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Cornelia Hahn Oberlander Collection

Media Type: 
Architectural drawing
Call Number / Archival Reference Number: 
CAC 68
STEM Field: 

The collection includes Hahn Oberlander’s landscape drawings for the National Gallery of Canada (1984), War Museum Courtyard (1984), and concept sketches of the development of the planted roof at Library Square, Vancouver (1992-94). Slides show the roof at Library Square. 

See also Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal.

Biography/Administrative History: 

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander (b. 1924, Mulheim, Germany) is one of North America’s most accomplished and well-known female landscape architects and a pioneer in the creation of socially conscious and sustainable landscape designs. 

 She attended Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts from 1941-44 before studying under Walter Gropius at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, graduating with a degree in Landscape Architecture in 1947. 
Until the early 1970s Hahn Oberlander designed primarily children’s playgrounds, private residential gardens, and landscapes for social housing projects such as MacLean Park and Skeena Terrace in Vancouver (1957). In the 1970s, Hahn Oberlander was invited by architect Arthur Erickson to contribute to the planning of the Robson Square and Provincial Courthouse complex in Vancouver (built 1977-1979). Further collaborations with Erickson and others on important public buildings soon followed. With Erickson she worked on many of his most renowned projects - the Museum of Anthropology at UBC (1976), the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. (1989), California Plaza, Los Angeles (1989) and the Liu Centre for Global Relations at UBC (1998). For architect Moshe Safdie, Hahn Oberlander designed the Taiga (Arctic) Garden for the National Gallery of Canada (1989), landscapes for the Ottawa City Hall addition (1991), and the Vancouver Public Library (1995). 
Other major projects involving Hahn Oberlander in the 1990s incl uded the United Nations Peacekeeping Monument, Ottawa (with the Vancouver team of Richard Henriquez architect and sculptor Jack Harman, 1992), as well as landscapes for the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly Building, Yellowknife (Matsuzaki / Wright Architects, 1991-94), and the ecologically innovative C.K. Choi Institute of Asian Research at UBC (Matsuzaki / Wright Architects, 1996), a project that committed Hahn Oberlander to environmental planning and sustainable development in urban contexts. Other projets  by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander Landscape Architects are the Canadian Embassy in Berlin (Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects), and the Master Landscape Plan for her alma mater, Smith College (with Rolland / Towers Associates), and most recently the New York Times Building, New York (Renzo Piano, architects). In 2003 the Governor General of Canada named Oberlander “Canada’s premier landscape architect” and awarded her the Order of Canada.

18 drawings, slides
Hosting Institution: 
McGill University
Collection Contact:
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