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Walter Hood (born 1958, Charlotte, NC) is Professor and former Chair of Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and principal of Hood Design in Oakland, CA.
Hood has worked in a variety of settings including architecture, landscape architecture, art, community and urban design, and planning and research.
Hood grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has spent more than 20 years living and working in the heart of Oakland, California, and draws on his strong connection to the black community in his work. He has chosen to work almost exclusively in the public realm and urban environments. He went to school in North Carolina A&T State University receiving bachelor degree in Architecture in 1981. He has received both Master of Architecture and Master of landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. He also received his Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013 in studio arts and sculpture, exploring the role of sculpture and urbanism.
Hood established Hood Design in Oakland, California in 2003. Hood's work spans the range from local, community-based projects-such as Splash Pad Park, a converted traffic island alongside Interstate 580 in Oakland, California, to large-scale garden designs like the grounds for the new M. H. de Young Museum in San Francisco with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron (2005). Hood's innovative public spaces are known for the way they embrace the essence of urban environments and for their links to urban redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization. He is currently designing the landscape for the Autry National Center Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, designing an archeological garden within the context of the South Lawn Project at the University of Virginia, and developing a set of monuments and markers for a six mile waterfront trail in Oakland, CA.
Hood's published monographs Urban Diaries (Spacemaker Press, 1997) and Blues & Jazz Landscape Improvisations (Poltroon Press, 1993) illustrate his approach to the design of urban landscapes. These works won an ASLA Research award in 1996. His essay "Macon Memories" is included in Sites of Memory: Perspectives on Architecture and Race (Princeton Architectural Press, 2001).
Hood has been praised as a "community whisperer," creating spaces that have elements the residents want before they even know it: "Through his pioneering work as an 'urbanist,' Hood has integrated architectural features such as playgrounds, plazas and squares into city sites whose pasts are vibrant but forgotten. By reflecting the shifting cultural composition and respecting the evolving nature of neighborhoods throughout San Francisco and Oakland, he has created an oasis in these areas, and through his close involvement with the local communities, he developed tailored solutions for Bay Area based parks while retaining a cohesive artistic vision. Near Chinatown in Oakland, he created a communal square for women's tai chi practice while adults and children gather year round to take advantage of their newly revived local park." He is the winner of a public art competition to design the 1.1 megawatt solar array that will be constructed by New York Power Authority this year on the University at Buffalo's North Campus.
In 1997, Hood was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome in Landscape Architecture. His work was featured in the 2006 exhibit "The Good Life: New Public Spaces for Recreation," at the Van Alen Institute in New York. Hood was the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Design and has exhibited and lectured on his professional projects and theoretical works nationally and abroad.
Design Arts Competition, Merit Award, 1988