June 22, 2012 — Mary Hughes, the University of Virginia's landscape architect, will receive the American Society of Landscape Architects' LaGasse Medal for landscape architecture at the society's annual meeting, to be held Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 in Phoenix.
The honor recognizes her "contributions to the management and conservation of natural resources and public landscapes," according to the society's press release. "She has guided the campus both in its preservation as a historic place and in its evolution as home to one of the nation's most vital 21st-century universities. She also successfully advocated for, and implemented, an innovative stormwater master plan on the campus."
Hughes guides the University's efforts related to cultural landscape preservation with an emphasis on history and evolution, and advocated for and implemented the innovative master plan for managing stormwater on Grounds, which treats runoff as a resource for ornamental landscape incorporating parks and plazas in the design. The plan encompasses the Dell Pond, which acts as a stormwater retention pond; a retention pond and wetland at the Emmet Street/Ivy Road parking garage; and a series of systems at the John Paul Jones Arena that slow stormwater from rushing into Meadow Creek. The plan won a landscape architecture merit award from the Society for College and University Planning in 2008.
A fellow of the society since 2003, Hughes is a graduate of the University's School of Architecture. She has served as landscape architect in the Office of the Architect since 1996.
Along with Peter Hatch, who recently retired after 34 years as director of gardens and grounds at Monticello, Hughes is co-director of the Historic Landscape Institute, an adult education program featuring the Jeffersonian landscapes of Central Virginia as laboratories for applying historical horticulture and preservation practices. She is the co-editor, with Charles Birnbaum, of "Design with Culture: Claiming America's Landscape Heritage," which chronicles the origins of the U.S. landscape preservation movement.