Kaiser Center Roof Garden, Oakland, CA
1921 - 2009

Theodore "Ted" Osmundson

Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, Osmundson received a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University in 1943. He worked briefly for both Thomas Church and Garrett Eckbo, and then established his own practice in the Bay Area in 1946. For more than 60 years, he worked as a landscape architect in a wide range of projects from parks, playground, and recreation areas, to campuses, historic properties and residential design.

A leading advocate for rooftop gardens, his 1999 treatise, Roof Gardens: History, Design, and Construction, is considered the definitive work on the subject. His best-known work, the Kaiser Center Roof Garden in Oakland, was the result of a commission for his firm, Osmundson & Staley, and was developed in collaboration with David Arbegast. It has been an influential model for roof gardens worldwide. As author and photographer, Osmundson shared his ideas widely. But his most significant contribution to the field of landscape architecture was his clear and inspired organizational leadership at a state, national, and ultimately international level, bringing new standards of professionalism to the practice and professional management to the ASLA, focusing on such issues as licensure, minority recruitment, continuing education, publications, and development. Osmundson was one of the six founders of the ASLA Foundation (now the Landscape Architecture Foundation.)

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