Insights on the Practice of Design


Insights on the Practice of Design


Bill Johnson


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The Lansing, Michigan-born Johnson studied landscape architecture at Michigan State University and graduated in 1953. Following his military service, he completed an M.L.A. at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). While in Cambridge, he worked for Hideo Sasaki and was an instructor at the GSD. Returning to the Midwest to practice, Johnson formed Johnson, Johnson and Roy (JJR) in 1961, a partnership with his brother Carl and friend Clarence Roy. A master plan for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor established the firm’s approach of integrated planning and analysis. The search for fitness, harmony, and community involvement became William Johnson’s core design philosophy and a trademark of JJR’s work. Throughout his career, Johnson blended practice, at JJR (1961-1975) and as William J. Johnson Associates (1980-1992), with his commitment to education. A professor of landscape architecture beginning in 1958, he served as dean of the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan from 1975 to 1983, and became Professor Emeritus in 1988. Johnson’s practice focused on campus, resort, and community planning, as well as parks and recreation projects. He formed a partnership with Peter Walker in 1992, which led to many national and international commissions. Johnson was named a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1973, awarded the ASLA Medal in 1986, and received the LAF Medal in 2020.


Utah State University

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Campus, Resort, Community Planning, Recreation Projects


Other Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning

Insights on the Practice of Design