Ron Henderson is no stranger to designing urban places, parks, neighborhoods, municipal and institutional spaces. His ambition to work on local as well as global “ecological urbanism” projects drove his three primary (and guiding) principles for the international expansion and growth of his firm
- SEEK OUT ACADEMIC APPOINTMENTS: Henderson notes as an example that Chinese colleges and universities are “hiring knowledge” from overseas to teach in their schools, and he didn’t hesitate when offered an international academic appointment at a prestigious Chinese university. He learned that globally minded professionals, who are also educators, can use their academic appoints as a way of extending their reach internationally. Seeking an academic appointment in a distinguished college in the U.S. as well as overseas (in this case, China) proved to be advantageous to his practice becoming more visible both domestically and internationally; allowing for further project opportunities for his firm, his students, and his colleagues in Rhode Island - for instance his collaborations with Thurlow Small Architecture of Pawtucket on Yinzhou Central Park project and Nanjing Shitoucheng Archaeological Park competition. Subsequently, he has served on the faculty of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Roger Williams University, Tsing Hua in Bejing and Pennsylvania State University;
- CAPITALIZE ON GLOBAL BRANDS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and other universities in Rhode Island are “global credential to the world.” Henderson explains, “A degree or faculty appointment from these institutions is widely recognized all over the world because people associate these institutions with excellence”. As a faculty at Tsinghua, we hosted students from Roger Williams University for a year of study within our international Master of Architecture program and several of my students from China have come to Rhode Island to continue their education at master’s level. There is no doubt that Rhode Island competes effectively for talented young designers.
- LEVERAGE AND DEPLOY GLOBAL DESIGN TALENT BASED IN RHODE ISLAND ON INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS: Rhode Island talent in the area of architecture and landscape architecture should be brought overseas to participate in more design challenges. Henderson believes Rhode Island is a “global hotbed” for design-oriented talent, and describes his base in Rhode Island as a “social investment” to stay close to this talent. He cites his collaborations with Rhode Island-based firms like Thurlow Small; engaging them in such projects as Yinzhou Park in Ningbo, China.
As a result, he and his firm have worked on designing public gardens; spaces for colleges and corporations, and cultural centers; civic and public spaces; not only throughout Rhode Island (and New England and North America), Asia and Europe.
For more L+A Landscape Architecture, pleasevisit: http://lplusa.net/
Undergraduate: Notre Dame (Bachelor of Architecture)
Graduate: University of Pennsylvania (Master of Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture and Regional
Current residence: Providence, RI / State College, PAL+A was founded in Providence, Rhode Island in 2000 by Ron Henderson and has offices in North America (now based in Newport, RI) and Asia (Beijing).
L+A was founded in Providence, Rhode Island in 2000 by Ron Henderson and has offices in North America (now based in Newport, RI) and Asia (Beijing).
L+A designs site specific ecologies and landscapes across the broad range of expertise offered by landscape architects: parks, plazas, greenways, campus, green roofs, and urban design. In addition, L+A has been active in municipal and federal policy, transportation planning, and landscape preservation.
While primarily a design practice, L+A is also deeply engaged in education and research. Ron is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Asian Studies at The Pennsylvania State University where he is also Chair in Integrative Design in the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.
While holding academic positions outside of Rhode Island, he has maintained his Rhode Island - based practice and continues to be strongly engaged in projects in New England. He has also held visiting faculty appointments at Roger Williams University and Rhode Island School of Design during which time he was establishing his professional practice while also establishing his academic career.
He was formerly Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Deputy Director of the International Master of Architecture Program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China’s oldest School of Architecture. He was inaugural faculty in both the Department of Landscape Architecture and the International Master of Architecture Program at Tsinghua and was the first international full-time faculty in the School of Architecture.