Distinguished designer and artist, Walter J. Hood has been appointed as the inaugural holder of the David K. Woo Chair in Environmental Design. Endowed through a generous grant of $1 million to the College of Environmental Design by the Hong Kong architect and developer David K. Woo (ARCH ’67), the Chair supports the work of an eminent faculty member in CED. The $1 million endowment was part of a major gift of $15 million given by Woo to UC Berkeley in 2011 to honor his late father, Woo Hon Fai, and was matched with $1 million by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Walter Hood is Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Urban Design at Berkeley and principal of Hood Design in Oakland, CA. He received his undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture from North Carolina A&T State University, and both Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley in 1989. Recently, he was awarded a Distinguished MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Hood is an artist, designer, and educator. He works in a variety of settings with a primary focus on public spaces and the dense urban environments where collective inhabitants share physical, social, political and economic resources. Hood applies a multidimensional approach involving research into history, environment and social patterns, and building on traditions to yield new elements, spatial forms and objects that honor the past while looking toward the future.
Hood's work ranges from commemorative landscape projects — such as an outdoor “sculpture trail” for the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (2009 to present) and the extension of the University of Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson-designed South Lawn (2008) — to designs for everyday places. Notable projects include Splash Pad Park, a converted traffic island alongside Interstate 580 in Oakland, California (2004), the grounds for the new M. H. de Young Museum in San Francisco in collaboration with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron (2005) and the award winning Solar Strand in New York (2012).
Hood has received a number of prestigious fellowships including, the Michael Kalil Endowment for Smart Design Fellowship at Parsons the New School for Design; the first Robert Taylor Fellowship in the School of Architecture + Planning at MIT; and a Goldman Sachs Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution. He received a 2011 AIA Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement, the highest form of recognition bestowed by the AIA on allied professionals, and a 2011 USA Network Character Approved Award. In 2010, he received the Cooper‐Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Design. Hood is a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and was a selected winner for the Venice Biennale, 2010, where he exhibited two projects: a green street and plaza for Center Street in Berkeley, California, and the Greenprint, an urban landscape vision for the Hill District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.