Temple University Flower Show exhibit, students and faculty, garner awards and accolades here and abroadPhiladelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, at center, shakes the hand of Temple University Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Baldev Lamba at the PHS Pop Up Garden during the summer of 2011.
In 2011, Temple University Ambler students and faculty provided visitors to the Philadelphia International Flower Show an exhibit that combined the best that their design acumen and environmental awareness had to offer.
Titled “Écolibrium – French Traditions/Modern Interpretations,” the exhibit, envisioned and created by landscape architecture and horticulture students, combined classic components of iconic French gardens with touches of modern art and sustainable design. In the summer of that year, Écolibrium — a Bulkley Medal of the Garden Club of America recipient — literally “popped up” again, acting as the gateway to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s (PHS) first “Pop Up Garden,” a 32,000 square foot urban garden designed by Temple Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Baldev Lamba who extended the artistic and environmental themes of the exhibit to the entire site.
Nearly two years after Écolibrium’s conception as a Flower Show project for Temple students, the innovative exhibit, and the environmentally rich PHS Pop Up garden that it inspired, continues to garner great interest and high praise.
The temporary “PHS Pop Up Garden,” created at 20th and Market Streets in Philadelphia last summer, was chosen for inclusion in the official U.S. presentation at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale, held in Venice, Italy, from August 29 through November 25. The American exhibition, “Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good,” highlights projects initiated by architects and designers “aimed at bringing positive change to the public realm.” The Venice Architecture Biennale is one of the most prestigious architecture exhibitions in the world. Established in 1980, the Architecture Biennale is held in alternating years with the Venice Art Biennale. For the exhibition held in 2010, 53 countries participated in the Biennale, which attracted 170,000 visitors.
“It’s really quite exciting that an international exhibition of the magnitude of the Venice Architecture Biennale will this year include a display highlighting the Pop Up Garden and our part in it. Often with (Flower Show) projects, after all the work that is put into them by our students and faculty, they are finished up and taken down as we move on to other projects, but this exhibit has really lived on in other forms,” said Lamba. “I think it’s a reflection on the interest in the themes that we presented in the exhibit — balancing landscape, art, architecture and sustainability — and validates the huge effort put into creating something temporary. The Pop Up Garden repurposed a vacant lot into something quite extraordinary and is a great model that can be used to inspire the creation of similar situations in other urban environments.”
Pennsylvania/Delaware American Society of Landscape Architecture President Adam Supplee, second from right, presents an ASLA Honor Award to Temple Adjunct Assistant Professor Michael LoFurno, students Dennis Murphy and Patrick Whealton and Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Baldev Lamba.
A spotlight in Venice isn’t the only recognition that the Pop Up Garden, Écolibrium and Lamba himself have recently received.
For his design efforts for the PHS Pop Up Garden, Professor Lamba received a Merit Award from the Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects in the General Design Category. The judges commented that the garden was a wonderful way “to engage the community and get them connected to the City.”
The PA/DE ASLA also presented Department of Landscape Architecture students and faculty with an Honor Award for the 2011 Écolibrium exhibit, calling it “first rate among student projects” and an “effective use of space that integrated a wide spectrum of sustainable design principals.” Lamba coordinated Temple’s 2011 Flower Show effort along with Adjunct Assistant Professor Michael LoFurno and then Horticulture Staff Supervisor and Adjunct Assistant Professor Grace Chapman. Écolibrium additionally received the “People’s Choice Award” at the ASLA ceremony, given to the top vote earner of all of the submitted award entries from ballots cast by those attending the organization’s Annual Meeting.Temple's 2011 Philadelphia International Flower Show exhibit, Écolibrium, provided the gateway to the PHS Pop Up Garden.
“Across the board, these are tremendous honors, some of the largest honors that a project can receive in the design category,” said Lamba. “It’s particularly humbling to receive such recognition from professionals in the field who have determined that these design-build ideas and concepts are the best among all entries. I think that certainly speaks to the quality of the students, faculty, and staff we have at Temple — a group of people who are completely dedicated to pulling these projects together each year.”
With more than 25 years of professional experience, Lamba creates sustainable environments that explore the relationship between built and natural forms. His extensive portfolio includes projects in the United States, India, and the Middle East. As an educator, Lamba — principal of Lamba Associates Landscape Architects located in Doylestown — promotes a symbiotic relationship between teaching practice and research.
This year, Lamba was presented with an Excellence in Research and Creative Work Award from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA), which was presented at the annual CELA meeting held at the University of Illinois. According to CELA, Professor Lamba’s “body of creative work integrates ecological, social and artistic principals and processes in the design of built landscapes.” This international recognition is presented to just one faculty member per year.
“CELA is the highest educational organization for our profession,” Lamba said. “To have them say that the last 20 years of my work has merit, I really didn’t expect that. It was a huge surprise, simply a wonderful honor.”
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