Robert C. Hoover, ASLA has over 35 years of professional experience in the practice of Landscape Architecture. As Founder and President of HBLA Inc., Rob specializes in designing evidence informed, therapeutic gardens for Senior Living, Alzheimer’s disease, Hospice and those most in need. He is published, taught numerous classes and has lectured throughout the country. Recognized nationally as a leader and pioneer in this field, he has personally designed over 100 built projects and his designs have received over 50 awards and or special recognition (as part of larger projects) including national publications and international exhibitions. Rob is also active in local town government serving one year Zoning Board of Appeals, five years Planning Board and three years School Committee. In 2014 he began his next five year term as Planning Board Chair.
In 1982 after four years of professional practice in Landscape Architecture, Rob crossed what he calls his first “professional threshold”. Enrolling in Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, he began his personal quest to answer the question, “I love what I do, but why?” At Harvard, he was introduced to environmental art by Professor Cherie Kluesing, the healing component of landscape by LOEB Fellow, Vince Healy and design excellence by the Landscape Architecture Chair, Laurie Olin. At graduation, in 1985 Rob was recognized by the American Society of Landscape Architects for Excellence in the Study of Landscape Architecture. In addition he was recognized by Harvard as one of three students in his class to graduate with the highest honor available, “Graduation with Distinction”. Upon graduation Rob relocated to Portland, Maine and in 1987 founded Studio L.A., his first Landscape Architecture firm. During this period he continued to explore design, nature and healing via public environmental art. In 1990 he was registered as a “Landscape Sculptor” with the Maine Arts Commission. In 1993 he was elected as a “Maine Touring Artist” and went on to win several, public art design competitions. In 1995, based on the questions his environmental art was asking, Rob crossed his second professional threshold when asked to design three gardens, one for each of the three phases of Alzheimer’s disease. Applying the philosophical approach he developed designing public art, that is, the professional responsibility and moral obligation to “get it right”, he researched, developed and published the first-of-its-kind, therapeutic landscape design theory / methodology for the complete spectrum of Alzheimer’s disease. The paper, “Healing Gardens and Alzheimer’s Disease”, was published in 1995 March / April issue of The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and remains to this day, remarkably relevant. The project, Sedgewood Commons, after winning numerous National awards, went on to be recognized by the International Community for its cutting edge work. In 1996 Rob relocated his work to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and in 2001 officially changed the office name to HBLA Inc. Based on his professional experience and pioneering efforts, in 2001 Rob was invited to participate in the establishment of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s flagship Healthcare Garden Design, Professional Development Certificate Program. This program remains the only advanced professional certificate of its kind in the country. In 2010 Utah State University honored Rob by inviting him to deliver one of their Keynote Lectures at their 11th Annual Landscape Conference. His lecture was titled, “East Meets West: The Art and Science of Therapeutic Gardens”. In 2015 and again in 2016 he presented his latest work, an hypothesis to explain how nature might heal the human condition, titled “Rest, Restore and Reconnect” or RRR as the closing lecture for the Chicago Botanic Gardens Healthcare Design Program. Rob remains involved as faculty and program advisor to this day and is more committed than ever to studying and advocating for the healing, restorative powers of nature for our Elders, those with dementia, those at the end of life and those most in need.
Rob earned his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from University of Massachusetts and a second degree, a Master of Landscape Architecture, graduating with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is registered as a Landscape Architect in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania and with national CLARB.