Professor Bernard Lassus awarded IFLA Gold Medal 2009

Professor Bernard LassusThe International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) has much pleasure in announcing the winner of the IFLA Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Gold Medal 2009.

The winner is Professor Bernard Lassus of France. Professor Lassus was nominated by UNESCO under whose auspices the award is presented. The recipient is a practitioner whose merit, talent and actions are respected internationally. The Medal is presented once every four years and this is the second time of its presentation.

Professor Bernard Lassus was selected as the prize winner from an international jury of three – from Sweden, the UK, and Canada. The IFLA Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Gold Medal is the highest honour that the International Federation of Landscape Architects may bestow upon a landscape architect. The medal recognises 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 the promotion of the profession of landscape architecture.

The medal is presented in recognition of projects of outstanding quality and originality. The quadrennial competition is open to landscape architects throughout the world.

Professor Bernard Lassus gained a reputation as an artist in France from the late 1950’s and then explored social uses of paintings and sculptures in industrial environments. At that time he was also Professor of Drawing at the School of Architecture at the Beaux-Arts in Paris and from there helped to found the Landscape School at Versailles. In 1982 he won a significant public project for the ‘Gardens of Return’ in Rochefort which has continued into 2000. He helped to develop a national Landscape Policy for Motorways in France and since then his influence in landscape design through his work and teaching at various universities in Europe and the USA has grown. He has also written 15 books.

He is said to have a narrative approach to landscape design, derived from the site and his brief. He has a passion for intervening in the landscape in ways that give meaning to places and to the activities of people who dwell in these places. He embraces the incongruous and the critical.  Frontiers fascinate him and are at the core of his practice.

The award is to be presented at a ceremony in the MEC Building, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Wednesday October 21 at 8pm, by a historic garden designed by the renown landscape architect Burle Marx.

The Medal is a tribute to the memory of IFLA’s first President. Born in 1900, Founding President of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) in 1948. Founder member in 1929 and later president of the British Landscape Institute (LI). Knighted for services to landscape architecture in 1979. In 1994 he was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s highest honour; the Victoria Medal of Honour. Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe was a leading landscape architect with a career extending to almost seventy years. He was a trained architect, town planner, landscape architect and garden designer but his prime interest was in landscape and garden design. Jellicoe’s rich career enabled the creation of many inspiring projects, from Cheddar Gorge to the Kennedy Memorial at Runneymede, thought to be one of his greatest works.