Innovative Landscapes

Pool Pavilion Forest, Napa Valley, CA, 2007.

Celebrated landscape architect lectures about his work

Posted by Liam Otten, The Record October 5, 2010

Landscape architect Tom Leader, founder and principal of Tom Leader Studio in Berkeley, CA, discussed his work for the Sam Fox School's fall Public Lecture Series on October 11.

Formed in 2001, Tom Leader Studio is among today's most innovative and experimental landscape architecture practices, known for balancing speculative and constructed designs. The studio found early recognition with a series of competitions, installations, and exhibitions, notably Groundswell (2005) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Design Life Now, the Cooper-Hewitt 2006 National Design Triennial.

Recent built works include Pool Pavilion Forest, a collaboration with artist James Turrell and architect Jim Jennings in the Napa Valley; the 20-acre Railroad Park in Birmingham, AL; and a half-mile-long narrative art walk, with artist Susan Schwartzenberg, on the campus of the Stanford University School of Medicine. The studio currently is collaborating with SOM on a series of commercial and public projects in San Francisco, Denver, Houston, San Bernardino, India, and China; and with Perkins + Will on a large U.S./Mexico border crossing in Calexico, CA.

Leader earned a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture from the University of California at Berkeley in 1978 and a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design in 1983.

In 1985, Leader joined the firm of Peter Walker and Partners, where, over the next 16 years, he designed and built numerous award-winning projects throughout the United States and internationally. Two projects under his direction won national Honor Awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA): Longacres Park in Renton, WA, and Asahikawa River Park on the island of Hokkaido, Japan.

In 1996, Leader won the San Francisco Prize in a competition for the design of Philip Burton Federal Plaza. In 1998, he was awarded a yearlong Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome. In 2001, he led a collaborative team in creating Coastlines, an installation featured in the exhibit Revelatory Landscapes at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

In 2009, Tom Leader Studio won two Honor Awards from the ASLA — for Pool Pavilion Forest and for the Stabiae Archaeological Park in Castellammare di Stabiae, Italy — as well as a Merit Award for its sustainable master plan for San Francisco’s Park Merced neighborhood.

For more information about Leader's lecture, click here.