2020 Winner of The Mark Turnbull Travel Award for Graduate Landscape Architects

Learn from a world perspective to influence in Scotland

Winner of the Award

Sharon Turnbull and the Landscape Institute Scotland are delighted to announce that Charlotte McLean is the winner of the 2020 Mark Turnbull Travel Award. Charlotte is a chartered landscape architect with over 25 years’ experience in landscape design and conservation.  She has enjoyed a wide-ranging career, with extensive experience in the private sector and on the planning side in local government (Historic England).  Much of her work has concerned ‘designed historic landscapes’ – either conservation and management, or the design and planning of contemporary interventions to give them new use and resonance.  She has worked in Italy, France, Germany and Australia and is the author of Landscape London: A guide to recent gardens, parks and urban spaces published by Ellipsis in 2001.

In 2019 she secured a funded PhD place at Manchester Metropolitan to study a project entitled Landscape, Infrastructure and Ecology: Scottish Modernist Landscape Architecture through the work of Mark Turnbull (1943-1916).The project focuses on two narrowly researched aspects of Scottish post-war landscape architecture: its international links with the US and achievements in the field of infrastructure and ecological planning.  The catalyst for this project was the donation of the Mark Turnbull’s work archive by his wife Sharon to the Landscape Institute in Scotland  in 2017.

Turnbull studied architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, followed by a Masters in landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania under Ian McHarg (1920-2001) – self-proclaimed father of ecological planning.  McHarg’s procedural approach to regional planning is widely recognised as the forerunner to Geographical Information Systems or GIS and his book Design with Nature (1969) with which Turnbull assisted. 

The scale of McHarg’s approach to landscape architecture made a huge impact on Turnbull and, on his return to Scotland in 1974, he, along with others, pioneered computer aided design and visual impact assessment techniques for large-scale infrastructure projects from the mid-1970s onwards.  Projects included oil refineries, reservoirs, transmission lines and a super-quarry. 

Charlotte’s thesis will investigate the significance of his contribution to landscape architecture theory, design and practice and assess the relevance of his work today, particularly with relation to the current climate emergency.  The value of the research will be to situate Turnbull’s contribution within a national and international context, especially within the Scottish/American discourse relating to the evolving fields of large-scale infrastructure design and ecological planning. 

The Mark Turnbull Travel Award, generously donated by Mark’s wife Sharon Turnbull, will enable Charlotte to travel to the United states to research the archives at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design and The McHarg Center and also at the University of Southern California, where Mark taught following his landscape studies at Penn. 

Benefitting the Landscape Profession in Scotland

As a requirement of the Award Charlotte will present the findings of her travel & studies at the LIS AGM in April 2021 along with guest speakers on post war landscape architecture. This will be subject to the ongoing travel restrictions placed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The final reports will be available for members on the LIS website and will document the findings of her research from her travels as part of her PhD thesis.

Thanks to Sharon Turnbull

The Landscape Institute Scotland would like to thank Sharon Turnbull for her generous support of this Travel Award in the memory of Mark Turnbull. Mark was one of the country’s most eminent Landscape Architects, winner of the Landscape Institute’s Gold Medal Award and recognised for the contribution that overseas learning and experience from his training and work in the USA brought to his practice in Scotland

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