Top 10 Names In Landscape Architecture Today

Klyde Warren Park. Photo credit: Mei Chun Jau

A list of some of the greatest influencers in landscape architecture.  Being a landscape enthusiast, chances are you’re familiar with the names synonymous with landscape design greatness. I’m referring to household names that have left their mark on the landscape — the likes of Le Nôtre, Capability Brown, Olmsted and Burle Marx are but a few of the adroit designers the profession has delivered in generations gone by. If you’re not familiar with these names in landscape architecture you should be! But what about the leaders and visionaries in today’s contemporary setting? A concoction of landscape architects, urban designers, authors and professors: these are the ones to take note of. Here are the top 10 names in the landscape architecture world today.

Top 10 Names In Landscape Architecture

10. Aspect Studios An Australian-based firm delivering innovative landscape architecture, urban planning and design, with offices in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Shanghai. They were recently awarded the National Australia Award for Urban Design for the transformation of Sydney’s inner-city laneways. Once or twice a year, Aspect Studios even incorporate pro bono work — collaborating with like-minded people wanting to positively impact their community. If you live in Australia, check them out! 9: Pok Kobkongsanti: T.R.O.P. terrains + open space

 Pok Kobkongsanti – TROP: terrains + open space

Design by Pok Kobkongsanti; credit: Wison Thungthunya, Adam Brozzone, Charkhrit Chartarsa

Regarded as the best landscape architect in Thailand, Kobkongsanti heads up a team of designers and construction supervisors that coalesce to form TROP. A Harvard Graduate School of Design student, Pok has an affinity for natural materials, favouring stone, wood, water, light and sound. This fondness is evident in the firm’s projects, ranging from resorts and residential communities, to sculptures and sustainable projects. Read about the Garden of Hilton Pattaya 8. Kathryn Gustafson – Gustafson Porter / Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
Aerial view of Diana Memorial Fountain | image credit: Jason Hawkes

Aerial view of Diana Memorial Fountain ; credit: Jason Hawkes

A master of sculpted landform, Gustafson’s creative ability singles her out as one of the most successful female landscape architects in recent times. With an earlier career as a fashion and textiles designer in New York and Paris, her work blends sensual landforms with strong planting schemes, resulting in contemporary artistic statements. Her project Les Jardins de I’Imaginaire won the European Award for 20th Century Heritage. Other major works include the Diana Memorial Fountain, London, and the Rights of Man Square, Evry. Read about the Diana Memorial Fountain Recommended reading: Moving Horizons: The Landscape Architecture of Kathryn Gustafson and Partners by Jane Amidon 7. Richard Weller Weller has previously been director of the Australian Urban Design Research Centre and conceptual design firm Room 4.1.3. Early this year he succeeded James Corner to lead PennDesign’s Landscape Architecture Department. He has published a voluminous number of writings, with an emphasis on large scale urban planning and cities at a mega-regional scale. A top tier landscape architect, Weller practices with Corner at James Corner Field Operations. Check out Richard’s book Room 4.1.3: Innovations in Landscape Architecture (Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture)  Below: Meet Richard Weller 6. Martha Schwartz – Martha Schwartz, Inc. / Martha Schwartz Partners
Grand Canal Square; credit matthi

Grand Canal Square; credit matthi

Harmoniously fusing a background of fine arts with landscape architecture, Martha Schwartz has a hugely diverse portfolio with a focus on artistic expression in the landscape. Her work is characterised by bright colors and tones — often vigorously artificial, irreverent humor, unusual materials, and surreal scaling of objects. Her projects are scattered around the globe, from the Cosmopolitan Casino in Las Vegas and Frederiks Brygge Master Plan in Copenhagen, to the Children’s Discovery Centre in Damascus, Syria. Recommended reading: Recycling Spaces: Curating Urban Evolution: The Work of Martha Schwartz Partners  by Martha Schwarz 5. Michael Van Valkenburgh – Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. Renowned for creating experientially rich and environmentally sustainable places, Van Valkenburgh has designed urban parks, public spaces and masterplans that encourage city dwellers to reconnect with the environment. Water plays a pivotal role in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hudson River Park and Teardrop Park, to name but a few. In 2010 he became the second landscape architect in history to receive the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for contributions to architecture as an art. Related  Articles:

Vera List Courtyard; credit: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

Vera List Courtyard; credit: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

4. George Hargreaves – Hargreaves Associates A consummate designer, Hargreaves is Design Director at Hargreaves Associates, where  emphasis is put on the connection between  culture and the environment through working the earth to reveal underlying natural processes. Noted for his expertise in the reclamation of neglected or abandoned sites for public occupation, (Sydney 2000 Olympic Park) Hargreaves has been characterized as bringing post modernism into the ecological world. Check out the George Hargreaves book: Landscape Alchemy: The Work of Hargreaves Associates  3. Peter Walker – PWP Landscape Architecture
9/11 Memorial site design with Peter Walker; credit: Scott Renwick

9/11 Memorial site design with Peter Walker; credit: Scott Renwick

Peter Walker possesses knowledge of contemporary art and modernism coupled with a deep rumination for historical, cultural, and ecological considerations. PWP focuses on corporate headquarters, plazas, cultural gardens, academic campuses, and urban regeneration projects. Their most recognised project of late is the National 9/11 Memorial, a forest surrounded by oak trees forming the core of the rebuilt World Trade Center in New York City. 2. James Corner – James Corner Field Operations
The Highline project designed by James Corner; credit:

The Highline project designed by James Corner; credit:

A landscape architect, urban designer, and founder and director of James Corner Field Operations, Corner is a stalwart in the industry today. He has written books on landscape architectural design and urbanism, while also being recognized with many accolades. Although probably most known for being the brains behind the ever-successful High Line, other major works include the Shenzen Qianhai Urban Design Plan, the Civic Centre Parks, and most recently the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, set to open in Spring 2014. 1. Kongjian Yu – Turenscape
Shengyang  Jianzhu University campus; credit: Turenscapes

Shengyang Jianzhu University campus; credit: Turenscapes

Considered as China’s Frederick Law Olmstead, Yu is a prolific writer, professor and employer of 600 landscape architects. His practice, Turenscape, covers landscape architecture and urban design across all scales, and is driven by China’s massive urbanization and the dangers of environmental degradation. Embodying the rural and unkempt with the functional landscape in the urban realm, the works of Turenscape have received numerous international design awards. Design is a collaborative process. It’s worth remembering that while predominately singling out creative minds. They rarely work alone — multiple partners bring an array of knowledge and creative input to the table. Of course to a degree, subjectivity forms this list — but without doubt it subsumes some of the most intuitive and forward thinking landscape architects of the modern era. Recommended Reading:

Article written by Paul McAtomney Return to Homepage Featured image credit: Wison Thungthunya, Adam Brozzone, Charkhrit Chartarsa

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