Grant Jones (architect)

Landscape architect Grant Jones has practiced ecological design for 30 years, pioneering river and greenway planning, scenic highway design, zoo design and landscape aesthetics. Jones is the Founding Principal of Jones & Jones which is located in Seattle.


Jones, son of an architect, received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Washington, and did post-graduate study as one of the poets in Theodore Roethke's verse-writing class. He received his Masters in Landscape Architecture at Harvard's School of Design. When in school Jones won the Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship to research environmental determinism in South America and Western Europe. He had an opportunity to study successful adaptations by humans to different climatic conditions and studied how humans worked with nature in their everyday lives, therefore was able to link designs to nature so exceptionally.

Firm: Jones & Jones

Jones & Jones was founded in 1969 with his wife, Ilsa. The firm is characterized by its integration of interpretive design, architecture, and landscape architecture, as well as a profound respect for the natural and cultural heritage of places and people. The firm's diverse nationwide projects include cultural and visitor centers, zoos, nature and interpretive centers, museums, parks and trails, recreational facilities, and educational campuses. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, its multidisciplinary staff includes 45 architects, landscape architects, and planners. Known both for the unique culture it has created and its philosophy of embracing that which is challenging and unexplored. Its work and its commitment to the future generations have created an enduring legacy.

Design styles

Having studied poetry at the University of Washington, Grant Jones uses his skill of writing poetry to influence his connection between designs and conservation planning. He and his firm have a profound respect for and celebration of the nature and culture of place.

Five Design Forms

1) Living Places – Strive for architecture that springs out of living places. Their buildings are strong and unique and live in harmony with nature. Design to engender an increased appreciation and awareness of place.

2) Living Cultures – Embraces cultural histories and traditions of diverse peoples and work with our client communities in order to arrive at distinctive, genuine solutions expressive of their cultural heritage.

3) Green Infrastructure – Able to bring nature to communities. Transforms degraded landscapes into functioning natural assets. Examples include neighboring parks, open space networks to regional habitat corridors and greenways.

4) Landscape Aesthetics – Central work since 1970's. They strive to conserve the rare landscape treasures, the features that shape the regional identity.

5) Wildlife Immersions – Pioneer of landscape immersion in zoological exhibit design. Together have created a new paradigm based on ecological awareness as well as a deep respect for the dignity of wild animals.


1) Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center. Located in city of Bellevue, Washington on a hillside of big leaf maples and firs, overlooking Mercer Slough. It is also the largest remaining freshwater wetland in the state.

2) Seattle Chinese Garden. Jones & Jones works closely with designers form Changging Municipal Bureau of Parks and Greenery to ensure the garden components.

3) Cedar Lake Park and Trail. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Links residential neighborhoods to downtown and the Mississippi. Described as having a spirit about how to live in harmony with nature.

4) Paris Pike. Located in Lexington, Kentucky. Sparked the context sensitive design movement on account of on account of it being such a different approach to highway design. An approach based on the premise that the intrinsic natural landscape patterns found within the corridor could serve as a framework for addressing cultural, historic, scenic, natural, archaeological and recreational resources. It is one of the nation's most scenic roadways. The project recently received the prestigious 2003 Federal Highway Administration's Environmental Excellence Award.

It is lined with historic rock fences, springhouses, large trees, and picturesque horse farms, the route is a popular part of any tour of the Bluegrass landscape. The new Paris Pike fits the physical landscape form and blends seamlessly into the region's cultural context. The client openly stated that the final highway design developed by the landscape architect was significantly better than a design that would have been created by highway engineers.

5) Woodland Park Zoo, gorilla habitat design. It utilized the principals of geology, climate and vegetation of gorillas of West Africa. Referred to as the “classic” that started zoo revolution.


Grant Jones member of FASLA has also personally received the Honor Society of Sigma Lambda Alpha's distinguished member award, in recognition of outstanding scholarship in the profession of landscape architecture because of his continued high quality contributions to the scholarship of landscape architecture and the outstanding quality of design work that he has brought to the profession.

Jones & Jones has received more than 100 awards for its work, including the first ever Firm Award given by the ASLA, as well as awards given from such organizations as the Landscape Architecture Foundation, the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Architects, the Waterfront Center, the International Downtown Association, the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Federal Highway Administration.

Importance to landscape architecture

One of Jones most influential contribution to landscape architecture was starting the context sensitive design movement, which refers to an interdisciplinary approach to transportation needs and projects. CDS/CSS involves regional planning, site analysis, public relations, community facilitation, locally driven vision and goal setting, design, engineering, construction, and maintenance.


Grant Jones has been a guest lecturer at thirty-five Departments of Landscape Architecture in the US, Canada and Asia, Jones has held academic positions at the University of California-Berkeley, Harvard, the University of Oregon, the University of Virginia, Texas A&M University and the University of Washington. He was recently appointed Affiliate Professor in the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Washington.

External links

* [,1903,-3558-10759,00.html "Ball State University"]
* [ "Living Places: The Architecture and Landscape Architecture of Jones & Jones."]
* [ "Jones & Jones. Architects and Landscape Arcitects, LTD."]
* [ "Scholarship of Landscape Architecture."]
* [ "Washington e-News. Washington Chapter, American Society of Landscape Architects."]
* [ "LA-RCP. Departmental News."]
* [ "Paris Lexington Road. Paris to Lexington, Kentucky."]
* [ "Land Online."]


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