Ken Smith was born and raised in Waukee, Iowa and went on and graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Landscape architecture in 1976 from Iowa State University. After working for different companies for a few years he decided to open his own office in New York City in 1992. Smith is best known for his work on the rooftop garden on the top of New York’s museum of modern art, where he incorporated recycled materials into his design, making it much more sustainable.
Smith was chosen to design a park in Irvine California that combined sustainable design with healthful and active living. This particular project is 1,347 acres and is going to not only serve as a park but also a place to live, shop, and learn. Smith envisioned a place that would function as the heart of the town. When smith began brainstorming for this project he drew inspiration from different sources, such as Balboa Park in San Diego, recycled materials, and sustainable practices. The park features a large orange helium filled balloon that offers the opportunity to get an overall view of entire project and a true feel for the atmosphere in which Orange County Great Park creates.