TCLF Launches International Landscape Architecture Prize

John Hill
13. August 2019
Portland Open Space Sequence, Ira Keller Forecourt Fountain in Portland, Oregon, USA, designed by Lawrence Halprin with Angela Danadjieva, 1970. (Photo © Jeremy Bittermann, courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation)

The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) has announced a new biennial international landscape architecture prize that will confer a $100,000 USD award on "a living practitioner, collaborative or team for their creative, courageous, and visionary work in the field of landscape architecture."

TCLF, the Washington, DC-based non-profit founded by Charles A. Birnbaum in 1998 with a mission of "connecting people to places," has high hopes for the international prize. Per TCLF's website, today's announcement is the start of a campaign to (our emphasis) "establish the import and renown of the Prize on par with the Pritzker Prize in architecture, the Nasher Prize in sculpture, and other internationally prestigious, influential, and desirable prizes and awards." The inaugural prize will be awarded in 2021.

The $100,000 award, which matches the dollar amount of the Pritzer Architecture Prize, is being made possible by a $1 million donation made by TCLF board member Joan Shafran and her husband, Rob Haimes. Cumulative donations of other board members helped reach the minimum threshold of $4.5 million needed to provide the $100,000 biennial award.

TCLF will administer the prize but is not alone in doing so. It created a Prize Advisory Committee last year "to provide critical guidance in developing the framework of the prize and the parameters of the nominee selection and jury process." The committee is chaired by professor of landscape architecture Elizabeth K. Meyer and includes a number of well-known landscape architects: Adriaan Geuze (WEST8), Gary Hilderbrand (Reed Hilderbrand), Laure Olin (OLIN Partnership), and Kate Orff (SCAPE). These members will not be eligible for the inaugural prize but will be in future iterations.

The prize will become the fourth of TCLF's core programming initiatives, joining the "What’s Out There" database and guides, the "Pioneers of American Landscape Design" publications and oral histories, and the "Landslide" preservation efforts. In addition to the $100,000 award, the international landscape architecture prize will feature two years worth of "related public engagement activities that will raise the visibility of the honoree’s work and of landscape architecture more broadly."

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