Dr Joseph Claghorn

Department of Landscape Architecture


A profile photo of Joseph Claghorn
Profile picture of A profile photo of Joseph Claghorn
+44 114 222 0009

Full contact details

Dr Joseph Claghorn
Department of Landscape Architecture
Arts Tower
Western Bank
S10 2TN

My creative interests focus on the role of digital technologies in landscape architectural practice, resisting the use of computation as a time-saving substitute for analogue methods, embracing instead the use of emergent technologies in innovative ways that complement and expand traditional techniques rather than replacing them.

This often entails exploiting the computer’s algorithmic logic to explore complex formal systems, to simulate dynamic systems, to extract value from geospatial data, and to fabricate landscapes in new ways.

Through digital practice, I seek to understand and work with the emergent and evolutionary qualities of landscapes, cities, and societies, exploiting the logic of how form and space are generated by natural and cultural processes, usually without the conscious intervention of a single agent or designer, in order to inform design agency in digital space.

In this way I believe the designer can critically engage the innovations transforming societies along with the built environment.

  • 2018 Dr. Eng., Leibniz Universität Hannover
  • 2009 MLA, Harvard University
  • 2003 MArch., Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 2000 BA, History, Brigham Young University
Research interests

The focus of my personal research has been on the use of computational methods to model emergent processes in the landscape and to explore how these methods can be used in contemporary landscape architectural practice.

This has been the topic of my doctoral thesis Algorithmic Landscapes: Computational Methods for the mediation of Form, Information, and Performance in Landscape Architecture.

More broadly, I am interested in studying the emergent and evolutionary qualities of landscapes and in developing strategies for intervention in particularly difficult or complex contexts.

In the past years, I have collaborated on research exploring the potential of landscape architectural interventions to address issues of disaster and risk while improving community living standards in low-income, largely informal settlements, including sponsored research in Colombia and in Brazil.

In addition, I have curated the blog Generative Landscapes since August of 2014, which provides straightforward examples of algorithms developed using Rhino and Grasshopper. As of January 2019 the blog has just shy of 800,000 views from 170,000 unique visitors.


Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers

Theses / Dissertations


Funded Research Projects (present and past)

Rehabitar la montaña: Strategies and processes for sustainable dwelling in the slopes of Medellin

Funded by City of Medellin. 2012 – 2013. Collaboration between Urbam-EAFIT University and Leibniz University Hannover. Christian Werthmann and Alejandro Echeverri, project leads.

Dronescapes: Exploring the Potential of UAVs in Landscape Documentation

AULET Research Incentive in Architecture, Urbanism, Landscape Architecture, Environmental Planning, and Technical Education. 2016. Joseph Claghorn, Marcus Hanke, Ben Jamin Grau.

Teaching activities
  • LSC 6113 Landscape Planning
  • LSC 6114 Landscape Urbanism and Design