Thomas D. Church, Donnell Garden


Thomas Dolliver Church is known as the creator of “modern California garden.” He went to University of California, Berkeley for his B.A. degree, then took his master’s degree at Harvard Graduate School of Design. He also traveled in Europe in use of understanding classic designs. He was a professor in UC Berkeley and Ohio State University. He started his Landscaping practice in the early  1930’s. One of his famous work is Donnell Garden. He designed this garden together with Lawrence Halprin and architect George Rockrise in Sonoma of the Northern San Francisco for Dewey and Jean Donnell. It became famous because of its abstract design. The garden was raised in 1948, while California’s economy was growing. The garden’s design is to offers people to swim, relax and play. One of the garden’s icon is the biomorphic kidney-shaped pool.  He also applied his experience in Europe’s classical designs such as using wooden surfaces and infusing his modern touch by using curves in to this project. His garden designs focused on 4 simple word of process:  Unity, Function, Simplicity and Scale. These words are essential to his gardens and constantly applied in the elements of design.


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