In this interview, Zaš Brezar talks to Prof. Dr. Lisa Diedrich, the winner of LILA 2023 Honour Award. She speaks about her professional development throughout the years and specifically about being a ‘straddler’ between professional practice and academia. She references several books and projects that inspire her as a landscape architect, architect, journalist and especially as a ‘reflective practitioner’.
LILA Honour Award was awarded to Lisa Diedrich by the editors of Landezine and they wrote in the statement:
Prof. Dr Lisa Diedrich (b. 1965, Minden, Germany) studied landscape architecture, architecture, and urbanism and has a certificate in journalism. Her teaching record spans over two decades and comprises various landscape architecture programmes at universities in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Argentina and Australia.
She held several academic positions; the recent ones include the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and, since this year, she has been a professor at the Walter Gropius Chair, University of Buenos Aires, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism, Argentina.
Between 2017 – 2022 she led the research platform SLU Urban Futures at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden, where she dedicated her work to the research of urbanisation processes from the landscape architecture perspective. She has been specifically interested in the transformations of post-industrial areas into a living environment fit for the future.
She was on numerous juries, boards and scientific committees, both inside and outside academia. She founded Diedrich DesignCritic, where she worked independently as a consultant for public and private clients on theory and practice in landscape architecture. She has consulted the most renowned European studios, many of them past LILA winners. Between 2000 and 2006, she was a personal advisor to the City Architect, Dpt of Public Constructions, City of Munich, Germany. She speaks eight languages.
Besides the plethora of remarkable positions and achievements in the academic sphere, the editors of Landezine specifically recognise her outstanding contribution to the professional discussion on topics concerning landscape architecture. Through her work as editor-in-chief of LAE – Landscape Architecture Europe and co-editor-in-chief of ‘scape, the International Magazine for Landscape Architecture, she has continuously taken leadership in bringing in focus topics and notions relevant to our time.
Both publications significantly impacted how we think about European landscape architecture and with ‘scape also internationally. They are an important part of our collective professional consciousness, a much-needed reflective cut into continuities of production, revealing the fluid structures of processes concerning our profession.
The editors of Landezine further recognise Diedrich’s profound ability to voice her thoughts on practice. Her writings beautifully balance the professional, grounded, objective critique with more personal, often poetic notions and comparisons. Her soberly precise and methodological yet at the same time abstract, ‘full-bodied’ vocabulary reflects the very contrasts embedded in the design process of landscape architects.
She speaks of Reflective practitioners, a term she uses to promote constant questioning of the approach and the design process and encourage inter- and transdisciplinary dialogue on the landscape.
LILA Honour Award 2023 celebrates Diedrich’s already outstanding career that will hopefully inspire many landscape architects to participate in reflection, be curious and continuously challenge their work.
See an older video of Lisa Diedrich speaking about the LAE editions:
Published on January 16, 2024