1992 -

D.I.R.T. Studio

In 1992 landscape architect Julie Bargmann, then a professor at the University of Virginia, established a practice with the aim of researching, designing, and building projects associated with industrialized sites. D.I.R.T. (“Dump It Right There”) Studio, in tandem with an academic research initiative, D.I.R.T. (“Doing Industrial Research Together”) Projects, investigates the histories of urban and rural industrial sites, Superfund sites, and fallow lands, and works alongside stakeholders and community members to utilize design as a tool for cultural and ecological regeneration. Drawing on her background as a sculptor, Bargmann developed a process of creatively repurposing excavated and found materials in project construction that avoids hauling materials off to landfills, often incorporating more than 85% found materials into a site’s design. Early projects include Vintondale Reclamation Park in Pennsylvania, for which D.I.R.T. designed a passive remediation process to clean water contaminated by coal mining, and River Rouge in Michigan, a historic, 1200-acre Ford Motor Company manufacturing facility where D.I.R.T. revitalized the landscape with biological technologies designed to produce clean air, water, and soil. Notable projects include the headquarters of Urban Outfitters, Inc., in Philadelphia’s historic Navy Yard (2011), Hardberger Park in San Antonio, Texas (2013), and Core City Park (2019) and Caterpillar Forest (2021) in Detroit, Michigan.

A pioneer in addressing industrial landscapes, D.I.R.T. Studio has served as an incubator for former students and employees, including David Hill of Auburn University, Joe Ragsdale of California Polytechnic State University, Thomas Woltz of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, and Maura Rockcastle and Ross Altheimer of TENxTEN Landscape Architecture and Urbanism in Minneapolis, MN. D.I.R.T. has received four ASLA National Design Awards and in 2021 Bargmann was awarded the inaugural Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize.