Campus & Community

Landscape Architecture Establishes Hornbeck Chair

3 min read

The Graduate School of Design (GSD) has received a $1.7 million gift to establish the Peter Louis Hornbeck Fund supporting the Department of Landscape Architecture. Made through the bequest of Peter L. Hornbeck, a graduate of the Department (MLA ’59), the fund will endow the Hornbeck Professor-in-Practice of Landscape Architecture, as well as support research, exhibitions, and visiting practitioners and scholars in the Department.

As the GSD’s Department of Landscape Architecture – the nation’s oldest professional education program in Landscape Architecture – celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2000, the fund and the new activities it enables will enhance the Department’s role as an international resource for education, research, and information on the planning and design of the natural environment.

Throughout his career, Peter Hornbeck was committed to strengthening the relationship between the practice and the teaching of design. In 1959, he earned his masters degree in Landscape Architecture at the GSD where he received the Charles Eliot Traveling Fellowship in Landscape Architecture. He served as the principal of Hornbeck Associates, his own design firm, and also worked with Fletcher Steele, Sasaki Associates, Dan Kiley, and Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott on a variety of projects. In 1963, Hornbeck joined the faculty at the GSD and served as professor of landscape architecture and city planning from 1973 to 1980.

“Peter Hornbeck’s gift will enhance our commitment to integrating teaching with practice in ways that actively address the complex social, environmental, and aesthetic challenges of contemporary landscape design,” said George Hargreaves, chairman of the GSD’s Department of Landscape Architecture. “The Fund will also help foster the design values that Hornbeck learned, taught, and lived by at the Harvard Design School and in his own practice.”

Hornbeck’s bequest was funded, per his instructions, by the sale of the Broadfields estate, his 14-acre home in Andover, Massachusetts. The original landscape plan for the property was designed by Percival Gallagher and James Sturges Pray of Olmsted Brothers (Brookline, Mass.) and planted during 1905-1920. The planting style was in the Olmsted “tapestry” mode of rich textural and color effects with the dramatic mingling of rare trees and other flora. Peter Hornbeck placed conservation restrictions on his estate to protect the landscape and the architecture of the property’s buildings. It will remain a singe 14-acre parcel with the landscape being maintained as close to the original design as possible.

“It has been 100 years since Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. offered the first professional course in landscape architecture in the United States here at the Harvard Design School,” commented Hargreaves. “Peter Hornbeck’s generous gift brings us full circle and beyond by preserving Olmsted’s work and philosophy into the next century through action-oriented, interdisciplinary education.”

The GSD’s Department of Landscape Architecture brings together leading practitioners and scholars to teach students methods of critical inquiry along with the design skills necessary to address the complex challenges of today’s built and natural environments – from urban parks to brownfield redevelopment, to large-scale land management and regional planning. For more information, please visit