Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

Document Type



C. C. Pat Fleming practiced landscape architecture in Houston and the surrounding South from the 1920s through the 1990s. He came to be considered one of Houston’s preeminent landscape architects, and his role in the profession cannot be overlooked. This thesis traces the evolution of Fleming’s design style over the course of his career, analyzing a selected cross section of his works against three design movements that occurred during his lifetime: the Beaux-Arts tradition, the Colonial Revival movement, and the Modernist movement. For investigating the work of Pat Fleming, the method of historical research is used. A historical context study is conducted, covering design and social movements during Fleming’s lifetime that relate to his work. This context study covers the international movements of Beaux-Arts, Classical European styles, and Modernism. The national trend of Colonial Revivalism is examined along with the regional mode of Southern gardens. The local context of Houston, Texas (Fleming’s residence and primary place of practice), is then examined. After establishing an historical context, case studies of various Fleming projects are presented. Works for critique are chosen which illustrate Fleming’s different design modes and those which portray an evolution of his sensibility. Fleming’s work was found to have evolved from his Beaux-Arts training to incorporate Modernist principles. This evolution was tentative at first: he characterized his more modern designs as “informal.” A persistent Beaux-Arts principle throughout his work is the use of axiality, even in many modern works. He remained heavily deferent to the architecture of the buildings and homes he designed for; however, in areas more distant from those buildings and homes, Fleming engaged in convincingly naturalistic design. His early connections with respected architects and prominent families afforded him significant opportunities. His personality, evocative of Southern gentility, was gracious and inviting to clients who sought his work—especially those clients whose tastes stemmed from Colonial Revivalist inclinations. Fleming’s engaging personality allowed him to closely observe how his clients lived and to design for that lifestyle.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kevin Risk