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Landscape Architectural Practitioners, Theorists, and Scholars II

 DRAFT…(very rough)


Landscape Architectural Practitioners, Theorists, and Scholars, II


Richard Haag






Bloedel Reserve














Gas Works Park


Peter Walker


Began career working for Lawrence Halprin

Cites modernist works by Eckbo, Halprin and Church as early influences.

After receiving masters degree from Harvard he worked with Hideo Sasaki and Associates, later started SWA-works in these years were highly social, form followed function, early work contained less emotion and drama than more contemporary projects.

Began to believe in a need for continuity of history, felt even modernists didn’t completely deny history.

Took a trip to Europe and realized that the landscape could be art itself – rather than holding elements of art.

Began to be influenced by minimalist artists, although majority of society had rejected minimalism, Walker saw possibilities of expressing its essence in the landscape.

Also saw ways to extract ideas from older gardens without making them a stylistic grab-bag of elements.

Evolved into current approach which many have said, including Walker himself, is comprised of flatness, gesture and seriality. Tries to work with as flat a site as possible-

Solana – allow this to define the space, much like Le-Notre did. Gesture, he suggests, is a linear statement in the landscape that becomes an organizing element for perceiving the whole much like work of Christo. Landscape is organized around the gesture. Parts are not necessarily perceived. Claims his approach allows the landscape to be viewed as its own entity, one that is not viewed as background or as subservient to adjacent buildings.

Walker’s use of seriality is illustrated in repetition of smaller elements to delineate spaces.

Layering of organizational elements he compares to layers of music in a symphony.

Has received some criticism for taking such a strictly artistic approach-although many of his landscapes involve landscape restoration -­ as at Solana, where acres of prairie grasses were restored.

Claims that this combination can yield beautiful landscapes and give hope to society.

Recently worked in partnership with Bill Johnson, who is noted for large scale community development projects and campus design, in order to attract a broader range of clientele.

-Solana 1984 – 1993

-IBM Corporate Campus in Texas

-Once in a rural/pastoral area

Owners sought balance of purposes and ideals, social, economic, aesthetic, cultural and environmental.

Human settlement appears in harmony with its rural setting-buildings of great dignity and power have been constructed with a continuous landscape of courtyards, gardens, stream bank and prairie.

Preserved last remaining stand of native post oaks in West Central Texas.

Building Heights limited to preserve horizontal lines of prairie.

Parking structures sited to shape positive space not parking lots

Buildings and parking thus subordinated to preserve the larger setting of landscape.

Feeling of serenity has dominated to provide a great place to work, that is appropriate to the region and environmentally sound.


Tanner Fountain, Harvard Campus


-site lacked identity and essentially was a pedestrian thoroughfare.

-challenge was to make people aware of the place and its identity without hindering their normal movement.

-stone was used for its permanent, unyielding and ordinary qualities – and water for its festive, multi-facited and moving qualities.

-circle used as a primoridial focus of place, 60 feet in diameter over grass and converging asphalt paths.

-fountain designed for all seasons and times of day.

-during cold months steam replaces water and creates a surreal inviting atmosphere, changes throughout day.


Martha Schwartz

Spent ten years as an artist and printmaker before attending graduate school in landscape architecture.

Wanted to approach landscape design as an art form and recognized that architectural modernism represented disconcern for collective space. Often saw recognizable, powerful landscapes as competing with building – architects often atagonistic toward landscape. Sought to go beyond this.

Met Peter Walker and saw someone else interested in applying artistic principles to the landscape.

Believes that landscape should function aesthetically and intellectually as well as socially and environmentally.

Schwartz sees modern manufacturing as an opportunity to use nonprecious and off the shelf materials artfully to provide affordable landscapes.

With her concern for everyday-familiar objects she has developed an almost pop-art style similar to that of Andy Warhol, or Jasper Johns. She appreciates their use of humor and attempts to convey a sense of it and make people laugh in her landscapes.

Shares interest in minimalism with Peter Walker because of its ability to command large areas of space with very few moves and materials.

Has moralistic view of what is correct in the landscape has disallowed questioning of todays development and prevented exploration of other ideas.

Feels that designers must find a way to evaluate their own work rather than worry about others opinions.

International Swimming Hall of Fame – rolling landforms suggest water in a pop-art fashion.

Rio Shopping Center – Atlanta – frogs used to provide a familiar, whimsical and humorous element, invite a cheerful atmosphere which will encourage people to shop.


George Hargreaves-

Two events that changed Hargreaves

Flat Top Mountain – splendor of processes which created beaty.

Seeing Robert Smithson’s spiral jetty and amarillo ramp. Saw this as a world of LA not fully explored and still expanding.

Worked with Peter Walker at SWA

Brought considerable visibility to SWA – Harlequin Plaza in Denver about scale

Searched for a radical, abstract solution which responded to the strangeness of scale of the vista and the disorientation created by the mirrored flanking walls.

Used vents for sculpture

Checker board reminiscent of Picasso painting

Used forced perspective and deliberate disorientation

Striking fantastical quality is in sharp contrast to its anonymous suburban office park surroundings.

Sculpture garden well used public space, Denver Symphony Orchestra has performed there.

Another realization occured in hotel room in Waikiki when a hurricane hit beach and destroyed everything- taken aback by the profound destructive beauty.

Began to realize that beauty doesn’t always equal truth and many truths are ugly.

Felt he could attempt to change peoples concept of beauty and make them think.

Left SWA to start own firm,

Wanted to head toward a more open ended, dynamic and sculptural expression.

Candlestick Point Cultural Park constructed on urban rubble that was pushed into San Francisco Bay- includes a windgate oriented to the prevailing gales.

Many water front projects where he attempted to create a context in which we interact with the elements -earth, wind and water.

San Jose Guadalupe River Park he wanted a solution different that army corps concrete drainage ditch which was proposed.

Used computer models to generate potential flood conditions and created a promenade which has grassy banks and overlooks shaded by vegetation.

Most of his parks are typically low maintenance requiring no irrigation or regular mowing.

In each of his parks he created varieties of ecological niche’s such as marshy pockets where native grasses wildflowers and shrubs can become extablished- claims to be setting up a framework on the land where vegetation, people and water can wash over it.


San Jose Plaza Park

Links historic core provides space for outdoor performances and festival events, artesian wells discovered near the site in the 1800’s provide inspiration for fountains which change during times of day and are lit at night, modern version of village green.

Artisic expression and yearning for a restored ecology have helped Hargreaves become a leader and progressive thinker in Landscape Architecture.


Michael Van Valkenburgh

Neo-classicist designer, chairman of GSD until recently.

Regis Gardens at the Walker Art Center

Displays modern art sculpture in garden rooms

Sculpture gardens visible from freeway.

Responsible for entire design of the gardens including paving, planting, vine scrims, furniture and pool.

Worked with sculptors to create setting for their works.


Has completed corporate projects where short grass prairie of Minnesota has been restored.

Harvard Yard restoration and preservation.

Bold simplicity kept preserved

Preserve elegant landscape which gives Harvard its character – replacement of declining tree canopy and restoration to original more axial design.

Remove shrubs near building edges so that buildings meet landscape in a bold fashion.

Let trees be an extension of architecture.


Three recent landmark works (highlighted at DLF):

South Cove ­ Battery Park City, New York

Solana, Texas

Yorkville Park, Toronto

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