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The Landscapes of Hargreaves Associates

By Karen M'Closkey

Publication Year: 2013

The work of landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates is globally renowned, from the 21st Century Waterfront in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to London's 2012 Olympic Park. Founded by George Hargreaves in 1983, this team of designers has transformed numerous abandoned sites into topographically and functionally diverse landscapes. Hargreaves Associates' body of work reflects the socioeconomic and legislative changes that have impacted landscape architecture over the past three decades, particularly the availability of former industrial sites and their subsequent redevelopment into parks. The firm's longstanding interest in such projects brings it into frequent contact with the communities and local authorities who use and live in these built environments, which tend to be contested grounds owing to the conflicting claims of the populations and municipalities that use and manage them. As microcosms of contemporary political, social, and economic terrains, these designed spaces signify larger issues in urban redevelopment and landscape design.

The first scholarly examination of the firm's philosophy and body of work, Unearthed uses Hargreaves Associates' portfolio to illustrate the key challenges and opportunities of designing today's public spaces. Illustrated with more than one hundred and fifty color and black-and-white images, this study explores the methods behind canonical Hargreaves Associates sites, such as San Francisco's Crissy Field, Sydney Olympic Park, and the Louisville Waterfront Park. M'Closkey outlines how Hargreaves and his longtime associate Mary Margaret Jones approach the design of public places—conceptually, materially, and formally—on sites that require significant remaking in order to support a greater range of ecological and social needs.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Series: Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-7

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

The increasing prominence of landscape architecture over the past two decades is undeniable, due in no small part to the widespread attention to issues of sustainability and the sense of urgency that accompanies our current environmental problems, which are now understood in a global context. ...

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pp. 1-24

George Hargreaves and others who were educated in landscape architecture in the 1970s are situated at an interesting crossroads for the discipline. Characteristic of the time were Ian McHarg’s seminal manifesto, Design with Nature (1969), along with Charles Jencks’s famous declaration that modernism ended at 3:32 p.m. on July 15, 1972 (referring to the destruction of the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis)1 ...

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Chapter 1. Geographies

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pp. 25-44

Local spaces are tied to regional and global processes. Spatial shifts, including the recent availability of large swaths of derelict land in urban areas, are the result of intersecting economic and political forces that influence a region’s transformation over time. ...

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Crissy Field, San Francisco, California

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pp. 45-57

Crissy Field is part of the Presidio, a former military installation at the northern edge of San Francisco that is now part of the National Park System. The Presidio became a U.S. Army outpost in 1846, having been under the control of Spain from 1776 to 1822 and Mexico from 1822 to 1846. ...

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21st Century Waterfront and Renaissance Parks, Chattanooga, Tennessee

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pp. 58-73

Hargreaves Associates, with Schwartz Silver Architects, led the planning effort for the development of 129 acres along the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Although the entire master plan is to be built in phases, it was important to provide an overall vision as the culmination of the city’s twenty-year planning effort. ...

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Los Angeles State Historic Park, Los Angeles, California

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pp. 74-90

The Los Angeles State Historic Park is located adjacent to downtown, just south of the confluence of the Los Angeles River and the Arroyo Seco. The site sits at the foot of Elysian Park, Los Angeles’s oldest and second-largest park. The 1930 Olmsted-Bartholomew plan for the Los Angeles region recommended that the entire area around Elysian Park and the Chavez Ravine ...

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Chapter 2. Techniques

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pp. 91-106

The previous chapter dealt with how Hargreaves associates interprets the history of each site as a means to introduce “matters of time” into places that have been literally and figuratively leveled. This chapter also takes up this notion, but deals with time in relation to the techniques and technologies used to “speed up or slow down” natural processes, ...

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Sydney Olympic Park, New South Wales, Australia

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pp. 107-117

The Sydney Olympic Park development was the largest remediation project of its kind in Australia, encompassing an area of 640 hectares, two-thirds of which is parkland. Originally comprising salt- and freshwater wetlands, rivers, and creeks, large areas were gradually filled beginning in the late nineteenth century. ...

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Guadalupe River Park, San Jose, California

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pp. 118-129

The Guadalupe River begins in the Santa Cruz Mountains, flowing northwest into San Francisco Bay, draining approximately 170 square miles of land. Development has gradually encroached on the river, and the thousands of properties built within the floodplain have suffered damages from multiple storms. ...

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Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Facility and Northern Mitigation Area, Snohomish County, Washington

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pp. 130-140

Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Facility and Northern Mitigation Area is a 114-acre site located in Snohomish County, Washington. The northern one-third of the site contained degraded wetlands, streams—some of which were buried in pipes—and partial forest cover, while the other two-thirds had been used as auto salvage yards with office buildings and warehouses. ...

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Chapter 3. Effects

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pp. 141-157

Carefully sculpted ground—characterized by steep slopes, angular embankments, and sharp ridge lines—together with stark contrasts among vegetation, textures, and colors, distinguishes Hargreaves associates’ work. These visual, spatial, and material characteristics are essential to how we experience and understand the landscape, yet, as one critic recently notes, we do not discuss them; ...

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Louisville Waterfront Park, Louisville, Kentucky

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pp. 158-169

The Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation, formed in 1986, hired Hargreaves Associates to begin the master plan in 1990. The master plan encompasses 120 acres along the Ohio River in downtown Louisville. The park, covering 85 of these acres, was built in three phases over a fifteen-year period. ...

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University of Cincinnati Master Plan, Cincinnati, Ohio

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pp. 170-181

Hargreaves Associates was hired in 1989 to develop a master plan for the University of Cincinnati after the university projected that it needed one million square feet of new building space. The firm’s work comprised three primary master plan documents (in 1991, 1995, 2000), and in conjunction with the planning work, ...

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William J. Clinton Presidential Center Park, Little Rock, Arkansas

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pp. 182-196

The William J. Clinton Presidential Center is situated within thirty acres of parkland along the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Arkansas. The site had been previously used for light industrial purposes and contained abandoned warehouses and railroad tracks. ...

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pp. 197-203

The extensive park and parkway building that took place in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries happened during major transformations in industry, economy, and attendant urbanization. For mid-twentieth-century modernists, landscape design was largely rooted in the rise of corporate America, the postwar housing boom, and the creation of urban plazas. ...

Project Teams for Cited Projects

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pp. 204-205


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pp. 206-226


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pp. 227-234

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pp. 235-236

I am grateful to the following organizations and individuals who have provided generous support for this project: the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts; Foundation for Landscape Studies; Marilyn Jordan Taylor, dean of the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania; ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780812207804
E-ISBN-10: 0812207807
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812244809
Print-ISBN-10: 081224480X

Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 125 color, 30 b/w
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Hargreaves Associates -- History.
  • Urban landscape architecture -- United States -- 20th century.
  • Urban landscape architecture -- United States -- 21st century.
  • Public spaces -- United States.
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