Brian Patterson and Jack Zunino put their heads together in 1990 to define a year-end celebration for local landscape architecture professionals. At the time, ASLA members in Nevada belonged to a sub-section of the California ASLA chapter. Instead of coming up with a dignified theme, Brian decided to go with the tackiest representation of the profession he could think of, a pink flamingo. Brian and Jack didn’t realize that plastic pink flamingos would cost about $10 each, so in order to decorate a room and make a statement, a lot of pink flamingos would be needed. The flock was built over time, each year 10 to 20 plastic flamingos were purchased. The goal was to have enough of the plastic birds to fill a meeting room at the Flamingo Hilton at some point. Vendors and suppliers joined in on the fun and would donate pink flamingo items to be raffled at the annual banquet. ASLA chapter members started adding accessories to many of the birds, including top hats. Once the chapter was large enough to have a Nevada awards event, the Pink Flamingo Banquet was combined with the annual awards event.
The awards program is intended to promote professional excellence and highlight the aesthetic and environmental benefits of the built landscape to the public. Contributions to the chapter are acknowledged through the President’s Award and Trustee’s Award. Contributions from non-chapter members for management and conservancy of natural resources and/or public landscapes in Nevada are acknowledged through the Award of Honor.
Design and planning excellence is acknowledged through the Annual Landscape Architecture Awards. Awards are given under a number of categories, with one project taking the Project of the Year prize.
Design and planning categories are as follows:
- Commercial, retail, office or mixed use design
- Institutional design
- Multi-family residential design
- Professional landscape analysis and planning
- Park design
- Resort design
- Single-family residential design
- Student design work
- Trail design
- Un-built design