‘It is not about flowers. It is not about emptiness. It is about shape. Kathryn Gustafson and her various collaborators on two continents bring landscape architecture back to its most basic act: that of shaping the land.’
– Aaron Betsky
Renowned for creating distinctive sculptural landscapes, which engage at a fundamental human level, Kathryn Gustafson’s form-making practice with terrain frames the art of landscape as a composition, combining complex elements both visible and otherwise, such as light, sound, and atmosphere. Elegant fluidity and elasticity define Kathryn’s designs. Her form-making practice and the way she shapes figural terrain is all about movement, as gestures become drapes on surfaces. Her Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, London, exemplifies this approach
With an assertive and radical agenda, Kathryn Gustafson has led pioneering projects, which continue to challenge the role and meaning of landscape. With over 35 years of distinguished practice, Kathryn embodies landscape design’s keen observation and quick reaction, capturing elusive moments of interaction between man-made environment and nature.
Through her partnerships with Gustafson Porter + Bowman and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) her works are recognised as innovative, contemporary designs that incorporate the sculptural, sensual qualities that are fundamental to the human experience of landscape.
Kathryn sits at the peak of her profession. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architecture, an honorary Royal Designer for Industry member and a medallist of the French Academy of Architecture. She is the recipient of the Architects’ Journal Jane Drew Prize 1998, the 2001 Chrysler Design Award, the 2008 ASLA Design Medal, the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize for Architecture 2012 and the 8th Obayashi Prize, Japan in 2015. In 2011, Kathryn and her GGN partners received the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Architecture.
What Kathryn Gustafson designs is something that potentially embeds in our common civic memory. Creating a new landscape of experiences, her work is a vanguard of contemporary cultural production.
– Toshiko Mori, Harvard GSD
Gustafson is the grande dame of modern landscape architecture.
– The Economist
The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is unbelievable, exquisite, joyful, playful ..incredibly good and works superbly for both adults and children.
– Peter Watts, ALC Rapporteur
Presentation One – Influences: Including the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.
Kathryn’s lectures are accessible, inspirational and share expressive and meaningful work. She will highlight her global work from the last 35 years, during which the field of landscape architecture has changed dramatically. She will share images, ideas, and stories that personally resonate with her and awakened her passion and talent. Evocative words and images typify her lectures, moving through varied references to construct a lasting cognitive impression for the audience. She will show projects, which are considered pioneering, harbouring new pathways for design and fostering close collaboration with other disciplines. As well as lasting relationships with other architects and landscape architects, Kathryn was one of the first landscape architects to integrate Civil Engineers as genuine design partners, alongside Botanist and Horticulturalists.
Kathryn brings experience of how she elevates the character of a place through landscape design and resolves pertinent issues facing society today. In her designs, the status of the ground is elevated in meaning and contributes to society’s identity and culture. Kathryn’s first lecture will look at how landscape design should record and reference influences. Whether tempering the charged context of a place or referencing significant aspects of a place’s history, landscape design can create a truly whole environment for the user which envelops and transforms.
Presentation Two – ASIA: Landscape design in the Far East.
Working in layers, her work is intricate and articulate, creating emotive places, which provide a visceral experience. In Kathryn’s second lecture, she will focus on her work in the Far East, where landscape architecture is able to fully express itself through dramatic design, lush planting, and highly advanced environmental solutions. Embracing the energy of the region, in Asia her work becomes truly dynamic.
2001: Lecture at the Architectural Association, London: ‘Sculpting the Land’
2004 ‘Diana Remembered’
In this clip, taken from the BBC’s ‘Diana Remembered’ 2004 broadcast, Kathryn Gustafson and Neil Porter talk about the concept behind the design and development of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park.
Diana Remembered from Gustafson Porter + Bowman on Vimeo.
2008 ‘The perfect meal’ with Domus Lab
In the context of the 2008 Venice Biennale and Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s/GGN’s landscape installation ‘Towards Paradise’, Kathryn Gustafson discusses the meaning of the garden and the wider cultivation of food in an interview with Domus Magazine.
'The perfect meal' with Domus Lab from Gustafson Porter + Bowman on Vimeo.
2008 Kathryn Gustafson on ‘Towards Paradise’
Kathryn Gustafson talks to The Sunday Times’ Hugh Pearman in August 2008 on the concept and creation of GGN/Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s landscape installation: ‘Towards Paradise’.
Kathryn Gustafson on 'Towards Paradise' from Gustafson Porter + Bowman on Vimeo.
2011 MOMA, ‘Before and Beyond’
Kathryn Gustafson speaks about creating spaces which are adaptable and responsive to the user as illustrated by her work at Centennial Park in Nashville, TN.
2012 Lecture at Harvard GSD: ‘Being local when you’re not’
2012 Lecture at The Cultural Landscape Foundation
2014 Zaryadye Park
Working in collaboration with Sauerbruch Hutton and ARUP, Gustafson Porter + Bowman led the concept design for the 120,000m2 Zaryadye Park in central Moscow as part of an international competition. Dating back to 1365 and situated close to Moscow’s Red Square, Zaryadye Park is the oldest trading settlement outside the Kremlin walls.
Zaryadye Park from Gustafson Porter + Bowman on Vimeo.
2014 Daniels Public Lecture: Kathryn Gustafson ‘A place that fits: Landscape Architecture’
In this lecture, Kathryn explored landscape architecture in two parts: composition in landscape architecture and landscape & urban density.
2015 Lecture at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
2016 Landscape Architecture Foundation, ‘LAF Summits: Private Practical Panel’
2017 Lecture at Harvard GSD
2017 Lecture at USC California: @Composition and Sense of Place’