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Susan Kay Weiler
1955 –   Class of 2010  Visual Arts
Susan Kay Weiler was the fifth of seven children born to Bernard K. and Lillian Weiler of Aurora.  She attended Sacred Heart grade school and graduated from Aurora Central Catholic High School in 1973.  A fourth generation Auroran, her father managed the Paramount Theatre, her grandfather Frank was Treasurer of Home Savings & Loan, and her great grandfather, Barney, was the first captain of the Aurora Fire Department to die in the line of duty.

When she introduced her family at the April 22, 2010, Induction Banquet, Susan described them as “a progeny of artists, teachers, lawyers, and actors,” and credited her parents for giving her brothers and sisters “such a wonderful perspective.”

Susan attended Loyola University, Rome Center of Liberal Arts from 1975 to 1977.  She received her B.S. in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin in 1979.  Twenty years later, in 1999, the University of Wisconsin honored her with their Outstanding Alumna Award.

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Describing the focus of her vocation as “creating places that enhance life,” Susan Weiler began her career as a Landscape Architect in 1983 when she joined Hanna/Olin upon completion of her Master of Landscape Architeccture degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1996, she was named Partner of OLIN, an esteemed landscapte architecture firm.  In 2007, she was named a Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA).  She holds professional registration in ten states.

Susan is the recipient of numerous design awards, among them the American Planning Association’s National Award for Outstanding Planning, Carnegie Center, 1988; the American Association of Landscape Contractors Environmental Improvement Award, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Cantor Sculpture Garden, 1989; Green Roof Award of Excellence and American Society of Landscape Architects Design Merit Award, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Conference Center, 2003; American Institute of Architects Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design, Mission Bay Redevelopment Plan, 2004, ASLA Firm Award, 2006, and American Institute of Architects, Pennsylvania Chapter Citation of Merit (2007), and Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Atlantic Certificate of Excellence (2008), the latter two for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Sculpture Garden and Parking Facility.

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Susan’s public service includes her position as Trustee for both the Fairmount Park Art Association and the Woodland Historic Trust.  She also serves on the University of Wisconsin Design Review Board.  Susan teaches and has presented numerous lectures and symposia. She has authored articles in professional journals, World Architecture, and the OZ Journal, University of Kansas.  In 2004, Susan collaborated with Jenny Holzer to create “125 Years of Women at Penn,” a commemorative campus walkway and open space project.

Susan’s design work often involves the restoration or re-creation of fragile and threatened components of the American cultural and natural landscape.  Particularly experienced in designing within the opportunities and constraints of the urban realm, she co-authored, with Karin Scholz-Barth in 2009, the book Green Roof Systems: A Guide to the Planning, Design and Construction of Building Over Structure.  

She has been a leader in master planning projects such as the twenty-year Campus Plan at the University of Pennsylvania and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Vision Study for the City of Philadelphia.  Some of her recent projects include the Philadelphia Museum of Art Sculpture Garden and the United States Embassy in Berlin, where she is working with the creations of acclaimed sculptor Ellsworth Kelly.  She is also involved with a sustainable mixed-use community called The Point in Lehi, Utah.  

Since 1998, she has taught landscape architecture at Temple University, where she helped develop the landscape engineering and construction curriculum.  She has served as studio critic, lecturer and juror at the University of Pennsylvania since 1995.  She has additional teaching experience at Rutgers University’s Department of Landscape Architecture.

Susan Weiler and her partners at OLIN were recognized in 2008 with the Landscape Design Award from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for excellence and innovation in landscape design and dedication to sustainability.  In a summary of the impact of her designs, Susan’s nomination stated, “The views, the plantings, the flow, the functionality make these places giant works of art that generations to come can jump into and enjoy time and time again.”

When accepting her induction plaque at the 2010 ceremony, Susan thanked the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame for “recognizing landscape architecture as a visual art.”  She makes her home in Philadelphia but maintains close bonds with family members in Aurora, Illinois.

Learn more about Susan Weiler and her designs at www.theolinstudio.com
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  Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects
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