Photo: Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson

  • Regents Professor of Landscape Architecture, Emeritus
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    • University of New Mexico, M.A., Art History
    • Yale University, B.A., Philosophy and Psychology.


    • North American Reurbanization
    • Cultural Landscape Studies
    • Southwest Landscape, Architecture and Culture
    • French Eco-Urbanism since 2000

    Regents Professor of Landscape Architecture, Chris Wilson, is the former J.B. Jackson Chair of Cultural Landscape Studies and founding director of the UNM Historic Preservation and Regionalism Program, and served as president of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, an international organization focused on the study and preservation of everyday buildings and cultural landscapes.

    Since retiring from full time teaching in mid-2018, Wilson continues to advise students, and to teach the History and Theory of Landscape Architecture (LA 461/561) and a study abroad course in Paris each May, French Landscape and Urban Design (LA 411/511). He is also at work on a monograph about the leading architecture and urban design film, Moule and Polyzoides.

    REURBANIZATION. His collaboration with Miguel Gandert, Stefanos Polyzoides and others, The Plazas of New Mexico (2011) analyzes the history of Pueblo, Hispanic and Anglo planning traditions--exemplified by 22 classic communities—while also surveying work over the past 15 years to revitalize existing community spaces and to create new ones. He is currently at work on A Field Guide to Cool Neighborhoods, a study of pedestrian neighborhoods in North America before and after the automobile; and has begun a study of French Eco-Urbanism since 2000.

    CULTURAL LANDSCAPE STUDIES Everyday America: Cultural Landscape Studies After J. B. Jackson, co-edited with Paul Groth (2003), provides an assessment of Jackson’s contribution to the field, approaches to teaching landscape, the theoretical underpinnings of the field, and exemplary case studies of 20th Century landscapes. Drawn to Landscape: The Pioneering Work of J. B. Jackson, co-edited with Janet Mendelsohn (2015) features essays on Jackson’s career, and color portfolios of his drawings and teaching slides, including with and a DVD with two historic documentaries about Jackson, along with contemporary interviews about his ongoing impact on a half dozen professions and fields of study. Wilson was also co-organizer with Frédéric Pousin of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, of PhotoPaysage /LandscapeRepresentation, a 2015 Conference and Exhibitions fostering a French / American Dialogue on the role of photography in changing conceptions of landscape.

    SOUTHWEST. Wilson’s co-authored book, La Tierra Amarilla: Its History, Architecture and Cultural Landscape (1991), won the Downing Award from the Society of Architectural Historians, and was lauded as an early model for cultural landscape studies. Noted historian Ramon Gutierrez has called Wilson’s The Myth of Santa Fe: Creating a Modern Regional Traditions (1997), "... a truly superb book. It deserves a wide and serious reading. Literary scholars will be inspired by its narrative strategies. Historians will marvel at its engagement with theory and its rich and varied uses of archival sources. And bibliophiles and lovers of things Santa Fean will delight in the book’s wonderful vignettes." It received the Villagra Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico, and the Cummings Award from the Vernacular Architecture Forum. If The Myth of Santa Fe deconstructs that quintessential American tourist town, his Facing Southwest: The Life and Houses of John Gaw Meem (2001) sings the virtues of one of its leading citizens and of the regional design tradition he helped to sustain.


    LA 561 History and Theory of Landscape Architecture (Earliest Settlements to the Rise of Modernism)

    LA 560 Landscape Architecture (and Theory) in the 20th (and 21st) Centuries

    LA 412/512 French Landscape and Urban Design (Paris Field Course)


    ARCH 481/581 Southwest Architecture and Cultural Landscapes

    “Put on your Hipster Hat.” In Marla Miller and Max Page eds. Bending the Future of Historic Preservation: Compelling Ideas for the Next Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in the United States. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2016.

    Drawn to Landscape: The Pioneering Work of J. B. Jackson. Ed. with Janet Mendelsohn (Charlottesville: GFT Publishing/University of Virginia Press, a book and DVD, 2015).

    The Plazas of New Mexico. San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2011. Ed. with Stefanos Polyzoides, contemporary photography by Miguel Gandert.

    “Place Over Time: Restoration and Revivalism in Santa Fe.” In Giving Preservation a History. Randall Mason and Max Page eds. New York: Routledge, 2004.

    Everyday American: Cultural Landscape Studies After J. B. Jackson. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. Ed. with Paul Groth.

    “Ethnic/Sexual Personas in Tri-cultural New Mexico.” In The Culture of Tourism; The Tourism of Culture. Hal K. Rothman ed. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003.

    Facing Southwest: The Houses and Life of John Gaw Meem. With photographer Robert Reck. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001.

    “Vernacular Means.” In Andy Pressman ed. Architectural Design Portable Handbook. N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

    “Dancing with a Camera.” In Miguel Gandert. Nuevo Mexico Profundo: The Rituals of Indo-Hispano New Mexico. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press/National Hispanic Cultural Center, 2000.

    The Myth of Santa Fe: Creating a Modern Regional Tradition. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997.

    PhotoPaysage/LandscapeRepresentation Conference Videos. []

    Monte Vista Front Yards. [ b03766d784]

    PhotoPaysage/LandscapeRepresentation Conference Website,

    Villagra Award, Historical Society of New Mexico, 2012, and Southwest Book Award, Border Library Association, 2013 for The Plazas of New Mexico.

    Charter Award, Congress for the New Urbanism, for Doña Ana Plaza Plan, 2003.

    Villagra Award, Historical Society of New Mexico, 2002, and Historic Preservation Award, City of Santa Fe, 2004, for Facing Southwest.

    Abbott Lowell Cummings Award, Vernacular Architecture Forum, 1999, and Villagra Award, Historical Society of New Mexico, 1998 for The Myth of Santa Fe.

    Antoinette Downing Award, Society of Architectural Historians, 1993 for La Tierra Amarilla.