Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Elmina J. Hilsenrath (honoris causa)

Posted: May 05, 2021

Elmina (Mina) Hilsenrath enjoyed a career that spanned public, private, and academic spheres of the profession, allowing her to works at scales from small site design to county-wide planning. She graduated of the University of Massachusetts with an undergraduate degree in environmental design and a master of landscape architecture. She began and ended her career in public sector, first involved in open space planning and park design with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and later with the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning as Chief of Land Development, Community Planning, and Resource Conservation Divisions. Mina taught landscape architecture at both the University of Maryland and Morgan State University. In private practice she was a partner in her own landscape architecture firm and at the Columbia Design Collective.

Professional service was always an important way to give back. An ASLA member, Mina was President and Trustee of the Maryland Chapter. As a member of the Landscape Architecture Foundation Board of Directors, she participated in the LAF’s first cultural exchange with the People’s Republic of China in 1981. She was also a member of the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board, the Maryland Board of Examiners of Landscape Architecture, and the Maryland Department of General Services Architectural Review Board.

Since retiring in 2010, Mina has served on the Board of Trustees of the Howard County Conservancy, a local land trust and environmental education center. As a master naturalist at the Conservancy she leads field trips for school children of all ages. Mina also volunteers with Grassroots, Inc., a Howard County service center for the homeless.

Statement: My interest in the work of Cornelia Hahn Oberlander has been deeply influenced by the admiration of my dear friend and colleague Sunny Scully Alsup, who knew Ms. Oberlander personally, thus bringing the woman, as well as the designer, to life for me. A particular joy of visiting the Pacific Northwest has been the chance to visit and photograph some of Cornelia’s iconic works. As a professor, teaching site design to both architects and landscape architects, I regularly used Ms. Oberlander’s works as inspiring case studies for the collaborative partnership among professional and for the exquisite merging of building and landscape.
                                                                                    —Elmina Hilsenrath, April 27, 2021

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