John Wong SWA Chairman and Managing Principal, Sausalito

“Collaboration is key. Stay open to suggestions and design ideas from all the project's players — clients, architects, artists, engineers — and let the best idea move forward.”

Since joining SWA in 1976, John has directed an array of projects, from the design and crafting of small gardens to the large-scale planning and design of neighborhoods, towns, and new communities. He has extensive experience in North America, the Middle East, and Asia—particularly in Japan, Korea, and China. Over the past two decades, John has led more than 150 campus improvement projects at Stanford University, including the award-winning DAPER Master Plan and the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts. He and his teams have designed the groundscapes for 12 of the 100 tallest buildings in the world.

John also became a principal at SWA/Balsley in New York City, in December of 2016.

Inspired By

Great design, in whatever form: the French gardens of LeNotre; 15th- and 16th-century Italian gardens; 20th-century Minimalist artists (Richard Long, Sol Lewitt, Donald Judd); Japanese Zen gardens.


Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture with Honors, UC Berkeley

Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture, American Academy in Rome

Design philosophy

Collaboration is key. Stay open to suggestions and design ideas from all the project's players—clients, architects, artists, engineers—and let the best idea move forward.

Affiliations & Registrations

Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects

Institute of Urban Design

American Academy in Rome

Member, Urban Land Institute

Selected Awards

Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), Best Tall Building Worldwide: Shanghai Tower (2016)

Center for Active Design (CAD), Award of Excellence: Guthrie Green (2015)

ULI Urban Open Space Finalist: Guthrie Green (2014)

ASLA NorCal Chapter, Merit Award, UC Davis West Village (2013)

WAN, Best Urban Design, Guthrie Green (2013)