Come to find out God had some help from Theodore Osmundson, a local landscape architect who gained prominence with his designs of roof gardens and the popular Keller Beach on Richmond's shores. As beautiful as the park is, I was even more intrigued by his concepts of roof gardens. Mr. Osmundson died April 9, 2009. He was 88. Mr. Osmundson designed parks, gardens, college campuses, homes and businesses over a career that spanned 60 years. His fingerprints can be found around the Bay Area, from office buildings in San Francisco to the Berkeley Marina.
Osmundson at Kaiser Roof Garden in 1998
Theodore Osmundson authored the book "Roof Gardens" in 1999
The first comprehensive study published in English, respected landscape architect Theodore Osmundson provides the practical information professionals need to be able to include well-designed and well-constructed roof gardens in their projects. Roof Gardens covers site considerations, construction, design elements, and maintenance, as well as useful data and sources of supply and information. It presents a wealth of material, including typical sections and details of raised planters, walls, paving, drainage, and lighting. It also discusses planting soils and root-proofing, reviews useful new construction techniques-largely unknown in the United States-and offers a richly illustrated tour of roof gardens around the world and through history.
Comments on his book include:
"Has been considered the bible of traditional rooftop design….a classic…a must have in your library of design books." —Greenroofs.com
"This should become the guidebook on the subject of roof gardens, acquired by every landscape architect employed in the task of greening cities and buildings." —Ian McHarg, fasla
He made a name for himself in 1958 when he designed a 3-acre garden on the roof of the garage at Oakland's Kaiser Center. It was the first major roof garden built in the country since World War II. Osmundson’s Kaiser Center remains a highly successful prototype of an extensive roof-deck park.
ROOF GARDEN AT 1500 WEST GEORGIA STREET
Ted Osmundson, Landscape Architect 1978 This roof garden sat atop 1500 West Georgia for 27 years. It was demolished in 2006 to allow for replacement of building insulation, and will be replaced with a newly designed outdoor amenity area.
Layers of a Rood Garden
Theodore Osmundson also was a well-known photographer
Artist’s Statement "These photos represent my intense interest in capturing the fleeting moment at hand. They have both been part of gallery exhibits. The Japanese photo was taken during an extended Cultural Exchange in 1963. The California photo was taken in 1956 for Sunset Magazine's travel section."
Artist Statement: Ted had a fantastic ability to see a scene as it would look in a picture and would quickly seize the opportunity by grabbing one of three cameras that he kept with him at all times. While “Old Farmer Resting Near San Giminanno, Italy” is dated 1962, he actually shot the photograph in 1972. The Ca'd'oro Palace is a beautiful building with Moorish touches on the Grand Canal in the Cannaregio District of old Venice. – Lorraine Osmundson
Thanks, Mr. Osmundson, for the many garden “rooms’ you left us to enjoy in the San Francisco Bay Area.