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Martha Schwartz: “My Brilliant Career & Long and Winding Road”

Music Room, Dumbarton Oaks
June 9, 2022
06:00 PM to 07:30 PM
Garden and Landscape Studies Public Lecture


Martha Schwartz, Inc was founded in 1983. Martha Schwartz left her position at a very well-known firm, which, at that time, did not view women as equal to men. She had another agenda in mind, which was to design the landscape “at a level of art.” Since then, she has spent thirty years teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and forty years working as a landscape architect alongside many talented people. Looking at the history of Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP), it has moved from one city to another, picking up and re-building five times. Even so, the practice grew internationally, working in many countries around the world, and even (occasionally) in the USA. One day in 2016, upon learning about climate change and the melting of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf with its release of methane, Martha Schwartz quit being a landscape architect. She thought landscape architecture was irrelevant to the battle against climate change. Beginning that day, Martha Schwartz studied, learned, taught, and advocated for climate change solutions—the technological and natural solutions that can mitigate CO2 and cool our planet.

Martha Schwartz is a landscape architect, urbanist, and climate activist. Her work and teaching focuses on the urban public realm landscape and its importance in making cities “climate ready.” For more than forty years, she and her firm have completed projects around the globe, from site-specific installations to public spaces, parks, and projects that focus on working with cities at strategic planning levels. Ms. Schwartz is a tenured Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is a participant of the GSD Climate Change Working Group. Awards include the 2020 ASLA Design Medal, the Cooper Hewitt National Design and Award; visiting residencies at Radcliffe College and the American Academy in Rome; and an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Image collage courtesy, Martha Schwartz Partners, 2022