Michael Van Valkenburgh on Parks, a Campus and Three Summer House Gardens | November 2011


When we spoke to landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh in December 2009 about Brooklyn Bridge Park, just before the first phase of the project opened to the public, he spoke about what it means to design something that continues to live and grow, and how this particular site offered an opportunity to completely reimagine what parks should be in today’s cities. Next week, on Tuesday, November 22, at 7pm, Van Valkenburgh will elaborate on his ideas about design, ecology and landscape across a variety of scales and locations, in “Parks, a Campus, and Three Summer House Gardens.” The talk, organized by the Architectural League and co-sponsored by the Cooper Union, will be followed by a conversation with Kate Orff, partner of Scape/Landscape Architecture and Vice President for Landscape at the League. Tickets are free for League members; $15 for non-members. Read on for more information (check archleague.org for the latest about the event):

Current Work
Michael Van Valkenburgh, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
Parks, a Campus, and Three Summer House Gardens

Introduced and moderated by Kate Orff
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The Great Hall, The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street
1.5 CEUs

Michael Van Valkenburgh will present the recent work of his firm, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA). Based in Brooklyn and Cambridge, MVVA is a landscape architecture firm, which works on projects in scale from the city to the campus to the garden. MVVA’s commissions have sought to achieve an “ecological urbanism,” with projects such as the Master Plans for Brooklyn Bridge Park and Wellesley College, and built work like Mill Race Park and Allegheny Riverfront Park.

The office, led by its three principals, Laura Solano, Matthew Urbanski, and Michael Van Valkenburgh with a staff of 65, works closely with urban planners, architects, engineers, and ecologists. The firm’s projects have received numerous honors, including the ASLA Design Medal from the American Society of Landscape Architects; the Brendan Gill Prize from the Municipal Art Society of New York City; Progressive Architecture Awards; and awards from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, and the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada. MVVA has also won multiple high-profile design competitions including Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House, the Lower Don Lands project in Toronto, and The City + The Arch + The River competition for St. Louis and East St. Louis. Van Valkenburgh received the 2003 National Design Award in Environmental Design from the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and was the 2010 recipient of the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Van Valkenburgh earned a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture, and a M.F.A. in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently the Charles Eliot Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Van Valkenburgh teaches landscape design as well as the use of plants as design material. He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and the American Academy of Landscape Architects.

Kate Orff is a partner of Scape/Landscape Architecture and is the Vice President for Landscape of the Architectural League of New York.

Tickets are free for League members; $15 for non-members. Members may reserve a ticket by e-mailing: rsvp@archleague.org. Member tickets will be held at the check-in desk; unclaimed tickets will be released fifteen minutes after the start of the program. Non-members may purchase tickets here.

Organized by the Architectural League of New York. Co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union. AIA and New York State continuing education credits are available.

Video from the September 2010 Urban Omnibus feature “Park as Process: Brooklyn Bridge Park.”
Video from the September 2010 Urban Omnibus feature “Park as Process: Brooklyn Bridge Park.”

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.