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2015 ASLA Honors Announced

M. Paul Friedberg, FASLA, to receive ASLA Medal; the Office of James Burnett to receive Firm Award

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced its 2015 honors recipients. Selected by ASLA’s Board of Trustees, the honors represent the highest awards ASLA presents each year. The honors will be presented at the president’s dinner on November 9, held during the 2015 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, November 6–9 in Chicago. 

2015 Honors

ASLA Medal: M. Paul Friedberg, FASLA
M. Paul Friedberg, FASLA, will receive the ASLA Medal, the Society’s highest award for a landscape architect. A founder of M. Paul Friedberg and Partners in New York, Friedberg has designed public places that not only break the boundaries of traditional design, but also increase the quality of life for those who use these spaces. Some of his recognized public spaces include Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis, Pershing Park in Washington, D.C., and the 67th Street Playground in New York. He is the founder and professor emeritus of the Urban Landscape Architecture Program at City College of New York, the first urban-oriented undergraduate landscape architecture program to be located in a major city.

ASLA Design Medal: Thomas Balsley, FASLA
Thomas Balsley, FASLA, will receive the ASLA Design Medal in recognition of his exceptional design work. Balsley, the principal designer of the New York City-based firm Thomas Balsley Associates, has created numerous public spaces that enrich the lives of people and their communities. His work often exists in the margins of the city, the industrial edges, the waterfronts, and the scraps of land left over from the urban grid. His designs include Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park and Riverside Park South in New York City, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Tampa, and Main Street Garden Park in Dallas.

Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal: Carl Steinitz, Hon. ASLA
Carl Steinitz, Hon. ASLA, will receive the Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal for significant and sustained excellence in landscape architecture education. For more than 50 years, Steinitz, a professor emeritus at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, has dedicated himself to the field of landscape architecture education. Underlying all of his work is the firm belief that landscape architects should be leaders in solving some of the most pressing issues of our time. Steinitz has influenced thousands of students worldwide with his teaching, and his methods and values influence the many who have gone on to be leaders in the field.

LaGasse Medal – Non-Landscape Architect: Gregory Long
Gregory Long will receive the LaGasse Medal for contributions to the management and conservation of natural resources and public landscapes. Long, the president and CEO of the New York Botanical Garden, has devoted 25 years to the restoration and revitalization of one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens and research institutions. ASLA recognizes him for achieving the remarkable resurgence of this century-old garden, often in times of challenging austerity. For 15 years Long has also promoted and supported the work of landscape architects from the United States and abroad through the botanical garden’s annual fall lectures known as the Landscape Design Portfolios series.

Olmsted Medal: Design Trust for Public Space
The Design Trust for Public Space will receive the Olmsted Medal. The award recognizes individuals, organizations, agencies, or programs outside the profession of landscape architecture for environmental leadership, vision, and stewardship. Since 1995, the Design Trust has been a champion of the public space of New York City, and more significantly a leader and innovator for other cities. The Design Trust believes that design matters—including landscape design—and that design should be supported by public–private partnerships, ensuring that their projects are both educational and a catalyst to action.

Medal of Excellence: City of Scottsdale and McDowell Sonoran Conservancy
The City of Scottsdale, Arizona, and McDowell Sonoran Conservancy will receive the Landscape Architecture Medal of Excellence. The award recognizes significant contributions to landscape architecture policy, research, education, project planning and design, or a combination of these items. Working in symbiotic collaboration, the conservancy and the city created a public–private partnership and have conserved for posterity more than 30,000 acres of mostly pristine Sonoran Desert. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is now the largest urban preserve in the United States and will forever be sustained for the future enjoyment and benefit of all.

The Landscape Architecture Firm Award: The Office of James Burnett
The Office of James Burnett will receive the Landscape Architecture Firm Award, the highest honor ASLA may bestow upon a landscape architecture firm in recognition of distinguished work that influences the profession. James Burnett, FASLA, founded the firm in 1989 in Houston with one part-time employee. Today, the firm employs 45 professionals working in Houston, San Diego, and Boston. To date, the firm has garnered more than 80 state and national design awards for projects consistently cited for innovative and iconoclastic redefinition of human interaction with the environment.

