William A. and Joyce M. Rutherford Landscape and Architectural Plans and Drawings for Storm King Art Center

Record Group, 2018-001
Date(s) creation
1962 – 2003
Nearly 400 landscape plans and architectural drawings on paper
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.
Conditions Governing Reproduction
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Storm King Art Center Archives and the copyright holder.
Scope and Content
Dating from 1962-2003 and numbering nearly 400, the William and Joyce Rutherford collection of landscape plans and architectural drawings includes master plans, details for sculpture areas, Museum Building projects, residential renovations, road and pathway planning, and large-scale landscape designs.

Born in 1917 in Greenwich, CT, William A. Rutherford served as a Navy Seabee in World War II and studied landscape architecture at Columbia University. With his wife, architect Joyce M. Rutherford (b.1923), he established Rutherford Architects & Landscape Architects based in Old Greenwich, CT in 1946.

Involved with Storm King Art Center since its inception in the early 1960s, both Bill and Joyce left their distinct marks on its landscape and buildings. After addressing environmental damage caused by the construction of the New York State Thruway in 1954, Bill worked closely with Founder Ralph E. Ogden, Founding President H. Peter Stern, and Director and Chief Curator David Collens to craft a special outdoor setting in which to experience large-scale sculpture. The landscape of the Art Center evolved as the permanent art collection grew to include works by David Smith, Alexander Calder, Mark di Suvero, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Richard Serra, Andy Goldsworthy, Roy Lichtenstein, and Isamu Noguchi.

Bill’s approach to landscaping emphasized the beauty of trees and plantings within a composed yet natural setting, which underlay his signature “Rutherford Curve” style. He was instrumental in establishing the site’s “Creative Farming” project with consulting landscape architect Darrel Morrison, in which 100 acres of native grasses and meadows were planted to contrast with areas of mown turf. Underscoring the inherent natural beauty of the region, the Art Center’s design is a subtle pastoral landscape, including vistas, hills, meadows, ponds, stands of trees, allées, and walking paths, scaled to embrace both small- and large-scale works of art.

Joyce (BA Architecture, University of California, Berkeley, 1944) designed and renovated many Storm King structures, including Townsend House, the Visitor Center, the galleries, and the administrative spaces. In addition, the Rutherfords’ son, architect John Rutherford, collaborated with engineer Malcolm Pirnie on the site’s elevator building.

The Rutherfords worked with Storm King’s landscape and buildings until the early 2000s. Bill Rutherford died in Danville, CA in 2005. Joyce was interviewed for Storm King Art Center’s Oral History Project in 2018.