Public parks are a source of civic identity for the communities they serve – inclusivity and authenticity are crucial. Similarly, memorials are bastions of democratic exchange and act as repositories of our cultural past and evolution. Thomas Woltz will present projects from the portfolio of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW) that demonstrate the power of the firm’s research-based design to reframe our relationship with civic, ecological, and cultural systems within the public realm. Lastly, Thomas will present NBW projects that prioritize the ecological health and resilience in agriculturally productive landscapes and reveal surprising connections between these typologies.
Over the past two decades of practice, landscape architect Thomas Woltz has forged a body of work that integrates the beauty and function of built forms with an understanding of complex biological systems and restoration ecology. As principal of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW), a 45-person firm based in Charlottesville, Virginia and New York City, Woltz has infused narratives of the land into the places where people live, work and play, deepening the public’s enjoyment of the natural world and inspiring environmental stewardship. NBW projects create models of biodiversity and sustainable agriculture within areas of damaged ecological infrastructure and working farmland, yielding hundreds of acres of reconstructed wetlands, reforested land, and flourishing wildlife habitat.
Presently, Thomas and NBW are entrusted with the design of major public parks across the United States, Canada and New Zealand, they include Memorial Park in Houston, Hudson Yards in New York City, NoMA Green in Washington DC, Cornwall Park in Auckland, the Aga Khan Garden in Alberta, Canada, and three parks in Nashville, including Centennial Park.
In 2013 was named Design Innovator of the Year by the Wall Street Journal magazine and in 2017 Fast Company named Woltz one of the most creative people in business.