Library of Congress and ASLA partnering to archive award winning projects

The Library of Congress and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) are partnering to archive the society’s professional award-winning projects, marking the first time that collections representing the international landscape architecture profession will be archived by a U.S. federal institution.

While the Library of Congress has archived collections representing the professions of architecture, design and engineering since the 1800s, this collaboration reflects the library’s recognition of the growing significance of landscape architecture in society today. New designs will be added to the collection each year.

“This is a step forward in strengthening the connection between landscape architecture and the built environment. The chosen winners are a snapshot of the issues we face in our society each year and how landscape architects are addressing them,” said Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO of ASLA.

The national library’s collections documenting the history of landscape architecture include the papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, as well as a collection from the landscape architecture firm he founded.

A new research guide, Architecture, Design, and Engineering Collections in the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, makes it possible to explore landscape design work that is within the records of many architects and photographers.

“The library is very grateful for this annual gift of award-winning digital designs from the American Society of Landscape Architects because contemporary coverage of the creative landscape world will now be an integral part of the inspiring collections that we can offer to both researchers and the general public,” said Helena Zinkham, chief of the library’s Prints & Photographs Division.

For more than 30 years, ASLA has been granting awards to professional members in a number of categories including general design, urban design, residential design, analysis and planning, communications and research, in addition to a single Landmark award, granted to distinguished landscape architecture projects completed between 15 and 50 years ago. Juries representing a cross-section of landscape architecture in practice, research and academics judge hundreds of submissions in these categories — covering issues such as climate action, racial equity and urban planning.

“By preserving our profession’s most important work, the Library of Congress will enable the public to understand the enormous role our professionals play today in improving lives throughout the nation, from protecting our environment from climate change to providing racially equitable and nature-based solutions to our aging urban communities,” said ASLA President Eugenia Martin.

The theme of history is present for the landscape architecture community in 2022 with this collaboration and Olmsted200, the 200th birthday celebration of Olmsted. A schedule of educational events will lead to the celebration this April, which is also World Landscape Architecture Month, highlighting Olmsted’s influence on the profession today.

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