What makes a landscape architecture firm truly amazing? Is it awards or recognitions? Is it a special design method? Or is it just pure talent? The following is a list of landscape architecture firms known not only for their numerous awards and recognitions, but also for the unique twist they incorporate into their designs and for the joy people experience when they visit their projects.
In alphabetical order, they are:
Considered a mega-multidisciplinary firm, AECOM employs everyone from engineers and architects to planners and landscape architects — and this is in addition to numerous other brands the company markets. AECOM has offices all over the world, and landscape architecture projects include multi-acre corporate landscapes, small urban parks, resorts, downtowns, and college campuses.
2. Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture
The design team at ACLA “sculpts and navigates space through a seamless integration of landscape, art, and architecture. Our work draws boundaries with a controlled palette of materials, creating permeable edges that blur the line between the natural and built environment.” This style helped ACLA to be awarded the 2014 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award.
Also featured in 7 Female Landscape Architects That You Need to Know About
3. Bensley Design Studio
Located in Bangkok and Bali, BDS has been in business since 1989 and employs more than 150 designers, artists, landscape architects, interior designers, and architects. The company mostly designs for 5-star hotels, but strives to deliver the whole package, including unique details such as menus, trash cans, tables, and other site furnishings.
4. Design Workshop, Inc.
This world-renowned firm has been around for four decades and continues to be a leader in the design process, which is based on its own methodology. “DW Legacy Design is a proprietary process that seeks to imbue every project with a balance between environmental sensitivity, community connection, artistic beauty, and economic viability that demonstrates measurable results.”
Also one of the largest firms, EDSA seeks to “improve the way the world looks, one project at a time, with passion, integrity, and the combined effort of more than 125 team members.” During its 50 years in business, EDSA has earned more than 250 awards recognizing its projects for both innovation and sustainability.
Also featured in EDSA Completes Landscape Design for Four Seasons Resort Orlando
6. Edmund Hollander Landscape Architects
Founded in 1989, this firm “seeks to create landscapes which serve as an extension of the constructed building, through scrupulous translation of architectural motifs into the landscape beyond.” The American Society of Landscape Architects has recognized the firm on local and national levels every year from 2003 to 2011.
7. Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Ltd.
Located in Seattle, Washington, this 15-year-old firm was the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Award. The firm designs so that “the landform of each space is carefully shaped to feel serenely grounded in its context and comfortable at all times – whether bustling with crowds, offering moments of contemplation, or doing both at once.”
8. HMWhite Site Architects
HMWhite “prides itself on creating high-performance and multi-functioning landscapes that are rooted into the dynamic needs of the sites and its users.” Award-winning projects include civic, commercial, housing/hospitality, institutional, and residential designs, all of which integrate the firm’s multi-cultural design philosophy. The firm was short-listed for the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt 2014 National Design award.
9. Hargreaves Associates
A relatively small firm with offices in the United States and England, this firm’s portfolio includes a wide range of urban design, waterfronts, public parks, and academic, corporate, institutional, and residential planning and design projects. “Hargreaves Associates has at its core a single overriding concern: connection — connection between culture and the environment, connection between the land and its people.”
Check out the George Hargreaves book:
Landscape Alchemy: The Work of Hargreaves Associates
Hosper, located in the Netherlands, is a multi-disciplinary design firm with focuses in landscape architecture and urban development. “The core principles of the Hosper design agency are collaboration and openness when drawing up plans.” By allowing clients to have a hands-on experience with the design process, Hosper’s projects are truly a reflection of the people who enjoy them.
