Gail Wittwer-Laird

Principal, Director of Starr Whitehouse Hudson


Ms. Wittwer-Laird has over 20 years of experience designing the public realm. Working as an industrial designer in Milan alongside Ettore Sottsass early on in her career, Gail executed designs for companies such as Alessi, Artemide and Knoll, and oversaw the custom fabrication of limited edition furniture for private clients and galleries.

Gail’s 18-year tenure with New York City Parks began in 1997 as the Landscape Architect and Deputy Administrator for Riverside Park, followed by Director of Greenstreets in the Division of Forestry from 1999 to 2002, Senior Designer for Capital Projects from 2002 to 2010, and Design Director for Staten Island Capital projects from 2011 to 2016, during which time she helped facilitate early construction phases in the reclamation of Freshkills Park.

Ms. Wittwer-Laird is an award-winning designer whose built projects in New York City include the Irish Hunger Memorial (2001) a collaboration with Artist Brian Tolle and 1100 Architects for the Battery Park City Authority, CaVaLa aka Albert Capsuto Park (2007), which received an award for excellence in design from the Public Design Commission, the renovation of Bleecker Street Sitting (2012) which received an 2012 Village Award from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and in 2016 an award for excellence in design from the Public Design Commission for Van Pelt Plaza, a joint project of NYCDOT and NYC Parks. In 2004, together with architect Aaron MacDonald and Philip Johnson, she renovated the courtyard for the Morningside House Senior Center in the Bronx.

A native of Northern California, Gail received her Bachelors of Science in Landscape Architecture from the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo before migrating east to obtain a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. In 1996, she was chosen as a Fellow in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome. In the Summer of 1997 and 1998, Gail was an artist in residence at the Corporation of Yaddo in Saratoga Springs.

Representative Projects:

Park Design

Nissequogue River State Park Master Plan, Kings Park, NY
Public Square Historic Park Renovation, Hudson, NY
Charles Williams Park, Hudson NY
Teatown Lake Reservation Nature Center Landscape, Ossining, NY
Niagara Falls State Park Wayfinding, Niagara Falls, NY
Promenade Hill Park Universal Access and Plaza Redesign, Hudson, NY
Bronson Park Landscape Vision Plan, Hudson, NY
Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center, Jones Beach State Park, NY
Jones Beach West Games, Jones Beach State Park, NYBayard Cutting Arboretum
Visitor Center Plaza & Parking Expansion, Great River, NY
Manhattan Greenway Harlem River Waterfront Park Design, New York,
NYThompson Park Amphitheater Concept Plan, Watertown, NY
Thompson Park Master Plan, Watertown, NY (2 projects in Watertown)Scout
Park, Hamlin, NY
Crescent Beach Park Plan and Storm Resiliency, Staten Island, NY*
Bleecker Street Sitting Area Renovation, New York, NY*
Tompkins Square Park Playground, New York, NY*
Garden Parterre in Chaumont-sur-Loire, France
Crescent Beach Park, Staten Island, NY*
Van Name, Van Pelt Plaza, Staten Island, NY*
Freshkills East Park Restoration, Staten Island, NY*
Irish Hunger Memorial, New York, NY*
Peter Minuit Plaza, New York, NY*
CaVaLa (Albert Capsouto Park), New York, NY*

Streets, Public Realm, and Infrastructure

Tibbetts Brook Daylighting, Bronx, NY
Empire State Trail Design Guidelines, NYS/Hudson
Empire State Trail Gateways (Buffalo, Tonawanda, Lockport, Syracuse, Manhattan)
Brooklyn Bridge Esplanade, New York, NY
Hudson North Bay Trail Connector, Hudson, NY
Greenstreets Design Citywide, New York, NY*
Hudson River Valley Greenway Bronx Link Study, Bronx, NY*

Large Scale Site Plans + Housing

Phipps Apex Place, Affordable Housing, Queens, NY
StuyTown Fitness Park and Play Areas, New York, NY
Millbrook Senior Housing Center Terrace and Gardens, Bronx, NY
Story Avenue Apartments, Bronx, NY
Compass Residences Affordable Housing, Bronx, NY
Phipps Lambert Houses, Bronx, NY
Morningside House Senior Center Courtyard Renovation, Bronx, NY*
Cooke-Levy Residential Garden, Riverdale, NY*
Klein Residential Garden, Riverdale, NY*
Morrison-Golden Residential Garden, Rhinebeck, NY*

* Work completed prior to joining Starr Whitehouse