Publication Date: November 17, 2009
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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.
Ken Smith is the principal of Workshop: Ken Smith Landscape Architect, with offices in New York and Irvine, California. He is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he is currently a visiting design critic, and Iowa State University.
John Beardsley is a senior lecturer in the department of landscape architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and director of garden and landscape studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. He has written extensively on public and environmental art, including the books Earthworks and Beyond: Contemporary Art in the Landscape and Gardens of Revelation: Environments by Visionary Artists.
"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."
“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