TV designer dubs Martha Schwartz a 'prima donna'

Cracknell director Phil Heaton has slated US landscape architect Martha Schwartz for having a complete disregard for community sensibilities in her designs.

Phil Heaton accused Martha Schwartz of being a ‘prima donna’ - photo: HW
Phil Heaton accused Martha Schwartz of being a ‘prima donna’ - photo: HW

The pair appeared in television show the Big Town Plan, in which Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud followed a community-led scheme in the former mining town of Castleford in Yorkshire.

As part of the show Heaton created a community park while Schwartz designed a £1million ‘village green’ for New Fryston, on the outskirts of Castleford, funded by English Partnerships.

“Martha Schwartz is a wonderful designer but a bit of a prima donna,” said Heaton, a CABE enabler.

“It is good to have these figureheads in landscape architecture but she doesn’t care about communities.”

Residents facing the space have even nicknamed the sculpture Schwartz placed in the centre of the green ‘Martha’s Finger’ following dissent over her plans and ways of working.

“Designers need to listen before trying to impose ideas and that is where Martha Schwartz went wrong,” added Heaton.

“But I don’t think she really cared in the first place whether the community liked it.”

Read the full interview  in the Horticulture Week magazine on 11 September.


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