Community Service Award: Randolph Hester Jr., FASLA
Randolph Hester Jr., FASLA, will receive the Community Service Award for providing sustained, pro bono service demonstrating the sound principles or values of landscape architecture. Randolph Hester was a professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning (retired 2010) at the University of California Berkeley, and is a partner in the firm Community Development by Design. He has dedicated his career to the improvement of public landscapes for the underserved. His pro bono work for communities as well as his teaching and professional practice have contributed to the nurturing of healthy communities.

2015 Honorary Members
Honorary membership is among the highest honors ASLA may bestow upon non-landscape architects in recognition of notable service to the profession. Since its inception in 1899, ASLA has inducted only 175 honorary members.

Joel Albizo, Affiliate ASLA, Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards
Joel Albizo, Affiliate ASLA, became the executive director of the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) in 2007. Under his leadership, CLARB has made significant accomplishments that have benefited the profession of landscape architecture. Achievements include the development of the Landscape Architect Continuing Education System in collaboration with ASLA and other key organizations, and a historic research project, completed in 2009, that defined the impact of landscape architecture on public welfare. Under Albizo’s guidance and direction, CLARB transformed the Landscape Architect Registration Examination into a fully computer-delivered model through the pioneering of a unique graphical exam.

Roxanne Blackwell, American Society of Landscape Architects
Since 2007 Roxanne Blackwell, the director of federal government affairs for ASLA, has had a profound influence in successfully positioning landscape architects as a respected voice on sustainability, resiliency, and healthy communities. Her graceful leadership style offers the ASLA volunteer confidence and the necessary preparation to effectively walk into a legislator’s office and communicate essential talking points to advocate on behalf of the Society. Her knowledge of Capitol Hill and insights into advancing issues critical to the profession of landscape architecture have garnered the Society significant attention and exposure.

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, California
Senator Barbara Boxer has been a forceful advocate in the areas of transportation, environment, natural resources, and clean water, all issues that are important to ASLA and landscape architects across the country. As the ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and its former chair, Senator Boxer has worked to ensure that biking, walking, and transit use are included in surface transportation law. She also achieved bipartisan agreements to continue active transportation programs and policies like the Transportation Alternatives Program, Safe Routes to Schools, and the Recreational Trails Program.

Susan Chin, Design Trust for Public Space
Susan Chin, the executive director of the Design Trust for Public Space, has been a tireless advocate for innovative and collaborative work in the public realm. Since joining the organization in 2011, she has shepherded projects that are models for urban design and landscape architecture. As the former assistant commissioner for capital projects for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Chin had also commissioned numerous innovative works of architecture and public art. In this role, she helped shape the city’s urban landscape for years to come.

Lorraine Davis, University of Oregon
For the past 25 years, Lorraine Davis, special assistant to the president and provost of the University of Oregon, has been a remarkable participant in the accreditation process for landscape architecture programs. She has served as an academic administrator for the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board’s Roster of Visiting Evaluators, a pool of landscape architecture educators, landscape architect practitioners, and non-landscape architect academic administrators that visit schools to evaluate their landscape architectural programs. Davis distinguished herself during these visits with her dedication, preparation, and knowledge and appreciation of the landscape architecture profession.

Pat Faust, Landscape Structures Inc.
As president of Landscape Structures Inc., Pat Faust has been a tireless supporter of the landscape architecture profession and ASLA. The company’s generous support is a key component of the success of ASLA’s Annual Meeting and EXPO each year. Faust’s focus on inclusive play brings much-needed improvements to the areas of accessibility and enrichment in playground environments. His focus on nature-inspired play has helped propel play structures beyond traditional “post and platform-style” play experiences to something that can help bring children back to nature.

Nina-Marie E. Lister, Affiliate ASLA, Ryerson University
Nina-Marie Lister is an associate professor of urban and regional planning at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her 20-year career links ecology, planning, and landscape architecture through collaborative, creative scholarly research. From 2009 to 2014, she was a visiting associate professor of landscape architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She is also a consultant, providing expertise in ecology, large-scale landscape processes, and resilience strategies in projects that range from urban, postindustrial parks to degraded waterfront and riverfront sites around the world.

Barbara McCann, U.S. Department of Transportation
Barbara McCann serves as the director of the Office of Safety, Energy, and Environment at the U.S. Department of Transportation. She has dedicated her career to issues that concern landscape architects: prioritizing transportation safety, improving public health, and creating great places for people. McCann previously served as the founding executive director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, where she coined the term “Complete Streets,” organized the broad national coalition, and presided over its growth as policy adoption accelerated across the country.

