Walter Hood: Conscious/unconscious landscapes

Walter Hood of Hood Design Studio discusses his many past projects in this Current Work event.

December 2, 2014
7:00 p.m.

Walter Hood | Baisley Park, Queens, NY, 2008. Image courtesy Hood Design Studio

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

Walter Hood of Hood Design Studio will present his work in a public lecture to be followed by a conversation with Michael Sorkin.

Walter Hood’s firm works primarily in the urban public realm, with projects ranging from small, community-based interventions to large-scale landscape commissions. His landscapes address the complexities of urban space by particularizing and layering function, incorporating what he terms “hybrid” spatial strategies, a pragmatic multifocal approach to design that Hood described in a recent article as reflecting “collisions of differing points of view, which ‘fuse the un-fuseable.’”

Hood established his Oakland, California-based Hood Design Studio in 2003. Current and recent projects include the recently commissioned “Witness Walls,” a public art installation at the Metro Nashville Courthouse commemorating the city’s role in the Civil Rights Movement; a 1.1-megawatt photovoltaic array at the University at Buffalo; the Cooper Hewitt Garden, New York City; the Powell Street Promenade, San Francisco; the Sculpture Terrace for the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming; and Baisley Park, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Garden, Queens. Earlier projects include the gardens and landscape of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed deYoung Museum, San Francisco, as well as Splash Pad Park and Lafayette Square Park, both in Oakland, California.

Hood is currently researching and writing a book entitled Urban Landscapes: American Landscape Typologies. His published monographs include Urban Diaries, and Blues & Jazz Landscape Improvisations, which won an ASLA research award in 1996. His essay “Macon Memories” was also featured in Sites of Memory: Perspectives on Architecture and Race in 2001.

Walter Hood holds the inaugural David Woo Chair in Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, where he formerly served as chair and is a professor in the department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. Hood served as a Goldman Sachs Design Fellow for the Smithsonian Institute and as MIT’s first Robert Taylor fellow in 2011. He received the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Design in 2009, was identified as a Master of Design by Fast Company Magazine in 2010, and was fellow at the American Academy of Rome in 1997.

Moderated by Michael Sorkin. Architect, urbanist, and author Michael Sorkin is principal of Michael Sorkin Studio and director of the Graduate Urban Design Studio at the City University of New York. He also serves on The Architectural League’s board of directors.

This lecture is co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union.


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.



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