The Office of Dan Kiley: Joe Karr Oral History

Born in Rochelle, Illinois, Joe Karr studied landscape architecture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, under noted professor Stanley White. Karr then earned his M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania under the direction of Ian McHarg and Karl Linn, working for the National Park Service in Philadelphia while completing his degree. After serving in the U.S. Army, Karr accepted a position in Charlotte, Vermont, with the Office of Dan Kiley. Both Vermont and Kiley would prove to be strong influences on Karr. During his six years with Kiley's practice (1963-1969), Karr worked on the Oakland Museum of California and the Ford Foundation Atrium, among other noteworthy projects. His co-workers included Henry Arnold, Peter Ker Walker, Ian Tyndall, Philip Shipman, Roger Osbaldeston, and Harriet Pattison.

After leaving Kiley's office, Karr started his own practice in Chicago, Illinois, where he continued to collaborate with preeminent Chicago Modernist architects, including Harry Weese. Karr’s vision has shaped many important sites in America’s heartland, including the Ameritech Center in Hoffman Estates, IL, Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL, and the Wrigley Global Innovation Center in Chicago, along with the Terman Engineering Center at Stanford University, the IBM campus in East Fishkill, New York, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In addition to his prolific career as a designer, Karr became involved with the American Society of Landscape Architects’ (ASLA) Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, helping to establish the educational framework for the profession of landscape architecture. He was named a Fellow of the ASLA in 1992.

Oral History Framework

Video clips are divided into three categories: BIOGRAPHY, DESIGN, and PROJECTS.

Each clip is between 1 and 6 minutes long.

Interview: Joe Karr was interviewed by Charles A. Birnbaum in Washington, D.C. in May 2017.

Joe Karr Oral History Transcript.pdf 

Reflections: The Cultural Landscape Foundation contacted Karr's colleagues and professional associates to share their stories and memories.  

Joe Karr Reflections.pdf

  YouTube Clip Listing by Category


  Production Credits and Acknowledgments