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Landscape architecture is getting a major international prize

The new award hopes to raise awareness of the the importance of landscape architecture today

People mill about a series of squared concrete platforms hovering above water, which flows from a slanted waterfall in the background.
Portland Open Space Sequence, Ira Keller Forecourt Fountain, Portland, OR, 2016. Designed by Lawrence Halprin with Angela Danadjieva, 1970. 
Jeremy Bittermann, courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation

Architecture loves prizes. Yet, surprisingly there hasn’t been a major international award recognizing the field of landscape architecture—until now. The Cultural Landscape Foundation, a Washington D.C.-based organization that advocates for and educates the public on landscape architecture, recently announced that it’s establishing a new award called the International Landscape Architecture Prize, with an unprecedented $100,000 award for the winner.

The award will recognize a living practitioner of landscape architecture every other year, as chosen through an extensive nomination process and final selection by a five-person jury made up of prominent landscape architects, artists, educators, and designers. The goal, as TCLF explains it, is to raise the public awareness of the importance of landscape architecture. In addition to the monetary award, the organization will also be putting on public engagement activities to build visibility for the honoree’s work and the field as a whole, which goes well beyond designing parks and attractive backyard gardens.

“Landscape architecture is one of the most complex and, arguably, the least understood art forms. It challenges practitioners to be design innovators often while spanning the arts and sciences in addressing many of the most pressing social, environmental, and cultural issues in contemporary society,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF’s founder, president, and CEO.

The first International Landscape Architecture Prize will be awarded in 2021. Who would you like to see nominated?