David Hill

Associate Professor and Graduate Landscape Architecture Chair

David Hill

School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture

Master of Landscape Architecture

412 Dudley Hall Phone: (334) 844-5434

Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia
Master of Architecture, University of Virginia
Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology


David Hill was raised among an assortment of flora in his family’s plant nursery in South Georgia. In an attempt to flee the land of containers and ever-present weeds, he initially pursued a career in architecture. Alas, his fascination with plants eventually beckoned him back into the landscape and he became both a registered Architect as well as Landscape Architect after graduate studies at the University of Virginia. David’s current research streams include 1.) plant performance and 2.) material harvesting + reuse strategies. Each of these research streams are interwoven throughout coursework, publications, lectures, and projects.

A featured research investigation of plant performance is the award winning Phenology Project, which carefully observes and chronicles how plants change through time. In early 2010, David garnered a grant to initiate the LandscapePerformanceLAB and kickstart the phenology project. The LandscapePerformanceLAB was established as a research umbrella to unite a few individuals who advocate that the landscape be understood as an operable, performing, dynamic component of the built environment. The Phenology Project advances the exploration of plant phenology by capturing the spatial and textural qualities of a specific plant palette through a series of still photographs taken from the same vantage point at the same time each week through an entire year. The chronicling of seasonality allows landscape architects and garden designers to intentionally design landscapes that acknowledge and heighten the ephemeral spatiality of planted form. The Phenology Project was recently awarded a 2013 Alabama ASLA Award of Merit as well as a 2014 National ASLA Award of Honor in Research.

Prior to joining the faculty at Auburn, David helped unearth post-industrial landscapes as an Associate at D.I.R.T. studio, where he managed projects such as Urban Outfitters Headquarters in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Voelcker Park in San Antonio Texas, the Historic Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee Wisconsin, and the Holy Cross Project in New Orleans Louisiana. The Urban Outfitters Headquarters was recently awarded a 2014 National ASLA Award of Honor in Design. Building on this rich experience with regenerative projects, Hill continues to advance design research of innovative material reclamation and reuse strategies through academic coursework and disciplinary research at Auburn University.

David devotes much of his energy exploring the relationship between academia and practice. Upon arriving at Auburn, David opened the small design studio of H I L L w o r k s : landscape + architecture. This agile design practice provided David the opportunity to advance disciplinary research not only through academic investigation, but also through the trenches of actual project development. A featured HILLworks project is the 274 Bragg Avenue renovation, the adaptive reuse of a 1920’s pool hall structure into a charming, yet industrial, home. This project was recently featured in Dwell Magazine’s Modern Across America Issue (July/August 2014).

Interest areas in research and practice:
Plant Performance
Material Harvesting + ReUse
Post Industrial Landscapes