Terrain Work is an international landscape architecture and urban design studio in New York City that is known for its creativity and design innovation. Terrain Work’s landscapes and urban strategies consider how landscape’s innate ability to change create new emergent forms and experiences that synthesize culture, nature, and the built environment. We approach each project with a curiosity and collaborative spirit born out of the belief that landscapes should perform as both cultural provocateur and ecological system.
The built environment can and should strike a balance between art and sustainability. The cultural symbols created by contemporary design become more efficacious when they take on ecological functions such as improving water and air quality, providing new habitats for flora and fauna, and helping to mitigate heat island effects in urbanized areas.
83% of the earth’s land surface is directly influenced by people. The remaining 17%, deemed wild, has been touched by climate change. The idea of “natural” landscapes simply no longer exists. We do not believe in creating facsimiles of past conditions. Our work engages current cultural and environmental conditions in innovative ways mixing nature with the man-made to ensure people and their environments thrive.
Over the last few decades plants have often been reduced to "green infrastructure," limiting them to largely ecological functions. These issues are undoubtedly important, but they can cast plants as more of an instrumental tool rather than an artful muse. We believe plants have the potential to create culture, shape space, and provide atmospheric effects to provoke new and unexpected experiences in the built environment.
Our approach is not driven by preconceived stylistic or aesthetic agendas. Instead, we ask questions to help frame key issues that are central to our client and the project. As we move through the design process with the client we continually test and evaluate these questions to generate an approach that is specific to the site and client’s program.
We enjoy cultivating collaborations with other designers, engineers, ecologists, artists, and most importantly our clients. The work of a team is often more interesting and effective than any one person. Each collaboration we encounter enriches the work we do and the ideas that drive the design process.
We embrace the fundamental idea that we all choose to live differently. Whether urban, exurban, suburban, town, country, or wilderness, landscape is uniquely equipped in its ability to traverse this set of disparate terrains. We embrace new challenges that help us see our practice and the world from a different point of view discovering possibilities that we could not arrive at on our own.
We are equally capable generating conceptual ideas as well as having the skills to turn these ideas into tangible projects. We have a deep knowledge and extensive track record of managing complex projects around the world with an array of stakeholders and community engagement. We approach each stage of the project to deliver a project that is on schedule and within the desired budget.
Bahrain Bay Development
Bizzi & Partners
Cetra Ruddy Architects
DeSimone Consulting Engineers
Downtown Cleveland Alliance
Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts
Government Service Administration (GSA)
Green View Companies
Guy Nordenson Associates
KPF | Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Lexington Downtown Development Authority
OMA | Office for Metropolitan Architecture
Pavarini McGovern, LLC
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Renzo Piano Building Workshop
R & R Studios
SOM | Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP
University of Iowa