(Washington, DC) – The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) will announce the 362 winners of the once-in-a-century Medallion Awards at 9:30 a.m. on June 29, 1999, at a press conference on the Lower West Terrace of United States Capitol Grounds. The Medallion program honors America’s places of the heart – landscapes that improve the quality of life in communities around the nation.
The Capitol Grounds, designed by the father of landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, will receive one of the Medallion Award plaques at this event. The hundreds of other outstanding landscapes being honored will receive similar plaques in ceremonial presentations by ASLA’s 47 chapters during the month of July.
"Famous examples of the work of landscape architects can be seen in places such as New York City’s Central Park, Virginia’s Monticello and San Francisco’s Pioneer Square. These landscapes have inspired communities, increased serenity, contributed to mental and physical health and given a unique character to our land. We want to recognize these national contributions, as well as significant local contributions by hundreds of landscapes all across America," said ASLA President Barry W. Starke, FASLA.
"The Capitol Grounds are a great historical example of the role special landscapes play in our country," said ASLA CEO Peter A. Kirsch. "We have chosen to recognize this site first to demonstrate the influence a landscape can have on our nation’s heart and soul."
The official presentation ceremony will begin promptly at 11:00 a.m. on the west lawn of the Capitol Grounds. Speakers expected to attend include landscape architect and Congressman Robert Weygand (D-RI) and J. Frederick Olmsted, a descendent of the Capitol Ground’s designer. The medallion plaque will be presented the Architect of the Capitol, Alan Hantman. The Landscape Architect of the Capitol, Mathew Evans will also be in attendance.
The Capitol Ground’s designer, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), is widely viewed as the most influential landscape architect in America, Olmsted gave our country its first public spaces where everyone -- rich and poor -- could enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature. He worked to create public parks and recreation areas that instilled a sense of community and provided a tranquil place to escape from the stress of city life. His design of New York City’s Central Park inspired a parks movement and city beautification trend that swept across the country. He was so successful in creating a naturalistic landscape that many people do not realize that Central Park is an early example of urban renewal -- built on the site of a shantytown.
The 362 Medallion plaques were donated to the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Second Century Campaign, as part of Canterbury International’s $100,000 pledge. Canterbury International is a California-based manufacturer of architectural furnishings owned by Larry and Laura Snyder.
The American Society of Landscape Architects, founded one hundred years ago in 1899, represents more than 13,000 members nationwide. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation. Typical projects include site design and planning, town and urban planning, regional planning, preparation of environmental impact plans, garden design, historic preservation, and parks/recreation design and planning. Landscape architects hold undergraduate or graduate degrees. They are licensed to practice in 46 states and are required to pass a rigorous national three-day examination.