Charles McKinney, Affiliate ASLA, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
As the principal urban designer for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Charles McKinney, Affiliate ASLA, leads the master planning process for flagship parks. Under his direction, NYC Parks is exploring responses to the design imperatives of the 21st century, web-based planning tools and communication, and the role of planning in stimulating community-based leadership. McKinney completes this work in a thorough and intentional way, engaging the community and design consultants, including many landscape architects, through a detailed process.

Walter Metcalfe, Bryan Cave LLP
Attorney Walter Metcalfe, senior counsel at Bryan Cave LLP, has been instrumental in St. Louis civic affairs. He became a catalyst that led to the creation of the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, which sponsored an international design competition in 2010 that selected a team led by landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, FASLA, to revitalize the arch grounds. The resulting $367 million project, one of the largest urban and landscape architecture projects in the country, will transform the Gateway Arch and the St. Louis region.

C. Ford Peatross, Library of Congress
C. Ford Peatross is the founding director of the Center for Architecture, Design, and Engineering at the Library of Congress. He was instrumental in the implementation of the Historic American Landscapes Survey, the cooperative agreement between ASLA, the National Park Service, and the Library of Congress. His enthusiasm and active support of this agreement ensures the documentation, preservation, and public availability of vital information pertaining to U.S. historic landscapes.

Warrie Price, the Battery Conservancy
For more than two decades, Warrie Price has been a powerful force in reacquainting downtown Manhattan with its open space, history, and legacy of natural abundance. Through the Battery Conservancy, which she founded in 1994, Price has overseen the redesign and reconstruction of Battery Park, New York City's birthplace and downtown Manhattan's largest public park. What was once a barren hardscape has become a variegated urban oasis with sustainable year-round gardens, an urban farm, moments of levity and play, and honored tributes to the past.

Susan Rademacher, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Susan Rademacher is the parks curator for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, where she has been responsible for landscape planning, design, and preservation since 2007. Founded in 1996, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has $76 million to provide stewardship over more than 1,700 acres and 14 capital projects. As parks curator, Rademacher reveals, preserves, and promotes the cultural significance of Pittsburgh’s parks by directing planning and design, conducting research, and communicating the value of the designed landscape.

Charles Waldheim, Harvard University
Charles Waldheim, an architect by training, has been a champion of landscape architecture for nearly 30 years. His service as professor and chair of landscape architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design since 2009, as well as his preceding directorship of the landscape architecture program at the University of Toronto from 2003 to 2009, clearly attest to his commitment to and leadership of the field of landscape architecture. His additional service as the Ruettgers Curator of Landscape at the Isabella Gardner Museum further attests to this, as do his extensive and widely referenced publications on landscape urbanism, design, and planning.

Mayor Knox H. White, Greenville, South Carolina
Knox H. White has served as mayor of Greenville, South Carolina, for nearly two decades. His goal as mayor is making Greenville “the most beautiful and livable city in America.” Mayor White has emphasized park expansion, neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and transformational projects for the downtown. Throughout his tenure Mayor White has also focused on a tree restoration and replacement program to maintain the aesthetic appeal of the city’s historic main street that was designed by landscape architect Lawrence Halprin.

Robert Yaro, Regional Plan Association
Robert D. Yaro is president emeritus of the Regional Plan Association and a senior adviser to the organization, which promotes the livability, vitality, and sustainability of the New York metropolitan region. During his tenure, the association began both national and international initiatives to advocate for regional planning across the country and around the world, working tirelessly and compassionately with landscape architects everywhere. Yaro believes in the beautiful construction of outdoor spaces and that landscape architects are the best qualified design professionals to address them.

Mark Zelonis, Indianapolis Museum of Art
Mark Zelonis has been dedicated to managing, preserving, enhancing, and promoting historic landscapes. He does this daily in his position as deputy director of environmental and historic preservation with the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He is a strong proponent of the work of landscape architects and works tirelessly to increase recognition of their design achievements. Zelonis also serves on the board of the Library of American Landscape History aiding in efforts to publish scholarly works and republish out-of-print texts of important to the landscape architecture profession.

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