Landslide2008: Marvels of Modernism


Designer Bios

Osmundson at Kaiser Roof Garden in 1998.

Theodore Osmundson, FASLA (b. 1921), a graduate of Iowa State University at Ames, practiced landscape architecture for over a half century beginning in 1946.Osmundson became widely recognized as a leading designer and advocate for rooftop spaces, including publishing the book Roof Gardens: History, Design, and Construction, and his three-acre Kaiser Center remains a highly successful prototype of an extensive roof-deck park. Osmundson served as president of the International Federation of Landscape Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects. Perhaps more than any other landscape architect of his generation, his service to the profession helped to shepherd the profession of landscape architecture through much of the last half of the 20th century.

John H. Staley, ASLA, practiced landscape architecture as John H. Staley & Associates beginning as early as 1939, when his firm produced the very useful reference Ornamental Plants of California. Following the war, in 1946, Mr. Staley joined with Theodore Osmundson in the firm of Osmundson, Staley and Gibson with offices in Oakland and Los Altos. Gibson left the firm by 1949 and it then became Osmundson & Staley. The firm was active in Oakland’s annual Spring Garden Show and, in 1955, Staley designed the entire show around the theme of “Rainbow Waters,” a series of fountains. He was also the author of a small weekly garden design column for do-it-yourselfers in the Oakland Tribune. Staley left the firm in 1965-66 and again began doing business as John Staley & Associates. In 1967, his firm was responsible for the master plan for California State College at Hayward.

David Arbegast, FASLA, earned a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University in 1950 and his master’s in that subject from the University of California, Berkeley in 1952. During the mid-1950s, he began work at Osmundson & Staley where he was involved in such projects as Kaiser Center in Oakland, Marine World in Redwood City, Standard Oil Plaza in San Francisco, and the Pacific Telephone Company offices in Sacramento. In 1968, Arbegast left the firm and established his own partnership based in Berkeley. He retired in 2006.

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List of Marvels

Boston City Hall Plaza
Boston, Massachusetts

Estates Drive Reservoir
Oakland, California

Heritage Plaza
Heritage Park
Fort Worth, Texas

Kaiser Roof Garden
Kaiser Center
Oakland, California

Lake Elizabeth
Allegheny Commons
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Manhattan Square Park
Rochester, New York

Mill Creek Canyon

Kent, Washington

Miller Garden
Columbus, Indiana

El Monte
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico

Pacific Science
Center Courtyard

Seattle, Washington

San Francisco, California

Peavey Plaza
Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota

education partners
Garden DesignGeorge Eastman House
Additional Sponsors

American Society of Landscape Architects’ Indiana, Pennsylvania/Delaware, Minnesota, Northern California, Texas, Upstate New York, and Washington Chapters • Astorino • Charles Butt • Design Within Reach • Topher Delaney • Sandy Donnell & Justin Faggioli • Fathom • Tom Fox • Hillman Foundation • Indianapolis Museum of Art • Lorraine Osmundson • Richard T. Murphy • National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Northeast, Southwest, and Western Offices- with funds from the Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation of New York, Dodge Jones Foundation Intervention Fund, and Eastern Massachusetts Preservation Fund • James Richards • Seibert & Rice • Diana & Bruce Shuman • Ann Stack • SWA Group • TBG Partners • Michal and Jeffrey William Tincup • Unilock Inc. • The Woltz Charitable Trust