David Walker speaks to CSU community about feats of landscape architecture

Dallas Head

Billions of dollars and a lifetime of history go into every one of Peter Walker and Partners’ architectural accomplishments. David Walker, one of Peter Walker and Partners landscape architecture firm’s leaders, visited Colorado State University April 17 to finish CSU’s annual landscape architecture series, LA Days.

“You need a project that’s simple enough and strong enough to last a period of time,” Walker said during his lecture. “You need that simple idea that people can buy into.”


Peter Walker and Partners is currently renovating the Barangaroo Waterfront of Sydney, Australia, from a cargo shipping hold into a natural headland with a promenade for visitors to walk and view the waterfront of Sydney.

This project will combine the naturalistic aspect of the islands and the indigenous history of the people of Sydney with the natural headlands in the Sydney Harbor. An aboriginal museum is also a planned part of the headland. This will commemorate the indigenous people who are a big part of Australia’s heritage. The project emphasizes sustainability and history and shows Sydney in a new light as a gateway of architectural goals.

“It’s art on a gigantic scale that costs millions of dollars,” said Andrew Bakliach, the treasurer for the CSU chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The project is estimated to be a $6 billion effort by its completion in July 2015.

“After seeing photographs from the firm, that’s what made me want to study landscape architecture,” Balkliach said. “That’s the impact that it has on people in the department who aspire to be architects.”

The firm is also responsible for the National 9/11 Memorial rebuild, as well as Constitution Gardens in Washington, D.C. But it is more than just architects that influence the building of these renewal projects.

“All of these projects are results of years of design efforts,” Walker said. “This and all the other projects require a consistent design message by everyone involved. The 9/11 Memorial is an example of that. (Barangaroo) is a great example of that.”

ASLA organized the lecture series, which included four other speakers during the week-long event. Each speaker showcased different design strategies for the architecture world.

“(The purpose of the event is) to try and give a world-class spectacle of different things that designers across the world are doing with landscapes,” Bakliach said.

According to Bakliach, the firm is responsible for some of the most impressive projects worldwide.

“I walked past Peter Walker at the ASLA conference and freaked out a little bit,” said Carl Vogt, a senior studying landscape architecture. “He’s really an icon in the architecture community.”


Collegian Reporter Dallas Head can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @head94head.