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Pioneering Landscape Architect Rediscovered

18 June 2002

The family of pioneering landscape architect Fred Tschopp will fly in from the US next week to give a $50,000 scholarship to UNITEC, after his groundbreaking work in New Zealand was recently rediscovered.

Staff from the Institute of Technology found some of Tschopp's plans by accident and contacted his family in Los Angeles. Tschopp's son suggested a scholarship because of his father's relationship with New Zealand and love of this country's flora. "He was the first to advocate the planting of native plants," says Matthew Bradbury from UNITEC's School of Landscape and Plant Science. "He turned us onto our own plants really."

Tschopp came to New Zealand at the start of the Depression and made plans for five parks in Auckland, such as Craigoven Park in Avondale where the ageing basalt pillars he designed still stand. He also planned numerous other major projects around the country, including the Prime Ministerial residence in Wellington.

He returned to the US in 1932 and his work was largely forgotten until last year, when his plans for Parliament grounds were found.

Research uncovered more of Tschopp's work, which Mr Bradbury says was decades ahead of its time. "His ideas were incredibly modern and a break from the traditional Victorian gardens most public spaces were modelled on."

Mr Bradbury has co-authored a paper on Tschopp whom he believes was the first person to practice modern landscape architecture in New Zealand. "He thought it was about urban design and the city as a whole, rather than just parks and gardens, which is what we teach our landscape architecture students today."

Tscopp's family will present the scholarship for students studying UNITEC's Master of Landscape Architecture at a special ceremony on Wednesday.

When: Wednesday, 19 June, 6pm

Where: UNITEC Library, Gate Four, Carrington Rd, Mount Albert.

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