Born in Philadelphia, PA, Martha Schwartz studied landscape architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), earning her master of landscape architecture from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment in 1978. Schwartz began her career at The SWA Group in Boston, and in 1983 she and Peter Walker, her husband at the time, opened The Office of Peter Walker & Martha Schwartz. Since 1992 she has been a principal of Martha Schwartz Partners, with offices in London, Shanghai, and New York. Schwartz is also a tenured Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Schwartz envisions landscape architecture as the leading profession to face the challenges of climate change. She is a founding member of the Working Group of Sustainable Cities at the Harvard University Center for the Environment, a founding member of the Landscape Architecture Foundation ‘s “Working Group on Climate Change”, and has recently founded MAYDAY.Earth, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on educating non-scientists and generalists about geoengineering and global-scale solutions.
Known for blending landscape architecture and fine art, some of her most notable works include the Bagel Garden and Whitehead Institite ‘Splice Garden’ in Boston, MA; Rio Shopping Center in Atlanta, GA; Jacob Javits Plaza in New York, NY, and Grand Canal Square in Dublin, Ireland. Martha Schwartz Partners’ practice focuses on art installations, civic spaces, parks, institutional landscapes, and master plans nationally and internationally. In 2020 Schwartz was awarded the ASLA Design Medal.