|Born||July 1, 1916|
|Died||October 25, 2009(aged 93)|
|Practice||Lawrence Halprin & Associates|
Beginning his career in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, in 1949, Halprin often collaborated with a local circle of modernist architects on relatively modest projects. These figures included William Wurster, Joseph Esherick, Vernon DeMars, Mario J. Ciampi, and others associated with UC Berkeley. Gradually accumulating a regional reputation in the northwest, Halprin first came to national attention with his work at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, the Ghirardelli Square adaptive-reuse project in San Francisco, and the landmark pedestrian street / transit mall Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. Halprin's career proved influential to an entire generation in his specific design solutions, his emphasis on user experience to develop those solutions, and his collaborative design process.
Halprin's point of view and practice are summarized in his definition of modernism:
In his best work, he construed landscape architecture as narrative.
Halprin grew up in Brooklyn, New York; and as a schoolboy, he earned acclaim playing sandlot baseball. He credited his parents with introducing him to art and supporting his artistic inclinations; after her weekly shopping trips to Macy's, she brought him along and they would visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art afterwards.:2 Being Jewish, after finishing Poly Prep at 16, he went to Israel on a kibbutz for three years near what is today the Israeli port city of Haifa.:3–5 
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1939 at Cornell University, studying horticulture with Professor Lee Gand;:5 he continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a Master of Science. While at Wisconsin, his wife Anna convinced Halprin to visit Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio in Wisconsin, which in turn sparked Halprin’s initial interest in architecture; after he left Talesin, he went to the school library, where he found and was inspired by Christopher Tunnard's Gardens in the Modern Landscape. Returning to school the following Monday, he spoke with the department head of horticulture, who directed him to the landscape architecture group upstairs, where he met Professor Franz Aust. After two weeks, Professor Aust recommended he continue his studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.:5–6 There he earned a second bachelor's degree (in landscape architecture, awarded 1942), where his professors included architects Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. Although Tunnard was teaching at Harvard, he never took a course from him. His Harvard classmates included Catherine Bauer, Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei, and William Wurster.:8
In 1944, Halprin was commissioned in the United States Navy as a Lieutenant (junior grade). He was assigned to the destroyer USS Morris in the Pacific which was struck by a kamikaze attack. After surviving the destruction of the Morris, Halprin was sent to San Francisco on leave. It was there he would stay following his discharge.
Halprin and his wife, accomplished avant-garde dancer Anna Halprin (née Schuman), were married in 1940. The couple were long-time collaborators; together, they explored the common areas between choreography and the way users move through a public space.:35  They have two daughters: Daria Halprin, an American psychologist, author, dancer, and actress, and Rana Halprin, a photographer and activist for Romani and human rights.
After his discharge from military service, Halprin joined the firm of San Francisco landscape architect Thomas Dolliver Church. He had become close to the Wursters during their year at Harvard, and Bill Wurster asked him to stop by if he was ever in California. While visiting Wurster's office, he passed by Church's office, which was on the first floor of the same building; Wurster, who was absent at the time, told his associates to hire Halprin if Church would not. When Halprin introduced himself to Church, he was hired immediately and told "I'm going to pay you more than usual, but I don't want you to come back every two seconds and ask for more money.":12 The projects he worked on in this period included the Dewey Donnell Garden (El Novillero) in Sonoma County.
Halprin opened his own office in 1949, becoming one of Church's professional heirs and competitors. His first commission was for Anna's parents, who had recently moved from Chicago; that project was a collaboration with Wurster (Schuman House, Woodside), who was responsible for the house's architecture.:12–13 At its largest, during the BART landscaping project, Lawrence Halprin & Associates employed 80.:16
— Lawrence Halprin, quoted in Contemporary Architects (1980)
Halprin's work is marked by his attention to human scale, user experience, and the social impact of his designs, in the egalitarian tradition of Frederick Law Olmsted. Halprin was the creative force behind the interactive, 'playable' civic fountains most common in the 1970s, an amenity which continues to greatly contribute to the pedestrian social experience in Portland Oregon, where "Ira's Fountain" is loved and well-used, and the United Nations Plaza in San Francisco. Park Central Square (1974; Springfield, Missouri) was the first of his works to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), in 2010, followed by the Heritage Park Plaza in Fort Worth, Texas, designed by Halprin and built in 1980, featured by NRHP as its featured listing of the week, on May 21, 2010.
