The San Francisco Bay Area is home to many landmark works of modern landscape architecture. While the names of Lawrence Halprin, Robert Royston, and Dan Kiley may not be known to a general public that just recently latched on to Eames and Neutra, the Washington, D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation is trying to change that. This weekend, it is holding What’s Out There Weekend San Francisco, free tours of publicly accessible landscapes across the region, from San Francisco proper to Oakland down to Santa Clara.
These parks and plazas were created in the 50s and 60s, a time when landscape design was going through its own revolution. The tours are an outgrowth of the Cultural Landscape Foundation’s What’s Out There database, which documents projects with historical photos and identifies their creators. Yes, this is the same weekend of the AIA SF Home Tours, an unfortunate mistiming. However, this is a chance to tour your local park with an expert in the field who can truly provide a perspective on how it was infused with the ideals of modernism: among them, a sense that gardens and open space needed to welcome everyone.
Of particular interest are two groundbreaking roof gardens, both in Oakland: the Oakland Museum of California’s remarkable roof terraces by Dan Kiley and Geraldine Knight Scott; and the Kaiser Center roof garden, with its pleasingly biomorphic shapes, by Ted Osmundson and David Arbegast. The tours are free, but registration is highly recommended. So have a look at the complete lineup and see what fits in with your weekend schedule.