Walter Hood is Professor and former Chair of Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and principal of Hood Design Studio in Oakland, CA.
Hood established Hood Design Studio in Oakland, California in 1992. Hood's work spans the range from local, community-based projects-such as Splash Pad Park, a converted traffic island alongside Interstate 580 in Oakland, California, to large-scale garden designs like the grounds for the new M. H. de Young Museum in San Francisco with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. Hood's innovative public spaces are known for the way they embrace the essence of urban environments and for their links to urban redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization. He is currently designing the landscape for the Autry National Center Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, designing an archeological garden within the context of the South Lawn Project at the University of Virginia, and developing a set of monuments and markers for a six-mile waterfront trail in Oakland, CA.
Hood's published monographs Urban Diaries and Blues & Jazz Landscape Improvisations illustrate his approach to the design of urban landscapes. These works won an ASLA Research award in 1996. His essay "Macon Memories" is included in Sites of Memory: Perspectives on Architecture and Race.
Hood has been praised as a "community whisperer," creating spaces that have elements the residents want before they even know it: "Through his pioneering work as an 'urbanist,' Hood has integrated architectural features such as playgrounds, plazas and squares into city sites whose pasts are vibrant but forgotten. By reflecting the shifting cultural composition and respecting the evolving nature of neighborhoods throughout San Francisco and Oakland, he has created an oasis in these areas, and through his close involvement with the local communities, he developed tailored solutions for Bay Area based parks while retaining a cohesive artistic vision. Near Chinatown in Oakland, he created a communal square for women's tai chi practice while adults and children gather year round to take advantage of their newly revived local park." He is the winner of a public art competition to design the 1.1 megawatt solar array that will be constructed by New York Power Authority this year on the University at Buffalo's North Campus.
In 2013, Hood served as one of six selection committee members for the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence.
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