ASLA 2005 Medals and Firm Award Recipients Selected

Jane Silverstein Ries of Colorado to receive ASLA Medal

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 31, 2005—The Board of Trustees of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has selected the recipients of the 2005 Medals and Landscape Architecture Firm Award, to be presented on October 10, 2005, during the ASLA Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Jane Silverstein Ries, FASLA , will receive the ASLA Medal -- the highest honor the ASLA may bestow upon a landscape architect—for her lifetime achievements and contributions to the profession, the welfare of the public, and the environment. In 1929, when women were expected to focus on more domestic concerns, Ms. Ries enrolled at the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture and became the first female landscape architect in the state of Colorado. She began her career in 1933 working for Denver landscape architect Irvin J. McCrary, but left six months later to start her own firm--a true pioneer. Throughout her career, which spanned some fifty-six years, Ms. Ries was the creative force behind civic improvement projects, including the Denver Botanical Gardens and the Denver Art Museum. Long before it was in vogue, she brought livability and stewardship to the design of small private estates and urban gardens. Ms. Ries has been a mentor and role model for women in the profession of landscape architecture, as well as an early advocate of sustainable design, esthetic green spaces, and raising the standards of urban life.

Laurie D. Olin, FASLA , will be awarded the ASLA Design Medal in honor of his exceptional accomplishments in design. A founder and principal of Olin Partnership, Ltd., in Philadelphia, Mr. Olin has created landscapes that succeed both as social spaces and environmental systems. His projects span the globe, from Bryant Park and Battery Park City in New York, to the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles, to new squares in London and commercial development in Barcelona. His work on national monuments, including Independence Historical Park in Philadelphia and the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., provide elegant proof that security design and good design are not mutually exclusive. Mr. Olin’s work demonstrates that design that provides functional accommodation, symbolic meaning, and esthetic richness can make timeless human environments.

SWA Group will receive the ASLA Landscape Architecture Firm Award . SWA Group is a collaborative practice of landscape architects, urban designers, and planners. The firm formerly known as Sasaki, Walker and Associates was established in 1957 in Watertown, Massachusetts, by legendary landscape architects Hideo Sasaki, FASLA, and Peter Walker, FASLA. The firm officially changed its name to SWA Group in the 1970s. For nearly 50 years, SWA Group has produced outstanding work receiving more than 460 awards for an array of types and scales of projects, from planning new communities and the revitalization of urban rivers, to the design of urban plazas and garden spaces for senior living. Today, the firm operates six offices located in Sausalito, San Francisco, Laguna Beach, Houston, Dallas, and Shanghai. Over the course of its history, SWA Group has developed an international reputation for its leadership and commitment to design excellence, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability.

Robert S. “Doc” Reich, PhD, FASLA , will receive the Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal for his sustained and significant contributions to landscape architecture education. Dr. Reich has inspired generations of practitioners through his teaching. He led the landscape architecture program at Louisiana State University from its inception in 1946 until retiring in 1983 and remains professor emeritus. He holds LSU’s highest teaching honor, Alumni Professor, and in 1992 received ASLA’s highest honor, the ASLA Medal. Several years ago, the Louisiana chapter of ASLA produced a film about Dr. Reich’s life. In it, when asked what he thought was his biggest contribution to the profession, he replied “developing a corps of disciples, who go out with the same philosophy and do great things…a lot greater than I’ve done.”

The LaGasse Medal in the Landscape Architect Category will be awarded to Steve D. Livingston, ASLA , for his leadership in management and conservancy of natural resources and public lands. For the past 26 years, Mr. Livingston has managed and conserved natural resources, parks, open space, and public lands in one of the most beautiful cities in the world--Charleston, South Carolina. As Director of the Department of Parks for the city, Mr. Livingston heads up a staff of 150 people who plan, design, construct, and maintain 1,200 acres of urban public facilities. He chairs Charleston’s Design Review Committee, reviewing and approving all public space and facility design. In addition to restoring and maintaining the city’s large existing park system, Mr. Livingston has led the development of several significant new projects, including the South Carolina Aquarium. The letter nominating Mr. Livingston for this award reads “the parks and open space in the city of Charleston and the city’s approach to preservation and revitalization are an example to the entire country.”

The LaGasse Medal in the Non-Landscape Architect Category will be presented to Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, Honorary ASLA. Ms. Rogers founded the Central Park Conservancy and served as its first president to bring citizen support to the restoration and renewed management of Central Park. A resident of New York since 1964, Ms. Rogers is the first person to hold the title Central Park Administrator. In 1996, she formed Cityscape Institute , a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting citizens and public officials in the improvement of public places. In April 2001, she initiated a new program in Garden History and Landscape Studies at Bard Graduate Center, sharing her commitment to protecting and promoting Central Park and other public spaces and landscapes.

The ASLA Medal of Excellence  will be awarded to The Regional Plan Association for its significant contributions to landscape architecture policy, research, education, project planning, and design. For more than 80 years, the Regional Plan Association has been shaping transportation systems, protecting open spaces, and promoting better community design for the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region’s continued growth. RPA’s first plan in 1929 provided the blueprint for the transportation, land use, and open spaces leading to the George Washington and Verrazano Narrows Bridges, JFK Airport, the Merritt Parkway, the Long Island State and Palisades Interstate Parks systems, and state parks along the south shore of Long Island and the Hudson Highlands. RPA also successfully pushed for New Jersey’s brownfields legislation and through its leadership of the Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York , emphasized the need to create environmentally sustainable architecture and landscape design at the World Trade Center site.

The Olmsted Medal is awarded to individuals, organizations, agencies, or programs outside the profession of landscape architecture for environmental leadership, vision, and stewardship.

For the first time since 1990, the ASLA will recognize two exceptional individuals with Olmsted Medals:

Charles E. Beveridge, PhD,

Charles Eliot Beveridge, PhD, Honorary ASLA , one of ASLA’s new Honorary Members , is the world’s foremost authority on the work of Frederick Law Olmsted. In his work as an author and scholar, Dr. Beveridge has devoted his 40-year career to the study of Olmsted’s philosophies and achievements in landscape architecture. As series editor of the 12-volume The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted (Johns Hopkins University Press), Dr. Beveridge has ensured that Olmsted’s ideas and body of work have achieved the acclaim and protection they deserve. He served as advisor to the U.S. Postal Service in 1999 on the Olmsted stamp, as historical advisor to National Geographic’s March 2005 feature article on Olmsted, and as consultant on HGTV’s Olmsted program in 2001. He has worked closely with landscape architects and communities throughout the U.S. and Canada to ensure the preservation and ongoing stewardship of Olmsted’s work.

The Hon. Wangari Maathai, PhD,

The Hon. Wangari Maathai, PhD, Honorary ASLA , is Kenya’s Assistant Secretary of Environment, Wildlife and Natural Resources and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate . Born in Kenya in 1940, she fought to be educated, eventually becoming head of the veterinary medical faculty at the University of Nairobi. When she noticed her country’s deforestation and increasing desertification, she decided to take action by teaching women to plant trees. Her organization, the Green Belt Movement , has assisted women in planting over 20 million trees in Kenya and all over East Africa. In 2003 she was elected to Kenya’s Parliament, and last year she was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Maathai says, “It is evident that many wars are fought over resources, which are now becoming increasingly scarce. If we conserved our resources better, fighting over them would not occur…so, protecting the global environment is directly related to securing peace.”


Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects representing more than 15,000 members. 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. Learn more about landscape architects at .



Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371