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In Memoriam: Cornelia Hahn Oberlander

Cornelia Oberlander - Landscape architecture

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May 27, 2021

by Shirley Blumberg, Founding Partner, KPMB Architects

We were heartbroken to learn of Cornelia Hahn Oberlander’s passing on May 22nd. She died peacefully at her home in Vancouver at age 99 – 4 weeks before her 100th birthday. Cornelia was internationally renowned as Canada’s foremost landscape architect. She famously collaborated with Arthur Erickson on many projects including Robson Square and UBC’s Museum of Anthropology. KPMB was fortunate to work with her, most notably on the Canadian Embassy in Berlin. Ahead of her time in her focus on research and the environment, her landscape designs were deeply thoughtful and sustainable, long before we realized what that meant for design. Each project had a galvanizing narrative about purpose and place, horticulture and time. When I last visited her at home in Vancouver, in February 2020 just before the pandemic, she had slowed down somewhat, but was still working with remarkable focus and enthusiasm. A force of nature, and an inspiration for all women in design, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander truly was a national treasure.

Click here to view Cornelia Hahn Oberlander’s obituary by Alex Bozikovic, The Globe and Mail