Pink Balls, a street-canopy installation of more than 170,000 plastic balls in three sizes and five shades of pink, designed by Claude Cormier and Associates, in Montreal, Quebec. Photo by Marc Cramer.
Sugar Beach, designed by Claude Cormier and Associates, transformed a surface parking lot in a former industrial area into Toronto's second urban beach. Photo by Eastern Construction.
AMES, Iowa — Claude Cormier, principal of Claude Cormier and Associates Landscape Architecture and Urban Design in Montreal, will present the 2014 P.H. Elwood Lecture in Landscape Architecture Friday, Oct. 17, at Iowa State University.
In "Color is Not a Decoration," Cormier will demonstrate his firm's creative design process for the making of public urban landscapes, from the early conceptual stage to the completion of construction. He will present current and past projects that, while different in expression, share a clear sense of playfulness.
Cormier will speak at 5:30 p.m. in Kocimski Auditorium, room 101 College of Design. His lecture will be followed by a reception in the college's Lyle E. Lightfoot Forum. Sponsored by the ISU Department of Landscape Architecture, the event is free and open to the public.
In 1995, Cormier founded his Montreal-based landscape design office, which now comprises a team of 10 diverse landscape architects whose projects range from parks and gardens to museums and monuments, from streetscapes and waterfronts to metropolitan planning initiatives.
They are known for investigating the ecological, cultural, historical, political and socioeconomic qualities of each specific site and integrating these elements into complex environments that "can brand a company, define the identity of a city or simply entice passersby to take a closer look," Cormier said.
"Our work celebrates manmade nature. Landscapes are constructed, and we believe they should look the part," he said. "We want to translate each unique situation into a bold and pleasurable design that will connect people physically, sensually and playfully. Our work may be artificial; it's also anything but fake."
Cormier was selected as an Emerging Voice for North America by the Architectural League of New York in 2005, and in 2009 he became a knight of L'Ordre National du Quebec, the highest distinction for individuals who have contributed to the development and leadership of Quebec. His firm's projects have been honored by the American Society of Landscape Architects, Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, Montreal Institute of Design, Heritage Montreal and Quebec Association of Landscape Architects, among others.
In 2014 alone, Claude Cormier and Associates has won a Sustainable Development Award for its Evergreen Brick Works project in Toronto from the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, Canadian Institute of Planners and Canadian Society of Landscape Architects; a Great Places Award in the Place Design category for Sugar Beach in Toronto from the Environmental Design Research Association; and National Citations from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects in the New Directions category for TOM Field of Daisies/Field of Poppies, Montreal, and in the Design category for Parc Hydro-Quebec, Montreal.
Cormier has taught at the University of Montreal and has lectured across Canada and the United States. He holds a bachelor's degree in agronomy from Guelph University, Ontario (1982), a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture from the University of Toronto (1986) and a master's degree in the history and theory of design from Harvard Graduate School of Design (1994). He previously worked with Groupe Lestage and Martha Schwartz Partners.
The P.H. Elwood Lecture in Landscape Architecture was established in 1997 to honor the legacy of professor Philip H. Elwood, who is credited with developing the ISU Department of Landscape Architecture. The lecture series brings renowned professional practitioners to the Iowa State campus as guest lecturers each year.