The International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens, twenty editions, 1990-2009

Twentieth award. Carlo Scarpa Prize thus turns twenty. And it is perhaps the only prize to be given to a place. Not for a work of the intellect, or of poetry or literature or music or art or architecture. Destined rather for a recognizable area of land whose identity lies in the accretion of things and actions over time. A place in which the natural heritage converges with the historical and where someone is responsible for it. Settings, things, actions, alterations, responsibilities, which taken together we could refer to as landscape (as the European Landscape Convention does), but which we prefer to call places because we take landscaping to be the sciences, arts, techniques and regulations that together govern land or, as we said, places. Just as gardening entails the design and management of gardens.

The Foundation organizes studies and research, seminars and workshops, publications and study tours with a view to extending knowledge and appreciation of the art by which places are given shape and life. And every year a small group of “experts” chooses, from the many places they have seen and studied, one which they feel would benefit from a concentrated effort to deepen knowledge and raise awareness of it; this leads to in-depth study and documentation of its geography and history in an attempt to understand its character and transmit its values.

A glance at the list of places to which the Prize has been dedicated over the last twenty years is enough to convey an idea of the infinite variety of experience and contrast they embrace. And the list of Jury members includes the names of several figures who have played crucial roles in the evolution and fine-tuning of the criteria adopted for investigating and assessment: Rosario Assunto (1915-1994) was Chairman from 1990 to 1994; Ippolito Pizzetti (1926-2007) was a member from 1990 until 2007; Sven-Ingvar Andersson (1927-2007) was a member from 1995 to 2005 and an honorary member until 2007; and the Jury continues to draw invaluable benefit from the vast experience of the English expert Tom Wright, who was a member from 1990 to 2000 and has been an honorary member ever since.