WASHINGTON, DC, April 23, 2003—Family members, friends, former pupils, and professional colleagues gathered yesterday to dedicate a tree on the Capitol Grounds in memory of Ian McHarg, FASLA, the late landscape architect, author, and teacher. One of the founders of Earth Day, he is the first landscape architect ever accorded this honor.
The tree, a Cornus florida (white flowering dogwood), was planted between the Cannon and Longworth House Office Buildings on New Jersey Avenue, SE. Carol S. McHarg, ASLA, attended the ceremony honoring her late husband, accompanied by their sons and relatives.
“Given events of the past two years, now is the right moment in history to step back and reevaluate our environmental ethic,” said McHarg. “The strength and power of our country depends on our environment.”
New Jersey Representative Robert E. Andrews made the recommendation that McHarg be honored with a living memorial on Capitol Hill. “An exemplary teacher, philosopher, designer, and environmentalist, Ian McHarg helped change the way we view and shape our environment,” said Andrews. “He developed and taught a holistic method of ecological planning that has made possible a crucial change in the way environmental decisions are made. His book, Design with Nature, continues to be the most influential book on environmental design today.”
Architect of the Capitol Alan M. Hantman, FAIA, said, “Today’s ceremony is timely, for we honor Ian on the thirty-third anniversary of Earth Day, an annual event that he was instrumental in coordinating.” He added, “As an architect, I am proud to recognize not only Ian McHarg, but the landscape architecture profession. I could not effectively do my job without the collaborative efforts of landscape architects.”
“I can’t think of a finer tribute to Ian McHarg’s legacy than a beautiful tree on Capitol Hill where our nation’s lawmakers will walk by it on their way to make decisions that affect our environment,” said Paul F. Morris, FASLA, president of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). “May it remind us all to be good stewards of our environmental heritage and inspire us to protect it for future generations.”
McHarg was born in Scotland on November 20, 1920. He was the founder of the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department at the University of Pennsylvania and is remembered for introducing environmental concerns into the practice of landscape architecture. A graduate of Harvard University, he received countless awards and medals throughout his career, including the National Medal of the Arts and the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Medal. He hosted the CBS television series, The House We Live In, from 1960-61, interviewing major public figures of the day. His books, Design with Nature, A Quest for Life,
The Once and Future Forest, and To Heal the Earth, continue to inspire new generations of landscape architects, allied design professionals, and environmental activists. He remained active as a professor and planner long after his contemporaries retired, receiving the prestigious Japan Prize in 2000. McHarg passed away March 5, 2001, in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 13,500 members nationwide. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation, and rehabilitation. ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship.