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Sun Devils well represented in state awards for landscape architecture profession

The Arizona chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects recently announced their 2020 award winners, and affiliates of Arizona State University were represented in nearly every category.

Victor Soudani, a recent graduate from the Master of Landscape Architecture program at ASU won an individual honor award for his proposed project for Phoenix Union Park.

The awards are normally announced at the professional association’s annual gala, but due to COVID-19 restrictions were moved to an online format for 2020.

Among the winners in the premier categories was Chingwen Cheng, assistant professor of landscape architecture, who was honored as Educator of the Year. Cheng, who holds a PhD in regional planning, joined the faculty of The Design School in 2015 and since then has earned acclaim for her socially embedded teaching and research. Cheng’s commitment to research and teaching excellence was recently recognized as part of a winning project for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Campus RainWorks Challenge and this year’s AzASLA student community service award, where she served as a faculty mentor.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by colleagues and peers for my contribution to the field of landscape architecture,” Cheng said. “In light of multiple challenges that threaten the environment, equity, and economics of community sustainability, landscape architecture is the profession that understands how to design with nature and with communities to restore and heal, whether strengthening relationships between people or relationships between people and their environments for generations to come.”

Current students and alumni of ASU’s landscape architecture program were awarded for their work in many of the categories as well.

Joseph Ewan, associate professor and head of the landscape architecture program, said, “I think the showing of ASU faculty and students in the Arizona ASLA Awards is a reflection of the landscape architecture program’s impact on and integration with the landscape architecture profession. After graduating, a significant number of our alumni stay in Arizona and enter professional practice. My observation has been that many of our alumni practitioners emerge as excellent landscape architects as well as leaders in the profession.”

This certainly rings true for alumna Michele Shelor, who is founding partner of Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture, which was honored as Office of the Year. Alumnus Marc Beyer won the award for Landscape Architect of the Year. Alumnus Aaron Allan received recognition as the Volunteer of the Year, and Justin Azevedo, an alumnus and faculty associate, received honor award recognitions for work completed at Coffman Studio.

Student project winners included the team for “Ready! Set! Activate!” which won a student collaborative community service honor award for Elizabeth Ferguson, Amanda Trakas and Kevin Scholfield — all sixth-year students in the Master of Landscape Architecture program. Dora Rodriguez and Jose Madrigal, recent graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture program, won a student collaborative honor award for their project “Bosque Del Sol.” And finally, alumnus Victor Soudani won an individual student honor award for his Phoenix Union Park project.

READ MORE: Full list of honorees

rcabrera@asu.edu