Home | Projects | Publications | Peer-Reviewed Honors & Awards | Curriculum Vitae | Contact
James Rose Center Rehabilitation Project


Sunderland Veterans’ Memorial and Park

Durfee Gardens

A Strolling Garden

A Plastic Garden

A Kettle Hole Garden

Bartlett Court

The James Rose Center

Private Access

Clark's Passage

Complete List of Projects

or its unique modern spatial language, its expression of an alternative approach to conventional post-war suburban residential development and as the constantly changing laboratory of one of landscape architecture’s most inventive minds, the Ridgewood home of James Rose is one of the twentieth century’s most important landscapes.

egun in 1953, it was conceived of to accommodate rapid twentieth century change. It would be "a metamorphosis," Rose wrote, "such as we find commonly in nature."

onsistent with this, the design changed dramatically during the almost forty years Rose lived here.

y the mid-1980s, however, neglect, fire and water damage threatened complete destruction.

s Rose approached his death in 1991, the rehabilitation of his "magnum opus" began with a vision for establishing a not-for-profit educational foundation dedicated to improving the environment. The James Rose residence would be reincarnated as the James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design.

e established the foundation after Rose died in 1991 and the physical rehabilitation began in 1993. The problem of how to preserve something, the essential characteristic of which is change was engaged as a design problem. The vision for the James Rose Center needed to be strong enough to preserve what Rose had begun, but flexible enough to accommodate its new life.

upport systems were revamped. Fire damage was repaired. The leaking roof was rebuilt and Rose’s roof garden was reconstructed with only minor changes to aid its continuing survival.

onsistent with Rose’s aesthetic, nothing that was not broken or still of use was discarded. Salvageable wood from rotting fences was reconditioned and woven with new lumber to create a new expression of an important edge first conceived of by Rose in response to limiting zoning regulations.

ose’s outdoor mural, "River of Hospitality," was reconditioned, leading one’s eye again through the open door into the shelter and reinforcing Rose’s important conviction about the relationship between two-dimensional, architectural and landscape space.

arden pools were rebuilt and important planting edges re-established so space could again be defined and serve the purposes of the center. Much work was (and is) performed by carefully supervised student interns who stay at the center during the summers as part of its educational program. (For a more complete discussion of the James Rose Center, and of Rose himself, please visit our web site at www.jamesrosecenter.org.)

hrough its ongoing rehabilitation and reincarnation as a landscape research and study center, Rose’s enduring creation has entered a new stage of its metamorphosis. But it remains consistent with its origins as an important modern work and serves the same larger purpose it always had for Rose—to pose for us elemental questions about the nature of design. "Change is the essence," Rose observed. "To reveal what is always there is the trick. The metamorphosis is seen minute by minute, season by season, year by year. Through this looking glass, ‘finish’ is another word for death."


he James Rose Residence/Study Center has been recognized for its original design, its rehabilitation and its educational programs. It has received numerous prestigious awards including the American Society of Landscape Architects Classic Award and Centennial Medallion. It has been published in a vast array of periodicals and books including "Progressive Architecture" and Landscape Architecture" magazine.

top of page