1. Early Landscapes – Refineries and Radburn
Bargmann recalls her childhood in New Jersey and the “landscapes that shaped me”: industrial sites along the northern New Jersey Turnpike and a suburb with a “collective backyard” that made the place “inclusive.”
2. Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon
As an undergraduate art student, Bargmann gravitated towards the work of minimalists and land artists, including Eva Hesse and Robert Smithson. Outside of class, she was drawn to the sights and smells of Pittsburgh’s steelmaking industry.
3. Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Bargmann reflects on her decision to study landscape architecture, the difference between making art and designing landscapes, and the influential teachers and classmates who shaped her design ethos.
4. The American Academy in Rome
After Harvard, Bargmann spent a year in Italy as a Rome Prize recipient, an experience she fondly remembers as an incubator for cross-disciplinary friendships and conversations.
5. Teaching at the University of Minnesota
While working for Michael Van Valkenburgh, Bargmann accepts a teaching position in Minneapolis and establishes a career trajectory defined by taking “adventures with the students.”
6. The D.I.R.T. Path
Bargmann begins to shape the direction of her personal practice by visiting mines and working with Superfund sites, which she calls cultural landscapes. She focuses on the sites and their adjacent communities.
7. Teaching at the University of Virginia
Encouraged by her friend Beth Meyer, Bargmann, accepts a teaching position in Charlottesville and begins to research and explore industrial sites with her students.
8. Living in Charlottesville
A reluctant Southerner, Bargmann is drawn to the “urbanity” of Charlottesville’s former factories and mills, where she finds community and space for creativity.
10. Mayors Institute
Bargmann reflects on the relationships between clients and patrons, leaders and cities, and the need for mayors to be engaged with projects rather than just making decisions about them.
1. D.I.R.T. Studio
In establishing her professional practice, Bargmann defines her life’s work as a “mission” to “do the right thing” for industrialized sites and the communities surrounding them.
2. Industrial Sites Belong to Us
Bargmann reflects on changing public attitudes towards industrial sites, and her experiences acting as a mentor for other practitioners working in industrial landscapes.
3. Industrial Sites and Affected Communities
After witnessing the effects of pollution, toxic waste, and other industrial byproducts on neighboring communities, Bargmann incorporates advocacy into her design practice.
4. “Planted Form”
Bargmann reflects on developing her passion for plants, teaching about the “art and science” of plants to her students, and how that teaching is still evolving to address fallow and industrial landscapes.
Bargmann discusses her love of “plants, materiality, and tactility” and her approach to reusing and repurposing rather than discarding found materials as part of a site-specific design palette.
6. Action Plans
Bargmann distinguishes between “master plans,” which she sees as closed, and “action plans” that emphasize the importance of responsive and open engagement.
7. Robert Smithson
Bargmann shares how the writings of her “hero,” the artist Robert Smithson, and his emphasis on process, “digging and finding,” and “slow looking,” have impacted her personally and professionally.
8. Articulation and Chance
Bargmann explains the necessity of acknowledging that chance will play a role in shaping a site, and the difficulty of articulating this truth to clients.
9. Naming and Claiming Landscapes
Bargmann reflects on how assigning a site, especially fallow or industrial sites, with a name and identity helps people connect with it.
1. The Blue House
Bargmann uses her home and garden in Charlottesville as grounds for experimentation.
2. Vintondale Reclamation Park
When working on the remediation of this formerly industrial site in Pennsylvania, Bargmann imagined her work as one part of the evolution of this cultural landscape.
3. Core City Park
Collaboration with developer Philip Kafka of Prince Concepts produces an urban woodland in Detroit that creatively reused materials and artifacts found on-site.
4. Pump House
In Dallas, Bargmann transforms a former waterworks facility, on the residential property of a discerning client, into a tranquil, immersive space for entertaining.
5. Urban Outfitters
Working within the grand scale of Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, Bargmann embraced the area’s industrial character while creating an inviting workplace for a creative business.
6. Richard Hayne
The CEO of Urban Outfitters, Inc., recalls how Bargmann integrated the industrial heritage of Philadelphia’s Navy Yard with elements of natural beauty to serve and inspire a creative workforce.