Also featured in Private Estate Reveals State of The Art Underground Car Park
11. James Corner Field Operations
JCFO is a “leading-edge” urban design and landscape architecture firm based in New York City, with offices in London and Hong Kong. It is known for its high-profile urban projects, such as the High Line in New York City, Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tenn., and the post-games transformation of London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Also featured in Top 10 Names In Landscape Architecture Today
12. Jones & Jones
“Devotion to place, community identity, and nature kindles our craft. Jones & Jones’ delivery on that promise stems from listening and learning from the land. We tell local truths with carefully chosen tools and materials — honoring the rhythms of nature, culture, and community.” The firm’s philosophy includes seeing rivers as organisms, landscape immersion, “viewshed” mapping, watershed-based GIS models, using the landscape architect as the lead designer and, finally, the practice of honoring the relationship of people to place.
13. Landworks Studio, Inc.
Founded by Michael Blier, the award-winning “studio develops innovative landscapes for a range of project types. Team members, many active in design education, have diverse backgrounds. Their interdisciplinary process begins with collaboration, embracing input from clients, allied design professionals, and the community. They develop useful, meaningful, and lasting spaces that respond to scale and context.”
14. Martha Schwartz Partners
With a belief that “design must be appreciated as a crucial factor in sustainability,” MSP creates landscapes that blend art and urbanism as the “foundation for sustainable cities that are healthy across all aspects and sectors of urban life.” With a use of bold colors and strong shapes, the team “enables people to make an emotional connection to a place by imbuing it with character, memory, identity, orientation, and individuality.”
Also featured in Gasworks Into Artworks – The Rebirth of Dublin’s Waterfront
15. MESA Design Group
MESA is an award-winning landscape architecture, planning, and urban design firm based in Dallas, Texas, that has been in practice for more than 30 years. Its portfolio includes everything from intimate garden spaces to large-scale, comprehensive master-planning projects, all of which are created “with the understanding that what we do must be worthy of future generations.”
16. Michael Van Valkenbugh Associates, Inc.
Other articles you may be interested in:
9 Facts About Landscape Architecture That You Didn’t Know!
10 Incredible Projects For Students To Know About And Why!
Founded in 1982, MVVA “is a landscape architecture firm that creates environmentally sustainable and experientially rich places across a wide range of landscape scales, from city to campus to garden.” The firm has been recognized by ASLA, the U.S. National Park Service, and the National Trust for Historic Places, as well as by numerous other groups, for its projects.
Also featured in Top 10 Names In Landscape Architecture Today
17. Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
“The firm’s philosophy centers on design that honors and reveals the local history and natural context of a site through a process of observation, creative interpretation, and construction.” Since opening in 1985, NBWLA has received more than 80 regional and national awards and has been featured in numerous international publications.
18. Oehme van Sweden & Associates
Established nearly 40 years ago, this firm is widely credited for creating the New American Style of landscape architecture. “The firm has garnered world-wide recognition for pioneering a green approach to landscape architecture that promotes a naturalistic planting style, highlights drought-tolerant perennials, eschews the use of pesticides, and focuses on a thorough understanding of native soils.”
19. OLIN Partnership, Ltd.
Located in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, “OLIN is dedicated to affecting positive change through landscape architecture, urban design, and planning. We are advocates for the artful creation and transformation of the public realm, and practice in a range of scales, including ecological and regional systems, urban districts, campuses, civic parks, plazas, and intimate gardens.” Using sustainability as the central tenet of a holistic approach, OLIN has garnered international attention for its work.
Also featured in Green Revival Brings Life Back to River Park
20. PWP Landscape Architecture
Most recently known for its work on the National 9/11 Memorial, PWP has been in business for nearly 30 years. Its “design process combines knowledge of history and tradition with fluency in contemporary landscape debate,” and the firm brings its “mastery of construction to bear on the latest technologies and innovations.”
Also featured in Top 10 Names In Landscape Architecture Today
21. Reed Hilderbrand
According to its website, “We hold that life offers its most ennobling experiences when we deepen our connection with our surroundings – in work, study, play, movement, travel, or home life. The designed landscape allows us to realize the potentials of this deeper connection. For us, the sense of a site’s history and the particular character of the ground itself – its shape, soil, moisture, vegetative cover – are what motivates meaningful form in our projects.” Because of this philosophy, its work has received two ASLA top annual design awards, as well as numerous other local and national recognitions.
