Study Tour to the Landscapes of California

Posted on November 28th, 2011 by Charles Boot
Apr ’13Apr

Study Tour to the Landscapes of California
Spring 2014

We regret that this Study Tour is now FULLY BOOKED

The relationship of architecture and landscape is integral to California design. The advantages of the climate were recognized by industrialist mid-westerners who built estates in the early part of the C20, and later by modernists who designed for indoor/outdoor living. I’ve included examples of these houses, gardens, and public spaces, as well as later landscapes.

The tour will begin in Los Angeles, with a pick up at LAX on Sunday afternoon, assuming enough people will be flying in that day, or dropping off cars at the airport etc. We’ll spend the next three nights in Santa Monica, close to the Palisades overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and near Third Street Promenade, renowned for restaurants and shopping.

Proposed visits include an historic adobe dwelling; a visit to the Huntington Botanic Garden (if we can get a private tour); houses, with landscapes, by Neutra, Schindler, Greene and Greene; a museum sculpture garden in Pasadena by Nancy Goslee Powers working with Frank Gehry; a public park at the Yahoo Center, recent private gardens, and the new Getty Center gardens with a short visit to the Getty Research Institute.

In the central cortyard at the Getty. Photo by Charles Boot

In the central courtyard at the Getty. Photo by Charles Boot

Moving on to Santa Barbara, touring the Botanical Garden, we’ve been offered an introduction by the Landscape Architect working on their Cultural History Report. Two estates, open only for tours, offer very different experiences; Casa del Herrera, recently designated a National Historic Landmark, and Lotusland with its extraordinary horticultural collection. We also plan to see recent landscapes by local designers and a wonderfully eclectic personal garden owned by a niece of the landscape designers Elizabeth and Forest de Lockwood.

Our next overnight stop would be San Simeon, where we expect to meet with the archaeologist of Hearst Castle, and to enjoy a special evening house tour, as well as the gardens and fountains designed by Julia Morgan, an architectural designer whose work we will see elsewhere.

The third and biggest outdoor pool (there is also an indoor one) at Hearst Castle, built for William Randolph Hearst by Julia Morgan (his long term architect and collaborator on the unfinished project). Picture by Charles Boot.

The third successive (and biggest) outdoor swimming pool (there is also an indoor one) at Hearst Castle, built for William Randolph Hearst by Julia Morgan (his long term architect and collaborator on the unfinished project). Picture by Charles Boot.

Our Route 1 drive offers spectacular scenery (hopefully no fog mid-April) with a couple of brief stops to see redwoods and coastal views in Big Sur.

Our next overnight stop will be Palo Alto, home of Stanford University, visiting Hanna House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The campus features landscape designs ranging from Frederick Law Olmsted, Thomas Church, the SWA Group, the Olin Partnership and Peter Walker (with architecture to match!).

Frank Lloyd Wright's Hanna House - Stanford, CA. Photo by Fizbin. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Hanna House - Stanford, CA. Photo by Fizbin. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

Our last 3–4 nights will be spent in the San Francisco area; across the bay in Berkeley/Oakland where the weather tends to be sunny and warmer. I had tea with Marc Treib and I’m still sorting his many recommendations, but certainly we will have the chance to visit the Berkeley campus and landscape design archives at the Library of Environmental Design. Another nearby campus, Mills College, is a wonderful 100-year mix of architecture and landscape, from traditional Mission to sustainable green.

Oakland has two roof gardens of note as well as a park by Mario Schjetnen (for those of you who came to Mexico). Of course, no visit would be complete without a drive through the wine country (we might even stop), and we are invited to Il Novello, the iconic Donnell garden designed by Thomas Church.

My plan is to end the tour after lunch on Thursday April 25 in Berkeley, in time for people wishing to catch evening flights, or continue exploring California. Currently we do not plan to visit San Francisco itself, but Marc Treib has offered to make suggestions for people wishing to spend time there after the tour.

That was the fun part, now comes the cost. Being quite conservative I have arrived at £1950 which is about the same per diem as Mexico (we have one more night in California). Hotel prices in California are all per room, so this price is per person sharing a room. Single would be extra £540, but these costs are estimates at present. The price does NOT include airfare to California, but does include some lunches and at least one dinner. I’ve chosen hotels with a variety of eating options nearby. We are limited in the size of bus we can take to several places, as well as driving up parts of the coast, so our maximum number is 25 people. Your guaranteed place will require a deposit of £400 sent to the Garden History Society.
Download the Application Form to reserve a place.

In these wonderful days of Google etc. you can find out more about most of these places I’ve mentioned, but please let me know if you have questions.

A number of people have asked about ‘add-ons’, south of LA and north of San Francisco. An overnight trip south of LA could include the Salk Institute (Louis Kahn) in La Jolla (and other places); a 3-day trip north of San Francisco could include Sea Ranch (Lawrence Halprin), a drive through Redwood Forests, and end in Portland, Oregon where there is lots of great landscape architecture. I think these options should be discussed, informally, at a later time.

Although I have preliminary commitments, I cannot guarantee any visits at this time. To express interest, and receive more information please contact Liz Goodfellow

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