Schwartz, Martha

Martha Schwartz

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  • Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • University of Michigan


  • Martha Schwartz Partners

Awards, honors and press

  • Women in Design Award of Excellence (2004)

Related websites


Brooklyn, Cambridge, China, London, Massachusetts, New York, Shanghai, UK


Career in Architecture

Martha Schwartz is a landscape architect and artist with major interests in cities and the urban landscape. Her work spans from site-specific art installations to working with cities at strategic planning levels. Her focus is on environmental sustainability and the creation of awareness about how the urban landscapes underwrites urban sustainability through functioning as the platform for a city’s environmental, social and economic health. Schwartz is an advocate for how cities can help to reduce climate change and support a more sustainable approach to diminishing resources. Schwartz continues her devotion to the built environment through pushing new boundaries and expressions as a designer. She understands design as a method through which to create social buy-in and the creation of value for public spaces. She believes that design creates identity, sense of place and helps to differentiate ourselves in an ever-growing uniformity of place as a result of globalization.

As principal of Martha Schwartz Partners, she has over 30 years of experience as a landscape architect and artist on a wide variety of projects located around the world with a variety of world-renowned architects.

Martha Schwartz Partners is a leading international practice whose work focuses on activating and regenerating urban sites and city centres. Situated at the intersection of landscape, art, and urbanism, Martha Schwartz Partners has 20 years of experience designing and implementing installations, gardens, civic plazas, parks, institutional landscapes, corporate headquarters, master plans, and urban regeneration projects. MSP is also working with cities at a strategic level as they take a view to sustainability at a city or regional scale. MSP’s work demonstrates a deep commitment to the urban landscape and public realm as the platform for sustainable cities that are healthy across all aspects, sectors, and domains of urban life.

With offices in the United Kingdom, the United States and China, Martha Schwartz Partners is engaged in projects and consultation around the globe and has to date worked on projects in over 20 countries and four continents.

The core team of design professionals consists of landscape architects, architects, urban designers, horticulturalists, field implementation specialists, and senior project managers, with backgrounds from Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. This diversity in disciplines and backgrounds affords Martha Schwartz Partners the agility to work across all scales and cultures, and allows its team to be nimble in even the most challenging urban and social contexts. In addition to its core team of professionals, MSP collaborates intensively with external consultants, expanding the breadth of the practice and enabling effective response to any scale of design problem.

Martha Schwartz Partners’ expertise and commitment to landscape as a means for activating urban sites have led to the design of highly effective and well used public and private spaces. The team’s landscapes, installations, and large urban projects continue to shape the environments they are part of and the lives of the people who use them. Their design for Manchester’s Exchange Square is held as an example of how an effective public realm design can galvanize the full recovery of a devastated urban area. And their work for the Mesa Arts Centre in Mesa, Arizona won the 2006 ULI Award for Excellence and provides a vibrant urban centre for a city that had previously lived without a central core.

The firm has also recently completed: the Concept Design for the Abu Dhabi Corniche, a 4.1 kilometer stretch of the city’s most valuable waterfront; the design and implementation of the Abu Dhabi Financial Center; The Dublin Docklands Grand Canal Square; Masterplan for the expansion of Canary Wharf, Wood Wharf, a large mixed-use, waterfront development in London; Masterplan for Yongsan International Business District in Seoul, Korea; a winning submission for the landscape of the Tirana Mosque in Albania, and one of the Master’s Gardens for the International Horticultural Exhibition in Xi’An, China.

In addition to the work above, Martha Schwartz Partners is currently working on many projects that use landscape to activate change and to enhance their environments. These projects include a state-of-the-art hospital in Vienna, Austria where landscape plays a significant role in the treatment and well-being of the patients, and working in consultation with cities such as Gothenburg, Sweden, Edessa, Greece and Geelong, Australia to help these cities achieve an economic renaissance and a strategy for sustainable growth for this next century.

Martha Schwartz Partners has continually been recognized for its contribution to the urban landscapes of the world and to the field of landscape architecture. The firm has received award recognition from the British Association of Landscape Industries Award in the Regeneration Category in 2008; The Chicago Athenaeum Award for Best New Global Design 2007 for Leamouth Peninsula; The ASLA Honour Award 2007 for Mesa Arts Centre; The Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence in 2006; and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in 2006.

She is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes including the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Award from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce for her outstanding contribution to UK design; the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award; the Women in Design Award for Excellence from the Boston Society of Architects; an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Ulster in Belfast, Ireland; a fellowship from the Urban Design Institute; visiting residencies at Radcliffe College and the American Academy in Rome; an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects and most recently a Council of Fellows Award by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Martha Schwartz is a tenured Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a founding member of the Working Group of Sustainable Cities at Harvard University. She has lectured both nationally and internationally about sustainable cities and the urban landscape, and her work has been featured widely in publications as well as gallery exhibitions.

Major Buildings and Projects

Noted for her exploration of new design expression in the landscape, Schwartz’s projects span the globe; from her striking Dublin Docklands project in Ireland to the Children’s Discovery Centre in Damascus, Syria, Schwartz’s project portfolio is extremely diverse. Recent and current projects include: Leamouth Peninsula, London, UK; Wellington Place, Leeds, UK; St Mary’s Churchyard, London, UK; Cosmopolitan Casino, Las Vegas, USA; Frederiks Brygge Master Plan, Copenhagen, Denmark; Qatar Petroleum Headquarters, Doha, Qatar; Al Ain Sports City, Al Ain, UAE; Mesa Arts Center, Arizona, USA; Master Plan for Lulu Island, UAE, Jacob Javits Convention Center Plaza, New York City, USA, Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Washington, USA, Rio Shopping Center (1988-2000), Atlanta, USA and many others.

Press and Awards

Women in Design Award of Excellence (2004)