Roberto Burle Marx, considered to be the father of modern landscape architecture, was abstract painter, sculptor, jewelry designer, florist and vocalist, with interests ranging from printmaking to ecology, botany and natural history. Born in 1909 in Sao Paulo, his family settled in Rio de Janeiro. He studied painting in Germany during the Weimar Republic, was influenced by Modernism and Dada and studied the work of Hans Arp. His best known works in Rio are the patterned sidewalks of Copacabana and the bayside Aterro do Flamengo park. In the US, his work includes the Burton Tremaine house in Santa Barbara, the gardens for the Hilton Hotel in San Juan, and the Organization of American States headquarters in Washington. In 1965 he was awarded the fine arts prize of the the American Institute of Architects. In addition to his shaping of Brazil’s landscape, some 50 species of plant bear his name. Landscape design, he once wrote, “was merely the method I found to organize and compose my drawing and painting, using less conventional materials.”
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