Richard Weller Honored with Inaugural LAF Legacy Award
University of Pennsylvania landscape architecture Professor and Chair Richard Weller has been selected as the first recipient of the new LAF Legacy Award.
The LAF Legacy Award was created in 2023 by the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) to recognize and show appreciation for past members of the LAF Board of Directors who provided extraordinary service and contributions to the organization and its legacy.
Richard served on the LAF Board from 2014 to 2018. An influential leader and prolific writer, Richard’s presence and vision strengthened the LAF Board and helped the organization turn ideas into action, in particular LAF’s 2016 Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future and the resulting New Landscape Declaration. This important initiative tapped pent up frustration within the discipline, articulated a common set of values, and produced a 21st century call to action which challenged landscape architects to find ways to use their unique professional skills to address the most critical issues of our time: climate change, inequity, biodiversity loss, and rapid urbanization.
As a Board Emeritus, Richard conceptualized the idea of the Green New Deal Superstudio and served on the core planning team. The Superstudio, which ran from 2020 to 2021, was an open call to design schools, professional practices, individuals, and others to translate the core goals of the Green New Deal—decarbonization, justice, and jobs—into design and planning projects. Some 670 projects were submitted by over 90 universities in 39 states and 10 countries, as well as hundreds of practitioners from across the design disciplines. The Superstudio’s success and the ideas it inspired informed the most important conversations emerging in design today.
“Richard's vision and leadership helped bring to fruition two bold initiatives that were catalytic for LAF and the landscape architecture discipline,” said LAF CEO Barbara Deutsch, FASLA. “We are forever grateful for Richard's service and dedication to LAF, and for bringing the hopes and aspirations of the discipline together in clear and impactful ways.”
Richard’s service to LAF came as he balanced his duties at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is the Co-Executive Director of the McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology, and Creative Director of LA+ Interdisciplinary Journal of Landscape Architecture. Known for his design abilities and numerous publications, Richard’s commitment to the future of the discipline, the environment, and communities everywhere was reflected in his actions on the LAF Board. He served on numerous task forces and committees with LAF, all working to support the discipline through the organization’s award-winning research, scholarship, and leadership programs.
"As a foundation devoted exclusively to landscape architecture, the LAF actively supports students, academics and practitioners in ways other organizations cannot,” Richard said. “Through its programs and events, particularly in the last decade or so, the LAF has confronted the issues of the times and connected those issues to design intelligence across all scales in both practical and visionary ways. I don’t think I deserve to be singled out. Being on the Board is a labor of love and all the Board members along with the LAF staff are the ones we should thank."