Obituary of Helmut H. Schmitz

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On 27 November 2016, Helmut H. Schmitz, an important companion of the bdla Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland, passed away. During his long professional and association life, he moved a lot and left his mark.

He was born on 20.10.1933 in Wiesbaden, where he completed an apprenticeship as a gardener after finishing school and worked as a landscape gardener until his emigration to Canada in 1952.

His career as a landscape architect began in Canada, where he founded his first offices in Ottawa/Onatrio in 1959 and in Montreal/Quebec in 1964. In the 1960s, he was at the forefront of establishing the Canadian Section of North American Landscape Architects (ASLA). In 1966-1967 he was International President of ASLA (Canada and USA), and in 1982 he was made an Honorary Member (Fellow) of ASLA for his achievements. His vast experience was also used in the establishment of the Landscape Architecture program at the newly established University in Guelph, Ontario.

One of his outstanding projects during this time was the planning and implementation of the German Military Cemetery in Kitchener / Canada. Helmut Schmitz identified the German prisoners of war of the Second World War who died in Canada, obtained reburial permits and realized the project Soldiers' Cemetery in Kitchener. For this he received the Federal Cross of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany.

In 1973 he returned to Germany and continued his freelance work. In 1975 he became a member of the Rhineland-Palatinate Chamber of Architects as a freelance landscape architect. There he was active in different committees, among other things in the expert system. There he was in charge of the appointment area 1.7 - appraisal of the services of landscape architecture and landscape planning. He contributed with all his competence and persuasiveness to the upcoming establishment and reorganisation of the appointment areas, in particular for the delimitation to other appointment bodies.

After the reunification of the two German states in 1990, Helmut Schmitz was particularly committed to the state partnership between the landscape architects in Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate. After it was clear that the bdla Rhineland-Palatinate would take over the sponsorship for the state of Thuringia, he immediately went to Erfurt and Gera and activated and motivated his professional colleagues in Thuringia. He took over the organization of the mutual visits and the annual collegial exchange. His expertise was in demand, among other things during the conversion of the Erfurt School of Engineering into the Erfurt University of Applied Sciences with a course of study in landscape architecture.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, Helmut Schmitz was instrumental in the establishment of the Projektgesellschaft Landesgartenschauen Rheinland-Pfalz: He organised the founding meeting of the "green" professions at the Schmitz Wünsch office, which gave rise to the Projektgesellschaft Landesgartenschauen Rheinland-Pfalz. Later he was active as a supervisory board member for the BDLA in the project company. He was also involved in the formulation of the application guidelines issued by the state government for the organisation of the 1st State Garden Show in Rhineland-Palatinate.

In addition to his many association activities, he worked as a landscape architect in office partnership with Ute Wünsch in Bad Kreuznach from 1990 until his "retirement" in 2013.

With Helmut Schmitz, the landscape architecture profession and the Association of German Landscape Architects have lost a committed, tireless advocate of quality and innovation. His international view, his experience have moved a lot not only in this country. He is missing.

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