A LIFE IN DESIGN
Since 1998 this series has presented outstanding landscape architects and designers from around the world who discuss their signature projects and design philosophies. This year’s speakers, all consummate professionals, have a remarkable body of work in both the public and private realms. Their designs for regenerated urban sites, city centers, and residential spaces resonate on both emotional and intellectual levels—reflecting their long, personal connections between people and place.
Optimistic Landscapes A powerful leader in healing post-industrial New York City's landscapes, Signe Nielsen and her firm, MNLA, have revitalized Lincoln Center's public plazas, restored St. Paul's historic churchyard, devised the master plan for the South Bronx Greenway, and transformed more than 22 miles of waterfront into places that are restorative for people and natural processes—including the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park and Brooklyn's Fulton Landing. Each of her design sites addresses multiple challenges, from protecting shorelines from the damaging effects of climate change to providing communities with safe, beautiful gathering spaces.
Her current focus is Pier 55, a high-profile island park that will be built in the Hudson River. An ASLA Fellow, a professor at Pratt Institute, and president of New York City's Public Design Commission, Nielsen is a tireless advocate for policy change that supports sustainable, inspiring, diverse urban spaces. Her work has received more than two dozen national design awards and been published extensively in professional journals and books.
A Designer's Eye
For 40 years Arabella Lennox-Boyd has designed landscapes around the world—from strikingly modern rooftops in London and Hong Kong to the estates of an English duke, a Belgian queen, and Sting. A recipient of six Chelsea Gold Medals and the prestigious RHS Veitch Memorial Medal, she is a preeminent plantswoman who relishes growing from seed the rare tree and shrub specimens she incorporates as structural elements in her designs. She is known for her herbaceous borders, perfectly suited to their environments and bursting with color, form, and texture—including those on glorious display at Gresgarth Hall, her enchanting home and lifelong design project. Her most recent work includes the graceful landscape surrounding the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London, designed by Zaha Hadid, as well as private residences in Kiev, Greece, England, and the United States.
Public and Private: The Twin Poles of Landscape Architecture
Renowned landscape architect Laurie Olin, FASLA, creates elegant environments that seamlessly accommodate heavy human and vehicular traffic, while providing beautiful, restful spaces. Here in New York City, we experience the transformative nature of his work when we stride through Columbus Circle or linger in Bryant Park. From the celebrated Washington Monument Grounds to more recent projects such as the AIA award-winning Barnes Foundation, he and his firm, OLIN, create timeless public spaces that celebrate social gatherings, natural systems, and urban life.
A Guggenheim Fellow, an ASLA Fellow, an honorary member of the AIA, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Olin is also an award-winning author who has written widely on the history and theory of architecture and landscape. But perhaps surprisingly—even after receiving the NEA's National Medal of the Arts from President Obama—Olin remains enthusiastic about residential work, and continues to bring harmony and balance to the outdoor spaces of private homes.
SUPPORT GENEROUSLY PROVIDED BY THE HEIMBOLD FOUNDATION.