Somewhat controversial but successful Environmental Designer, Landscape Architect, and Developer Dr Chris Mulder whose integrated design firm CMAI developed Thesens Island in Knysna South Africa is honored by his former University Via Bizcommunity.com and illustrations from sources as credited: Although I wonder if this is transferring gated suburbia to the country – despite its laudable aims to uplift the rural population and provide needed jobs – what are the costs in terms of commuting and environmental impacts? Having said this I was impressed by Dr Mulder’s presentation at the 2010 ILASA conference, while many others were bewailing the lack of importance attached to Landscape Architecture in South Africa, and with the current economic climate the shortage of work, Chris was positive about creating his own developments and suggested in the question and answer sessions of the conference that Landscape Architects were well positioned to lead development teams in that their training encompassed more integrated and holistic views than most of the other design disciplines and he has been a model of this both for his own development s as well as for his clients. His take on a question of mine was that If you are short of work – make it – become a developer yourself!
Texas A&M University, one of the largest universities in the US, awarded its Outstanding International Alumnus Award to South African, Dr Chris Mulder at a gala ceremony on 26 April 2011. Mulder, described as one South Africa’s foremost land planners and urban designers and innovative property developer, joins the president of Panama, the former president of Bolivia and the former minister of economic affairs of Taiwan as recipients in this award.
Mulder obtained his doctorate in environmental planning and urban design at Texas A&M in 1980 and undertook post-doctoral studies at Harvard Graduate School of Design and at the University of Massachusetts before returning to South Africa.He adds this award to the honouring by the Institute for Landscape Architecture in Southern Africa (ILASA) as an icon of landscape architecture in South Africa. In its 50-year history only three of its members have been honoured in this way. On the same occasion his best-known design and planning for property development, Thesen Islands in the Knysna lagoon, received the Institute’s highest honour, its President’s Award for excellence in design.
Agri-village recognisedTexas A&M University also has six masters students in architecture currently in South Africa, working on the design of a potential satellite campus for study abroad programs for their colleges or faculties of architecture, agriculture and veterinary and community health services.The idea is to establish a satellite campus at Mulder’s latest property development, the revolutionary agri-village Crossways Farm Village on the heights above the Van Staden’s River canyon near Port Elizabeth.