The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum announced that Margie Ruddick, ASLA, won the National Design Award for landscape architecture. The National Design Awards were launched at the White House in 2000 to honor “lasting achievement in American design.” The annual awards program celebrates “design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world, and seeks to increase national awareness of the impact of design through education initiatives.”
The Cooper-Hewitt writes that Ruddick is “recognized for her pioneering, environmental approach to urban landscape design, forging a design language that integrates ecology, urban planning, and culture.” Over the past 25 years, Ruddick has made real the “idea of nature in the city.” In fact, she was once fined by a judge in Philadelphia for bringing a bit too much nature to her East Mount Airy yard. (see an amusing New York Times article).
Ruddick works both at home and overseas. Her best-known, recent U.S. work includes Queens Plaza in New York. In this plaza’s transformational design, she writes on her web site, “stormwater, wind, sun and habitat merge within an urban infrastructure to create a more sustainable vision of urban life.” (learn more about the project in this Wall Street Journal article).
She’s not new to winning awards: She received the 2002 Lewis Mumford Award from Architects Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility and the 2006 Rachel Carson Women in Conservation Award from the National Audubon Society, which recognizes “visionary women whose contributions, talent, and energy have advanced conservation and environmental education locally and on a global scale.”
Ruddick was born in Montreal and raised in NYC. She graduated from Bowdoin College and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). From 1988 up until 2004, she ran her own practice. Then, she became a partner at Philadelphia-based planning and landscape architecture firm WRT. In 2007, she started working on projects independently again, in addition to writing, lecturing, and teaching. A few year later, she worked with Michael Van Valkenburgh, FASLA, as a ecological design consultant on Brooklyn Bridge Park. She has also taught at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Parsons School of Design, and Schumacher College in England.
If you want to explore previous winners: Chris Reed, ASLA, and his firm Stoss won last year and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol the year before.
Image credits: (1) Jason Andrews / Wall Street Journal, (2) Queens Plaza / Marpillero Pollack. Courtesy Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. National Design Awards. (3) Shillim Retreat / Courtesy Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. National Design Awards.