2015 Melva J. Dwyer Award Winner / lauréat du prix Melva J. Dwyer

The 2015 Melva J. Dwyer Award winner is Landscape Architecture in Canada, written by Ron Williams, published in 2014, in English by the McGill-Queens University Press and in French by les Presses de l’Université de Montréal.   The 2015 award was presented at the convocation ceremony of the 43rd Annual ARLIS/NA Conference in Fort Worth, Texas on March 22, 2015.

 Landscape Architecture in Canada is a comprehensive overview of man-made landscapes across Canada, both as cultural expressions and as environments that shape our actions.   Fifteen years in the making, this critical history covers the varied traditions and impacts of Canada’s first peoples, its early colonists and later immigrant communities, the landscape innovations of nineteenth-century industrial cities and suburban modernism, the protected natural environments of national parks as well as efforts to mitigate the impact of resource extraction on the land.

Ron Williams, a faculty member and former director of the School of Landscape Architecture at the Université de Montréal, is a practicing architect and landscape architect.  His experience underscores the people and projects that defined landscape architecture in Canada, their motivations, aspirations and the intellectual climate in which they worked.

Thoroughly researched, engagingly written and well organized, this book is valuable both as a research and a reference work.  It includes extensive footnotes, bibliography and indexes. One unique feature is the glossary of all the plants mentioned in the text, giving the botanical name and both French and English equivalents. The awards committee recommends this publication not only for Canadian art and architecture libraries but for all libraries with an interest in landscape as an artifact of social, cultural and economic histories.

“Beautifully written and organized, Landscape Architecture in Canada makes a major contribution to landscape architecture and its related fields – architecture, planning, geography, art history, environmental history, and environmental studies. A first of its kind, this book is a must for all Canadian landscape architects and their students.” Susan Herrington, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia

Choice Online (December 2014) described “an interdisciplinary masterpiece overflowing with informative diagrams, maps, and most importantly, original photographs enthusiastically rendered by the author during visits to every corner of the country. Natural and human diversity have left their lasting marks on Canada, and the book treats readers to insights into this complicated palimpsest through inspired, well-researched examples of forest and farm, city and town, park and pasture, and church and fort. It expands the boundaries of landscape architecture and provides this already complex discipline with new depth. Highly recommended.”

The award committee recognizes another strong submission with an honourable mention:  Charles Edenshaw, co-published in 2013 by Black Dog and the Vancouver Art Gallery in conjunction with a survey exhibition that assembled more than 200 pieces from public and private collections around the world.   Edited by Daina Augaitis, Robin Wright and Jim Hart,  this exceptionally beautiful catalogue is  the first major monograph on the work of Edenshaw, an extraordinary Haida artist and an iconic figure in Northwest Coast  art, active in the 19th and early 20th century. Richly illustrated with colored photographs, accompanied by interviews that provide perspectives on his art and writings that explore Edenshaw’s legacy and influence on contemporary artists, this title is essential for anyone with an interest in Northwest Coast art.

My thanks to the members of the 2015 Melva J. Dwyer Award Committee:  Liv Valmstead, University of Manitoba; Hillary Webb, Emily Carr University of Art and Design; Melinda Reinhart, Concordia University.

Sylvia Roberts, Chair,  2015 Melva J. Dwyer Award Committee, ARLIS/NA Canadian Member-at-large and chair of the ARLIS/NA Canadian chapter

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