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James Hayes Park: A Model of Community Design Process

James Hayes Park is a stop on NELDHA's Self Guided Walking Tour of Boston's South End Green Spaces. The following is a reprint of an article appearing in the November 1995 issue of Perspectives, Vol. 13.2 that describes the inspiration and creation of this well loved park.

hayes park article


 
A Conversation with Julie Moir Messervy

Julie Moir Messervy is an accomplished and award winning landscape designer, author and lecturer. This article was first published in Perspectives Vol. 18.1 in the Fall of 2000. The BSLA was the forerunner of NELDHA. Download a PDf of the file here.

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About the Interviewer: Ms. Kost-Gross is the principal in G/S Associates. She is President of NELDHA and was the 2011-2013 President of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts where she remains active on both a local and national level. She is Natural Resources Commissioner of the Town of Wellesley, Massachusetts and was awarded the the 2010 Landscape Design Council Award for Excellence, given in recognition of outstanding civic accomplishment. She was also awarded four gold medals from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. She holds certificates in Landscape Design and History from the Radcliffe Seminars of Harvard University.

 
An Interview with Martha Schwartz

This was the first in a series of articles from our archives that we will reprint in our electronic version of Perspectives.

In this provocative interview, renowned landscape architect Martha Schwartz1 dismisses the practice of imposing nature on manufactured landscapes as artificial and sentimental. She reveals how her mentors, role models and background as an artist influence her designs. Her insightful analysis of European and American public spaces illustrates the fallacy of applying the European model here in the United States. She lauds the diversity in the United States and the opportunities it presents to shape our cultural landscapes. A very intimate and revealing Martha Schwartz emerges on these pages.

1Martha Schwartz currently has firms in Cambridge, London and China. Her controversial 1979 design of The Bagel Garden jump started her career and landed her on the cover of Landscape Architecture. Peter Walker is her ex-husband.

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The following Article first appeared in Perspectives, Winter 1999, Vol. 16.1.

By Heidi Kost Gross

Schwartz_photoAt the annual BSLA Dinner on April 21, 1999, we will have the pleasure of listening to Martha Schwartz explain her "RECENT WORK—THE DESIGN PROCESS IN THE PUBLIC URBAN SPACE"- Ms. Schwartz is an internationally acclaimed landscape artist who works primarily in urban-scale projects. Her background is both in fine arts and landscape architecture. During the last two decades, she has created some of the most exciting spaces in the contemporary landscape, raising design solutions to the level of fine art. Her staff members, Patricia Bales and Lital Szmuck taught Design I at Radcliffe during the Fall semester. Ms. Schwartz was born and raised in Philadelphia and educated at the University of Michigan and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. She is the mother of two teenage sons. Martha Schwartz, Inc. was formed in 1990, and is located in Cambridge, MA.

HK-G: It is a widely held opinion among American landscape historians and critics that landscape design generally is still solidly entrenched in the Romantic era. Consequently, the icon for most designers in the U.S. is Frederick Law Olmsted. You certainly have climbed out of the box of Naturalistic Utopia. Why and how did this happen?

MS: Actually, I was thinking that I never climbed out of the box because I never was in the box in the first place since I came to the landscape from a completely different direction. I had no idea what landscape architecture was until I was nearly through College (the Art School at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor). And, when I learned what it was, I was not tremendously interested in it anyway. I had no idea that landscape architecture existed as a profession, partially because my father was an architect and landscape architecture was so invisible. When I finally came to it, it was with an art background in printmaking, and with a strong interest in the earth works artists like Robert Smithson, Richard Long, Michael Heizer and Mary Miss. However, I became involved in landscape architecture per se because I was starting to work graphically in ever larger dimensions, which were leading me into issues of scale. Consequently, I went into the profession with the idea that I would learn how to make "big art". When I went on to graduate school to study what landscape architectural history was all about, I was truly underwhelmed and almost dropped out of school after the first year, even though I was at the University of Michigan which was at the time THE design school for landscape architecture.

I remember trying to make an argument for my continuing to take art classes; but, since I had already graduated from Michigan's art school, no one in landscape architecture could figure out why I wanted to do that. At that time, there was almost no connection between the idea of art and landscape design. All was ecology based and landscape architecture was almost a formula - more of a service. I was awfully bored with it. The only reason I stayed on was because I had the opportunity to go to California and be a summer school student in Peter Walker's was the first person who brought up the connection between art and landscape, and it was here that I decided to persevere. Perhaps there was a landscape for me with my interest in art after all!