Premier IFLA award recipient announced at Singapore World Congress

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The International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) World Congress is underway in Singapore with a special ceremony announcing U.S Landscape Architect Anne Whiston Spirn has won the 2018 IFLA – Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award - considered the premier Landscape Architecture award. 

Professor Spirn says she is honoured to receive the award.  A jury made up of a LA from each of the five IFLA regions made the decision - with members agreeing with her nominations statement that “The reach of her work has been international and sustained and will likely influence the design and planning profession for years to come.”

 Anne Whiston Spirn - the recipient of the 2018 IFLA Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe award. Photo credit: IFLA

Anne Whiston Spirn - the recipient of the 2018 IFLA Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe award. Photo credit: IFLA

Professor Spirn is currently the Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) but has also served on the faculties of Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). Throughout her academic career, she has carved out a reputation as an outstanding teacher and mentor.

IFLA says Professor Spirn is known for involving her students in challenging social situations, which is demonstrated by her continued engagement (both at Penn and later at MIT) in African-American neighbourhoods of West Philadelphia.

 The Granite Garden was published in 1984. Photo credit: Anne Whiston Spirn.

The Granite Garden was published in 1984. Photo credit: Anne Whiston Spirn.

Professor Spirn’s most significant writings are her books The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design (1984) and the Language of Landscape (2000) which is seen as a pioneering work in urban ecology,  The Granite Garden has been recognised as one of the most important books of the 20th century, helping us understand the nature of cities, emphasising the importance of both the poetics of landscapes and the science of the Landscape Architecture profession. 

 The Language of Landscape was published in 2000. Photo credit: Anne Whiston Spirn

The Language of Landscape was published in 2000. Photo credit: Anne Whiston Spirn

Both these books are used around the world, influencing many generations of students in landscape architecture. 

Anne Whiston Spirn is also a photographer and advocates the use of photography in design. Her book The Eye is a Door: Landscape, Photography and the Art of Discovery (2014) is a significant contribution to “seeing as a way of knowing and photography as a way of thinking.” Professor Spirn has expanded her use of photography through multimedia and the web.

In the two videos below, hear from Professor Spirn herself, including her reaction to the award. 

THE AWARD

The IFLA Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award is the highest honour that the International Federation of Landscape Architects can bestow upon a landscape architect. The Award recognizes a living landscape architect whose lifetime achievements and contributions have had a unique and lasting impact on the welfare of society and the environment and on the promotion of the profession of landscape architecture. The award is bestowed annually on an academic, public or private practitioner whose work and achievements are respected internationally.

The IFLA Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award was launched in 2004 on a quadrennial basis but since 2011 it has been bestowed annually. Its inaugural recipient was Peter Walker (USA) in 2005. Since then, the previous winners are:

2009: Prof. Bernard Lassus (France)

2011 Cornelia Hahn Oberlander (Canada)

2012 Mihály Möcsényi (Hungary)

2013 Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles (Portugal)

2014 Sun Xiao Xiang (China)

2015 Mario Schjetnan (Mexico)

2016 Peter Latz (Germany)

2017 Dirk Sijmons (The Netherlands)

Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe (1910 – 1996), IFLA President of Honour until his death, served IFLA as its founding President from 1948 – 1954. He was a British architect, town planner, landscape architect and garden designer, but his prime interest was in landscape and garden design. Jellicoe was a founding member (1929) and then President of the Institute of Landscape Architects (now the LI) and was knighted for services to landscape architecture in 1979. In 1994, he was given the Royal Horticultural Society’s highest award, the Victoria Medal of Honour.