Canadian Landscape Architect and pioneer in the industry, Cornelia Oberlander died this past weekend at the age of 99 in Vancouver. Haig Seferian had the pleasure of interviewing Cornelia in Vancouver when he hosted the show Garden Architecture on HGTV. He also shared a table with Cornelia, Martha Schwartz and Janet Rosenberg when they became FASLA members in 2011.
“I had the honor of interviewing Cornelia many years ago on the site of one of her numerous residential projects in Vancouver for an episode of ‘Garden Architecture’. The same week I was doubly honored to interview Arthur Erickson at his home for another episode of the show,” Haig recounts. “Cornelia and I talked of her time at Harvard studying under the likes of Walter Gropius and her collaboration with architects such as Arthur Erickson, Louis Khan and Moshe Safdie. Among many of her wonderful residential projects, she had also designed Robson Square and the Museum of Anthropology. I remember her as being very firm in her beliefs. A person who knew exactly how she wanted things to look once she had a feel for the topography and an understanding of the programming for a site. She will be missed. A note to aspiring young Landscape Architects, study the works of Cornelia.”
Cornelia was one of the first women to graduate Harvard University with a landscape architecture degree. She was granted the Freedom of the City Award just days before her passing.