapes of infrastructure and ecological planning. The project will investigate these issues through the lens of the unique archives of architect and landscape architect Mark Turnbull (1943-2016), held by the Landscape Institute Scotland. The research will contribute to the new archives of the Landscape Institute Scotland and their online project Sco.Mo. that documents and disseminates key modernist landscape architectural projects.

Aims and objectives

Scholarship in modernist design of the post-war period has resulted in publications on aspects of the landscape, but these less commonly focus on infrastructure.(1) While there is a significant body of research on private gardens and the urban landscape, this project aims to focus on the larger scale design of the landscape. Areas designed as result of the reconstruction period after WW2: major infrastructure projects, such as roads, power stations, reservoirs and the evolving fields of landscape and ecological planning. Much existing work in the field of landscapes of infrastructure focuses on the national settings(2) for the design and implementation of these projects, and less attention has been given to the trans-atlantic links in the design theory, although key UK designers, have admitted the leadership of American theory.(3)

Trans-Atlantic links between Scotland and America have long been studied for the close exchange of environmental ideas with the highly influential writings of John Muir, Patrick Geddes and Ian McHarg, along with a much more complex intertwined cultural history.(4) However little attention has been paid to the wider development of a landscape approach based on a more plural and reciprocal exchange between the two countries. The impact Ian McHarg’s principles for ecological planning has exerted on the landscape profession has been widely discussed, however his personal links to Scotland through his students have not been analysed.

This project aims to start to address these gaps in academic knowledge through the lense of the unique work of Mark Turnbull, student of Ian McHarg, former chair of Landscape Institute Scotland and Member of the Royal Fine Art Trust. The Landscape Institute Scotland have been donated some of Mark Turnbull’s archives and has access to other material that will form the centre of this research. The archival materials will serve as a basis for an extended research project that will give an insight into the American impact on the evolution of Scottish modernist landscape architecture with a special focus on large scale infrastructural projects, and the evolution of the theory of ecological planning and landscape planning in Scotland. Through its broad links the LIS will help the postgraduate researcher to disseminate the results of the research to a wide range of non-academic as well as academic audiences. The project will form part of the Sco.Mo. project, that aims to collect and document the evolution of Scottish Modernist Architecture, and will contribute to the setting up of the new Landscape Institute Scotland Archives.

For references 1-4, please see the downloadable chronological breakdown of the project.

Aims and objectives

  1. Assess and analyse the content of the currently available archival material of Mark Turnbull. Assess where gaps exist and undertake research and travel to broaden understanding and knowledge of his work.
  2. Place the collection and Turnbull’s legacy within historical and contemporary discourses and debates concerning landscape, architecture, ecology, planning and urban design
  3. Situate Turnbull’s work – with a special focus of infrastructural projects – in an international context, especially within the Scottish-American discourse of landscape and architectural theory and the development of the principles of ecological planning
  4. Analyse Turnbull’s work in the context of evolving Scottish modernist landscape architecture
  5. Analyse the influence of post-war infrastructure projects and Turnbull’s work on current questions in landscape architecture in Scotland, including new types of infrastructures.
  6. Populate the Sco.Mo project website with modernist landscape projects for the further dissemination of the results to both academic and professional audiences to direct attention to key examples of landscape architecture from the modernist period.

Chronological Breakdown of the Project and References ArtsHums-LCK-2019-1

Specific requirements of the project

We will seek to appoint a candidate of the highest quality and someone of demonstrative expertise that has achieved at a high Masters level in the fields of Architecture, Landscape Architecture or other relevant background with a deep understanding of landscape related issues in the post-war period. An experience in archival research and/or work experience in an archival setting and with a wide range of professional and public audiences is desirable.

Student eligibility

This opportunity is open to UK and EU applicants


Informal enquiries can be made to:

Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr,, +44 (0)161 247 6924.

How to Apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online (full time)

Apply online (part time)

Please quote the reference: ArtsHums-LCK-2019-1.

You must also complete the additional Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information document and upload it to the Student documents section of your online application.

Closing date

Midnight, 14 January 2019


Interviews are likely to take place between late January and mid February.

Research Study