FREE Local Tour on September 17th


Halprin Tours

Lawrence Halprin’s Legacy: Greenwood Common

September 17th at 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Greenwood Common
1 Greenwood Common
Berkeley, CA 94708

United States

Guide: Waverly B. Lowell

Lowell is an archivist and historian, and the curator of the Environmental Design Archives at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2009, she authored “Living Modern: A Biography of Greenwood Common”, the 5th installment in the Berkeley/Design/Books series published by William Stout Publishers in Richmond, California.

Part 1 of Lowell’s book describes Greenwood Common as a “utopian oasis in the crowded Berkeley hills.” The property includes eight homes encircling an open green space (or common). Neighbors share the common, using the lawn for picnics, playing with their dogs, or reading on a blanket. The concept is largely attributed to architect William Wurster, who drew on influences from his early years in New England and combined them with the Modernist design sensibilities he became known for in the Bay Area.

In part 2 of her book, Lowell discusses the roles of the landscape architect in the development of Greenwood Common. Lawrence Halprin was consulted by Wurster during the very early stages of planning for Greenwood Common, and was eventually hired by the Common’s Association to complete a landscape plan for the property. During the tour, Lowell will discuss the origins of this unique property, the process undertaken by the Association to select Halprin for the landscape plan, and the ideas he proposed that resonated with residents. The history of the site can still be seen in the landscape features today, which Lowell will highlight as the group moves through the space.

Interestingly, while Greenwood Common is recognized for its incorporation of shared open space in an urban setting, residents also have private gardens attached to their residences. This dichotomy illustrates Wurtster’s belief that a combination of public and private outdoor space was ideal for modern living. Halprin designed four of the private residences at Greenwood Common in addition to the shared lawn. The tour group will visit at least one of the private gardens during the tour.


This tour is part of a larger program intended to celebrate the life and legacy of landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. Learn more about the program and view other tours by returning to the event page for What’s Out There Weekend: The Public Landscapes of Lawrence Halprin.

Click on the link to register for the tour!

This entry was posted in NEWS. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.