Walter Hood, Hood Design Studio
Recorded: December 2, 2014
Walter Hood established multi-disciplinary, Oakland-based Hood Design Studio in 2003 with a focus on the urban public realm and a commitment to creating environments that reflect their place and time. Arguing “the park really doesn’t have any power anymore,” Hood takes a critical stance against the typologies of traditional landscape architecture and environmental design and asks: “Can we stop talking about types…and talk about people’s relationship to things and places?" Guided by this emphasis, he creates richly layered and functional landscapes designed in collaboration with local communities and reflecting the needs of their users.
Hood’s work often reveals the artifice of seemingly natural environments, and the title of his lecture, “Conscious/Unconscious Landscapes,” expresses the contention that “in our landscape today, everything is hybridized.” In surveying more than a dozen of his firm’s projects, from temporary interventions to large-scale commissions, Hood demonstrates the range and scope of his innovative work. He also details process and methods that encompass research of ecological history, sociological study of the environment prescribing behavior, and oral history interviews. Working at the intersection of art and design, the urban transformations presented include the revitalization of Ali Baba Avenue in Opa-Locka, Florida as a pedestrian-oriented corridor, the activation of Pearl Street Alley as a gathering space in Philadelphia, and the “Witness Walls” installation in Nashville that honors the city’s role in the Civil Rights movement. Hood further walks through significant landscape commissions for the grounds of the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Solar Strand array of photovoltaic panels at the University of Buffalo, and the garden of the newly reopened Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York City.
Following the lecture, Hood sat down for a conversation with architect and urbanist Michael Sorkin of Michael Sorkin Studio to discuss reliance on “one size fits all” solutions in the profession, the value of social practice art, and why investment in urban edges matters.
The Current Work series invites significant international figures who powerfully influence contemporary architectural practice and shape the future of the built environment to present their work and ideas to a public audience.
Monday, October 10, 2016
Response by Kate Orff
Walter Hood is an Oakland, CA-based designer, artist and educator. He is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley's landscape architecture and environmental design department, which he chaired from 1998 to 2002. His studio practice, Hood Design, has been engaged in architectural commissions, urban design, art installations, and research since 1992.
Hood specializes in the urban civic realm. Within it, his work ranges from small community-based places to large-scale landscape commissions. His studio recently completed the Broad Museum Plaza in Los Angeles, the Coastlines sculpture trail, a series of sandstone towers in Wilimington, CA, Site/Cite a community installed mile-long street painting project in Opa Locka, FL, a 1.1-megawatt photovoltaic array within the campus landscape at the University at Buffalo, the Powell Street Promenade in San Francisco; and the new Sculpture Terrace for the Jackson Museum of Wildlife Art in Wyoming. Hood Design was also responsible for the gardens and landscape of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed De Young Museum in San Francisco. Earlier projects located in Oakland, such as Lafayette Square and Splash Pad Park, are regarded as transformative designs for the field of landscape architecture.
FOR FUTURE PUBLICS
The event does not seek answers, only ideas. Charlottesville is many things and we seek to draw strength from varied perspectives and approaches. We want to address the challenge of designing public space in this climate, not just with words but with landscape materials, form and space. Landscape Perspectives for Future Publics hosts a panel of invited landscape architects and academics to present their ‘visions’ for Charlottesville. These proposals may be hopeful, bleak, abstract, real, or somewhere in-between. A discussion will follow challenging what it means for the practice and praxis of landscape architecture
to be more inclusive, representative and equitable.
Benjamin C. Howland Panel Invited Presenters + Panelists: Kofi Boone, Alexa Bush, Garnette Cadogan, Azzurra Cox, Frank Dukes, Walter Hood, Amber Wiley, Sara Zewde Moderated by: Elgin Cleckley, UVA School of Architecture
This panel is presented in coordination with the Benjamin C. Howland Lecture, by Walter Hood, on April 19, at 5:30pm in Campbell Hall 153.
It is hosted by SALAD and the Howland Panel Committee.