Garrett Eckbo

Garrett Eckbo (1910–1996) was one of the most highly respected and influential American modernist landscape architects. He worked assiduously to overthrow the Beaux-Arts system of landscape design and to develop an approach that would address the social and economic challenges of the modern world. Eckbo rejected the centrality of nature as a psychological and spiritual source of inspiration, criticizing the “palliative” introduction of nature into cities in parks designed by Olmsted and other nineteenth-century landscape architects and arguing instead for a scientific method that would provide a model for a new approach to landscape design entirely free of preconceptions. His built work was influenced by modernist European architecture, modern art, and vernacular landscape tradition. As a principal of Eckbo, Royston & Williams, he helped introduce socially responsible as well as sustainable design practices to Southern California, gradually expanding his practice to form EDAW, one of the largest and most influential corporate firms in the world.