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Landscape architect discusses shape of future

June 18, 2004
Leading world landscape architect experts discuss shape of future

Leading international landscape architect experts will converge on Lincoln University next week for a conference to discuss the shape of the future.

The annual Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) conference on June 25 – 29 will explore links between global and local dimensions of landscape architecture. It will be the first such meeting convened outside North America.

Specific themes will include education, ethics and values in multicultural settings, theories of global and local trends and questions of universal as opposed to specific technique.

Maori leader and scholar Sir Tipene O’Regan, Lincoln ecologist Kerry Jane Wilson and award winning historian Jim McAloon are among keynote speakers.

The New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NILA) said the conference was important and would have downstream benefits for New Zealand.

`This is a conference of landscape architect educators and they are meeting to cross-pollinate ideas,’’ NZILA president Di Lucas said today.

`There is a growing interest in and understanding of landscape architecture and people are becoming more aware of our role in creatively solving environmental problems.. We saw that in the annual NZ awards this year with Taranaki Wharf and Oriental Parade taking top honours.’’

Conference convenor Professor Simon Swaffield said many of the big names in the world of landscape architecture are attending.

`We have Mira Engler, an associate professor at Iowa State, talking on the challenge of dealing with the design of nuclear landscapes: the former nuclear testing grounds that are relics of the cold war,’’ Prof Swaffield said.

`Linda Jewell, the down to earth Professor at Berkeley, is talking on the importance of making design decisions on the site as a project evolves.’’ She is not only an academic but a designer right at the coalface.

The conference will look at the challenge facing landscape architects and how they can retain and enhance the special qualities and identity of regions and local landscapes in the face of the influence of global change, he said.

The conference will raise the profile of New Zealand landscape architecture educators and expose visitors to the quality of New Zealand landscape architecture.

World landscape architect expert Professor Rob Thayer from California leads a strong field of visiting speakers.

Another expert presenting a paper is Dr Jacky Bowring, a famous NZ landscape architect based at Lincoln. She was part of a team that was the only non-American finalist in the design for the Pentagon Memorial to the victims of September 11.

Dr Bowring used three-dimensional language of design to explore deep and profound human emotions and issues.


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