Award jury agreed that Dutch landscape architect Dirk Sijmons has made ‘remarkable contributions’ that ‘redefine the profession, its borders, its strategy and its position’
The International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), which represents the worldwide landscape profession, announced at the opening ceremony of their World Congress in Montreal, Canada on 16 October the winner of the 2017 Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award.
An award jury comprising a landscape professional from each of the five IFLA regions, as well as the secretary general of ISOCARP (International Society of City and Regional Planners) awarded the prestigious accolade to Dutch landscape architect Dirk Sijmons. The jury agreed with the nomination statement that ‘Dirk has made, and makes, remarkable contributions to the profession, and the main quality of these contributions is that they redefine the profession, its borders, its strategy and its position’.
Dirk’s nominating letters mention the following highlights:
- his role in the Ooievaar (‘Stork Plan’), a revolutionary 1985 plan concerning the making of new nature as part of a large-scale landscape restructuring
- the work of H+N+S, the landscape firm he founded in 1990 with Lodewijk van Nieuwenhuijze and Dick Hamhuis; the recent expansion of the firm’s overseas work, and the accompanying publications on topics such as Landscape and Energy
- his curation of the sixth edition of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR), Urban by Nature
- his appointment in 2004 as the first Dutch Government Advisor on Landscape, as well as his involvement in the creation of this role
Dirk Sijmons came to realise that, now that the boundary between nature and society is crumbling, landscape can play a vital mediating role between the two
Coming from an architectural background, and then working as a spatial planner, Dirk Sijmons is well placed to see landscape as a mirror of society and as a living coproduction between nature and man; this relationship has been his lifelong fascination. His early years working as a spatial planner in the Dutch Ministry of Culture led him to question what societal processes, ranging from food production to urbanisation, can be enticed to act as positive formative forces in the landscape. On the other hand, he questioned what natural processes, ranging from erosion and sedimentation to succession, can be turned into nature-based solutions for human needs. His work revolves around how these processes might be guided by landscape architecture to give them a meaningful spatial expression.
Dirk Sijmons came to realise that in the age of the Anthropocene, now that the once thought-sealed boundary between nature and society is crumbling, landscape architecture can play, even more so, a vital mediating role between the two.
Read more at iflaonline.org.