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Posts Tagged ‘Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize’

BY SUSAN COHEN, FASLA

FROM THE JULY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

As a schoolgirl in Germany in the late 1930s, Cornelia Hahn was told to slow down—a Jewish girl must not win the school track meet. In 1938, after a harrowing escape from the Nazis—to England by train with her mother and sister—Cornelia made a point of never, ever slowing down.

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, who decided at age 11 that she would be a landscape architect, became one of the most renowned and admired practitioners of our time, building a distinguished, influential, and generous-spirited career that lasted almost eight decades. She died in Vancouver, British Columbia, her adopted city, on May 22, 2021, just a few weeks short of her 100th birthday. Until her final week, she spoke by telephone about the progress (and lack of progress) of her most recent project. (more…)

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Cornelia  Hahn Oberlander, on site in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, in 2013. Photo by Anne Raver.

 

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and a recipient of the ASLA Medal, died this weekend at the age of 99, leaving behind an unparalleled legacy of designed projects and a lifelong commitment to advocacy for the profession. Born in 1921, she fled Nazi Germany in 1939 for the United States, eventually attending Smith College and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, from which she graduated in 1947. Five years later, she moved to Vancouver, British  Columbia, with her husband, the late architect Peter Oberlander, where they both had high-profile careers for several decades. Oberlander designed many projects internationally, but her life and work are closely linked with the Canadian cultural landscape.

As word of Oberlander’s death spread, praise for her influence and activism appeared on social media, where she was called a “visionary,” “icon,” and “legend.”  Elizabeth Meyer, FASLA, who served on the Oberlander Prize Advisory Committee, tweeted, “We stand on Cornelia’s shoulders. Great talent, creative risk taker, generous mentor.” Chris Reed, FASLA, of STOSS Landscape Urbanism, agreed, saying, “Cornelia leaves a stunning legacy of work and leadership, and humanity.”

Oberlander’s landscape architecture work has been extensively published in Landscape Architecture Magazine, as well as the general and design press. A selection of articles published in LAM and available online include “Permafrost Frontier,” a profile of Oberlander’s work in the Northwest Territories; “Canadian Modern,” profiling her work in Vancouver; and “Northern Terrain,” about Canada’s National Gallery.

Among the many opportunities to learn about Oberlander’s contributions are Susan Herrington’s Cornelia Hahn Oberlander: Making the Modern Landscape and the recent documentary City Dreamers, which focused on four influential women designers and critics: Denise Scott Brown, Phyllis Lambert, Blanche Lemco van Ginkel, and Oberlander. The Cultural Landscape Foundation, which conducted an oral history with Oberlander in 2008, announced in 2019 that a recently established international landscape architecture prize would be named in honor of Oberlander. The biennial prize will carry a $100,000 award as well as two years of public engagement. The Cultural Landscape Foundation has extensive information about Oberlander’s career and the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize on its website, as well as a recording of the livestreamed memorial service held on May 24, 2021.

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BY BRADFORD MCKEE

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, FASLA. Photo courtesy Sam Brown Photography.

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

In August, the Cultural Landscape Foundation announced that it was launching a major new international prize in landscape architecture. On Tuesday, the foundation made it official that the prize will be named for the landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, FASLA, for her “leading role in addressing environmental, ecological, and social issues and the impact of climate change.”

The Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize will be awarded every two years beginning in 2021, and will be the only prize in the profession with a $100,000 award attached. Recipients will also be the subject of events sponsored by the foundation that focus on their practice to show the development and achievements of landscape architecture. (more…)

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