Landslide 2020: Women Take the Lead – Martha Schwartz and Peter Walker on Children’s Park and Pond

The only project designed by landscape architect Martha Schwartz in collaboration with her then husband landscape architect Peter Walker is a park in downtown San Diego that is slated for demolition. Originally called Marina Linear Park, the site is located at the juncture of the base of downtown and the convention center and other development along the waterfront. Schwartz says the “most striking” element she and Walker had to address in the 1987 project was a rail line that went down to the U.S./Mexico border. Inspired by the stripes of a serape, the design incorporates multiple elements arrayed in a linear manner; Schwartz describes it as “lines about lines and lines next to lines.” Walker says they won the design competition for the park because they took a “fanciful” view; rather than approaching this “as a series of land uses” linked by a row of trees they saw this as a “festival place.” Schwartz says they did not want to “blot out the train tracks and pretend that there was natural nature there.” She calls the site the “red carpet” into downtown San Diego. Schwartz closes by lamenting the ill-management of the site and works of landscape architecture.