Walter Hood
Courtesy Hood Design Studio Walter Hood

The Gish Prize Trust named Walter Hood as the winner of the 26th annual Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, selecting the landscape architect from a pool of over 70 other finalists. Offering a $250,000 cash prize, the award recognizes “a highly accomplished artist from any discipline who has pushed the boundaries of an art form, contributed to social change and paved the way for the next generation,” according to a press release from the trust. Hood will receive the award in a private ceremony on Nov. 20.

“When I look at the artists who have received the Gish Prize, it’s clear to me that this is not your typical award," said Hood in the same release. "It’s very much about people having a voice. So I am astonished, and deeply moved, that the Gish Prize jury has heard my voice. The work the Studio has done for the past twenty years is often soft-spoken and can go unnoticed. I thank the Gish Prize for helping to bring it into the public conversation.”

Hood, the creative director and founder of Oakland, Calif-based Hood Design Studio, is known for projects that connect individuals with their community and environment, such as his work on Splashpad Park in Oakland, Calif., the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, and Witness Walls in Nashville.

Since the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize was established in 1994, it has been awarded annually to artists from many different disciplines, including architect Frank Gehry. Hood is the first member of the design community to receive the prize since Maya Lin won in 2014.