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Lecture by Michael Van Valkenburgh / MVVA

Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 7 - 9pm

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Pier 1 Aerial. Photo credit: Alex MacLean Landslides Aerial Photography Pier 6 Playground. Photo credit: Elizabeth Felicella
Pier 1 Aerial. Photo credit: Alex MacLean Landslides Aerial Photography

CURRENT WORK: Michael Van Valkenburgh, Michael van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA)
“Parks, a Campus, and Three Summer House Gardens”

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.

Co-sponsored by the Architecture League of New York

Admission is free for League members and The Cooper Union students/faculty/staff, and $15 for non-members.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.