IFLA 2012 SGJA AWARDEE
MIHÁLY MÖCSÉNYI

 

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Mihály Möcsényi has made an outstanding contribution to Landscape Architecture through his life-long commitment to his chosen profession. His achievement in all aspects of landscape architecture – landscape planning, landscape research, landscape design and landscape education has been quite phenomenal.

Professor Möcsényi started to work in University education in 1945. He was teaching landscape design and landscaping. In 1970 he became the Head of the Department of Landscape and Garden Architecture School in Budapest, Hungary. He integrated the technical and aesthetic knowledge with an ecological and economic approach to landscape architecture education.

He started his career in the field of education, and studied at different institutions simultaneously with his teaching. He studied history, archaeology, art history, and economics, as well as technical-architectural, artistic and aesthetic matters, in order to acquire and pass on a fuller, more valuable and comprehensive body of knowledge to his students. He worked as a practitioner at the same time as he was teaching and says that: “Every day we need to prepare ourselves to spend the next day usefully”.

His philosophy that a teacher also has to have constant, direct connection with professional practice has inspired thousands of Hungarian landscape architecture students. He also encouraged students to go abroad to expand their knowledge in the fields of landscape architecture.

In 1968 he officially defined landscape as both a “cultural product” and “humanized nature”. This established the basis of landscape architecture and planning in Hungary as an integrative and ecological approach,  a revolutionary change from the former purely geographical landscape approach.”

Because of political reasons, he asked for retirement in 1979, and started to work more internationally. He had for a long time been involved in IFLA;  he was elected Vice-President IFLA Central Region from 1982-86 and then IFLA President from 1986-1990. He had an essential role in bringing the Eastern European countries into IFLA and was involved in the opening up of   these countries for international relationships, education and the initiation of new national associations for landscape architects.

After the collapse of the communist system in Hungary in 1990, he was called back to the university, where he was elected as Rector from 1991-93, and founded the Faculty of Landscape Architecture in Budapest in 1992.

He has clearly had a unique and lasting impact on the development of landscape architecture as both a practitioner and promoter of the profession of landscape architecture. Mihály Möcsényi has, within 70 years of active work, opened many doors, minds and hearts to an awareness of landscape architecture as a profession, and its integral value in public life. His life achievement is an example for everyone to follow and he is a most worthy recipient of the IFLA Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award.