Kongjian Yu wins 2020 Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award

IFLA recently announced Kongjian Yu as the winner of the 2020 Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award which celebrates a living landscape architect whose “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.” It is the highest honour IFLA can bestow on a landscape architect. The award is named after notable British landscape architect Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, a founding president of IFLA, whose most well-known works included Cheddar Gorge and the Kennedy Memorial at Runnymede in the UK.

Kongjian Yu received his Bachelor of Agronomy in Landscape Architecture and Master in Landscape Architecture (Beijing Forestry University), and Doctor of Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 1995 with a dissertation titled ‘Security Patterns in Landscape Planning.’  Yu is the founder of Turenscape, one of the first and largest private architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism practices in China. 

Beijing Yongxing River Greenway – Before
Beijing Yongxing River Greenway – After

For over 20 years Yu has spent his academic career fighting against deteriorating urban ecologies and the environment. His pioneering research on Ecological Security Pattern (1995) and Ecological Infrastructure, Negative Planning and Sponge Cities (2003) has been adopted by the Chinese government as a framework for nationwide ecological protection and restoration campaigns.

Yu defines landscape architecture as the art of survival. A native of China’s Zhejiang Province, he drew on inspiration from his childhood farming experience and the ancient wisdom of water and waste management to design and test a series of nature-based solutions.

Ningbo Eastern New Town Ecological Corridor | Turenscape

Kongjian Yu recently expressed his feelings to WLA about winning the Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award:

“Looking back, it is clearer that my village-level landscape experiences, melded with modern concepts of landscape and urbanism, sustainability and aesthetics, and being on the shoulders of giants, empowered me to address some of the common challenges that our profession is facing today. “

Images Courtesy of Turenscape

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/