Letter from the President
Gary D. Scott, FASLA
Landscape architects are the only professionals trained to design in harmony with the natural elements that surround us. We design to conserve and protect these resources as well as to bring humans in closer contact with them in their daily lives. People’s physical and mental health requires this connection with the natural world. The artful use of these elements in safe, functional, and beautiful ways forms the heart of our practice and makes us unique among the design professions.
Last November, I convened the Annual Meeting Education Advisory Committee, made up of 19 professional leaders whose work I greatly admire. We crafted programming around our theme to challenge and inspire the more than 6,000 attendees who will gather in September in Washington, D.C., for our Annual Meeting.
No city in the United States better exemplifies the values and sophisticated craft of our profession than our capital. Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a French-born aide to President George Washington, planned this city in the late 18th century. The District has matured into one of the most cosmopolitan capitals in the world, in large part due to the contributions of many landscape architects, both in the private and public sectors. Since Andrew Jackson Downing laid out the Smithsonian Institution grounds in 1850, the region has been a laboratory for the best that landscape architecture has to offer. Frederick Law Olmsted designed the grounds of the United States Capitol and the National Zoo. His work heavily influenced the 1901 MacMillan Commission’s neoclassical designs that are so synonymous with the city today.
His son, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., one of the founding members of
our Society who served two terms as its president, played a stronger role in shaping our nation’s capital than any other single person. He influenced the development of the city not only as a member of the MacMillan and the Fine Arts Commissions, but also through his planning and design of the White House grounds, Rock Creek Park, the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the Jefferson Memorial, and many other local projects.
Meeting in our nation’s capital offers us the chance to highlight the work of our public practitioner colleagues. A number of federal agencies have organized tours, field sessions, and education sessions, providing vital information about federal projects, programs, and procurement.
Join us in Washington, D.C., to reconnect with the fundamental elements of design and the fellowship of our profession.
Gary D. Scott, FASLA
West Des Moines, IA