Vincent Murphy Courtyard, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Roger Martin photo
1936 - 2020

Roger Martin

Born in Detroit Lakes, Michigan, Martin graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1958. He received an M.L.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1961 and was awarded the Rome Prize in 1964. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley from 1964-1966, and returned to the University of Minnesota as the newly created Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture in 1966. While serving as Chair, he also established a private firm, InterDesign, with partners Peter Seitz and Duane Thorback. The first multidisciplinary design firm in Minnesota, InterDesign included principals in architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design, and systems analysis, and was admired for its progressive leadership and collaborative style of working. Martin is best known for designing and advocating for public landscapes in Minnesota, including the MN Zoological Garden, which features spacious, naturally landscaped animal habitats and an indoor, all-season Tropics Exhibit. Martin also left an imprint on the Minneapolis Parkway System, improving access to the lakes and adding designated bike lanes, a rarity in his time. His advocacy for the transformation of industrial areas led to the preservation of the Stone Arch Bridge and the development of many of downtown Minneapolis’ first riverfront parks. Martin eventually joined former student Marjorie Pitz to form Martin & Pitz Associates, where he worked until his retirement. Undoubtedly a talented landscape architect, Martin’s true passion was teaching. His students remember him as compassionate and humble, a gifted artist and sketcher with a quiet, but powerful, influence. Martin served as national president of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture and national president of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Martin and his wife of 58 years, Janis, had three sons, for whom he designed Honeywood, a family retreat on Wisconsin’s Apple River. Martin died in Minneapolis in 2020.