Thomas Oles was born and raised in Massachusetts, USA. He attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon and later the University of Washington, where he earned degrees in both comparative literature and landscape architecture. In 2001-2002 he studied landscape architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and the Royal Danish Agricultural and Veterinary University, now part of the University of Copenhagen. He worked as a landscape architect in New York and Boston before entering the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he received his doctorate in 2008.
Before joining SLU Thomas Oles taught landscape architecture and landscape history at the University of Oregon; the Amsterdam University of the Arts (where he initiated and led the program ‘Living Landscape’); Cornell University; and the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of two books, Walls: Enclosure and Ethics in the Modern Landscape (University of Chicago Press, 2014) and Go with Me: 50 Steps to Landscape Thinking (Architectura + Natura, 2013). He is currently writing a book on fieldwork in landscape design, to be published by Routledge in 2018.
Thomas Oles is currently working at SLU, Sweden.