22. February 2013 / RR

Peter Walker – a Visionary in Urban Development

World renowned landscape architect Peter Walker was recently awarded the J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development by the Urban Land Institute (ULI). Walker is the first landscape architect to win the coveted $100,000 prize, which recognises his lifetime achievements and lasting impact on the built environment.

“Landscape architects spend all their time trying to make public open space. That’s what we do, so I hope I’m not the last winner. I hope some other of my fellows will come along here,” said Walker upon receiving the prize. “We are trying to make spaces that work, spaces that are beautiful, and if we’re lucky and we have the right client and a little budget, to try and make something which is memorable and I think that’s crucial. Most landscape architects are not the top of the power structure, but they all feel that they are important and they all work for those things all the time.”

Laureate Peter Walker leads a tour of the National September 11 Memorial under the snow. Image: Lipofvsky.com

Ronald Altoon, a member of the Nichols Prize jury, commented on the significance of Walker’s selection. According to Altoon, the selection of Walker underscores the importance of landscape architecture and its essential role in constructing public space that fosters a sense of community. “Peter is the first landscape architect to win this prize and I think there is no better professional to represent the landscape architecture community in this pool of truly accomplished individuals,” said Altoon. “Peter is recognized as one of the most accomplished and influential landscape architects of his time, forging the renaissance of landscape architecture as a discipline. The scope of his work is expansive, ranging from the design of small gardens to the planning of cities around the world. His work process is dynamic. He listens and adapts to context and community with a subtle approach that imbues a very tangible stimulation in the spaces he creates.”

Walker was one of the chief designers of the National September 11 Memorial, “Reflecting Absence,” in New York City. Other prominent projects Walker designed include: Jamison Square Park in Portland, Ore.; the Nasher Foundation Sculpture Garden in Dallas; Sony Centre in Berlin; Millennium Park in Sydney; and the ongoing Constitution Gardens on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Render of the National Sept. 11 Memorial, image courtesy of PWP Landscape Architecture (all rights reserved).

 
 
 
 
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