In Remembrance of Landscape Architecture

On December 30, William McDonald’s, In Remembrance: Vivid Personalities of the Decade ran in The New York Times. The essay placed a spotlight on this first decade of the 21st century, while noting those individuals that helped to define the 20th. McDonald, notes that, “they led nations, produced masterpieces, pushed the boundaries of science and entertained. . . In life we called them famous, renowned, celebrated, their deaths we call notable, because their names register. They people our collective memory. Some — those who destroy rather than build — we would like to forget. But most make us pause and think of the past and take account of what the world has lost.”

As I read this essay I reflected that it was just ten days earlier that I had attended Lawrence Halrpin’s memorial service at Temple Emanuel in San Francisco. Although McDonald’s remembrance includes a score of actors, musicians, politicians, literary figures, artists, fashion designers, and even an architect (Philip Johnson), the absence of era-defining landscape architects Lawrence Halprin and Dan Kiley (1912-2004) was a remarkable and astonishing omission.

Let us hope that in the future such influential masters will be recognized along with their colleagues in the allied arts and humanities. . . In the meantime, join me in celebrating Larry Halprin’s extraordinary life by way of three presentations from his memorial service: reflections on Sea Ranch by Donlyn Lyndon, FAIA; a poem, Ode to Abba, written and delivered by his grandson, performance poet, Jahan Khalighi; and my own presentation (see sidebar).