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2024 LAF Medal & Founders Award

Frederick "Fritz" Steiner and the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) have been named as this year's honorees.

Launched in 2016 in conjunction with LAF’s 50th anniversary, the LAF Medal and Founders’ Award are annual awards that honor those who have made significant and sustained contributions to LAF’s mission to support the preservation, improvement, and enhancement of the environment. The LAF Medal is awarded to an impactful individual while the LAF Founders’ Award honors a firm, agency, or organization. The 2024 recipients will be recognized at the LAF Awards Dinner in June in Washington, D.C.


LAF Medal: Frederick “Fritz” Steiner

Fritz Steiner

The LAF Medal is conveyed to a landscape architect for distinguished work over a career in applying the principles of sustainability to landscapes. Honorees come from private practice, academia, nonprofit and public sectors, exemplify the values of LAF, and have made a significant contribution to the advancement of the landscape architecture discipline. The 2024 LAF Medal goes to Frederick “Fritz” Steiner, FASLA.

Fritz is a renowned ecological planner, author, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, and Co-Executive Director of the Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology. Previously, he served as dean of the School of Architecture and Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin for 15 years. He has written, edited, and co-edited 18 books, including Living Landscape: An Ecological Approach to Landscape Planning; Urban Ecological DesignNature and Cities; and Design with Nature Now. These influential texts continue to reshape the profession.

Throughout his career, Fritz Steiner has been an advocate for how landscape architects need to integrate sound environmental science and principles of ecology into their practice. He has encouraged upstream practice through planning and advisory roles, allowing the profession to see our potential beyond downstream physical design.

LAF Medal and Founders' Award Committee

Fritz has also taught at Washington State University and the University of Colorado at Denver. He was a visiting professor of landscape architecture at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, a Fulbright-Hays scholar at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and a Rome Prize Fellow in Historic Preservation at the American Academy in Rome. During 2013-2014, he was the William A. Bernoudy Architect in Residence at the American Academy in Rome. He is a Fellow of both the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, and a Scholar at the Penn Institute for Urban Research.

He helped establish the Sustainable SITES Initiative, the first program of its kind to offer a systematic, comprehensive rating system designed to define sustainable land development and management.

"Fritz Steiner is a compassionate and visionary leader who celebrates the potential of landscape architecture to make cities and regions more ecologically productive and sustainable," said Awards Committee Chair Susannah Drake." "His embrace of ecology and design, as communicated in numerous books and publications and through his academic leadership, inspires designers across generations to imagine, innovate, design and build projects that positively affect communities across the globe."

"I am humbled and honored by this august recognition," Fritz said when notified about the award. "I hold LAF in the highest regard for its forward-looking vision and its commitment to advancing land ethics."


LAF Founders’ Award: International Living Future Institute


The LAF Founders’ Award is conveyed to a firm, agency, or organization that demonstrates a significant commitment to preserving, improving, or enhancing landscapes over a sustained period of time. The 2024 LAF Founders’ Award goes to the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).

ILFI has pushed the limits of what is considered sustainable. Its Living Building Challenge established the most rigorous performance standards for the built environment. IFLI’s JUST label program also pushes organizations to be more equitable and socially sustainable.

LAF Medal and Founders' Award Committee

The International Living Future Institute is a nonprofit working to build an ecologically-minded, restorative world for all people. Using principles of social and environmental justice, ILFI seeks to counter climate change by pushing for an urban environment free of fossil fuels. ILFI runs the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous green building standard, not to mention several other programs including the Living Community Challenge and the Declare and Just labels. These programs develop a green framework for living in the 21st-century.

"The International Living Future Institute provides not only important leadership but also practical strategies for achieving the goal of a more just and resilient future," said Awards Committee Chair Susannah Drake. "From a very competitive pool of candidates, the organization rose to the top for the breadth of its reach, effectiveness of programming, and its embrace of principals at the core of sustainable landscape architectural practice."


2024 Awards Committee

The LAF Board Emeritus Council manages the nomination and selection process for the awards. Members of the 2024 Awards Committee were:

  • Susannah Drake, FAIA, FASLA, Sasaki (Chair)
  • Gayle Berens, Gayle Berens Consulting
  • Kona Gray, FASLA, EDSA
  • Mia Lehrer, FASLA, Studio-MLA
  • Chris Torres, RLA, Agency Artifact
  • McKenzie Wilhelm, Coen+Partners

LAF is grateful to the many individuals and organizations that provide financial support towards fulfilling our mission to support the preservation, improvement, and enhancement of the environment.

Much of what LAF is able to accomplish would not be possible without the thought leadership and financial investment of our major supporters, including ASLA, which provides over $125,000 of in-kind support annually.