Photo by Carol Betsch

Books

Ruth Shellhorn

Kelly Comras

Ruth Shellhorn  Cover Image

About the Author


Kelly Comras, FASLA

Kelly Comras, FASLA, is principal landscape architect in the firm KCLA in Pacific Palisades, California. A former National Park Service landscape architect for the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, Comras specializes in Southern California land use planning and restoration. Her writings on Shellhorn include a chapter in Women, Modernity, and Landscape Architecture and several articles for VIEW. Comras has taught at UCLA and lectured at Harvard.

Podcast

Listen Here

Film

Ruth Shellhorn

Watch Film

Ruth Shellhorn

Kelly Comras

University of Georgia Press in association with LALH

ISBN: 978-0-8203-4963-3 Page Count: 240
Price: $26.95 | Paper Published: 04/01/2016

A volume in the series Masters of Modern Landscape Design

Over the course of a nearly sixty-year career, Ruth Shellhorn (1909–2006) collaborated with some of the most celebrated architects and architectural firms in Southern California, including Welton Becket, A. Quincy Jones, and Wallace Neff. Finding her calling at age fifteen—inspired by her Pasadena neighbor Florence Yoch—Shellhorn began her formal training at Oregon State in 1927 and then transferred to Cornell. She opened a practice in Los Angeles after a life-altering trip through the Panama Canal. Shellhorn never forgot the bounty of the tropics she discovered on her voyage. An expert in regional plants with an intuitive understanding of the California landscape, Shellhorn would incorporate exotics into most of her designs.

In her Los Angeles Shoreline Development Study, Shellhorn designed for the automobile in a manner that preserved threatened shoreline. She treated the parking lots encompassing new department stores and shopping centers like gardens, grouping lush plantings around store entrances and creating fountain-splashed courtyards to lure shoppers with the promise of the “Southern California experience.” In 1955, Shellhorn helped lay out Disneyland, conferring directly with Disney on circulation and plantings for the various “lands.” A year later, she became supervising landscape architect for the University of California at Riverside, a position she held for eight years. During her long and diverse career, Shellhorn also designed many private gardens in Los Angeles and Pasadena. Elegant, exotic, and colorful, they were among the most horticulturally distinctive of their day.

  • 2016 ASLA Southern California Chapter Honor Award

About the Author


Kelly Comras, FASLA

Kelly Comras, FASLA, is principal landscape architect in the firm KCLA in Pacific Palisades, California. A former National Park Service landscape architect for the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, Comras specializes in Southern California land use planning and restoration. Her writings on Shellhorn include a chapter in Women, Modernity, and Landscape Architecture and several articles for VIEW. Comras has taught at UCLA and lectured at Harvard.

Podcast

Listen Here

Film

Ruth Shellhorn

Watch Film