September 14, 2021

Envisioning Landscapes: The Transformative Environments of OJB

Press Release: September 14, 2021
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Envisioning Landscapes: The Transformative Environments of OJB

By OJB; Foreword by Christopher Hawthorne; Essay by Peter Walker

“This book is as useful as it is beautiful. These outlines inform the reader, and especially the student, of the complex goals that modern designed landscapes can and do strive for in economic, environmental, social, and physical realms.” - Peter Walker


This debut monograph of the visionary landscape architecture firm OJB uncovers the philosophy that guides the practice and reveals the transformative power of landscape through a selection of case studies drawn from the firm's thirty-year history.

Founded in 1989 by landscape architect James Burnett, OJB—the Office of James Burnett—has since grown to nearly one hundred professionals working across five offices and has established itself as a leader in the field for its ambitious approach to community building through landscape. Their first monograph, Envisioning Landscapes: The Transformative Environments of OJB highlights the practice’s remarkable and meaningful work—and the philosophy that drives it.

Organized thematically into three sections, Envisioning Landscapes explores nine overall projects across the US in California, Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts. Varied typologies are arranged in a rhythm progressing from single works to longer multi-project narratives in which landscapes connect and build on each other over several years to create thoughtfully realized and impactful environments. The book examines the inherent optimism in each of these projects while also highlighting the core principle made apparent in every element of the firm’s work: landscape is a social and collective tool for integration, reclamation, and healing.

Heavily illustrated with 200 photographs, renderings, and plans, Envisioning Landscapes opens with an insightful foreword by Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic and Los Angeles’s first Chief Design Officer; an essay by internationally recognized landscape architect and founder of PWP Landscape Architecture, Peter Walker; and a conversation between design journalist Bradford McKee and the OJB partners. The landscape presentations are accompanied by essays and each project includes a section listing all of the plantings, in addition to sustainability facts addressing land; water; planting; carbon, energy, and air; and the work's economic and social impacts.

With illuminating photography and concise analysis, Envisioning Landscapes will appeal to professional landscape architects, urban planning communities seeking leadership and guidance on how to create sustainable cities that promote the health and well-being of their residents, as well as anyone interested in the positive impact landscape can have on the world at large.

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About the Authors

OJB Landscape Architecture challenges the conventional boundaries of landscape architecture, emphasizing placemaking as a mechanism for healing, gathering, and celebration. OJB is the recipient of more than one hundred state and national design awards—including, in 2020, the prestigious Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Architecture—for the creation of urban parks that return civic engagement to the forefront of cities.

Christopher Hawthorne is Los Angeles’s first Chief Design Officer. Prior to that, he was the architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times from 2004 to 2018, the architecture critic for Slate, and a frequent contributor to the New York Times. He is the author, with Alanna Stang, of The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture.

Peter Walker is an internationally recognized landscape architect and founder of PWP Landscape Architecture. Over five decades, Walker has designed parks, gardens, corporate headquarters, urban landscapes, campuses, museums, and memorials around the world. Among his significant projects are the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, the Glenstone Museum in Potomac, MD, and the Barangaroo waterfront renewal project in Sydney, Australia, which won an American Architecture Prize for Landscape Design of the Year.

About Monacelli

As a leading publisher of illustrated books for twenty-five years, Monacelli has challenged the conventions of publishing to produce provocative, inspiring, and essential titles on architecture, visual art, interior design, landscape architecture, photography, and applied arts. In 2020, Monacelli became an imprint of Phaidon.

Since the publication of S,M,L,XL by Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau—a groundbreaking monograph that remains unsurpassed in its influence on design publishing—the press has produced more than 400 books in collaboration with prominent practitioners and scholars in diverse domains, including Rafael Moneo, Henry N. Cobb, Robert A.M. Stern, Piet Oudolf, Kate Orff, Robert Storr, Ellie Cullman, Paul Goldberger, Thomas Jayne, and Jean-Louis Cohen.