Constructing Ground: Making Landscape of the Urban Topography

From Architectural Record’s 2018 Innovation Conference
Presented by Adam Greenspan, Design Partner, PWP Landscape Architecture

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe how to use natural materials and systems to create designs that fit local contexts.
  2. Explain how cities can achieve an integrated space.





Adam Greenspan, Design Partner, PWP Landscape Architecture
Adam Greenspan is a design partner at PWP Landscape Architecture and has been the lead designer on a wide range of projects including public parks, campuses, mixed use developments, estates and international competitions. Adam’s background in art and sociology combined with years of horticultural practice support an integrated approach to design that allows him to develop projects from many angles. Adam has focused on integrating regenerative processes and ecological function within projects firm-wide as well as deepening PWP’s emphasis on plant-based systems and concepts within each project design. Adam has collaborated extensively with architects, artists, technical consultants, community groups and cities in the process of creating exceptional places. In addition to the Transbay Transit Center, Adam’s recent projects include: Glenstone a museum and 200-acre art park in Potomac, MD; the Newport Beach Civic Center Park in Newport Beach California; Colorado Esplanade in Santa Monica, California; Constitution Gardens on the National Mall in Washington D.C.; Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, Singapore; and Jewel, Changi Airport, Singapore. Adam has served on public art selection panels for the City of San Jose and the City of Santa Monica and is currently the president of the Landscape Architecture Foundation, a national foundation that fosters research, leadership and scholarship in landscape architecture. He has lectured at various academic and cultural institutions including the University of California at Berkeley; the University of Arkansas; the National Building Museum in Washington DC; Greenbuild Conference; Skyrise Greenery Conference in Singapore; Living Futures Conference; and ASLA National conventions. Adam has also served as a guest critic at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Davis, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard Graduate School of Design

Cities are often identified by their skylines and their architecture, but as our cities become more densely populated, public open space is increasingly valued, as are urban places where people, animals and plants have the opportunity to overlap. Through design, landscape can be both a performing component of the urban matrix and a memorable landmark that helps create shared identities within cities. Adam Greenspan will present PWP Landscape Architecture’s recent work that is transforming the urban and sub-urban condition in the U.S. and beyond. Projects will include the SalesforceTransit Center Park in San Francisco, Barangaroo Headland Park, in Sydney, Glenstone, outside of Washington DC, and Jewel at Changi Airport in Singapore.


Originally published in March 2019