LANDSCAPE FOUNDATION SCHOLAR RECOGNISED
Mario Schjetnan has been selected as the winner of the 2015 IFLA – Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award
Renown Mexican landscape architect Mario Schjetnan has been selected as the winner of the 2015 IFLA – Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award for landscape architecture. The IFLA Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award is the highest honour that the International Federation of Landscape Architects can bestow upon a landscape architect. The award recognizes a living landscape architect whoseﾠlifetime achievements and contributions have had a unique and lasting impact on the welfare of society and the environment and on the promotion of the profession of landscape architecture. The award is bestowed annually on an academic, public or private practitioner whose work and achievements are also respected internationally.
The award recognizes a living landscape architect whoseﾠlifetime achievements and contributions
Mario was born in Mexico City, Mexico, and studied architecture at the National University of Mexico, graduating in 1968. He then studied landscape architecture with an -emphasis in Urban Design at the University of California, Berkeley. His mentors during this period were well-known figures such as Garret Eckbo, Donald Appleyard and Robert Twiss. As Chief of Urban Design and Housing at the National Institute of Housing for Workers (INFONAVIT) in Mexico, (1972-1977) he worked on the development of national design policies in urban design and low-income housing developments. In 1977 -Schjetnan founded the office, Grupo de Diseño Urbano (GDU) in which he has been involved ever since. His most representative projects comprise Tezozomac Park, which was completed in 1982, Xochimilco Ecological Park in 1993, and the Rehabilitation of Chapultepec Park, all in Mexico City. His most recent award winning work in Mexico City is the natural garden at the Bicentennial Park in 20120. In 1984, he received the Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.
His most representative projects comprise Tezozomac Park, which was completed in 1982, Xochimilco Ecological Park in 1993, and the Rehabilitation of Chapultepec Park, all in Mexico City
He is a professor and guest speaker at many universities and other institutions in Mexico and around the world and he is also active in promotion of the profession of landscape architecture. He was a founding member of the Mexican Society of Landscape Architects and its President in 1985 and 1986. In 1995, the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Léon awarded him an Honorary PhD in Architecture.
We were honoured to be able to host Mario and his wife Irma in New Zealand in 2007 on a three week study, research and speaking tour. We spoke to him prior to the tour and asked him what the biggest challenges were for landscape.
He considered global warming to be ‘one of the great challenges for a global agenda in the first quarter of the 21st century.’
He had no hesitation in identifying Global Warming as a world wide threat to the environment, to people, to future economies and to cities. He said that the biggest challenge for the planet was how to deal with the problem. He considered that identifying which countries have more responsibility, and how to apply and certify measures,was the key to a civilized global agreement. He considered global warming to be ‘one of the great challenges for a global agenda in the first quarter of the 21st century.’ And he identified the role ofLandscape architects in developing solutionsﾠto it.
Prophetically he cited the Mexico City September 1985 earthquakes, where they lost many lives with thousands of buildings collapsed or were ruined as an example of how people could work together to build a solution. He said that many scars had not healed by 2007 but many wonderful things were happening including incredible humanﾠsolidarity and heroism with people helping people.