Grant Competition for Emerging Professionals

Calling all emerging professionals: Get your pen out, and bring on the creative ideas. The 2017 National Grant Competition for Emerging Professionals in Landscape Architecture has just been announced! This competition, created by Anova Furnishings, will award 21 winners $2,000 to fund attendance at the 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Los Angeles, CA.

The competition, which debuted last year, challenges emerging professionals to come up with and pitch their own idea, preparing them for future client meetings. Receiving over 120 entries in 2016 with the question “What change would you make in your region if money were no object?”, entrants were invited to share their vision along with a quick napkin sketch. The 21 winning entries show a diversity of ideas and the broad depth of interests among landscape architects across the US.

Napkin sketches from winners of the 2016 grant competition.

This year’s topic, “Global climate change is impacting local conditions everywhere – how should Landscape Architects respond?” is particularly pertinent. Entrants are asked to submit a 500-word essay, a quick napkin sketch, and a 140-character summary. The sketching component is intended to harness a landscape designer’s ability to quickly and effectively communicate their ideas. A jury of three practicing landscape architects decide on the winners based on four criteria: originality and creativity, written communication, the napkin sketch, and disciplinary positioning.

A profession trained in ecology and design, landscape architects are well-suited to tackle the big environmental issues of today, such as climate change, heat islands, and sea level rise. One of the four judging criteria, disciplinary positioning, focuses on this very topic. As stated in the grant FAQs, entries “should help elevate the perception of landscape architecture as a discipline that catalyzes positive change.” This grant is an opportunity to showcase the profession and its ability to help solve today’s challenges.

First place winner, Zheng Lu of EDSA designed this self-sustaining island in Florida that generates enough solar, wind, and water energy to power inland development.

Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Anova Furnishings has been around for over 40 years as innovators in the design and manufacturing of outdoor furniture. Long-time supporters of the landscape architecture profession, Anova created this grant to accelerate emerging professionals’ careers. Eric Gilbert, CEO of Anova, says the grant came to mind as the company asked themselves: “How are we going to help and impact this industry in a way that is meaningful, fun, and different?” Providing emerging professionals a platform to share their ideas ideas and the opportunity to learn from others at the ASLA Annual Meeting, the competition accelerates personal growth.

Eric believes that attending the ASLA Annual Meeting is particularly beneficial because it is “a place to get new ideas, and a fantastic platform to get out of your office space and go explore something new.” With over 100 education sessions and workshops, and the largest gathering of landscape architecture professionals and students in the world, the ASLA Annual Meeting certainly is an incredible opportunity to learn, engage, and inspire each other. With such a great prize available, why not share your ideas?

Submissions are accepted beginning April 1st and will remain open until April 30th. For more information and to submit your entry, visit the competition website.

Why attend the ASLA Annual Meeting? Read Land8’s recap of the 2016 Annual Meeting and EXPO.


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Stephanie Marino is a landscape architect practicing in Baltimore, Maryland.

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