March 23, 2011 — Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the U.S. National Park Service, and Michael Van Valkenburgh, of the landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, will present the 2011 Benjamin C. Howland Jr. Memorial Lecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture on April 25 at 5:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 153.
In "Beyond the Visitor Center: Conservation, Design, and the 21st-Century National Park," Jarvis and Van Valkenburgh will explore the critical juncture between conservation, stewardship and design, and the vital role of landscape architects in creating sustainable public parks.
Their presentation will highlight the purposes and aspirations for landscape and architectural design in today's national park system.
The American population is larger, more diverse and more urban than ever before, while environmental concerns have grown more profound and global in their implications. As the social and environmental contexts of the national parks continue to change, the speakers will address whether the basic aspiration of the national park system – to conserve natural and historical places while making them accessible for public benefit – is still feasible, or even desirable, and how new approaches to design can enable the national park of the 21st century to thrive.
Jarvis will discuss ways in which design can advance the service's mandate to conserve landscapes for public use without impairing their ecological and cultural integrity.
Van Valkenburgh will discuss his firm's public landscape designs, including the winning national park design competition entry for the revitalization of the Jefferson National Expansion Monument landscape in St. Louis. An accompanying exhibit of his firm's work will be on display in the Architecture School's Elmaleh Gallery from April 18 to 29.
The Howland Memorial Lecture Series was established in 1985 in celebration of the life and work of Benjamin C. Howland Jr., professor of landscape architecture from 1975 to 1983, a practicing landscape architect and committed public servant.