Garret Eckbo – ALCOA Forecast Garden

Eckbo Residence - Flower FountainGarret Eckbo was born in Cooperstown, New York in November 28, 1910. In his early life Eckbo struggled financially and had to sacrifice some years to save money and attend college. He attended Marin Junior College for a year before going to the University of California, Berkeley where he majored as a Landscape Architect. After he got his B.S. he worked in Armstrong Nurseries in Ontario, California.  During this time Eckbo designed more than 100 gardens in less than a year. After working for Armstrong he wanted to continue with his education and expand on his creative ideas and entered to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He entered the university through a scholarship competition which he won. Later Garret Eckbo became the most noticeable Landscape Architect in Southern California in the 1940’s and 1950’s and he represented a new type of Landscape Design. Eckbo created over a thousand gardens, large and small. One of them being the ALCOA Forest Garden in Los Angeles, 1956-1966.

In 1956 ALCOA asked Eckbo to design a garden to promote aluminum as a soft and peaceful material. This came about because in those times aluminum was used widely in the war years since it was the main material for the aerospace industry. Eckbo accepted the challenge and incorporated aluminum in different ways in this garden for example he used it in the screens, trellises and in the centerpiece fountain that is shaped like a flower. Eckbo also thought that plants should be used to express their natural form and growth and only where spatial enclosure was necessary to be used in masses.

Source: Garret Eckbo, “Eckbo Residence/ Alcoa Forecast Garden, “in Environmental Design Archives Exhibitions, Item #814, http://169.229.205.173/cedarchives/exhibitions/items/show/814 (accessed May 15, 2013).

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