"Studies in repetition and order, orchestrations of movement in the landscape, and elements placed in geometric conversation," is how author Mary Myers describes the twenty-five-year career of San Francisco-based landscape architect Andrea Cochran. Poetic language suits these functional and often lyrical works of art. They are sensuous, captivating oases that absorb the eye in a totality of spatial composition. Andrea Cochran: Landscapes presents eleven residential, commercial, and institutional landscape projects in detail, including Walden Studios in Alexander Valley, California; the sculpture garden for the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon; and the award-winning Children's Garden in San Francisco.
Andrea Cochran seeks to put her clients' individual narratives in conversation with the land. Her work is distinguished by its careful consideration of site, climate, and existing architecture. A stacked plane of planters, each housing a different variety of succulent, mimics the compression found in hills banked against each other in the distance. Drawing on an encyclopedic knowledge of plant species, Cochran uses vegetation to blur edges, and porous and permeable materials to create grade changes that enlighten and disappear. Materials such as COR-TEN steel allow her to draw boundaries on the land with ultrathin edges while also reflecting the earthy tones of the soil beneath. Cochran's landscapes are clean, but not cold. In her hands, polished black concrete becomes both a quiet reflection of the sky and an instrument to amplify the sound of falling rain; locally quarried stone walls reflect the border walls between valley farms; twisted forms of olive respond to the spreading California oaks dotting distant hills. A combination of harmony, wonder, and surprise awaits wherever her sharp geometry and vibrant plant life meet. Featuring stunning photography, drawings, plans, and an essay by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art curator Henry Urbach, Andrea Cochran: Landscapes celebrates the first twenty-five years of a highly intuitive and reflective creative process.
Andrea Cochran lives and works in San Francisco. She was a finalist in 2006 for the Cooper-Hewitt's National Design Award, profiled in Dwell as part of their "design leaders" series in 2007, selected as one of 40 "taste makers" of 2005 by House and Garden magazine the recipient of numerous professional awards and accolades. She is a frequent lecturer at universities and professional conferences
Mary Myers lives and works in Pennsylvania and is the current chair of landscape architecture and horticulture at Temple University. She has written extensively for numerous journals and publications, including Landscape Journal, Landscape Review, and Landscape Architecture magazine and has been recognized with honor for excellence in teaching and research. She is a registered landscape architect.
Recent Reading, City of Sound:
"A glorious book, about glorious work. Cochran's landscapes are pitched perfectly, balancing formal order with controlled explosions of planting, light and colour. It's quite beautiful work, stretching mainly down the west coast of the USA, and so with beautiful landscape to borrow. And the book presents and dissects the work, and the thinking behind it, with equal precision. Wonderful. (*****)"
Andrea Cochran: Landscapes for our times, The San Francisco Chronicle:
"Andrea Cochran has finessed large and small residential gardens and winery estates during the last decade into a body of work that is like nothing we've seen before... Using established principles of modernist landscape planning that she learned at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cochran, 55, creates artful spaces animated with unexpected materials: zigzagging Cor-Ten-lined paths juxtaposed against large expanses of grass, which are bordered by unusual grasses and patches of green and gravel-covered terraces. And yet, the result is always restful."
— Zahid Sardar
"Just like modern homes often bring the outside in, San Francisco landscape architect Andrea Cochrans exterior designs extend the modern aesthetic from indoors to the outdoors. A new book by Mary Myers celebrates Cochran's distinct talent.Published by Princeton Architectural Press, Andrea Cochran: Landscapes is not only a coffee table-ready book filled with stunning photography, it's also an incredible resource for DIYers looking to beautify their own backyards."
— Miyoko Ohtake
Mapping Old Terrain, Society for Environmental Graphic Design:
"For all you map geeks out there you know who you are theres a new must-have for your library or coffee table. Katharine Harmons The Map as Art surveys the use of maps in contemporary art, proving that, even in a hyperconnected world we can navigate using GPS and Google Maps, cartography is still and always an inspiration. Harmon (an incurable map collector who also gave us You are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination), demonstrates how contemporary artists use maps to explore notions of identity, dislocation, and discovery. P.M.K. To read the full review on blog.segd.org click HERE. "
"Landscape architect Myers discusses the work of Andrea Cochran, a California based landscape architect. Cochran's work is typified by geometric designs and a blending of stone and plant life. Myers points out the more subtle nuances of the gardens especially the use of light. The major part of the book contains color photographs of the gardens, both for private houses and public spaces, such as the San Francisco children's garden. An appendix descries each project giving the plants used and the architectural materials along with a schematic."
— Shannon Hendrickson
American Style Magazine:
"As curator Henry Urbach explains in the forward to Andrea Cochran: Landscapes (Princeton Architectural Press, $50), 'to inhabit one of Cochran's gardens is to be transported into another kind of space... a world that sustains a feeling of simply being.' It's easy to slip into that feeling, even with photographs. Author Mary Myers deconstructs Cochran's 25-year acareer through 11 projects. Highglights include the Hayes Valley Roof Garden in San Francisco and the Portland Art Museum in Oregon."
— Claire Patterson
"The work of Andrea Cochran can be seen, to those of us who have admired landscape design abroad, as finally completing the process of freeing American Landscape Architecture from the curse of postmodern landforms and wacky color cuteness. The work is powerful, but never unbalanced or trendy. Her outdoor spaces are clean, trimmed, and suitable for the modernist sensibility, yet they never feel like accessories to a building. Instead they reverse the relationship: the buildings are totally permeated, even subsumed by Landscape."
Bare Essentials of Landscaping, The New York Times:
"Some landscape architects delight in loading their projects with hidden symbolism, creating gardens that can feel a bit like inscrutable films requiring lots of explanation. Andrea Cochran aims for something more comprehensible. There is no narrative and no irony in my work, said Ms. Cohran, who added that she tries to pare things down till they verge on the edge of emptiness.Her efforts are documented in Andrea Cochran: Landscapes (Princeton Architectural Press, $50), an elegant monograph by Mary Myers. With a small trim size (just over 8 by 10 inches) and no dust jacket, it is as understated as projects like the subtly graphic San Francisco Childrens Garden, below, which Ms. Cochran designed as a showcase garden. Like her landscapes, the book has a quiet classicism that makes it a valuable addition to a gardeners collection."
— Stephen Orr