Often seen as the overlooked, unsung heroes of the design world in past decades, the role of landscape design in shaping our cities — whether by revitalizing neglected areas; creating healthier places to live; or adapting for climate resiliency — is rapidly expanding in the present day. As the AEC industry reckons with its role in addressing the current climate crisis, landscape architects have never been more vital to the discipline. Cities are on the forefront, facing the complex challenges of the twenty-first century head-on. In response, landscape architecture firms are growing their practices, bringing on engineers and urban planners to collaborate on larger scale, interdisciplinary plans that often bring urban planning, intelligent systems, ecology and sustainability together under one umbrella.
In recognition of this vital discipline, Architizer’s A+Awards — the world’s largest awards program for architects and products — includes categories dedicated to the innovative works of landscape architecture firms, including Public Parks & Green Spaces, Urban and Masterplan and the coveted Plus award for Architecture +Landscape. New this year, we’re celebrating forward-looking designs by introducing the Unbuilt Landscape category, which encompasses unrealized plans for the future.
Beijing, China | Founded 2004
Zhu Yufan Y³C Atelier is a decorated Beijing-based design firm with nearly 3 decades experience under their beds. The vast range of their expertise in landscape planning and design is reflexted in the diversity of their project, which range considerably. Their choice of name is telling: Y³C references the Chinese idiom “yiyuzhongdi”, which means “hit the key-point in one word.”
Emphasizing an approach centered on “one sharp design move,” they explore the design essence of balancing the site and its demands under the unique perspective of history and culture. In turn, this results in a considerable diversity and openness in the design details via interpreting, rewriting and representing the historical and cultural factors of the site — from the ancient to the present, from the east to the west.
Miami, Florida | Founded 1977
Miami-based ArquitectonicaGEO has been redefining landscape architecture for nearly two decades. Our approach is clear. though they take international commissions, their innovative and bold design solutions are particular welcome in on their home turf; their approach is one that creates landscapes adaptive to climate change, sea level rise and restores biodiversity. At the same time, theirs is a humanistic practice that mixes resiliency with human-centered design to produce a level of awareness in communities.
Bangkok, Thailand | Founded 2007
Led by Pok Kobkongsanti, this Bangkok-based studio believes that the design process is as important as the design it produces, so they rely on close relationships with clients. The result exceeds the expectations, pushing boundaries in the practice of landscaping. At Ribbon Dance Park, for example, pushed beyond typical categorizations that result from pigeon hole thinking and moves beyond simply satisfying the clients’ expectations to introducing green space to be enjoyed by the public. TROP has been working on various projects throughout Asia since 2007, bringing the landscape back into the urban environment.
New York, New York | Founded 1999
Though you may know the firm’s name from from high-profile projects in New York such as the High Line, Domino Park and the Cornell Tech Campus in Roosevelt Island, this tri-city-based practice also has offices in San Francisco and Philadelphia, and has completed game-changing urban parks around the globe. From large urban districts and complex post-industrial sites, to smaller, detailed-oriented design projects, their oeuvre is united by a deep, underlying commitment to the design of a vibrant and dynamic public realm that integrates ecology, program and people.
Seattle, Washington | Founded 1988
This Taiwan-based landscape engineering consultancy has been providing environmental architectural planning and design work all over the world for 20 years. Since their establishment, they have completed hundreds of projects across the United States and Taiwan, with clients spanning from central and local governments to schools and research groups to private construction and development companies. With a strong focus on engineering, their detailed design work is buttressed by their expertise in development plans, environmental assessments, feasibility studies, engineering drawings and budgets, manufacturing supervision and engineering management. While that all may sound technical, they produce design-centric results — see for yourself in their lauded HEITO 1909 park, above!
Phoenix, Arizona | Founded 2009
Founded in 2009 by landscape architects Allison Colwell and Michele Shelor, the Pheonix-based firm has dedicated their practice to creating meaningful, vibrant environments that deeply reference the cultural and ecological requisites of each site. From academic plazas, civic complexes and parks to intimate domestic sanctuaries, the breadth of the firm’s portfolio is matched by the depth of their engagement and attention to detail in each work. From this approach, designing landscapes also involves building relationships — not only with clients, but between humans and the natural world. In addition to an overarching concern with sustainability, the firm strives to weave community-building threads into each design.
Boston, Massachusetts | Founded 1994
For twenty years, Boston-based studio has focused on human-centred design aimed at building better, more inclusive cities and improving civic health. Their expertise in restorative landscapes, backed by research into human cognition and green storm water technologies, allows them to face some of society’s most pressing environmental and health-related issues head on. From waterfronts and workplaces to public gardens and healthcare centers, this evidence-based design approach has wide reach.
Bangkok, Thailand | Founded 2003
Based in Bangkok, this Thai landscape architecture design firm is squarely focused on creating unique urban environments. The goal is not architecture for architecture’s sake, however, but to produce singular spaces that improve citizen’s quality of life enhancing the green ecosystem. These aims are backed by a duo-specialty in both landscaping and urban development, backed by a team of landscape architects and young designers with progressive visions for alternative urban future centred on placemaking and value landscapes.
Rotterdam, Netherlands | Founded 2014
Founded in 2014, Felixx specializes in designing and engineering landscapes that maximize environmental impact. Their locally-embedded design solutions are aimed at addressing urgent global challenges. Taking on projects within a broad international scope, their clients include governments, NGOs and private developers, and their output varies from spatial research, landscape transformation strategies and developing masterplans, to public space and product design. Across the spectrum, their solutions seek to diversity environmental landscapes by transforming them from mono-functional places into complex hybrids that integrate vital systems with scenic experiences.
Oakland, California | Founded in 2012
Founded by friends, this Oakland-based landscape architecture and urban design practice is known for producing collaborative, innovative and interdisciplinary designs across a range of project types and scapes. Many of their projects unfold through years of working with clients, building relationships through successive projects. In so doing, they promote a long-term approach to design work and urban thinking; one that uses landscape to “create a healthier world where people are more equitably connected to nature and to each other.”