Influential California Landscape Architect Pamela Burton is Subject of Video Oral History from The Cultural Landscape Foundation

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Influential California Landscape Architect Pamela Burton is Subject of Video Oral History from The Cultural Landscape Foundation

Influential California Landscape Architect Pamela Burton is Subject of Video Oral History from The Cultural Landscape Foundation
Oct 05, 2021

Media Contact: Nord Wennerstrom | T: 202.483.0553  | M: 202.225.7076 | E:

Burton Project is the seventeenth in the ongoing, award-winning Pioneers of American Landscape Design® video oral history series that documents, collects, and preserves first-hand information from pioneering landscape architects/educators

Washington, DC (October 5, 2021) – The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) today announces the release of a new Pioneers of American Landscape Design® video oral history with acclaimed Southern California-based landscape architect Pamela Burton. This is the seventeenth in the award-winning Pioneers series, which TCLF launched in 2003 to document, collect, and preserve first-hand information from pioneering landscape architects/educators. The 92-minute long Burton Oral History documentary is parsed into 29 one- to five-minute clips and organized under the themes of “biography,” “design,” and “projects.”  Over the course of a career lasting nearly 50 years, Burton has been widely influential as designer of public and private commissions.

A keenly observant, entertaining, and engaging storyteller, Burton discusses her nearly half-century career and the life-shaping episodes, from motorcycling through Japan to working with art world pioneers including Robert Smithson, that have influenced a diverse body of public and private work that integrates art, architecture and landscape – especially her brilliant use of plant materials – to create designs that evolve from the cultural and physical environment, and are informed by geography, ecology and history. 

Major projects featured in the Burton Oral History include: the Northridge, CA, campus of California State University; the landscape of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Santa Monica Medical Center; the grounds of the Rochaverá Corporate Towers in São Paulo, Brazil; and private residences in the Los Angeles area and New York.

Founding her firm shortly after graduation from UCLA, Burton was influenced by Modernist and contemporary architects, artists, and landscape architects throughout her decades-long career. Burton attended UCLA studying architecture with notable legends like Charles Moore and Bill Mitchell to achieve her Master’s Degree in Architecture, starting her own practice in 1975. Burton is a prolific designer of residential, commercial, and civic landscapes, many in Southern California. Her designs are influenced by a site-specific layout and plant palette, a wide range of guiding principles including California modernism, her love of art, and passion for sustainability. Notably, Burton designed the grounds of several homes by architect Richard Neutra. Through her writing and myriad commissions for public and private projects alike, she has become a leading figure in the profession, especially in her native Southern California. In 2006 she became a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Her extensive career and her ecologically sensitive and artistically inclined approach were the subject of Pamela Burton Landscapes, a hardbound volume published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2010. She currently lives and works in Ojai and Santa Monica, CA.

“We are very grateful to Pamela and her husband, Richard Hertz, and everyone at Pamela Burton & Company for their generous support, warmth and openness,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF’s president and CEO.  “We’re also honored that Burton and other practitioners, including William “Bill” Johnson and Harriet Pattison, have entrusted us to help document and tell their stories that will inspire future generations.”

The Burton Oral History was shot on location in June 2019 at significant projects in Southern California and in her home in Ojai and her studio in Santa Monica The goal of the oral history series, which received ASLA’s 2010 Award of Excellence (Communications) is to make each practitioner’s story available to future generations of stewards, students, designers, researchers, and heritage travelers. In addition to producing and distributing the video oral history, TCLF has produced and published a written transcript of the oral history and collected a series of written recollections from friends and colleagues. Charles A. Birnbaum is the series executive producer and conducted the interviews; Barrett Doherty conducted the videotaping and post-production editing; and Brian Cho scored the oral history.

The American Society of Landscape Architects is the Annual Sponsor.

About The Cultural Landscape Foundation

The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), founded in 1998, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1998 to connect people to places. TCLF educates and engages the public to make our shared landscape heritage more visible, identify its value, and empower its stewards. Through its website, publishing, lectures, and other events, TCLF broadens support and understanding for cultural landscapes. TCLF is also home to the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize.

EDITORS: Click here for a ZIP file with hi-res images.

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