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Residential Design Frisco
Andrea Cochran’s award-winning Pacific Heights residence
looks good at any level.
By Susan Hines
Although she has an impressive list of expansive landscapes
to her credit, Andrea Cochran, FASLA, is a master of the small urban lot.
Whether she is working on a steeply sloping backyard or a flat rooftop, she
demonstrates an ability to create gardens that are simultaneously graphic and
experiential. Working with a balance of high-tech and low-tech materials, she
weaves tapestries of plants, metal, stone, light, and wood. Craftspeople and
fabricators help fully realize her concepts and make every site Cochran
undertakes a uniquely detailed vision of what a garden can be.
“You learn from one project to the next,” she says. “Often
you are so close to your own work that you don’t get what other people see in
it. When I did that show house (see “The Fleeting and the Steadfast,” Landscape Architecture, April 2005) I
was struck because when people looked out on it from above, they thought they
knew what it was about, but when they entered it, the garden seemed entirely
That show garden, a 2004 ASLA award winner, toyed with
perception in a very playful way. A steep slope separated house and lawn.
Cochran’s solution was a zigzag grass pathway that led from a deck to the more
level lower lawn. To create a sense of journey, triangular beds planted with
colorful ground covers separated the sections of the path. “Looking down from
the deck, you might have thought it was flat,” Cochran said in 2005, “but it’s
very 3-D when you go down into the garden.”
Later that year, Cochran returned to the same hilly San
Francisco neighborhood to further
explore the relationships between inside and outside and
above and below.
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