Sasaki is pleased to announce that Michael Grove, Principal and Chair of Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Ecology, will be elevated to Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). This designation is a significant honor within the landscape architecture profession, and Grove joins a total of just 1,289 Fellows elected since the founding of the ASLA in 1899.
Grove has spent his entire 22 year career at Sasaki. He has expanded the firm’s footprint with his focus on growing Sasaki’s global presence and reputation, spearheaded the opening of the firm’s Shanghai office, and amplified the landscape architecture profession’s influence and reach by welcoming new voices and encouraging progressive change.
Sasaki principal Tao Zhang, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP ND, SITES AP, who has also been instrumental in growing Sasaki’s international reach, says of Grove, “Michael is the kind of partner that you always feel safe and excited to bounce ideas off of. He is never judgmental or short-tempered in a profession that can be stressful and intense. He sees talent and potential in people, and wholeheartedly nurtures it. His egalitarian beliefs manifest in his daily work and his many initiatives at Sasaki and beyond. He truly embodies the collaborative spirit at Sasaki.
“As a great storyteller, writer, and thinker, Michael can conceive compelling big picture ideas very quickly at the beginning of a project, and articulate the final design in such an eloquent way that academics and laypeople can equally appreciate it. This is why he is a sought-after speaker around the world.”
“Michael’s energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to design and social responsibility has inspired and led the LAF Board of Directors to take key actions towards diversity, equity and inclusion, climate change, and working more upstream on regional and urban design projects to increase the impact of the profession,” says Barbara Deutsch, FASLA and Chief Executive Officer Landscape Architecture Foundation. “He proactively continues these conversations in his practice and to a global audience, making him not only a talented designer, but a transformative leader.”
ASLA Fellowship recognizes those whose contributions illustrate a mastery of the art, stewardship, and social responsibility of landscape architects. For Grove, this honor is a significant milestone in his career, and an affirmation of his passion for landscape architecture that began in childhood. “I’m still shocked that the joy of buildings islands, waterfalls, and miniature cities while playing in a nearby creek as a kid has translated into a career that has presented me with so many extraordinary opportunities,” says Grove. “This recognition is incredibly humbling, and the amount of gratitude I have for the professors who inspired me, the family and friends who supported me, the mentors who guided me, the clients who trusted me, and the talented professionals at Sasaki who I have the privilege of working with every day is infinite.”
Grove was nominated by the Boston Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. An excerpt of his nomination illuminates how he has led by example, delivering ecologically ambitious projects, bolstering the role of landscape architects in urban design, and stewarding a more inclusive and progressive culture within the profession that paves the way for new leaders to emerge:
“In over two decades of professional practice, Michael Grove has been a forceful advocate for expanding the role and scope of landscape architects. Working across the full spectrum of landscape architecture from master planning through construction, he has led award-winning projects and has created frameworks that have enabled other landscape architects and allied designers to implement transformative projects. Michael has concentrated his career in Asia where, because of its rapid urbanization and vulnerability to climate change, he believes landscape architects can make significant contributions to the environment and humanity.
With a degree in landscape architecture from Cornell University, Michael began his career at Sasaki in 1998 where he became the youngest partner in the history of the firm in 2007, and currently serves as the firm’s Chair of Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Ecology. His leadership resulted in a significant expansion of the firm’s global presence, positioning landscape architects as the prime consultant for complex projects at all scales ranging from regional plans and cultural districts to urban waterfronts and public parks. In 2012, Sasaki opened its first international office in Shanghai. Spearheaded by Michael, this strategic move allowed the firm to expand into a part of the world that was experiencing a dramatic shift in its urban environment. Under his leadership, Sasaki’s work in China includes some of the most celebrated places in the country. His ability to reveal cultural nuance is evident in award-winning designs including the 798 Arts District and Shanghai’s Jiading Park. Since then, Michael has led projects in fifteen countries spanning three continents, often introducing private clients and government agencies for the first time to the valuable perspective and proficiency of landscape architecture as a distinct profession. Michael’s work is distinguished by a landscape-centric urban design approach that prioritizes placemaking in the public realm, measurable ecological outcomes, and the importance of the human experience, helping to magnify the professional agency of landscape architects. In what he refers to as “upstream urbanism,” Michael positions landscape architects to provide significant input into policy decisions and regulatory processes, ensuring that ecological considerations and decisions impacting the public realm are measured equally alongside traditional planning metrics like transportation and land value.”
Sasaki joins the ASLA in congratulating Michael Grove on a well-deserved recognition of his design leadership in stewarding healthier environments around the globe, and cultivating conditions for others in the profession to grow, evolve, and thrive.