Famed Landscape Architect to Receive First Brettell Award in the Arts
Peter Walker Designed Campus Enhancement Project; Award Includes Residency, Public Lectures Next Week

Mrs. Margaret McDermott and Peter Walker

Mrs. Margaret McDermott and Peter Walker attended the dedication ceremony for the campus enhancement project in 2010. Walker, who designed the project, is the first recipient of the Richard Brettell Award in the Arts, which was created by a gift from Mrs. McDermott.

Landscape architect Peter Walker has been named the recipient of the 2017 Richard Brettell Award in the Arts at The University of Texas at Dallas. The $150,000 prize also includes a week’s residency that begins Monday, during which Walker will be on campus for a series of public talks.

A renowned landscape architect with over 50 years of experience in practice and teaching, Walker designed 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.

“I am extremely honored to receive the Brettell Award in the Arts,” Walker said. “I am grateful to the University, Professor Brettell and our great patron, Margaret McDermott. Working on the campus over the years has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my career.”

After graduating from Harvard Graduate School of Design, Walker joined his professor Hideo Sasaki to found Sasaki, Walker and Associates in 1957, which later became The SWA Group. Walker spent 17 years building the company’s reputation as an internationally recognized urban design firm before he formed 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 Building 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.

Brettell Award Events

Peter Walker, first recipient of the Brettell Award in the Arts, will be featured at two lectures and a public forum:

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, SSA 13.330

All events are free and open to the public.

“The large-scale works in the Nasher Collection could not ask for a more suitable and inspiring outdoor space to occupy than the Peter Walker-designed garden,” said Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher Sculpture Center. “In the middle of the bustling city, works like Richard Serra’s monumental steel piece My Curves are not Mad and the figures of George Segal’s Rush Hour carry particular resonance in the tranquil space of the garden, making it one of the most sought-after spots in the city for contemplation and reflection.”

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.

As the inaugural recipient of the newly created Brettell Award, Walker will have the opportunity to connect with students and faculty through a major public lecture, along with seminars, faculty round-tables and a public forum in the Dallas Arts District. 

Established in 2016 with a gift from Mrs. Margaret McDermott, the award recognizes artists working in or between any of the broad spectrum of artistic endeavors, including the visual arts, music, literature, performance and architecture/design. It is awarded every two years.

Prospective awardees are nominated by the Brettell Award Advisory Committee, composed of international leaders in arts and culture, with the selection of the awardee made by an executive committee composed of university and community leaders.

“There is no artist in any medium who has had a more profound effect on UT Dallas than Peter Walker,” said Dr. Richard R. Brettell, the Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetic Studies and the Edith O’Donnell Distinguished University Chair. “Selected with the input of a distinguished committee chaired by the late Raymond Nasher, Peter Walker took a group of neo-modernist and brutalist buildings in Richardson and created — between them — a sense of place that has utterly transformed the campus.” 

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

Tagged: A&H