Michael Van Valkenburgh
April 12, 2012
Combining a love of texture and materiality with a confidence in the landscape's unique social and ecological power as a growing, living, design medium, Michael Van Valkenburgh practices within a diverse range of landscape contexts, including major new urban parks, historic campuses, and residential projects in both the city and the country. In addition to discussing the significance of the firm's small scale designs, Van Valkenburgh will present examples of recent work at a variety of scales including Brooklyn Bridge Park, Teardrop Park, and the Princeton University Campus.
Michael Van Valkenburgh, founder of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), oversees a wide range of projects in both the Cambridge and New York offices, where he promotes collaboration and discovery through his inclusive working style. MVVA is an extension of his passion for landscape as a living artistic medium that deepens and enriches people's lives through the confluence of aesthetics, technology, and ecology. He is the Charles Eliot Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design.
Van Valkenburgh earned a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University's College of Agriculture, and a Master of Fine Arts in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His personal and educational background creates a foundation for his integrative approach to design, which finds inspiration in the pragmatics of science while aspiring to the highest levels of artistic expression and social purpose.
MVVA's design for Brooklyn Bridge Park was awarded the prestigious Brendan Gill Prize from the Municipal Art Society of New York in 2010. In 2003, Van Valkenburgh was awarded the National Design Award in Environmental Design from the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. In 2010, he received the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for contributions to the practice of architecture as an art, making him, after Dan Kiley, only the second landscape architect to be honored in the award's 45-year history. In 2011, he was the honored recipient of the ASLA Design Medal.
Image: Ice Wall at Teardrop Park in Battery Park City, NY, NY, courtesy MVVA.