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Ken Smith Landscape Architect

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Ken Smith Landscape Architect

Ken Smith is one of the best-known of a generation of landscape architects equally at home in the worlds of art, architecture, and urbanism. Trained in both design and the fine arts, he explores the relationship between art, contemporary culture, and landscape. His practice, Ken Smith Workshop, was established in 1992 and is based in New York City. He is committed to creating landscapes, especially parks and other public spaces, as a way of improving the quality of urban life. Much of his work pushes beyond traditional landscape typologies—plaza, street, and garden—to landscapes that draw on diverse cultural traditions and influences of the contemporary urban landscape. Smith’s approach is directed at projects of varying scales and types: temporary installations, private residential gardens, public spaces, parks, and commercial projects. With a particular emphasis on projects that explore the symbolic content and expressive power of landscape as an art form, the Workshop specializes in the investigation of new expressions in landscape design. Ken Smith is a graduate of Iowa State University and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He has taught and lectured at Harvard, the City College of New York, and other universities and institutions around the world. Smith’s work has been published widely in the popular and trade press. Ken Smith is licensed as a landscape architect in New York, California, New Mexico, Kentucky, Virginia and Iowa. He is a Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects.
ken smith landscape architect 1

Ken Smith Landscape Architect

Ken Smith is one of the best-known of a new generation of landscape architects equally at home in the worlds of art, architecture, and urbanism. Trained in both design and the fine arts, he explores the relationship between art, contemporary culture, and landscape. His practice, WORKSHOP: Ken Smith Landscape Architect, was established in 1992 and is based in New York City with a southern California office in Irvine.
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Ken Smith Landscape Architect

Ken Smith Workshop is an award winning design firm with experience in a wide variety and scale of projects. The firm practices landscape design primarily in the realm of public space. Typical design problems involve making landscape space within the context of existing, reworked or complex urban fabric. This requires a strategic approach in making the strongest conceptual landscapes within the limits and possibilities of the site’s infrastructure, context and program. This has led to pushing beyond traditional landscape typologies of plaza, street, and garden to conceptualize landscapes that are hybridized from diverse traditions and influences of the contemporary culture. Experience and experimentation are combined with the goal of producing landscapes of the highest conceptual and artistic quality. Emphasis is placed on providing personal service and addressing landscape problems, which require special effort. Each site, program and client are dealt with individually, giving attention to developing solutions specific to the project. Ken Smith Workshop is based in New York City.
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Ken Smith Landscape Architect

“An essential for anyone interested in the cutting edge of landscape and garden design . . . Smith’s own introductions to the projects are concise, unpretentious and mercifully jargon-free, while John Beardsley’s measured introduction puts the work in its context without resort to flattery or hype.”—The Daily Telegraph”If there’s one thing for certain about the gardens designed by landscape architect Ken Smith, it’s that you’ll never forget the ones you’ve experienced, whether in person or on the printed page.”—GardenDesignOnline“The monograph breaks new ground in landscape architecture books with its integrated use of text, graphic layout, and photography of built projects, which are structurally formulated to reinforce the author’s design approach . . . A lovely book, extremely informative, well photographed and shows the range of work.”—Association of Landscape Architects 2010 Professional Awards Jury
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Ken Smith Landscape Architect

Ken Smith is one of the best-known of a generation of landscape architects equally at home in the worlds of art, architecture, and urbanism. Trained in both design and the fine arts, he explores the relationship between art, contemporary culture, and landscape. His practice, Ken Smith Workshop, was established in 1992 and is based in New York City.
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Ken Smith Landscape Architect

With a initial U.S. distribution of 3,000 books this is the second monograph on this landscape architect’s work. It is available in bookstore and online stores, such as Amazon, William Stout, and Barnes and Noble. The first monograph was published in 2006 by Princeton Architectural Press with Jane Amidon as the series editor in conjunction with the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University. The monograph was number two in the school’s Source Books in Landscape Architecture. This first monograph focused on three projects of the landscape architect and was narrated as an interview format of questions and answers that provided the text for the work. The monograph focused on the working methodology and ideas of the landscape architect and his office. The monograph sold out its first printing and was reprinted and today is out of print.

