The Richard Brettell Award in the Arts

Presented by The University of Texas at Dallas

Peter Walker

Join landscape architect Peter Walker, the first recipient of the Richard Brettell Award in the Arts, for three public talks.

Walker's work includes the transformation of the UT Dallas campus and the design of the sculpture garden at the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Before the Memorial: Toward a Landscape of Commemoration

Tuesday, April 11, 4 p.m.
The University of Texas at Dallas
Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building, Lecture Hall

Whither Art History in Dallas? The Arts District or The University of Texas at Dallas Campus?
(also with Dr. Richard Brettell and Gary Cunningham)

Wednesday, April 12, 5 p.m.
Public forum, followed by wine reception
Nasher Sculpture Center, Lecture Hall
2001 Flora St, Dallas

Rebuilding Campus: The University Landscape

Thursday, April 13, 2 p.m.
The University of Texas at Dallas
Student Services Building Addition, SSA 13.330

In the News

UTD lands a major arts award, courtesy of 105-year-old philanthropist Margaret McDermott

UTD is the latest to receive one more example of Margaret McDermott's generosity, that being the Richard Brettell Award in the Arts, which, every other year, beginning April 9, will bestow an award of $150,000 upon an artist "whose body of work demonstrates a lifetime of achievement in their field." Read More


UT-Dallas' New $150,000 Arts Prize Goes To... The Designer Of The UTD Campus

[Walker] is one of the world's leading landscape architects, the man behind the Nasher Sculpture Garden, for instance, as well as the National 9/11 Memorial in New York City... And as you'll see, the choice of Walker is meant as a statement, not a bit of self-congratulation. Read More


Landscape architect Peter Walker, known worldwide, wins inaugural Brettell Award in the Arts

I can say without fear of contradiction that Peter Walker is the dean of American landscape architects. Still vital in his early 80s, he and his firm work actively in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. A simple list of their landscape designs at all scales would fill pages. Read More


Peter Walker

wooded entrance area south campus mall trellised plaza with mist fountain fountains at the TI Plaza north campus mall

Peter Walker's firm is behind the ongoing campus enhancement plan at UT Dallas.

A renowned landscape architect with over 50 years of experience in practice and teaching, Peter Walker is the mastermind behind the ongoing campus enhancement plan at UT Dallas, which includes the magnolia tree-lined mall, the trellised plaza, and the wooded area surrounding University Parkway. The scope of his concerns is expansive — from the planning of cities to the design of small gardens– with a particular emphasis on civic design, corporate headquarters, plazas, academic campuses, and urban renewal projects. Exploring the relationship of art, culture, and context, he has challenged traditional concepts of landscape design.

After graduating from Harvard's Graduate School of Design, Walker banded together with his professor Hideo Sasaki to found Sasaki, Walker and Associates in 1957, which later became The SWA Group. Walker spent seven years building up the company's reputation as an internationally-recognized urban design firm before forming Peter Walker and Partners (now PWP Landscape Architecture) in 1983.

Walker also designed the landscape for the Nasher Sculpture Center in downtown Dallas in collaboration with Renzo Piano Workshop. Framed by live-oak and cedar-elm allées, rows of holly hedges, and a series of stone plinths, the garden design at the Nasher provides a stunning outdoor gallery for the museum's collection of sculptures.

The firm's architects challenge traditional concepts of design, and they frequently join with renowned architects to create significant projects. Advocating a landscape that responds to — as well as influences its environment — Walker has collaborated with architects of such stature as I. M. Pei, Arata Isozaki, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Yoshio Taniguchi, Ricardo Legorreta, and Helmut Jahn.

Over the years, Walker's firm has received honors and awards and won numerous design competitions, including the National September 11 Memorial in New York, the United States Embassy in Beijing, and the Library Walk at the University of California, San Diego.

PWP Landscape Architecture: Building Ideas

John Dixon Hunt introduces PWP Landscape Architecture: Building Ideas with a discussion of how we read landscapes and, hence, how they are designed with the reader/client in mind and the historical implications of such efforts. Peter Walker, Gary Hilderbrand, and Gina Crandell trace the history of Peter Walker's various firms from the 1950s until 2000, and Jane Gillette discusses some recent projects in terms of using consultants to further design ideas. Twelve finished projects, seven works in progress, and three competitions, from roughly 2000 to 2015, demonstrate the firm's goals and achievements with an emphasis on the expansion of landscape architecture from the surrounds of buildings to self-sufficient entities that express the highest accomplishments of both ecological function and design.

About the Award

The Richard Brettell Award in the Arts at UT Dallas, established in 2016 with a gift from Mrs. Margaret McDermott, recognizes the essential and fundamental role in the arts in the life of the university. The award honors an artist working in or between any of the broad spectrum of artistic endeavors, including the visual arts, music, literature, performance, and architecture/design. Given every other year, the award consists of a prize of $150,000 and a week's residence on the UT Dallas campus and in Dallas, during which the awardee will present a major public lecture and interact in a variety of venues with the students, staff and faculty of UT Dallas and with the larger arts community of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Prospective awardees will be nominated by the Brettell Award Advisory Committee, composed of international leaders in arts and culture, with the selection of the awardee being made by an Executive Committee composed of university and community leaders.

The concept of the Brettell Award is inspired by the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT, created by the McDermott Family at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974. The MIT McDermott Award is also made every other year, and it is planned to schedule the two events in alternating years.

Margaret McDermott

Richard Brettell


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