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American Society of Landscape Architects


May 2007 Issue

The View from Halprin’s Studio
A landscape giant looks back at his roots. They go deep.

By John King

The View from Halprin.s Studio Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle

It is altogether appropriate that Mount Tamalpais dominates the view through the window above the drafting table in Lawrence Halprin’s new northern California studio and that Corte Madera Creek rolls into the bay a few dozen yards away.

Those elements—timeless earth and shifting tides—define our region’s geography. They also run through the best work by Halprin, FASLA, a landscape architect whose long career shows how limiting that phrase can be.

Halprin spent the past eight years at an office in Levi Plaza, an urbane complex that’s memorable because of how his grounds enfold Levi’s redbrick walls: Sierra stone and tumbling water and a handful of generous willows distill the northern California landscape into one beguiling tableau. Last summer, though, Halprin traded San Francisco for this perch in Larkspur, California. And while he still has a handful of clients, he’s devoting more time to watercolor paintings and his autobiography.

“We’re sort of winding down a little bit,” says Halprin, who turned 90 in July. “Just waiting for clients we like.”

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