Both a landscape designer and a public artist, Ken Smith produces designs that range in scale from small public installations to vast parks. He is known for inventive and imaginative gardens and landscapes, some of which use little or no natural plant material. His projects include public, commercial, and private work: urban parks, streetscapes, plazas, gardens, public art commissions, memorials, museums and institutions, urban development and multiuse projects, restoration of modern-era landscapes, waterfront planning and design, and residential projects. Among Smith’s best-known projects are the MoMA Roof Garden, consisting of white gravel, recycled black rubber, crushed glass, sculptural stones, and artificial boxwood plants in a camouflage pattern; the Elevated Acre, a one-acre urban plaza with a sloping topography of planted dunes and an elevated view of New York Harbor; and Orange County Great Park, California, a redevelopment of a Marine Corps air station to include a 2.5-mile canyon, 20-acre lake, cultural terrace, botanical gardens, great lawn, performing arts venue, veterans memorial, aircraft museum, sports park, nature preserve, and wildlife corridor.
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Join WORKSHOP: Ken Smith Landscape Architect at its office for drinks, informal conversation, and a behind the scenes look at recent and upcoming projects. This program is part of First Friday, a monthly opportunity for League members to visit the offices of leading design practices to see work on the boards and learn more about the offices’ organization and design processes. These informal social gatherings feature happy hour drinks arranged by the host office.
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Ken Smith is a graduate of Iowa State University and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He has taught and lectured at Harvard, the City College of New York, and other universities and institutions around the world. Smith’s work has been published widely in the popular and trade press.
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Ken Smith is a graduate of Iowa Sate University and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He has taught and lectured at Harvard, the City College of New York, and other universities and institutions around the world. Smith's work has been published widely in the popular and trade press.
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He is committed to creating landscapes, especially parks and other public spaces, as a way of improving the quality of urban life. Much of his work pushes beyond traditional landscape typologies—plaza, street, and garden—to landscapes that draw on diverse cultural traditions and influences of the contemporary urban landscape. Smith’s approach is directed at projects of varying scales and types: temporary installations, private residential gardens, public spaces, parks, and commercial projects. With a particular emphasis on projects that explore the symbolic content and expressive power of landscape as an art form, the Workshop specializes in the investigation of new expressions in landscape design.
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He is committed to creating landscapes, especially parks and other public spaces, as a way of improving the quality of urban life. Much of his work pushes beyond traditional landscape typologies – plaza, street, and garden – to landscapes that draw on diverse cultural traditions and influences of the contemporary urban landscape. Smith's approach is directed at projects of varying scales and types: temporary installations, private residential gardens, public spaces, parks and commercial projects. With a particular emphasis on projects that explore the symbolic content and expressive power of landscape as an art form, the WORKSHOP specializes in the investigation of new expressions in landscape design.
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In late 2007 the landscape architect was contacted by the editor at Monacelli Press following a lecture at a Garden Conservancy symposium New York City. A studio visit was arranged and the editor inquired if the office had enough built work for a new monograph. Several months later a CD of office projects was sent to the publisher and in July 2008 the editor replied, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. It has been quite a period of settling in at Random House, and just as we were trying to get all our fall books off to the printer. But we finally have a little time to look to the future. The CD you sent is incredibly helpful. Is that what you are thinking of as the organization of the book—art projects, early projects, public projects, residential projects, unbuilt projects? Let me know and let’s plan a follow-up meeting in August, if you’re both around. The landscape architect replied, Glad to hear from you that you are still interested. I think art projects/installations, early projects, public projects, residential projects and unbuilt projects is a reasonable working outline. August sounds good for getting started.

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