Female, US, born 1950-11-21

Associated with the firms network

Office of Peter Walker/Martha Schwartz, Landscape Architects; Schwartz/Smith/Meyer, Landscape Architects

Professional History


Principal, Martha Schwartz, Incorporated, Firm #1, New York, NY, 1982-1986.

Partner, Office of Peter Walker/Martha Schwartz, Incorporated, New York, NY and San Francisco, CA; dating for this firm varies, some saying that it was begun 1983, others 1986.

Principal, Martha Schwartz, Ken Smith, David Meyer, Landscape Architects, San Francisco, CA, 1990-1992.

Principal, Martha Schwartz, Incorporated, Firm #2, Cambridge, MA, 1992-present; Schwartz subsequently opened a London, UK, office; in this firm, Schwartz partnered with Evelyn Bergaila. This last firm is also known as "Martha Schwartz Partners."

Senior Partner, Martha Schwartz Partners, New York, NY, 08/2019- .


Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, 1992-present.

Visiting Residency, Radcliffe College, Cambridge, MA.

Visiting Residency, American Academy, Rome, Italy, 1993.

Co-facilitator, Summer academy, HSR Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil, with Peter Walker, Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland, 07/31/1994-08/05/1994.

Professional Activities

Member, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

Fellow, American Design Forum, New York, NY.

Registered Landscape Architect (RLA). in 2010, Schwartz was a Registered Landscape Architect in the States of TX, OH, CA, RI, NY and IL.

Recipient, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant, 1983 and 1984.

Speaker, University of Michigan, 2011 JJR Lecture, "'The Softer Side of Sustainability--The Role of the Urban Landscape in Sustainability," Ann Arbor, MI, 09/27/2011.

Speaker, Architectural Association, School of Architecture, “Defining Context: The Work of Martha Schwartz Partners,” London, England, 09/29/2015.

Speaker, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, “Landscape Lectures: Martha Schwartz,” Boston, MA, 09/22/2015.

Speaker, University of Southern California, School of Architecture, "Beyond Practice," Los Angeles, CA, 11/16/2016.

Speaker, University of Calgary, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Design Matters Lecture Series, Calgary, AB, Canada, 11/29/2017.

Speaker, Harvard University Alumni Association, Annual Saturday of Symposia, "The Softer Side of Sustainability,” Cambridge, MA, 12/02/2017.

Speaker, State University of New York, (SUNY,) College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Department of Landscape Architecture, Bradford G. Sears / George Albrecht Lecture, "My Existential Crisis and Other Random Acts," Syracuse, NY, 04/18/2018.

Speaker, Boston Architectural College (BAC), Commencement Address, Boston, MA, 05/25/2018.

Speaker, Colegio de Arquitectos y Arquitectos Paisajista de Puerto Rico (CAAPPR), Annual Conference, Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa, Río Grande, Puerto Rico, 06/08/2018.

Speaker, Parrish Art Museum, “Landscape Pleasures Symposium,” Water Mill, NY, 06/09/2018.

Speaker, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, DC Chapter, “Landscape Art and Urbanism,” Washington, DC, 07/24/2018.

Speaker, Portland Design Events, “Martha Schwartz—Portland Design Pup!” Portland, OR, 09/13/2018.

Speaker, Longfor Properties Company, Ltd., Beijing, China, 2018. The co-founder of this investment hodling company was Wu Yajun, (born 1964), at the time, the world's wealthiest self-made woman.

Professional Awards

Recipient, Urban Design award, Atlanta, GA, 1987.

Recipient, ASLA Merit Award, 1991.

Recipient, ASLA Honor Award, 1991.

Honorary Fellow, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA).

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science, University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Recipient, Women in Design Award for Excellence, Boston Society of Architects, Boston, MA, 2004.

Recipient, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, National Design Award, (for her career work), New York, NY, 2006.

Recipient, American Society of Landscape Architects, Honor Award for Mesa Arts Center in Arizona, 2007.

Recipient, Chicago Athenaeum, Best New Global Design for Leamouth Peninsula, Chicago, IL, 2007.

Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Award from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce for her outstanding contribution to UK Design, London, UK, 2009.

Recipient, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Council of Fellows Award.



B.A., Fine Arts, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1968-1973. Brian Libby, in the blog, "Portland Architecture," said of her time at the University of Michigan: "Instead she studied art at the University of Michigan, becoming inspired by the land art movement of the 1970s. “The artists were coming out of the galleries to make work. But you couldn’t sell it. It was kind of like, ‘Fuck you, art world! I am not for sale!’ But it allowed you to see the landscape through a new lens. I thought, ‘This is what I want to do.’ But in those days there was no such thing as Land Art 101. So I kind of stupidly went into landscape architecture, thinking that was land art. I had to learn that wasn’t the agenda.” (See Brian Libby, Portland Architecture.com, "Landscape architect Martha Schwartz: from bagel gardens to geo-engineering," published 09/20/2018, accessed 06/17/2020.)

Graduate coursework, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, 1976-1977.

M.A., Landscape Architecture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1978.



In 1950, her family lived at 5450 Wissahickon Avenue in Philadelphia, PA. (See Philadelphia, PA, Telephone Directory, 1950, p. 997.)


Her father was Milton Schwartz, (born 07/14/1919), a prominent Philadelphia architect; her mother was Stella Schwartz; both have been major influences on her career. The landscape architect noted in her book, "Martha Schwartz Transfiguration of the Commonplace," her mother "...has encouraged me to adventure [sic] and to seek my own voice and expression. It's her humor that is the source of humor found in the built work." Her father showed her "...at an early age, what having a grand passion is all about, and that having a passion is a gift. He taught me to focus on what I though was right and not to worry about what others thought." (See Martha Schwartz, Transfiguration of the Commonplace, [p. 2.)

Milton and Stella Schwartz had 5 daughters and were divorced.


An unconventional sort, the dates and names in Martha Schwartz's life are often in flux. Rarely do two sources seem to agree on the details of her life. In her 1997 book, Martha Schwartz Transfiguration of the Commonplace, (Washington, DC and Cambridge, MA: Spacemaker Press, 1997), (p. 2), Schwartz recalled that she first met the landscape architect, Peter Walker, in 1975. A 2000 New York Times article, however, indicated that she started an internship with him in 1973, and another source confirmed that she first met him in the summer of 1973. (See "At Home with/ Martha Schwartz; Making Landscapes Pop,"accessed 07/22/2010. See also "Biographical Essay by Martha Schwartz," in The Vanguard Landscapes and Gardens of Martha Schwartz, Tim Richardson, ed., [London: Thames and Hudson], 2009, p. 84.)

They married in 1979. Walker has functioned in many roles for Schwartz besides that of husband. His great professional success has been something to which she has had to respond her whole career. As she discussed in Transfiguration of the Commonplace, (p. 2): "When I ask myself what role he has played in my career I am buffeted between the poles of 'because of' and 'in spite of.' Since 1975, when I first met Pete, he has been the singularly most influential person in my career--whether I was attempting to emulate his work, or to distinguish myself from it. We have gone from employer/employee, to partners, to competitors. I have always had the utmost respect and admiration for his work and his passion for the profession. Without his encouragement, I would never have pursued landscape architecture. It is still his opinion which I hold most valuable." This consistently shifting position vis a vis Walker has led to variations in even the most basic details of dating and naming their firms. Walker, in most literature, indicated that his professional partnership began in 1983. She, however, in her book cited above, indicated the start date to have been 1986. What is clear, is that Walker and Schwartz shared a busy and complex personal and professional partnership, catalyzing shifting relationships between themselves and their colleagues. The staffs of both of their firms have changed regularly and charting these changes is quite complicated.

Due, in part, to their separate workloads and busy traveling schedules, Schwartz and Walker divorced in 2000.


Schwartz had two sons with Peter Walker: Jake (born c. 1983) and Joseph Walker (born c. 1987).

Biographical Notes

In 2000, Schwartz lived communally with her boyfriend, two sons and business partner in a 10,000-square-foot office/apartment.

PCAD id: 199