The Contemporary Urban Parks of Nelson Byrd Woltz: A Family Album of Our Cities

Presented by Thomas L. Woltz, owner of Nelson Byrd Woltz (NBW) Landscape Architects
Lecture presented on October 6, 2016 in the Frist Art Museum Auditorium

2013 Design Innovator of the Year Thomas L. Woltz discusses Nashville's Centennial Park and three other public landscapes designed by his firm, NBW Landscape Architects, to illustrate the firm's process, which is rooted in ecological and cultural research. Through design, technology, and materials, the firm creates uniquely contemporary landscapes that connect communities to the rich, layered past of their cities and urban histories. Alongside his contributions to Centennial Park, Woltz shares his experiences of working on the Powell Avenue Steam Plant Park in Birmingham, Alabama; Memorial Park in Houston, Texas; and Hudson Yards Plaza in New York.

Thomas L. Woltz, CLARB, FASLA, NZILA, is the principal and owner of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW), a firm with offices in New York City and Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2011 he was invested into the American Society of Landscape Architects Council of Fellows (a recognition considered among the highest honors in the profession), and in 2013 he was named Design Innovator of the Year by the Wall Street Journal. During the past 20 years, Woltz has forged a body of work that integrates the beauty and function of built form and craftsmanship with an understanding of complex biological systems and restoration ecology; it has yielded hundreds of acres of reconstructed wetlands, reforested land, native meadows, and flourishing wildlife habitat. His design work infuses places where people live, work, and play with narratives of the land that inspire stewardship. Many of these projects focus on restoration of damaged ecological infrastructure within working farmland, creating models of biodiversity and sustainable agriculture. The work of NBW has won more than 85 national and regional awards and been published widely. The firm has worked in 25 states and 9 countries.

Woltz was educated at the University of Virginia in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, fine art, and architectural history. He holds master’s degrees in architecture and landscape architecture. After working in Venice and Paris, he returned to the United States, where his projects have included New York’s Hudson Yards East, Houston’s Memorial Park, Nashville’s Centennial Park), and Edmonton’s Devonian Botanic Garden. Woltz serves on the boards of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, the New York Municipal Arts Society, and the University of Virginia School of Architecture Foundation. He has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Garden and Gun, Dwell, and Architectural Digest.


This lecture is presented in partnership with the Nashville Civic Design Center.

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