Landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson of Seattle-based Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and London’s Gustafson Porter received the eighth annual Obayashi Prize in Tokyo. Established by the Obayashi Foundation, the prize is awarded to a recipient whose work is in tune with the Foundation’s mission of supporting interdisciplinary design research in relation to cities and urbanism. Previous recipients of the prize include urban planner Zhou Ganzhi, curator Germain Viatte, and economist Paul Krugman.
In choosing Kathryn Gustafson as the 2014 recipient, the Obayashi Foundation stated: “During her career Ms. Kathryn Gustafson has contributed numerous works to the world of landscape architecture. By perceptively reading the ecological, cultural, and historical attributes of the land and sculpting spaces that evoke a sense of unity with the site, her works let those who gather there feel physically and spiritually at one with the land, promoting integration of people and space and creating places that enrich our lives. The key to her skill lies in making the most of the special allure of the land to craft a new place, rather than simply continuing to remodel spaces with no regard to what has gone before.”
“More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities, and in Japan (where the Obayashi Prize was established) population decline is predicted to result in urban degeneration. Such changing times present cities with an increasingly diverse range of issues, and it will be more important than ever before to shape sustainable cities centered around spaces where people can lead lives that are rich in social, cultural, ecological, and economic terms.”
“In this context Ms. Gustafson’s ideas, which focus on designing landscapes and places to revitalize our relationships with the spaces around us, have had a profound impact on people involved with various aspects of cities. Her many achievements based on these concepts help to fulfill the mission of our foundation and are truly worthy of the Obayashi Prize.”
Kathryn’s work is predominantly civic, institutional, and corporate, including parks, gardens and community spaces. Her award-winning projects include Westergasfabriek Culture Park in Amsterdam, the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park in Chicago, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain and Bay East and Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. Recent projects include Valencia Parque Central, the Novartis Campus in Basel and Marina One in Singapore.