Author: Photographs by Marion Brenner

A dynamic landscape in which hardscaping and softscaping intersect artfully frames the modernist structure.

Marion Brenner's new book, In and Out of Paris: Gardens of Secret Delights explores the hidden green oases in the City of Light.

Any urban garden is intrinsically surreal, but for his extraordinary 8th arrondissement eighteenth-century garret, American architect Michael Herrman chose architect Le Corbusier’s odd 1929 Champs-Élysées penthouse and rooftop terrace for eccentric bon vivant Charles de Beistegui as a model of “Modern minimalism balanced with the playful extravagance of Surrealism.”

Eight years ago, when Flora Grubb moved her namesake nursery from the Mission to outer Dogpatch/Bayview, the decision elicited some bewilderment. How times have changed. With its expansive indoor and outdoor spaces, ample parking and the development of the Third Street Light Rail—along with its sunny and mild climate—the southeastern part of the city has bloomed into an emerging Garden District.

Any urban garden is intrinsically surreal, but for his extraordinary 8th arrondissement eighteenth-century garret, American architect Michael Herrman chose architect Le Corbusier’s odd 1929 Champs-Élysées penthouse and rooftop terrace for eccentric bon vivant Charles de Beistegui as a model of “Modern minimalism balanced with the playful extravagance of Surrealism.”

Landscape architect Walter Hood, principal of Oakland-based Hood Design, is a Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award winner, a fellow of the American Academy in Rome and former Chair of Landscape Architecture at the University of California, where he is currently a professor. Hood, who is also working on landscapes for a range of institutions—from the nonprofit Kapor Center in Oakland to the Cooper Hewitt in New York to the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, spoke to SFC&G about a more modest, but no less artful, project in Telegraph Hill that features his signature orchestration of conceptualism, landscape and habitation.

There’s a historical complexity that underlies Andrea Cochran’s cool modernism. “When I was in my twenties, I toured the Villa Giulia outside of Rome,” says Cochran, “and the principles of its Renaissance garden—beauty derived from order; visual enticements guiding the eye from one space to another; discovery; the notion of surprise—have been foundational to the work I’ve done ever since.”

Listen closely at break of day, and you might just hear a collective “Om” as thousands of yogis greet the sun. The Bay Area’s tradition of finding balance in Eastern practices is a vital one, and, rising like a materialized mantra over the Sonoma hills, a recent Aidlin Darling Design project—a private retreat featuring a yoga pavilion—is its latest manifestation.