Several of Halprin's works have been threatened by redevelopment as they have aged. Some, such as the Water Garden in Olympia, Washington, have fallen victim to neglect and deferred maintenance, and are in states of disrepair. Others have attracted undesired users (homeless, drug users, and skateboarders); rather than address the social issues, some spaces, such as Skyline Park in Denver, completed in 1976, were redesigned (2003) to increase public usership. Critics argue his pieces have become dated and no longer reflect the direction their cities want to take. Budgetary constraints and the urge to "revitalize" threaten some of his projects. In response foundations have been set up to improve care for some of the sites and to try to preserve them in their original state. Prior to its destruction, Skyline Park was documented as Colorado's first Historic American Landscapes Survey project.
Halprin's range of projects demonstrates his vision of the garden or open space as a stage.:153 Halprin recognized that "the garden in your own immediate neighborhood, preferably at your own doorstep, is the most significant garden;" and as part of a seamless whole, he valued "wilderness areas where we can be truly alone with ourselves and where nature can be sensed as the primeval source of life.":153–154 The interplay of perspectives informed projects which encompassed urban parks, plazas, commercial and cultural centers and other places of congregation::154
|Title||Image||City||State||Year[a]||Role / Notes|
|Washington Water Power[b]||Spokane||WA||1959||Campus|
|West Coast Memorial to the Missing of World War II||San Francisco||CA||1960||Landscaping plan, located at the Presidio|
|1962 Seattle World's Fair||Seattle||WA||1962||Master landscaping plan|
|Sproul Plaza||Berkeley||CA||1962||At the University of California, Berkeley|
|Saint Francis Square||San Francisco||CA||1964||Cooperative housing project; design based on a pedestrian-oriented site plan, with three-story apartment buildings facing onto three landscaped interior courtyards|
|Sea Ranch, California||Sea Ranch||CA||1964||Master landscape plan; this is a historically significant planned community collaboration with developer Al Boeke and architects Joseph Esherick, Charles Willard Moore and others,|
|Ghirardelli Square||San Francisco||CA||1965||An early model for adaptive reuse of historic buildings.|
|Capitol Towers||Sacramento||CA||1965||Privately-sponsored urban redevelopment.|
|Bay Area Rapid Transit||San Francisco||CA||1966||Master landscape planning for sections of the system, including station plazas.|
|Oakbrook Center||Oak Brook||IL||1966||Landscape work|
|Innerbelt Freeway||Akron||OH||1966||Plan proposed for a park atop the freeway in 1966.|
|Northwest Plaza||St. Louis||MO||1968||Exterior landscaping and 'horsehead' fountain scheme.|
|Nicollet Mall||Minneapolis||MN||1968||One of the nation's first transitways|
|Park Central Square||Springfield||MO||1970|
|Ira Keller Fountain and Lovejoy Fountain Park||Portland||OR||1971||Part of a multi-block sequence of public fountains and outdoor rooms in Portland, known as the Halprin Open Space Sequence and listed on the National Register of Historic Places|
|Transit Mall||Portland||OR||1971||In Downtown Portland|
|Water Garden||Olympia||WA||1972||At the north plaza of the Employment Security Building. Permanently shut down and drained in the late 1980s due to leaks and cracked foundations.|
|Skyline Park||Denver||CO||1974||Inspired by Colorado National Monument; largely destroyed following 2003 redesign.|
|United Nations Plaza||San Francisco||CA||1975||Part of the Civic Center complex.|
|Sculpture Garden at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts||Richmond||VA||1975||Demolished in 2006.|
|Manhattan Square Park||Rochester||NY||1975||5-acre (20,000 m2) urban park with waterfalls, playground and skating rink|
|Freeway Park||Seattle||WA||1976||Innovative reclaiming of interstate right-of-way for park space|
|Plaza 8 Water Feature||Sheboygan||WI||1976||Adjacent to the Mead Public Library, 8th Street|
|Downtown Mall||Charlottesville||VA||1976||8-9 block pedestrian only zone along the city's historic main street|
|Main Street||Greenville||SC||1979||Redesigned in 2008.|
|Heritage Park Plaza||Fort Worth||TX||1980|
|Levi's Plaza||San Francisco||CA||1982|
|Bunker Hill Steps||Los Angeles||CA||1990|||
|Grand Hope Park||Los Angeles||CA||1994|
|Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial||Washington, D.C.||1997|||
|Letterman Digital Arts Center||San Francisco||CA||2005|||
|Approach to Yosemite Falls||Yosemite National Park||CA||2005||Loop-trail approach (and associated stonework) to Lower Yosemite Fall, with views of Upper Yosemite Fall|
|Stern Grove Amphitheater||San Francisco||CA||2005|
Some intrusions haven't aged well, such as the mannered dramas of his plazas along Market Street.