Modern Landscape Design Conference to Launch New Series

Modern Landscape Design Conference to Launch Series

Planting, walkway at UC Riverside
Wall, plantings and walkway at UC Riverside designed by Ruth Shellhorn. Photo by Ruth Kilday.

“Our grave is on axis in a Beaux Arts cemetery,” wrote the modernist landscape architect James C. Rose (1913–1991). Always the gleeful iconoclast, Rose, with Harvard classmates Dan Kiley (1912–2004) and Garrett Eckbo (1910–2000) bucked Beaux Arts formalism in the 1930s to explore the spatial and artistic forms relevant to the modern condition. Though these designers and their work took off in different directions, they famously pulled their profession out of the rut, if not the grave, in which it was stuck at a time when art and architecture were more eagerly marching into modernism. Their peers and protégés—notably Thomas Church, Ruth Shellhorn, Lawrence Halprin, Robert Royston, and A. E. Bye—carried the experiment into the 1960s and beyond, forever transforming the American landscape.


James Rose House
James Rose House, Ridgewood, New Jersey. Courtesy Lionel Freedman Archives.

What was modern then is historic now, and LALH is launching Masters of Modern Landscape Design, a series of eight books selected by a jury of distinguished scholars that explores the modern movement through the careers of these pioneering landscape architects. Intended to appeal to a broad audience, the books will be written by leading historians in clear, jargon-free prose, generously illustrated, and inexpensive. W.W. Norton will distribute the volumes internationally for LALH.

The Miller House
Kiley landscape, the Miller House and Garden, Columbus, Indiana. LALH Archive.

The series kicks off at the LALH Masters of Modern Landscape Design conference, hosted by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, September 28–29, 2013. Watch future issues of “What’s New” for registration details.

Banner photo credit: Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek, California (detail). Photo by Marion Brenner.