JJR was founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1961 by the landscape architects William Johnson, Carl Johnson and Clarence Roy. Johnson, Johnson and Roy’s first commission was a campus master plan for the University of Michigan. This project introduced the firm’s innovative “framework” approach, which went on to become a widely accepted benchmark for land use and development planning.
In the early 1970s, JJR merged with Smith, Hinchman & Grylls (SHG) to form the SmithGroup. In 1975, William Johnson retired to assume the post of Dean, School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan. In the decades that followed, JJR continued to operate under its original name as a sister company to SmithGroup, establishing additional offices and adding civil engineers, planners, urban designers and environmental specialists emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach. Known for projects in campus planning, environmental analysis, community development, and historic preservation, its many recognized projects include the University of Wisconsin Master Plan and subsequent development (1963-), Madison, Wisconsin; Lighthouse Landing (1978 ), Evanston, Illinois; and Franconia Notch (1989), White Mountain, New Hampshire. Carl Johnson retired in 1989, followed by Clarence Roy in 1992. The firm continues as part of SmithGroup today.