George Hargreaves

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George Hargreaves (born November 12, 1952) is a landscape architect. Under his design direction, the work of his firm has received numerous national awards and has been published and exhibited nationally and internationally. He was an artist in residence at the American Academy of Rome in 2009. Hargreaves and his firm designed numerous sites including the master plan for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, The Brightwater Waste Water Treatment Facility in Seattle, Washington, and University of Cincinnati Master Plan.


According to Ken Gwertz's article "Landscape Alchemist," George Hargreaves' interest in Landscape Architecture was partially due to a summer trip that he went on when he was 18 years old. During the trip to the Rocky Mountains, George Hargreaves climbed Flat Top Mountain where he experienced a life changing scene. Hargreaves describes the sense, "It wasn't just the mountains or the trees or any of the individual elements. It was something about the sense of space itself. When I got back home I tried to explain this to my uncle...and he said, 'Have you ever thought about going into landscape architecture?'" In 1973, George Hargreaves attended the School of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. Four years later, he graduated second in his class, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. Soon after getting his bachelor's degree, George went to Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He graduated with distinction and received a Masters in Landscape Architecture.

Professional experience[edit]

In 1983, Hargreaves Associates was founded. George and Hargreaves Associates have worked on many well known designs over the years. George Hargreaves is an important part of every design.

Hargreaves Associates do projects that range from large river edges to small residential sites. George Hargreaves and Mary Margaret Jones oversee a team of talented designers through the life of each project, maintaining a consistency throughout. According to Hargreaves, "Convention is easy to slip into, to keep making the same pictures. What I try to find are those magic moments of clarity when you hear what the site is whispering to you." Landscape Alchemist

In the Introduction of the 2009 publication on his practice, Landscape Alchemy, Hargreaves cites that the firm seldom encounters project sites that are a greenfield or “natural” but are more likely to be brownfields, often flat, devoid of any significant vegetation or other natural features, yet close to city centers. Mostly late 20th century and early 21st century sites, they differ greatly from the majority of the sites for the great parks realized from the 17th to early 20th century that had much more obvious character where glacial terrain with remnant countryside provided what Hargreaves likes to call “good bones”. Additionally, he points out that “our design strategies is a continuing search for the way to conceptually enter the site and create bones where there are none”, and that while each Hargreaves project integrates sustainability, phenomena and process, site histories, adjacencies and overlays, “none should operate singularly - they all interact on the same site as we strive to put bones in our projects that will give them life for decades or centuries to come”.

At his presentation to the Forum for Urban Design Spring Conference 2009: the 21st Century Park & Contemporary City held at the Modern Museum of Art, Hargreaves emphasized that "distressed sites, whether abandoned, polluted, neglected, or all three, are the dross from which 21st Century dreams are woven".

Academic experience[edit]

George Hargreaves started his academic career shortly after he started Hargreaves Associates. He first taught at universities such as Cal Poly, University of Illinois Champaign, and University of Virginia Charlottesville. In 1986, George began to teach at Harvard University Graduate School of Design where he became a tenured professor and continued teaching there for over twenty years. He was the Chair for the Department of Landscape Architecture from 1996 through 2003. Prior to resigning from his position at Harvard to focus on his practice, he was the Peter Louis Hornbeck Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture and taught advanced and theoretical design classes and core studios.

An important piece of his academic work is the book he co-wrote with Julia Czerniak. The book is Large Parks. Large Parks is compilation of eight essays on large urban parks. These essays talk about the complexity of the parks and how they part of society. Large Parks is only the latest in a long line of publications that he has written and was awarded the J. B. Jackson Book Prize by the Foundation for Landscape Studies for having contributed significantly to the understanding of landscape studies.


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