The 2012 Urban Land Institute (ULI) J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development has been awarded to landscape architect Peter Walker, which is the institute’s highest honor. Walker will be honored during ULI’s annual fall meeting October 16-19 in Denver. More information and video of Peter and his thoughts on winning the award after the jump.
The ULI J.C. Nichols Prize recognizes a person or a person representing an institution whose career demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of responsible development. The $100,000 prize honors the legacy of Kansas City, Missouri, developer J.C. Nichols, a founding Urban Land Institute (ULI) member considered to be one of America’s most creative entrepreneurs in land use during the first half of the 1900s.
The selection of Walker as the ULI J.C. Nichols laureate underscores the key role of landscape architecture in constructing public space that fosters a sense of community, Bucksbaum said. “For ULI, choosing Peter Walker makes a statement about the importance of landscape architecture to the built environment, and especially the necessity of providing sustainable systems, both built and natural,” he said. “His work is completely representative of what the Nichols Prize stands for — a lifelong dedication to building places that will be shared and cherished for generations.”
Walker, whose career spans five decades, is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished landscape architectural designers 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 globe, with a particular emphasis on corporate headquarters, plazas, cultural gardens, academic campuses and urban regeneration projects. Exploring the relationships among art, culture and context, Walker challenges traditional concepts of landscape design.
“The thread that runs through all of my work is to make public space memorable, to make it the heart of the city,” Walker said. “You have to make people aware of the space so that it sticks in their memory, and it is important to the community. It’s not enough to just have open space. It has to have character and uniqueness.”
Walker was one of the chief designers of the National September 11 Memorial, “Reflecting Absence,” in New York City, which opened on September 12, 2011. His thoughtful approach to the memorial has been highly praised as reflecting both the collaborative aspiration of his practice and the public impact of his work. Other prominent projects include Jamison Square Park in Portland, Ore.; the Nasher Foundation Sculpture Garden in Dallas; Sony Center in Berlin; Millennium Park in Sydney; and Constitution Gardens on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.