Renowned Landscape Architect and educator Ian L. McHarg was best known for introducing environmental concerns in landscape architecture. Born in Scotland, McHarg was an Emeritus Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, a department he founded, at the University of Pennsylvania.
He was instrumental in founding the original "Earth Week" in 1970, and he took his environmental cause to Washington, participating in conferences and task forces during the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Carter administrations.
His book Design With Nature is widely considered one of the most important and influential works of its kind. It has sold more than 155,000 copies and remains one of the most widely used textbooks on landscape architecture and architecture in the United States. His premise is simple: "that the shaping of land for human use ought to be based on an understanding of natural process." The ecological planning method developed by him to apply this theory was seized upon and used throughout the world.
The case studies he used to illustrate the theory -- Metropolitan Open Space System, Potomac River Basin, Plan for the Valleys, Washington Metropolitan Region, among others -- also received great attention.
He has also been in the national spotlight as host of the CBS series "The House We Live In" and in his film "Multiply...and Subdue the Earth." His publications include "Design With Nature," "A Quest for Life," "The Once and Future Forest" and "To Heal the Earth."
McHarg received the Harvard Lifetime Achievement Award and fifteen medals, including the National Medal of Art and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture.
He was the recipient of numerous awards from the American Society of Landscape Architecs and American Institute of Architects as well as the Rene Dubos, La Gasse, Brandeis and Art Alliance Medals, to name a few.
He also held honorary degrees from Amherst, Bates and Lewis & Clark colleges.
His own credentials include Bachelor and Master of Landscape Architecture degrees from Harvard University.
In 2000 he was awarded the Japan Prize in city planning. The Japan Prize is presented annually to scientists and researchers who have made a substantial contribution to the advancement of science and technology.
In 1984, "Connoisseur" magazine named him one of 131 "American Living Monuments." His "Man and Environment" class at Penn spanned more than 20 years.
McHarg passed away on March 5, 2001 of pulmonary disease.
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Last update: March 17, 2001