Founded in 1957 SWA Group began in Watertown, Massachusetts as Sasaki, Walker and Associates, a partnership between Hideo Sasaki and Peter Walker. The firm quickly expanded into a second office in San Francisco. Both partners were eventually bought out and in 1973 the firm changed its name to SWA Group. Sasaki remained active with SWA until 1980 and Walker continued to work for the firm until 1983 when he established a private practice.
SWA Group pioneered the corporate campus with their work for John Deere, Bell Laboratories, and Upjohn. In the 1970s the firm took on a number of commissions for college campuses, undertaking projects at Foothill College in Los Altos, California and the State University of New York at Buffalo, and completed master plans for government-owned parks including Golden Gate National Recreation Area. As the firm grew they expanded their presence, opening multiple offices in the U.S. in the 1980s and, by the end of the 1990s, establishing their place in the global market. Their projects include plazas and squares in urban areas as well as parks, community master plans, and residential commissions. Today, the employee-owned firm remains committed to a cross-disciplinary planning and landscape architecture practice.