Thomas Balsley, FASLA, founder and principal designer of a New York City-based, design firm, Thomas Balsley Associates, is best known for his fusion of landscape, urbanism, and environmental stewardship in our public realm for his deeply held belief that our parks are among society’s truest forms of democracy. With over 35 years of practice, he has built a national reputation for creating award-winning public spaces that enhance and enrich the lives of individuals and communities.
Mr. Balsley’s work often exists in the margins of the city, the industrial edges, the waterfronts and the scraps left over from the urban grid. It is in these spaces that he pushes the possibilities of landscape architecture to move beyond the romantic and the merely decorative. The result is innovative landscapes that have colonized the public and private realm throughout the US and abroad and attracted broader recognition with awards and publications. Mr. Balsley’s lectures and teaching have extended to around the world including Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, the University of Pennsylvania, the National Building Museum and Seoul National University.
In New York City alone, Mr. Balsley has completed more than 100 parks and plazas including Riverside Park South, Gantry Plaza State Park, Chelsea Waterside Park, Peggy Rockefeller Plaza and Capitol Plaza. His impact throughout the United States can be seen in new downtown waterfront parks in Main Street Garden in Dallas, West Shore Park at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Tampa, South Waterfront in Portland and Perk Park in Cleveland. Award –winning work abroad includes Osaka World Trade Center, Gate City in Tokyo, Leeum Museum and Busan Lotte Tower in Korea. Winning international design competitions include the Magok Waterfront and the National Ecological Center in Korea and Kasumi Plaza in Tokyo.
In the foreword to Mr. Balsley’s monograph, “The Urban Landscape,” New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp wrote: “Balsley creates ‘Society Portraits,’ not of aristocrats but of the crowds who will come to use them…”