George Patton, a landscape architect known for his collaborations with important twentieth-century Philadelphia architects and for his independent designs, was born in Franklin, NC, in the rural western portion of the state. In a reminiscence that indicates his early interest in botany, he recalled the region where he was raised as the "most wonderful place for a landscape architect to grow up, because it has the greatest variety of plants of anywhere in the United States" (Thomas Hine, "George Erwin Patton, a Master of Landscape Architecture," Philadelphia Inquirer
7 March 1991). He began his training at North Carolina State University in Raleigh in the early 1940s. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943 before completing his degree, serving as an artist, cartographer, and model maker. After the close of the war, he traveled to Hollywood, where he worked as a film set decorator and designer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer before returning to North Carolina to complete his studies.
Patton earned his B.A. in Landscape Architecture in 1948. He won a prestigious two-year fellowship at the American Academy in Rome his senior year, and then a Fulbright fellowship that ran concurrently with the second year of this prize. While in Rome, he came to know Louis I. Kahn during Kahn's pivotal three-month stay in 1951 as Resident Architect at the Academy. Patton and Kahn traveled together to Egypt and Greece.
Patton entered the office of Pittsburgh landscape architects Simonds & Simonds in 1951 after his return from Rome, and remained there until 1954, when he established his own practice in Philadelphia. In addition to Kahn, with whom he worked on such signal projects as the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, TX, Patton's prominent architect collaborators included, among others, Venturi & Rauch, Mitchell/Giurgola, Carroll, Grisdale & Van Alen, and Bower, Lewis, Thrower.
Patton was a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects; he served as that organization's third Vice-President in 1965-7, and then its first Vice-President in 1967-9. He also chaired the publication board of Landscape Architecture between 1975 and 1980. Patton was a member of the Philadelphia Art Commission (1960-8), an advisor to the Eastern Regional Office of Housing and Urban Development (1968-9), and a member of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta. He taught landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Fine Arts from 1955 until 1974. He held a Professional Affiliate membership in the American Institute of Architects.