Over nearly six decades of practice, Robert Royston (1918–2008) shaped the postwar Bay Area landscape with visionary designs for public spaces. Early in his career, Royston conceived of the "landscape matrix," a system of interconnected parks, plazas, and parkways that he hoped could bring order and amenity to rapidly developing suburbs. The idea would inform his work on more than two thousand projects as diverse as school grounds, new towns, transit corridors, and housing tracts.
As an apprentice of Thomas Church, Royston gained experience with residential gardens that influenced his early designs for public parks. At a time when neighborhood parks were typically limited to playing fields and stock playground equipment, Royston created imaginative facilities for the American family, offering activities for people of all ages.
Royston, Hanamoto & Mayes, founded in 1958, grew to become one of the nation's most influential corporate firms. With his collaborative approach, Royston designed landscapes that set a high standard of inclusivity and environmental awareness. In addition to the many beloved places he created, his perceptive humanism, which passed down to his students, is Royston's enduring legacy.