‘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.
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 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
Presentation One – Capturing Cultural and Natural Elements.
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 which have 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 an experience of how to elevate the character of a place through landscape design and resolve 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.