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James Rose Center opens for 2012 season with a new exhibition

May 21, 2012

The James Rose Center in Ridgewood, NJ is again open for visitors and is presenting a new exhibition “Suburbia Transformed 2.0: Exploring the Aesthetics of Landscape Experience in the Age of Sustainability.” The Center is the magnum opus of maverick landscape designer James Rose (1913–1991). Along with Garrett Eckbo and Dan Kiley, Rose was one of the leaders of the Modern Movement in American landscape architecture. His rebellious nature caused one writer to refer to him as the “James Dean of landscape architecture.” His goal was the fusion of modern sculpture, architecture and landscape into a single unified place for living–“neither landscape nor architecture, but both.”

The house in Ridgewood was originally constructed in 1953. Rose called it a “tiny village,” as it combined three living spaces all connected by open landscaped courtyards: a house for his mother, a guesthouse for his sister and a studio for himself. While constructed in 1953 and published in Progressive Architecture in 1954, Rose never considered his work finished. He viewed good design as constantly evolving from one stage to the next “such as we commonly find in nature,” and thus the compound changed dramatically during the almost 40 years that Rose lived there. Today the James Rose Center serves as the headquarters of a nonprofit educational foundation, the mission of which is to improve the environment through research, education, preservation and design.

Visiting hours throughout the summer are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00am – 4:00pm. The site is about 15 minutes from the  GWB by car and less than a hour from NYC by train. For more background on James Rose and the Ridgewood site, as well as detailed directions, visit the Center’s website

James Rose Center, River of Hospitality mural, James Rose, 1953-1991, Ridgewood, NJ.
James Rose Center, roof garden.
James Rose Center, interior view. photos: K. Randall