Our firm’s founders Kim and Gary Hawkins started their practice in Nashville, Tennessee in 1986 because they wanted to practice landscape architecture to improve the community, cultivating connections through the power of accessible public space. We approach every project as an opportunity for civic improvement, aiming to redefine the way land is used; to impose design into even the passive, forgotten, interstitial spaces of a city; and to conserve and re-green large swaths of urban tracts. These ideas continue to drive our work, much of it in Nashville but with projects throughout the South.
The architects, engineers and clients we work with tend to be struck by our love of intense collaboration; this is true of our in-house teams even as it extends to the larger teams who are always part of coordinating complex projects. Within our office, it appears as a notable lack of competitiveness between designers, which allows every person at Hawkins Partners to learn from each other.
As a close-knit group of designer citizens who work together, we are committed to a just, sustainable future. In an early act of moral leadership, when Kim first invited members onto the Board of the Nashville Civic Design Center, she looked beyond the city elders, insisting that the board reflect the people who live there.
We consider local knowledge and community engagement to be core assets even as we encourage curiosity, exploration and lifelong learning. These are not just catchwords at Hawkins Partners—we go together, once a year, to other cities, where we tour buildings and open spaces. We learn how people in other places solve problems, use or conserve resources, and interact with their communities. The trips serve us personally and professionally as we adopt new methods and best practices in landscape architecture, urban design and master planning.
Our designs strengthen the relationships between cultural, social and natural systems in existing conditions; every solution respects the inherent qualities of its site and shows an understanding of the natural and cultural processes that inform it. Especially in dense urban areas, we work to integrate systems that improve human health and wellness, and create life-supporting, positive effects. We seek to mitigate the impact of development, promoting green infrastructure to enhance storm water quality, look to native plantings, investigate new applications for recycled materials and develop protection and preservation strategies for sensitive ecosystems.
Hawkins Partners has been intimately involved with our communities for over thirty years. Through active participation we have succeeded in garnering broad public support for our projects. We know that success begins with public input; we welcome citizens’ engagement in local planning, and we consistently pursue innovative outreach strategies. Once a project gains approval, in any city, we plan and shape the best possible visions for physical, economic and social development of sites at every scale.
As Hawkins Partners grew into the respected, award-winning firm it is now, the professional commitments—and personal ethics and values—that Kim and Gary imbued into their process have become cultural touchstones as we continue to make places that connect and support our community. Our ethos continues to be grounded in the belief that well-designed spaces improve the lives of the people who use them.
"Shelby Bottoms, Nashville"
Entry Level Designer
Entry Level Designer
Director of Finance and Administration | Partner
Senior Landscape Architect