Landworks Studio, Inc. is a multi-disciplinary, research-based design collaborative with offices in Boston and Salem, Massachusetts and a small output in China. We are a diverse group of creative individuals who are primarily Landscape Architects, but also share expertise in disciplines such as sculpture, art, architecture and furniture design. We take great pride in the individual accomplishments of our team and the ways in which this informs our collaborative approach and ultimately guides our practice habits.
Frequent input from our clients, allied design professionals, and the community is a critical component of our design process as we seek to develop useful, meaningful, and lasting landscape spaces. Fundamental to our design process is the need to thoroughly test the formal, technical, and environmental appropriateness of each idea in order to ensure that the ultimate proposal is responsive to the nature of its context and the scale of inhabitation. Our practice is built upon the following foundation:

High Performance Urbanism: we are interested in the relationship between ecological performativity and human performance as a mechanism for resilient urbanisms. We believe that careful scrutiny at a human scale of potential interrelationships of these conditions leads to innovative and site-specific design responses.

Vibrant Placemaking: we are engaged in design research that uses atypical and emergent materials and fabrication techniques to viscerally expand landscape experiences. Accordingly, many of our projects emerge from a dialogue between various materials and calibrated ordering systems such as modularity, seriality and repetition.

Change and Time as Protagonists: we are interested in the artful registration of environmental ephemera and calibrating between fixity and mutability according to predictable and less predictable factors and those things against which change is registered and experienced.

With these core values in our forefront, we continue to grow, learn, discover and evolve as a group. This past year, we settled into a new studio and gallery space north of Boston, a long-anticipated arrival as we undertook the renovation of a mid-century auto dealership in historic downtown Salem, MA. The new space offers many new opportunities for Landworks Studio to expand our practice, showcase our work and collaborate with community stakeholders. The surrounding landscape will soon be transformed into courtyard and garden spaces where we will be able to test new materials and find inspiration within the natural environment.

Theater Group Retreat

Western Maine, USA

For fifteen years, the guiding ethic of ongoing improvements to this lakefront site in Maine has been to right historical imbalances of neglect and impropriety: erosion, decreased water quality, deforestation, and soil compaction. By improving ecological processes, the project sought to enhance the landscape program for the client, a New York City-based theater group. The initial masterplan identified a set of short- and long-term objectives which have been implemented through a series of small projects over time. These insertions have adapted to evolving programmatic agenda and the site’s successional realities and are embedded in a specific sculptural aesthetic that structures pedestrian movement and gathering.

Macallen Condominiums

South Boston, MA

Situated on a seam between South Boston and an expansive field of industry and infrastructure, the Macallen Building and landscape rise together as an icon of sustainable development in this rapidly evolving area. Shaped by the forces and scales of its dramatically different contexts, the landscape uses alternative materials and planting strategies to depart from the stormwater and surface cover paradigms of traditional urban development, diminishing the negative ecological impact of this site while simultaneously maximizing its positive urban function. The Macallen development was awarded LEED Gold certification in 2008.

At the ground-level entry – a public court dubbed “Macallen Way” – tree planting, lighting, and a composition of paving materials structure a dialogue of literal and figural connections between the Macallen and Court Square Press Buildings.

URBAN LANDSCAPE TIER TWO: Recreational Terrace
Perched over the parking garage, the recreation terrace is a habitable landscape for both buildings’ residents and a graphic garden designed to be viewed from the above residences.

The terrace garden, along with the third layer – a sloping green roof – are integral to the building’s LEED certification mission as vehicles to reduce stormwater run-off, ameliorate Boston’s urban heat island effect, and provide a measure of insulation to the building.

Awards: 2009 ASLA Honor Award – General Design, 2009 BSLA Merit Award – General Design, 2008 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project, LEED Gold, USGBC / Photo Credit: John Horner Photography

200 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY

Landworks Studio and Studios Architecture joined to sensitively remodel the historic building at 200 5th Avenue in New York. Situated across 5th Avenue from Madison Square Park, the building once functioned as a grand hotel and later served as the International Toy Center starting in 1950. The team’s proposal creates a four-tiered series of office spaces located mainly within the footprint of the existing building. The terraces that result have offered Landworks Studio the opportunity to create an elegant and functional landscape to serve everyday users, as well as large groups during special events. Three main landscape elements insert new program into the historic armature: a vegetated ground plane, folding tray, and light cloud. First, the ground plane is constructed of a stainless-steel framework planted with a dense carpet of moss. Hovering six inches above, a pre-cast concrete tray contorts to form a continuous walking surface, planters, and benches. Stainless steel planters containing ferns slide into benches along the edges of the tray, and in-grade light strips and trench drains slide through the joints of the concrete tray. The light cloud extends out from the lobby in the lowest terrace and reemerges on the upper terrace to create a memorable landscape experience for evening events.
AWARDS: 2012 ASLA Honor Award, 2012 BSLA Honor Award, 2010 AIA-New York Architecture Merit Award (with Studios Architecture)
Photo Credit: Andrea Varutti, Landworks Studio, Inc.

Zelkova Urban Garden

Taichung, Taiwan

Pao Huei Development Company commissioned Landworks Studio and CBT Architects to develop the urban design to tie its luxury high-rise residential developments to surrounding the site and the streetscape that spills out onto the cultural landmark of the Taichung Metropolitan Opera House designed by Toyo Ito, now under construction. Carving out the overall structure of the space, raised planters robustly planted with about two hundred large Taiwanese Zelkovas, are retained by angular granite walls and create a zigzagging ‘ripple’ figure. These landforms create a hierarchy of scales from larger ‘ripples’ at the edge of the garden—to screen views towards the parking lot—to smaller ripples at the center. The ripple motif is carried through in a more subtle manner to the stone pavement and benches to animate the ground plane. Granite paving materials, which evoke the threadlike mineral deposits in Taichung’s mountainous landscape, establish a second type of movement through the urban garden in the lower planting beds. Finally, to extend the landscape into the rest of the city, the ripples move past the plaza’s boundaries and provide a counterpoint to the straight line of the street edge, resulting in a variety of garden-like niches along the sidewalk.
Photo Credit: Robert Miller Inc., Great Falls, VA / John Horner Photography, Somerville, MA

Solitaire Residential Tower

Taichung, Taiwan

Landworks Studio developed the design for the gardens, streetscape and two roof decks of this 41-story, luxury condominium Tower. It is in the high-end residential and commercial Xitun District of Taichung, Taiwan. The Streetwalk is framed by beautiful alleys of Zelkova trees, connecting the Tower to the famous Toyo Ito-designed Taichung Metropolitan Opera House and other cultural and entertainment landmarks within the neighborhood. The use of rich materials and exclusive details is characteristic for this project.

A striking art wall marks the Entry Court and provides screening as well as a threshold to the main entrance of the building, which is framed by a tonal gradient of large, diamond shaped granite pavers. The expansive ground floor halls of the building with large window fronts allow for a continues flow from the more formal Urban Porch garden area with a vast pool and art pieces, through to the still pools of the West Garden with their floating flowering trees. A partly vegetated water wall creates backdrop and center piece to this more secluded area with several terraces, a tea garden and exuberant tropical plants.

Two fourth floor luxury units have access to their own private terraces forming sheltered oases above Taichung’s busy city life.

The 41st shared rooftop terrace allows for fantastic views to the surrounding city amongst dark, slanted stone planters in front of a wall design with enormous undulating stone panels.

Photo Credit:
John Horner Photography


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