“Breaking Ground” my conversation with landscape architect Hardy Stecker of Ken Smith Workshop. Hardy’s work is committed to creating landscapes, especially parks and other public spaces, as a way of improving the quality of urban life. Much of the workshop’s work pushes beyond traditional landscape typologies such as plaza, street, or garden, to landscapes that draw on diverse cultural traditions and influences of the contemporary urban landscape. Hardy’s is involved in directing projects of varying scales and types: temporary installations, private residential gardens, public spaces, parks, and commercial projects. With a particular emphasis on projects that explore the symbolic content and expressive power of landscape as an art form, the Workshop specializes in the investigation of new expressions in landscape design.
David introduces the night’s guests, landscape architect Hardy Stecker. David talks about stars being light years away and how their light shimmering down on us came from light years of the past. He relates this to how much of what we see in design today is from the past. He talks about walking through Central Park and seeing all of the trees and flowers blooming at once and realizing that the park was designed to preserve the countryside of our past. David questions what makes landscape architecture more important today than ever and how it connects us to the environment and our past.
Hardy talks about beauty being ever changing and how that there is a color in Central Park that is only there in spring and its beauty. She talks about her path into becoming a landscape architect. David and Hardy discuss the philosophical purpose of landscape architect being about people. They talk about how we often take public spaces for granted and that possibly being because they fit so well into the community because of the landscaping. Hardy talks about some of the projects that she has worked on and how landscape is becoming more of a known thing.
David and Hardy talk about scale and proportion and the challenges of it. Hardy talks about how she makes large public spaces intimate. She talks about the process of landscaping and the thought that goes into creating a project. Hardy talks about what transforms landscape designs into an art and how to integrate physical art into the landscapes.
David and Hardy talk about where the shift from to public spaces has come from. They discuss how public spaces are being used and seem to be working towards their goals. David and Hardy discuss why parks are important and mean so much to us. Hardy talks about the designing for maintenance in the spaces she landscapes.