Cornelia Hahn Oberlander: a Blessing

Measured mourns the loss of landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, who passed away on May 22nd.

Cornelia was an inspiration to Measured throughout her lifetime. As a Jew growing up in Nazi Germany, Cornelia fled Europe at 18 to begin again in the United States. Following degrees at Smith College and Harvard University, Cornelia then moved to Vancouver in 1953, shortly thereafter becoming an internationally renowned landscape architect, involved in local projects which included Vancouver’s Robson Square, Public Library Central Branch Rooftop Garden and VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre.

Over the past two years, Measured had been fortunate to have organized two events with Cornelia through the Arthur Erickson Foundation, one at Arthur Erickson’s Eppich House II and another at the Vancouver Law Courts, where Cornelia had collaborated closely with Arthur Erickson to design Robson Square. At this talk, Cornelia described the connectivity of the landscape and architecture, as well as the processes in which they are designed together, a memory we won’t soon forget.

Measured Principal Clinton Cuddington, who worked closely with Oberlander both during his time at Bing Thom Architects, as well as in his current position on the Arthur Erickson Foundation, had this to say about her life:

“We were fortunate enough to have exposure to her essential lessons, which will continue to inform our work moving forward. While saddened by the loss, we will remain committed to drawing upon the critical foundation Cornelia laid regionally and internationally as a landscape architect. She will be missed.”


/ Globe and Mail Obituary

Above: the trailer to City Dreamers, a documentary about four trailblazing women in the field of design, Cornelia being one of them. As a board member of the Vancouver’s Architectural and Design Film Festival, Clinton was involved in a local viewing where Cornelia Hahn Oberlander discussed her role and career’s work.

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