Design Portfolio

A California garden in Japan

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A California Garden in Japan The Oakland Sister-City Garden in Fukuoka Japan celebrates the natural and built environment of Oakland CA, USA. Uses of Japanese design principles to render a California landscape. Unique, historical and contemporary elements: bay, bridge, port, Oak woodland, architecture, Redwood forest, grassland, marsh and the western view. Emphasizes things that tie a diverse citizenry together—the public spaces where we live, work and play. 2004-2005

more about A California garden in Japan

A cultural-anthropological landscape


An appropriate setting for the Torii presented to Oakland by the citizens of Fukuoka, Japan. In the spirit of international exchange, this setting demonstrates that we understand and honor the gift we have received. Torii mark the entrance to sacred places. Beyond elements in a Japanese style, the Torii landscape at Lakeside Park addresses broad universals accessible to the diverse population of Oakland. Under construction.

Bring the vaction home

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This light hearted concept transforms two problems in a tiny barrio yard into featured assets while transporting you to a volcanic island archipelago. The beloved cold tub and the unloved neighbor's garage become cruise ship and a background scenic mural. Islands break off a continent checkerboard pattern of paving squares and turf. foreground Boxwood clipped in a volcano shape links to volcanos in the mural. The design pokes fun at some famous gardens Peter visited in Japan.

Bring the vaction home - in depth

Leave your worries at the front gate


This Japanese-style garden washes away worries and tensions as one moves from the street to the front door. A winding dry stream flows from behind hills to a pond with Iris crossed by a bridge. Paths play counterpoint. Near the front door, the sound of water and sight of drops forming ripples in a broad basin. Elements include landform, rock outcrops, water, tree form & color. 2004-2005

Post-modern problem solving


New layout based on viewing the landscape from inside the building. The Rockridge Branch of the Oakland Public library is a post-modernist cathedral. Aesthetically pruned Timber Bamboo makes a previously shuttered 2-story nave windows an asset rather than a problem. Elsewhere, tall heads of ornamental grasses dance in the wind outside other windows to encourage daydreaming and inspiration. Slender reeds rise at the windows sills like creative ideas from the well of your sub-conscious. These vertical elements, together with horizontally disposed boulders, rounded shrubs and meadow planes, unify the landscape with 31 Wisteria featured on arbor buttresses framing side windows. 2004-2005

An outdoor museum


Improved layout divides a large bonsai-display into intimate galleries, improving visitor comfort, the growing environment, presentation and aesthetics. The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt suffered from an overbearing enclosure wall, sensory overload and unrelenting exposure to the hot sun. New landscape tree plantings will provide shade for people & bonsai, encourage rest and contemplation, and link the display to the landscape over the walls. Additionally, a leading line of fragmented pattern paving stones will connect huge exterior bonsai with the obscured entry gate at far end of driveway. Its serpentine line meanders sideways on an overly axial landscape uniting disparate surfaces. 2002-2004 and pending.

An outdoor museum - images

Modern metamorphisis

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Using plants in an architectural way makes a modernist, functionalist commercial building likable. Topiary effects a transition to natural lines & forms at entry. Rather than fighting a block wide 6-story modern building with a puny naturalistic planting, this design transformed the building into plant material at the ground level. Nearing the entrance the blocky plant forms birth the naturalistic dry stream flowing up to the foyer and aesthetically pruned specimen trees fronting the glazed lobby. 2004

Modern metamorphisis image sequence

Native plants for a creek restoration.


Advocating restoration of unique local plants and animals. Peter served as a leader in a community-based design process. That broke a stalemate between a neighborhood organization and a public agency over re-engineering an urban creek. Led to final installation integrating natural landscaping with engineering. 2003

Live-work gardens

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Live-work landscape meets the needs of resident art teacher and visiting students for gathering place (cottage-style classroom courtyard) a private retreat (tea garden) and a direct connection with creation and sustenance (edible garden at entrance). Entry courtyard features 9 month blooming season with drought tolerant plants. 1999

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