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Fall 2012 Student Lecture Series: Walter J Hood

Improvising within the Seams of Practice

October 18, 2012

Abstract: In the fields of environmental design, "professional practice" can often limit imagination. In this context, a set of specific methods are used to define, articulate, and solve a specific problem at hand, often encumbered by legislated rules and limitations from standardization and tightly upheld boundaries between professional disciplines. These structures limit and compromise speculative ideas. This presentation will illuminate how a design profession can be opened up to allow the practical and the speculative to coexist, leading to previously untapped potential for innovation and invention. 

Walter Hood is an Oakland, California-based designer, artist and educator. He is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley's landscape architecture and environmental design department. His studio practice, Hood Design, has been engaged in architectural commissions, urban design, art installations, and research since 1992. Hood specializes in the urban civic realm. Within it, his work ranges from small community-based places to large-scale landscape commissions. His studio recently completed a 1.1-megawatt photovoltaic array within the campus landscape at the University at Buffalo, the new Powell Street Promenade in San Francisco, and the new Sculpture Terrace for the Jackson Museum of Wildlife Art in Wyoming. Hood Design was also responsible for the gardens and landscape of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed De Young Museum, in San Francisco. Earlier projects located in Oakland, such as Lafayette Square and Splash Pad Park, are regarded as transformative designs for the field of landscape architecture. Hood was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome in Landscape Architecture in 1997, and he was the 2009 recipient of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Design. He has exhibited and lectured on his professional projects and speculative works internationally.