James Corner

James Corner discusses the recent projects of his firm, Field Operations.

December 9, 2009
7:00 p.m.

Field Operations | The High Line, New York, NY. Credit: Iwan Baan

Current Work is a lecture series featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art.

James Corner, the founder and director of Field Operations, will present his firm’s recent and current work, which includes the development of Fresh Kills Park on Staten Island and the transformation of the High Line. Landscape architect Kate Orff will moderate a conversation with Mr. Corner following his presentation.

Field Operations, based in New York City, is a landscape architecture and urban design practice, comprising 35 professionals, many with cross-disciplinary backgrounds in landscape architecture, urban design, architecture, and communication art. Field Operations’ mandate is to create “intelligent, high-quality design solutions for cities, landscapes, and public spaces.” The practice works collaboratively with some of the world’s leading architects, planners, engineers, ecologists, and artists, including Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, Thom Mayne, Renzo Piano, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Tomato, and Olafur Eliasson.

Field Operations’ expertise is reflected in a diverse range of projects, from the design of entire sectors of cities to intimate garden spaces; the design of large public parks and urban spaces to housing and mixed-use urban developments; the reclamation of landfills, derelict brownfield sites, and other postindustrial landscapes for new public uses and private development; and the preservation of large-scale natural resources.

Current projects include transformation of the 2,200-acre landfill site Fresh Kills on Staten Island into what will be one of the world’s largest urban parks; the High Line in New York City; the transformation of 83 acres at the heart of San Juan, Puerto Rico, into a 7-million-square foot, state-of-the-art Science City; the Busan Civil Park on the site of a former US Army base in Busan, Korea; the 925 acre Lake Ontario Park on the Toronto waterfront; the Botanical Garden of Puerto Rico; a 4-million-square foot urban redevelopment project with 20 acres of public open space in Westport, Baltimore; the transformation of a former penal farm into a 4,500-acre urban park in Memphis, Tennessee; a new waterfront city in Chuncheon, Korea; a master plan for the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus; and the master plan of the 40-acre Great Falls Park in Paterson, New Jersey.

The work of James Corner and Field Operations has been recognized by the New York City Arts Commission Award for Excellence in Design, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Design, the Daimler-Chrysler Award for Design Innovation, The Architectural League of New York, and others. The firm’s work has been published and exhibited internationally, including at the Venice Biennale, the Lisbon Triennale, ArchiLAB, the Royal College of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum.

James Corner is also chair of and professor in the department of landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He received his bachelor of arts in landscape architecture at Manchester Metropolitan University, England, and his master of landscape architecture and urban design at the University of Pennsylvania.

Introduced by Kate Orff. Orff is the founding principal of SCAPE, a landscape architecture firm, and serves on The Architectural League’s board of directors.

Moderated by Ken Smith. Smith is founder of Ken Smith Landscape Architect and is the current vice president for landscape architecture of The Architectural League.


This lecture is cosponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union. This program is made possible, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.