MONDAY | FEB 5| 4PM | AB100

Susannah C. Drake will present a lecture titled “Geophysical City” at 4 p.m. Feb. 5 at Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning as part of the college’s prestigious Sappenfield Guest Lecture series.

The free lecture will be held in AB 100, and all are welcome. For more information email

In describing the lecture topic, Ms. Drake writes:

Planet earth consists of the geosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere. In the modern era, humans have increasingly depended upon the ability to create stable environments across varied geographies and spheres.  Climate change is increasing pressure on these optimized landscapes. Global warming and rapid ice cap melting, flooding, drought, and extreme weather are changing the viable sustainability of many urban settlements. Waterfronts, island nations, arid regions, and zones of unstable geology are increasingly vulnerable to flood, drought, mudslide.

My practice explores the qualities of the different spheres and considers the interface with urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture.  Patterns are revealed that explain a landscape’s formation and its carrying capacity. Understanding geologic patterns in the landscape can guide human settlement and its relationship to the environment.

Susannah DrakeMs. Drake is a principal at Sasaki and founder of DLANDstudio. She is one of only four people in the United States who is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. She lectures globally about resilient urban design and has taught at leading design schools across the US including Harvard, IIT, FIU, and Syracuse among others. Her work titled “From Redlining to Blue Zoning: Equity and Environmental Risk, Liberty City, Miami 2100,” detailing the relationship of historically marginalized black populations of Miami with sea level rise is currently on display at the 2023 Venice Biennale.

She combines practice, teaching, and research and is currently an adjunct associate professor at the Irwin Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union.  Her award-winning work is consistently at the forefront of innovation in urban ecological infrastructure. Through a pioneering methodology of partnering with communities on grants from organizations including the Graham Foundation, the Furthermore (J.M. Kaplan) Fund, the AIA, NOAA, EPA, NEIWPCC, NYSDEC, and NYSCA, she enables green infrastructure, park creation, and environmental justice. She created a methodology that has become a new business model being replicated by large architecture and engineering firms. Ms. Drake connects art and science through her work, her communication methods, and her relationships across disciplines and geographies.

Ms. Drake was recognized as an Architectural League Emerging Voice and AIA Young Architect Award winner. The ASLA Awarded her their Community Advocacy Award. Her New Urban Ground project with ARO detailing climate adaptation strategies for Lower Manhattan is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum. In addition, her Gowanus Sponge Park won the inaugural Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Climate Action. She has published numerous book chapters and articles on climate adaptation and infrastructure. Her book “Gowanus Sponge Park” will be published by Park Books in 2024. Susannah earned MArch and MLA degrees from the Harvard GSD and a BA in Art History and Studio Art from Dartmouth College.

Learning objectives:

  • Attendees will learn about climate change adaptation strategies.
  • Attendees will consider designing for immediate, mid term and more permanent change.
  • Participants will explore how urban infrastructure can reconnect communities.
  • Participants will be introduced to the term Geophysical City and see examples of how it impacts current urban design practice.

We have continuing education credits from both AIA and LACES.

Watch her presentation here.