Robert Royston

Robert Royston Oral History

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The extraordinary life and career of landscape architect Robert Royston are the subject of the sixteenth oral history in the award-winning Pioneers of American Landscape Design® Oral History Project series.

Robert Royston (1918-2008) began his six-decade-long career in landscape architecture after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley’s, landscape design program. During his studies he experimented with new and interdisciplinary approaches and developed a layered, playful, and highly functional design vocabulary. After working for the offices of Thomas Church in the 1940s, Royston partnered with Garrett Eckbo and Edward Williams to form Eckbo, Royston & Williams. Beginning with residences and gardens, Royston’s practice soon expanded to parks and playgrounds, including Mitchell Park, in Palo Alto, and Central Park, in Santa Clara. Royston started a new firm in 1958 with partners Asa Hanamoto and David Mayes, which ultimately became Royston, Hanamoto, Alley & Abey, now headquartered in Mill Valley, California. The firm, working in a period of considerable growth, completed a multitude of projects, ranging from residential gardens to the design of communities, including the expansive Sunriver community in Oregon (1969). Royston was named a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in 1973 and was awarded the ASLA Medal, the society’s highest award, in 1989. His distinguished career, extensive mentorship, and stylistic sensibilities have left an indelible mark on the field.

Oral History Framework

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

Each clip is between one and six minutes long.

Interview: Robert Royston was interviewed by Charles A. Birnbaum, along with J.C. Miller, in August 2007.

Robert Royston Oral History Transcript

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

Robert Royston Reflections


  YouTube Clip Listing by Category


  Production Credits and Acknowledgments