31 October 2022

Sheffield graduate receives President’s Award from International Federation of Landscape Architects

Gloria Aponte, distinguished alumna of the Department of Landscape Architecture, was awarded the honour in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the global profession of Landscape Architecture.

Gloria Aponte García
Gloria Aponte, Sheffield graduate and winner of the IFLA President's Award 2022

The Colombian Landscape Architect, who completed her Masters in Landscape Design at the University of Sheffield in 1981, was presented with the honour during the 58th IFLA World Congress in Gwagju, Korea, by IFLA President James Hayter.

Gloria is a pioneer in landscape architecture education in the Americas.

She is founder, partner and project manager of ECOTONO LTDA, as well as founder of the the first masters programme in Landscape Design in Colombia, at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana.

Head of Department, Professor Helen Woolley said: “I am absolutely delighted that Gloria has won the IFLA President's Award. It is well deserved for her commitment to the profession of landscape architecture in the global context."

"Her understanding of the way the profession brings together natural and ecological elements, in different social and cultural settings and the psychological responses that people experience in their everyday lives echoes the heart of our teaching and learning, now as it did when Gloria studied with us."

"Gloria has become a world advocate for the profession and I hope that many other of our alumni and current students will follow her example."


In the middle of the global environmental, water and biodiversity crises, Landscape Architecture is a successful and sensible way to guide assertive interventions in our shared habitat.

Gloria Aponte


James Hayter, IFLA President said: "Gloria has given her time tirelessly and to great effect. Gloria’s dedication, her integrity and passion for landscape architecture globally is exemplary and has resulted in great benefit to the profession. It is with enormous pleasure that we celebrate the 2022 IFLA President’s Award to Gloria Aponte.

Gloria Aponte started her masters in Sheffield in 1979
Gloria Aponte started her masters in the Department of Landscape Architecture in 1979

We spoke to Gloria about her outstanding achievement.

Congratulations on receiving the IFLA President’s Award! How did you feel on receiving the award and what does the recognition mean to you?

Thank you for the congratulations, it’s very appreciated coming from my dear alma mater. The news surprised me absolutely. I had never expected such an event. I feel very honored and, as I expressed to IFLA, I feel that I represent a large number of colleagues that, all around the world, work every day to make our beloved profession visible and valuable.

You have spent a distinguished career advancing Landscape Architecture globally. Why do you consider Landscape Architecture to be so important and worth pursuing?

Landscape Architecture was one of the first professions to adopt and use a transdisciplinary approach, even before this important word was recognised in the academic field. Beyond design or artistic proposals, Landscape Architecture responds to natural, ecological, psychological, cultural, social and technical stimuli, to guide articulated and responsible decisions, which ultimately become design proposals.

In the middle of the global environmental, water and biodiversity crises, Landscape Architecture is a successful and sensible way to guide assertive interventions in our shared habitat.

The Department of Landscape Architecture is extremely proud of our connection. In what ways has your time here influenced your career and thinking?

I am proud of keeping in touch with my university! I have always said that my time in Sheffield changed my mind, and that what I learned in the Department shaped my career, allowing me to develop in different ways to undertake my professional practice.

I would advise current students in the Department of Landscape Architecture to take advantage of every experience they have during their studies. At the least expected moment, the opportunity to apply those initially unappreciated learnings will come; that has been my experience.