Marty Poirier

Design Critic in Landscape Architecture

For over 40 years, Marty Poirier has combined his insatiable curiosity with a love of community life to practice landscape architecture fused with urbanity, social purpose, and aesthetics.  His designs strive to shape expressive places that people connect with. His career has been filled with interesting and challenging design assignments informed by the downtown centers in which he has lived and worked: Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cambridge, New York, and San Diego. Poirier’s work has focused on places of dense human interaction – parks, college campuses, and city centers – where the rigorous analysis of the site and the program are masterfully transformed into remarkable landscapes.

Throughout his career, Marty has sought out opportunities to learn from his heroes.  First with Carl Johnson and Clarence Roy at JJR, then Todd Bennitt at POD Los Angeles, followed by graduate study at the GSD under Peter Walker, Martha Schwartz, and Carl Steinitz.  In 1990, after time with the Office of Peter Walker Martha Schwartz, Marty joined Andy Spurlock to found Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects in San Diego where he led the firm’s urban work and collaborated with another hero, artist Robert Irwin.  In 2016, he rejoined Peter Walker to practice with PWP Landscape Architecture.

The recipient of numerous design awards, Poirier has lectured widely throughout North America. In 2010, he was appointed to the Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Council, and co-founded the Harvard DISrupt! conference series.

Poirier finds great inspiration for his aesthetic pursuits through ongoing dialogue and collaborative projects with a diverse range of artists including Irwin, Alexis Smith, Quincy Troupe, Ned Kahn, and Tim Hawkinson. This passion for aesthetics – conditioned to each setting – shapes his ongoing collaboration with Chef Thomas Keller and Laura Cunningham at The French Laundry and Bouchon gardens.