Material Landscapes Book

‘Material Landscapes’ Explores Narrative, Sustainability, and Invention

Award-Winning Surfacedesign Conveys Ethos and Approach to Connecting People to Place

Material Landscapes Book

“Fair warning to future Surfacedesign clients and design collaborators: Surfacedesign is going to push you,” writes Alan Maskin, a principal of Olson Kundig Architects, in the foreword to Surfacedesign: Material Landscapes (The Monacelli Press).  “But their ideas, enthusiasm, humor, and interests have never limited them to working within the boundaries of their specific discipline.”

The first book on this award-winning landscape architecture and urban design firm reveals thoughtful parks, plazas, waterfronts, civic landscapes, and private gardens that convey beauty, authenticity, and inventiveness.  An interview by landscape theorist, author, and teacher Anita Berrizbeitia with founding partners James A. Lord, FASLA, and Roderick Wyllie, ASLA, investigates the roots of the firm’s design ethos stemming from deep beliefs in the power of narrative to imbue landscape with meaning, to express the history of place, and, most important, to connect people to the places they live, work, travel, and play.

A studio conversation led by partner Geoff Di Girolamo, ASLA, Assoc. AIA, with several Surfacedesign team members further defines and refines the firm’s approach to materials, gesture, and sustainability, as well as the inner workings of this investigative, non-hierarchical, collaborative practice.  Twenty-five projects—ranging in scale and complexity from Auckland International Airport to a private garden in the heart of San Francisco—are beautifully photographed (mostly by Marion Brenner), displaying the sensuous inventiveness of the work.

San Francisco-based Surfacedesign, Inc., is an award-winning landscape architecture and urban design firm that collaborates with institutions, architects, homeowners, community groups, and city agencies.  Partners James A. Lord, FASLA, Roderick Wyllie, ASLA, and Geoff Di Girolamo, ASLA, Assoc. AIA, lead a multidisciplinary team of landscape architects, urban designers, and architects to provide innovative design solutions.  Winner of the 2017 National Design Award for Landscape Architecture (given by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum), Surfacedesign focuses on cultivating a sense of connection to the built and natural worlds, pushing people to engage with the landscape in new ways.

Surfacedesign: Material Landscapes
The Monacelli Press (2019)
208 pages; flexibound; $50
ISBN: 978-1-58093-552-4

Review copies available on request.