Janis Hall Studio   Landscape + Architecture   526 West 26th Street, Studio 820   New York, NY 10001   212 920.9351        View Cantatrice Images

Jans Hall


A retired professional couple that had purchased a 51-acre derelict former dairy farm in Washington, Connecticut requested that their property be transformed into a gracious country estate. The program included significant grading as well as designing native planting plans for diverse ecological conditions and designing terraces, paths, drives and a water element.

The site, located beyond the historic town center, is characterized by rolling hills, old stone walls, meadows, woodlands, wetlands and distant mountain views. A key, problematic site element was a centrally situated, steeply sloping, eroded hillside near the main house that generated excessive silt runoff, endangering the viability of nearby wetlands, streams, ponds, native plants and wildlife. Its severe gradients were difficult for the clients to access, blocking their approach to other areas of the site, and it lacked the sensual, visual and ecological integrity that would make it inviting to them.

Working on site directing an excavation crew, Janis Hall carved the earth into forms reminiscent of the traces of ancient glaciers that once traversed the region and carved the terrain into a naturally dramatic topographic scene. Her sculptural reconfiguration of 7 acres of the hill ties into this context and now welcomes individuals to stroll amongst its undulations, where grade differentials range up to 10 feet. The work, planted with wild grasses, rejuvenates the soil and redirects water flow on the site, thereby saving the wetlands, streams, ponds and native habitats of wildlife from undue deterioration, while also replenishing an aquifer and contributing to the restoration of a larger watershed area.

Interested equally in ecology and poetics, Janis Hall sought to create a living work of art where the earth now engages with light, shadow, growth, change, decay and time.


Janis Hall is an environmental artist and architect whose focus is experimenting with convergences of art, architecture and nature.

Early in her career, she trained in the fields of sculpture, architecture and landscape architecture with Isamu Noguchi, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and A. E. Bye, respectively. She and A. E. Bye continued working together for 17 years, including over 14 years in the landscape partnership, A. E. Bye and Janis Hall. She received her Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University, after previous studies in art and architecture at the University of Cambridge, Dartmouth College and Mount Holyoke College.

She is principal of Janis Hall Studio Landscape + Architecture in New York. Her professional work has included commissions to design large-scale environmental artworks, sculpted earthworks, urban open spaces and landscape designs for a winery in California, a park and arboretum in Kentucky, campuses in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Missouri, as well as numerous residential landscapes and gardens throughout the United States.

She has taught Landscape Architectural Design and Theory at The Cooper Union, the University of Pennsylvania and Parsons School of Design. She has lectured extensively at universities and colleges including Cornell University, The University of California, Berkeley and Radcliffe College, as well as at The Royal Horticultural Society and The Society of Garden Designers in London, The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects in Canada and The Portland Museum of Art in Maine.

Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. It has been published in Newsweek, Progressive Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Landscape Journal, Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes, Connoisseur, The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent, among other periodicals, and in many books, including Making The Modern Garden (Moncelli Press), Grounds For Pleasure: 400 Years of American Garden Design (Harry N. Abrams), Radical Landscapes: Reinventing Outdoor Space (Thames & Hudson), Women Designers in the USA, 1900-2000 (Yale University Press), The Garden Book (Phaidon Press), The Minimalist Garden (Monacelli Press), Nature in Design (Conran Octopus), The Essential Garden Book (Conran Octopus), Abstracting The Landscape (The Pennsylvania State University) and Art Into Landscape, Landscape Into Art (PDA Publishers). Her projects have been featured in two BBC4 television series, Gardener's World and Dan Pearson: Routes Around the World.

Her work has been honored with a number of awards including a winning entry to the Young Architects Forum Competition from The Architectural League of New York, an Independent Projects Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, sponsored by The Cooper Union and a New York AIA Design Award from the American Institute of Architects, New York, for her project, Cantatrice.

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Digital Images © Janis Hall