Landscape architect Catherine Mosbach has been awarded a medal by France’s National Order of the Legion of Honor, or Légion d’honneur, the highest French order of merit for civic and military accomplishment. Mosbach was formally honored by French Minister of Culture Franck Riester at a ceremony on April 23 at the Palais-Royal in Paris.
At the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Mosbach is the Aga Khan Design Critic in Landscape Architecture. She has led a variety of option studios at the GSD, most recently the Spring 2019 studio “Build with Life: Transformation + Formation: Landscape and Islamic Culture,” sited in Tunisia.
The French Legion of Honor awards recognize outstanding careers or service to the country of France. Honorees include entrepreneurs, high-level civil servants, champion athletes, artists, and business executives. Mosbach was awarded the Legion of Honor’s distinction of Chevalier, or Knight, from among the order’s five degrees of increasing distinction. To be considered for the Chevalier honor, a candidate must present a minimum of 20 years of public service or 25 years of professional activity with “eminent merits.”
Following eight years of service as a Chevalier, an honoree may then be promoted to Officier, or Officer. Subsequent honors include the Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer), and Grand Croix (Grand Cross) titles. The Order of the Legion has a maximum quota of 75 Grand Cross officers, 250 Grand Officers, 1,250 Commanders, 10,000 Officers, and 113,425 Knights. (As of 2010, the official memberships totaled 67 Grand Cross officers, 314 Grand Officers, 3,009 Commanders, 17,032 Officers, and 74,384 Knights.)
Prior to receiving the Chevalier medal, Mosbach was originally named to the Legion of Honor in July 2016 by France’s president Francois Hollande.
A world-renowned landscape architect, Mosbach is the founder of Paris-based design firm mosbach paysagiste, which she established in 1987, as well as the magazine Pages Paysages, which she co-founded with Marc Claramunt, Pascale Jacotot, and Vincent Tricaud. Among her many projects include the Solutre archaeological park in Saone-et-Loire, the “Walk Sluice” of Saint-Denis, the Botanical Garden of Bordeaux, “The Other Side” in Quebec City, “Shan Shui” at the International Horticultural Exposition in Xian, the “Place de la Republic” in Paris, and “Walking Mediterranean Fort Saint Jean” in Marseille. She received the Equerre D’Argent Award alongside Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa for the Louvre Lens Museum Park in 2013, while her “Phase Shift Park” (Gateway Park) in Taichung was honored in 2014 by with an Iconic Concept Award by the German Design Council.