The Cultural Landscape Foundation - TCLF has awarded Julie Bargmann, founder of landscape architecture firm D.I.R.T. Studio, with the first ever Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize, a distinguished award bestowed on designers who are “exceptionally talented, creative, courageous, and visionary, with a significant body of built work that exemplifies the art of landscape architecture.”
Born in New Jersey, Julie Bargmann is a Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, and the founder of D.I.R.T. (“Dump It Right There”) studio. The designer holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture and a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Throughout her career, she has been focusing on contaminated and neglected urban and post-industrial sites, defining her life's work by "unearthing the raw ingredients of design from waste and wastelands".
With D.I.R.T., Bargmann has collaborated with multi-disciplinary experts such as architects, historians, engineers, hydrogeologists, artists, and local residents, with the latter being a key factor of her work. Her portfolio includes the Vintondale Reclamation Park, a 35-acre site in Pennsylvania, where the designer worked with collaborators to design a natural filtration system to address years of pollution from mine runoff, Turtle Creek Water Works in Texas, an abandoned historic pump house with large reservoirs that became a deconstructed residential garden through the recycling of the entire site, and Core City Park, a revamped 8,000-square-foot park that includes work on pieces of a demolished late-19th century fire station, the walls of a bank vault, and other excavated artifacts.
She has been a provocateur, a critical practitioner, and a public intellectual. She embodies the kind of activism required of landscape architects in an era of severe environmental challenges and persistent social inequities -- Oberlander Prize Jury
Dubbed as the "Pritzker Prize for Landscape Architecture" by TCLF’s president and CEO, the biennial Oberlander Prize includes a $100,000 award and two years of public engagement projects focused on the winner’s work and landscape architecture.
The prize is named after Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, a world renowned German-born Canadian landscape architect who died earlier this year due to COVID-19 complications. The idea of the award came after expansion plans threatened to demolish New York Museum’s celebrated garden. With this award and the work of the laureates over the next couple of decades, TCLF aims to shed the light on the significance of landscape architecture, and how it shapes the public realm and tackles climate change.