Dreamers & Builders Gala
Oberlander to be honoured
The Jewish Independent • By Robert Matas • Friday 10, February 2017
About Cornelia Hahn Oberlander
This year we honour Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, a world renowned landscape architect and visionary.
Born in Muelheim-Ruhr, Germany, Cornelia immigrated to the United States as a child with her mother and sisters. Schooled at Harvard University she embraced modernist ideas and values that encouraged collaboration across disciplines – a concept that became an Oberlander hallmark.
“We need to take care of our environment. We have to have places to play for children. We have to have places for recreation. It means having a corner in the city, and a bench, and a tree to sit and contemplate away from a very busy world.” Cornelia Oberlander
Cornelia has been concerned for the public’s welfare throughout her career. In the early 1950s, she worked as a community planner for the Citizens’ Council on City Planning and on public housing projects. In 1953, she moved to Vancouver, B.C. and continued her work in public landscapes, including participation in the creation of national playground guidelines and the design of more than seventy playgrounds across Canada.
Cornelia’s more than 60 year collaboration with the world’s most renowned Landscape architects, resulted in many noteworthy projects in Canada and the United States, including Vancouver’s Robson Square Provincial Government Center and Courthouse Complex, The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, and the Canadian Chancery in Washington D.C. and many more around the globe.
As a founding member of Temple Sholom, Cornelia, along with her beloved late husband Peter Oberlander, helped envision a Reform, Progressive Jewish congregation in metro Vancouver. Through their tireless efforts they literally planted the seeds that have grown into Temple Sholom becoming the largest Jewish congregation in Vancouver.
Cornelia dreamt about designing green spaces from the time that she was 11 years old and has being doing it for over 9 decades. Now she sees herself as a mentor and role model for the next generation of “Dreamers and Builders”.
Rebecca Baron is a 16 year old student at Prince of Wales. She is involved with “Because of Her” at UBC and is the Vancouver Ambassador for Room to Read; a global literacy program.
Her vision includes challenging the stereotypes and cultural biases that prevent girls from being interested in the Sciences.
In 2014, as a science project, motivated by her mother’s asthma, she developed an innovative technique to improve air quality, using a bacteria that she was able to isolate.
In her spare time, she has managed to produce a TED Talk and read Jewish text to find precedent for equality between the genders.