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delivering the landscape

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Terragrams is a podcast series providing a wide portal into the world of landscape architecture by the professionals who shape it. Running from 2006 to 2012, the podcast dispatched over 30 interviews. It is now being re-edited and re-broadcast. Learn more about Terragrams.

Dispatch 21: Ken Smith

First published 27th Sep, 2009

Republished 27th Jan, 2022

Ken is the founder of the Ken Smith Workshop, based in Manhattan, New York, and Irvine, California. He graduated from Iowa State University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design and practiced with the Office of Peter Walker and later in collaboration with Martha Schwartz and David Meyer. Since 1992 he has been piloting his own studio while also teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the University of Pennsylvania, UVa, and the City College of New York.

His professional work encompasses a broad array of scales and project typologies and in his own words "explores the symbolic content and expressive power of landscape as an art form". He is most well-known for his Camouflage Roof Garden on the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan and his current work for the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. Ken discusses his work for the Orange County Great Park, India, growing up on a farm, John Cage, the European condition and his first jobs out of college.

Introducing Ken

Ch. 1


Manga & Bioswales

Ch. 3


Narrative drawings from the competition package, Ken Smith Workshop

Small Offices

Ch. 6


Origins and Studies

Ch. 7


The Biennial's Selections

Ch. 10