The prestigious accolade places ECA ahead of 78 other academic institutions.

A portfolio of work by five recent postgraduate MLA Landscape Architecture graduates has won the department the title of ‘Best International Landscape Architecture School’ at the Barcelona International Biennial of Landscape Architecture 2018.

The all-female group – Yifan Hu, Emily Cropton, Molly Gordon, Marta Gioffre and Theoni Zompola – submitted a portfolio of their final-year work, aided in its development by Landscape Architecture academic staff.

Nine portfolios made the shortlist from the 78 submitted and the ECA group found themselves up against work from Harvard Undergraduate School of Design, Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Leibniz University Hannover, Beijing Forestry University, the University of Pennsylvania, Victoria University Wellington and the University of Toronto.

Lisa MacKenzie, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, said:

“We are so very proud to have been awarded this incredible prize amongst a shortlist of such talented schools. In the last three years my colleagues and I have supported our students in returning to a slow, deliberate and critical reading of their allotted sites, mainly achieved through drawing and making. We give this time and a take a great amount of care in the formation of each project. We have rejected the ‘throw down’ of ideas that do not evolve and do not belong in place. Our five projects are a representation of this culture in our school.”

Work by 2018 MLA Landscape Architecture graduate Molly Gordon
Image: Molly Gordon
Work by 2018 MLA Landscape Architecture graduate Molly Gordon

"We are so very proud to have been awarded this incredible prize amongst a shortlist of such talented schools... My colleagues and I have supported our students in returning to a slow, deliberate and critical reading of their allotted sites, mainly achieved through drawing and making."

Lisa MacKenzie, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture

Projects diverse in location and proposals

The portfolio included projects across diverse geographical locations including Marseille, France, the Cromarty Firth in the Scottish Highlands, and a lagoon on the West coast of Greece.

Graduate Marta Gioffre’s winning project is located in the city of La Ciotat in the South of France, on the border of the Calanques National Park and Mediterranean.

Marta’s project addresses concerns about a major redevelopment project in the city that will result in 12,000 sqm of former shipyard area transformed into a new business village, with the potential loss of many old and beautiful warehouses and cranes, thereby destroying the genius loci (sense of place). Along with architectural landscape interventions, the project proposes new permanent temporary happenings like local markets, art exhibitions music festivals, and an outdoor cinema to reinvigorate a sense of community and place.

Fellow aluma Theoni Zompola’s project is located at the ecologically endangered Messolonghi Lagoon complex in the west part of Mainland Greece, the biggest shallow coastal lagoon in Greece and one of the biggest in the Mediterranean. Her project aims to introduce a new culture and economic source for the city of Messolonghi which has evolved around algae.

Theoni said: “I am really excited that we won but I am also very honoured that I was chosen to be one of the five people to represent my University at this prestigious competition, and I have my tutors to thank for this, not merely for their choice but also their guidance and support these past two years. I would like also to thank my peers for the creative and stimulating environment where all of us where able to grow and evolve.”

As well as the postgraduate MLA programme, it is possible to study at Undergraduate level in our MA Landscape Architecture and also at Postgraduate level in the European Master’s of Landscape Architecture.


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