- Philosophy Statement
My goal as a practicing landscape architect has always been to create and build landscapes that transcend – that honor the inherent qualities of a site – and anchor themselves in the hearts and minds of the people who experience them. There is always something inherent to a place that wants to be expressed, augmented and validated. But a great idea or a unique design isn’t enough. In my long career, I have become increasingly emphatic about execution. For me, physicality rules.
I incorporate the discipline of a professional practice in all my studios and challenge students from both a conceptual and practical standpoint. My lectures and my crits are theory-based but I insist on a level of inquiry and rigor that leads students to think more critically about everything they do, whether it’s expressing an idea or choosing a material. And yes, I make people draw. No matter their ultimate goal, I sincerely believe that students leave the semester energized by a greater awareness of their aesthetic and a much stronger appreciation for how to transform ideas into the physical realm.
In his 40-year career as a licensed landscape architect, David Meyer has directed the design and execution of prestigious, award-winning projects throughout the world. Before co-founding Meyer + Silberberg Land Architects in 2001, David was a partner at Peter Walker and Partners and co-founded the partnership of Schwartz Smith Meyer.
Winner of the Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture, David has distinguished himself through his rigorous approach to both design and execution. To David’s mind, the most evocative, powerful spaces are characterized by purity, simplicity and restraint. They have visual order and make sense to the eye and the intellect. He credits his Iowa origins for this appreciation of strong, simple, sensual designs that employ nature’s palette judiciously.
David’s greatest contribution to the profession of landscape architecture is his profound and unwavering respect for what he calls ‘right physicality’. He loves to build and he loves to build well. Throughout his career and through collaborations with architects, artists, engineers, developers, contractors, public agencies and students, David has demonstrated that if you want an artistic outcome – if you want poetry – you have to go beyond the pragmatics. He has brought his signature integrity and rigor to projects ranging from a temporary installation at the American Academy in Rome to a 9,000-acre national park in China.
David knows that well designed places serve to empower people, unite them, delight them, and of course, move them. He believes that landscape architects are in the business of beauty and that despite the challenges we face building in today’s world, we must reach for a higher standard. He says that rather than just solving problems and making useable spaces, we owe our world beautiful, lasting, important, sustainable places. He pushes himself and the people around him to see what Luis Barragan called the intangibles of architecture….inspiration, magic, sorcery, enchantment, serenity, mystery, silence, privacy and astonishment.
David has lectured and taught throughout the world, and has been an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley for the past 17 years where he currently teaches the graduate-level Capstone Studio. He incorporates the discipline of a professional practice in his studios and challenges students from both a conceptual and practical standpoint. He insists on a level of inquiry and rigor that leads students to think more critically about everything they do, whether it’s expressing an idea or choosing materials. In the end, his students leave the semester energized by a greater awareness of their aesthetic values and a stronger appreciation for how to transform ideas into the physical realm.
Beyond practice and teaching, David contributes to the profession by supporting the American Society of Landscape Architects. He participated in the ASLA NCC panel discussion, “Future of Landscape Architecture”, chaired the 2012 ASLA NCC Professional Awards Program and lectured in the ASLA NCC lecture series entitled “Lost in Translation”. Elsewhere in 2015, David led a design workshop at UNAM in Mexico City and was a featured lecturer at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota with the support of a Farrand Fellowship from UC Berkeley. He also continues to serve as a peer reviewer for the GSA Design Excellence Program.
David’s work has been featured in Alan Tate’s book, Great City Parks, as well as the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, London Sunday Times, Landscape Architecture Magazine and on the covers of Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes and American Academy in Rome Society of Fellows magazine.
- Courses Taught
LA 204 Advanced Design
- Awards + Recognition
- ASLA Honor Award, The Citadel Grand Allee, Commerce, CA, 1991
- ASLA Honor Award, Becton Dickinson Atrium, San Jose, CA 1991
- "Interpretations of Nature", The McMichael Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, 1993
- ASLA President's Award of Excellence, Village of Yorkville Park, Toronto, Canada, 1997
- ASLA Honor Award, Principal Life Headquarters, Des Moines, Iowa, 1998
- Design Achievement Award, Iowa State University, 1998
- Rome Prize, American Academy in Rome, 2000
- School of Fine Arts Annual Exhibition, American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy, 2001
- Appointed to the GSA's Commissioner's National Register of Peer Reviewers, 2004
- New Italian Blood, Architecture Interactive Exhibition, 2005
- Finalist, 587 Memorial Competition, Queens, New York, 2005
- Finalist, Brandywine Park Public Art Competition, Wilmington, Delaware 2005
- Finalist, Courthouse Square Competition, Santa Rosa, CA 2007
- AIA Merit Award, Lang Fang Eco City Master Plan, Lang Fang, China, 2011
- ASLA Landmark Award, Village of Yorkville Park, Toronto, Canada, 2012
- ENR California Best Projects Award of Merit, Foothill College Physical Sciences and Engineering Center, Los Altos, CA 2013
- AIA East Bay Design Honor Award, Foothill College Physical Sciences and Engineering Center, Los Altos, CA 2013
- Shanghai National Parks Competition, Finalist, Shanghai, China 2013
- ASLA-NCC Honor Award, Foothill College, Los Altos, CA 2014
- ASLA-NCC Merit Award, Airbnb Headquarters, San Francisco, CA 2014
- AIACC Honor Award, UCLA Edie and Lew Wasserman Building, Los Angeles, CA 2014
- International Wynwood Gateway Park Competition, Miami, Florida, 2nd Place, 2014
- St. James Park Competition, Finalist, San Jose, California, 2016
- ASLA Fellow, 2016
- ASLA-NCC Merit Award, Battery East, San Francisco, CA 2014