Michael R. Van Valkenburgh, Eliot professor in practice of landscape architecture, will be the Harvard Graduate School of Design Class Day speaker on May 28. Van Valkenburgh, who has taught at the GSD since 1982, led the replanting of Harvard Yard with diverse tree species in the mid 1990s in a much-lauded design. (He also this spring contributed the design for the new landscaping for Harvard Yard’s main entry, the Johnston Gate.) More recently, his firm, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, designed the immensely popular Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, described and pictured in an article in Harvard Magazine last year that described him as “probably the most celebrated landscape architect in America.”
Van Valkenburgh won the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Environmental Design in 2003, and in 2010 became the second landscape architect in history to receive the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for contributions to architecture as an art. He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2011. His firm’s work is also the subject of the 2008 book, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates: Reconstructing Urban Landscapes.