American Society of Landscape Architects Announces 2016 Honors

Kurt Culbertson, FASLA, to receive ASLA Medal, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates wins Firm Award

Washington, D.C., June 28, 2016 – The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) today announced its 2016 honors recipients. Selected by ASLA’s Board of Trustees, the honors represent the highest awards ASLA presents each year. The honors will be presented at the president’s dinner on October 24, held during the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, October 21–24, in New Orleans.

2016 Honors

ASLA Medal: Kurt Culbertson, FASLA

Kurt Culbertson, FASLA, will receive the ASLA Medal, the Society’s highest award for a landscape architect. Culbertson, the CEO and chair of Design Workshop Inc.’s international practice, is a longtime leader in sustainable development, and communities from around the world have benefitted socially, economically and aesthetically from his projects. His skill at navigating difficult, but important projects to build broad consensus is clearly recognized by the profession through seven national ASLA awards and dozens of regional and state ASLA Awards. Culbertson has also served as a mentor to hundreds of landscape architects and demonstrated a lasting dedication to landscape architecture education.

View nominating and supporting materials. 

ASLA Design Medal: James Burnett, FASLA

James Burnett, FASLA, will receive the ASLA Design Medal in recognition of his exceptional design work. Burnett has consistently delivered graceful, human-scaled and sustainable built landscapes that yielded some of the most recognized and beloved urban environments worldwide. Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Sunnylands Center and Gardens in Rancho Mirage, California, and The Park at Lakeshore East in Chicago are just a few examples. Burnett founded The Office of James Burnett in 1989, which has become one of the most influential landscape architecture firms in the world and received the ASLA Firm Award in 2015.

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Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal: Chip Sullivan, ASLA

Chip Sullivan, ASLA, will receive the Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal for significant and sustained excellence in landscape architecture education. In his nearly 30-year career in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at the University of California at Berkeley, Sullivan has inspired thousands of students with his iconic publications, exceptional instructional methods and overwhelming belief in the power of landscape architecture to create positive change in the world.

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LaGasse Medal – Landscape Professional: Mia Lehrer, FASLA

Mia Lehrer, FASLA, will receive the LaGasse Medal for contributions to the management and conservation of natural resources and public landscapes. Lehrer, the founding principal of the Los Angeles firm Mia Lehrer + Associates, has focused her work on public and private-sector projects including complex mixed-use development projects, urban revitalization initiatives and neighborhood and regional parks. As a designer, she has applied landscape and urban design innovation and technical expertise on complex design/build infrastructure projects. Lehrer also plays a significant leadership role in outreach and consensus building, including for the Los Angeles River revitalization.       

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Olmsted Medal: The Honorable Michael Nutter, Former Mayor of Philadelphia

The Honorable Michael Nutter will receive the Olmsted Medal, which recognizes individuals, organizations, agencies or programs outside the profession of landscape architecture for environmental leadership, vision and stewardship. Mayor Nutter has championed and supported several pivotal initiatives that will shape Philadelphia’s designed and natural landscapes for decades: Greenworks (sustainability), Green2015 (open space), Green City, Clean Waters (stormwater management) and Philadelphia2035 (comprehensive plan). Since ending his term in early 2016, Mayor Nutter continues to advocate for thoughtful, inclusive and well-designed public spaces and meaningful and impactful environmental and planning policies.

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Medal of Excellence: National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS) will receive the Landscape Architecture Medal of Excellence. The award recognizes significant contributions to landscape architecture policy, research, education, project planning and design, or a combination of these items. Landscape architects have a deep connection to the NPS, and ASLA members were instrumental in the passage of the National Park Service Organic Act, which established the NPS in 1916. Today, iconic parks and recreational spaces cover 84 million acres of land for the public’s enjoyment. The NPS Centennial is a perfect opportunity to recognize the agency’s service to preserve America’s natural and cultural resources, while inspiring the next generation of park stewards to experience and value public lands.

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The Landscape Architecture Firm Award: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) will receive the Landscape Architecture Firm Award, the highest honor ASLA may bestow upon a landscape architecture firm in recognition of distinguished work that influences the profession. Michael Van Valkenburgh, FASLA, opened MVVA in 1982, and the firm continues to impact the ongoing urban renaissance being experienced across the country. The firm’s projects include many award-winning parks, campuses, residences and urban spaces, including the celebrated Maggie Daley Park and the 606 in Chicago, the G.W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Teardrop Park in New York City and the green roof on ASLA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

View nominating and supporting materials.

Community Service Award – Individual: Martin Barry, reSite

Martin Barry will receive the Community Service Award for providing sustained, pro bono service demonstrating the sound principles or values of landscape architecture. As an urban design advocate, Barry founded reSITE in the Czech Republic while he was a Fulbright Scholar teaching landscape architecture and urbanism in Prague in 2011-2012. reSITE is a collaborative platform to exchange ideas about livable, resilient and competitive cities. Martin continues as the director of reSITE as it heads into its fifth year of successful programming, with its impact reaching around the globe.

View nominating and supporting materials.

Community Service Award – Organization: Design Jones LLC

Design Jones LLC will receive the Community Service Award for providing sustained, pro bono service demonstrating the sound principles or values of landscape architecture. The firm’s principals, Diane Jones, ASLA, and Austin Allen, associate professor of landscape architecture at Louisiana State University, address projects predominantly in urban areas with a focus on New Orleans, Key West, St. Louis, Baltimore and Cleveland. The two landscape architects have pushed community service far beyond any single locale or region and have helped to foster diverse communities near and far.

View nominating and supporting materials.

2016 Honorary Members

Honorary membership is among the highest honors ASLA may bestow upon non-landscape architects in recognition of notable service to the profession. Since its inception in 1899, ASLA has inducted only 207 honorary members.

Carlton S. Abbott, Carlton Abbott and Partners

Architect Carlton Abbott has made significant contributions to and supported the practice of landscape architecture, landscape architects and the Virginia ASLA Chapter over his nearly 60 years of professional practice in Virginia. Abbot’s association with the landscape architecture profession began at birth as the son of prominent landscape architect Stanley Abbott, perhaps best known as the designer of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Over the course of his practice, Carlton Abbott led the development of plans and designs for many of the museums, historic sites, campuses, and transportation systems serving Virginians and visitors to the Commonwealth.

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James Barker, Clemson University

James Barker has always valued a sense of place and has continually promoted and valued the profession of landscape architecture due to his decades of work as an architect and as president of Clemson University from 1999 to 2013. As Clemson’s former dean of the College of Art, Architecture and Humanities, Barker led the creation of South Carolina’s sole bachelor of landscape architecture program with graduates now spread throughout the country. Clemson’s master of landscape architecture program also became established during Barker’s tenure as president.

View nominating and supporting materials.

R. Wayne Drummond, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Wayne Drummond, emeritus dean of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Architecture, knows and understands the profession of landscape architecture. From his days as an architecture faculty member at the University of Florida he has embraced the idea and practice of inclusive, inter-disciplinary design. His advocacy for landscape architecture has been reflected in his mentorship of faculty, in his personal commitment to students, and in his energetic engagement of other colleges and administrators to develop mutual support and guidance for the difficult process of starting a new academic program in landscape architecture at the University of Nebraska.

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