22. SWA Group
In the beginning, SWA was Sasaki, Walker and Associates and was established in 1957 in Watertown, Massachusetts, by Hideo Sasaki and Peter Walker. The two principles were eventually bought out, and SWA went on to become one of the first 100-percent employee-owned companies on the U.S. West Coast. SWA continues to employ some of the most recognized and talented designers and planners in the business and is consistently recognized for its projects.
Also featured in Burj Khalifa Tower Park: The Oasis-Like Paradise
23. Sasaki Associates, Inc.
In 1953, Hideo Sasaki founded Sasaki Associates, which has grown to include architecture, interior design, planning, urban design, landscape architecture, graphic design, and civil engineering, as well as financial planning and software development. The firm created a “Sustainable Solutions Framework,” which is at the center of all its work. “The framework sets our aspirational goals – the goals we work toward and embrace in our work.”
24. Smithgroup JJR
By developing a process its calls the Space Lab, clients are able to show the design team exactly what they envision by viewing a wide array of images and choosing their preferences. This process is definitely successful, as the firm has won hundreds of awards for its work.
With more than 170 landscape architects on staff, as well as professionals from every other design discipline, this multi-disciplinary firm is able to take on multiple projects at once without slowing down. Stantec designs everything from college campuses to healing gardens and athletic complexes, and always “designs with community in mind.”
26. Thomas Balsley Associates
For more than 35 years, TBA has created public spaces that attract people to them and become a source of local pride. “TBA projects range from feasibility planning studies to built urban parks, waterfronts, corporate, commercial, institutional, residential, and recreational landscapes. Scales of work range from master plans and urban plazas to small urban spaces, garden design, sculpture, and urban furniture. At all project scales, central to the firm’s design approach is Thomas Balsley’s belief that ‘public open spaces are the great democratic spaces, the ultimate common ground.’”
27. T.R.O.P. terrains + open space
Led by Pok Kobkongsanti, the design team strives to create unique designs for every project its works on. Projects include hospitality, residential, commercial, and installation, and they can be seen throughout Asia and have been recognized by the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Also featured in The Garden of Hilton Pattaya by TROP : terrains + open space
This firm has been officially recognized as a first-level design institute by the Chinese government and employs more than 600 multi-disciplinary professionals, including landscape architects, architects, urban planners and designers, and environmental designers. Turenscape’s projects have been recognized not only in China, but also abroad by ASLA and numerous other organizations. The firm’s work can be recognized by its use of bright colors and traditional Chinese design elements.
Also featured in Turenscape Design Outstanding River Park
29. Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC
WRT is a national practice of city and regional planners, urban designers, landscape architects, and architects headquartered in Philadelphia. Opened in 1963, “the firm’s origins are rooted in the principles of sustainability, dedicated to improving the quality of the natural and built environments in the planning and design of buildings, landscapes, cities, and regions. Our governing doctrine is to protect natural resources, promote social justice and economic well-being, and create livable human habitats that reflect local heritage, culture, and values.”
30. West 8
Since opening its doors 25 years ago, West 8 has “established itself as a leading practice with an international team of 70 architects, urban designers, landscape architects, and industrial engineers.” Based in Rotterdam, West 8 also has offices in Belgium and New York. It is a multi-disciplinary firm with expertise in large-scale urban master planning, landscape interventions, waterfront projects, parks, squares, and gardens, and its projects have won numerous awards.
Also featured in Major Redevelopment of New Holland Island
These 30 firms serve as examples of what is possible in landscape architecture when vision is combined with collaboration among disciplines and innovation in design. The one thing they have in common is that each firm’s designs are easily recognized by their own style that is imbued in every project and by the sense of place they seem to create so effortlessly.
Want to experience their expertise first hand? Most of these firms also offer internships for college students. Information is available on their websites.
Article written by Erin Tharp