2015 Celebrates landscape projects that enrich the experience of architecture and public areas
The WAN Landscape Award now in its third year showcased a fantastic response and variety of entries from across the globe. This award celebrates and promotes the best in landscape architecture from enhancements, small developments through to the larger master plans.
This year’s selection process was going to be a challenge for our esteemed jury panel comprising of: Keith French, Director of Grant Associates, Sibylla Hartel Partner and Landscape Architect of Gustafson Porter, Thomas Kock Partner from Polyform and finally Brian Cornell Associate Vice President from RTKL Associates Inc.
After a well debated jury session, the final six shortlisted projects were decided upon which are as follows in no particular order:
Metamorphous – A Corten Seawall Sculpture & Forshore Enhancement by Paul Sangha Landscape Architects
This entry caused much discussion in amongst the group on a few occasions. Metamorphous came to fruition due to the King Tides which struck the B.C. coastline in December 2010 as a solution to the waves which had carved out the entire bank leaving the clients deck completely suspended. Pervious foreshore concrete wall solutions had proven to only increase foreshore erosion. Paul Sanga opted to use this opportunity to create something that was not only functional, but unique and beautiful, with Sibylla mentioning “I think this is one of the more special projects, it’s a very strong sculptural solution. It really is quite a beautiful piece of sculpture.” Keith also reinforced the functionality with “It’s a very interesting piece of work in terms of the detail and how it dissipates wave energy as an innovative way to approach foreshore protection.”
Mackenzie Water Falls Gorge Trail by hansen partnership
An additional project that was a hot topic, was The Mackenzie Falls Gorge Trail located in Grampians National Park Victoria, Australia. This innovative project was created by hansen partnership after the destruction of a footbridge caused by flooding. The remoteness of this site played a major role in the design process and on-site visual mapping, photo assessment along with every rock face, landscape element and natural feature being documented by sketch using simply pen and paper. The major considerations were safety, accessibility, experience and proximity to nature. Keith acknowledged this project stating “I like it, I think it’s a very sensitive intervention that unlocks the area. They’ve made a very inaccessible site accessible, and have just carefully revealed it.”
Park Killesberg – ‘Green Joint’ by Rainer Schmidt Landschafts Architekten
Next to be selected was Park Killesberg or ‘Green Joint’. This project serves as the heart of the newly constructed district and continues in the area as a long standing garden show site with a contemporary expression of landscape of architecture and as a model for interconnected green spaces. Thomas expressed the experience of this project with “I think this is really beautiful and there is a softness that’s communicated here. You can enjoy different kinds of experiences within this park and it contrasts against the city. You are stepping into a special green atmosphere, it’s beautiful, no doubt about it. From some very simple elements being used, you get an experience that is very, very special.”
The theme of the design is based on skewing perception of the human scale and reinterpreting familiar perspectives, raising the topography to eye height while setting up a sunken path network creating an illusion of being at one with the landscape.
Changsha Baxizhou Island by SWA Group
Another water related project, the 3.5 kilometre Changsha Baxizhou Island, located in China was well received by all of our jury panel. Keith put forward his opinion saying “The relationship to the water’s edge and the understanding of the water systems particularly in its Chinese context, I think it’s quite a bold landscape.”
This project acknowledges the hydrology and geomorphology of the Xiang River and blends the natural systems, along with the local culture and art into a successful park. The island provides a tranquil escape from the city, accessibility to recreational opportunities, education and research needs.
Wilmington Waterfront Park by Sasaki Associates
There was enthusiastic discussion across the group regarding this project which was once derelict land and then reclaimed as a public space. Sasaki’s design of the 30 acre park translated the sites complex challenges into a visually rich and physically engaging new environment. A park made up of 3 different zones encompassing; El Paseo, a 16-foot high sculptural landform that buffers the community from the port and creates views of the water; The Datum Walk, a central promenade linking together the series of actively programmed spaces and amenities; The Fields, a series of multipurpose playing fields which are alive on any given evening with neighbourhood residents. The community were heavily involved in the design of this project and have embraced this as their own. Keith supported this by saying “I like this projects simplicity and its community aspect. I like the rawness and the urbanity of this project and how people are using it, it seems well loved.” Thomas added to this saying “What I really like here is that it is really thought out. It’s very precise, there are few elements and they have put them together in the right place. It shows here that by putting some elements together, you can create a very special urban space”
Hoekenrode Square, Amsterdam by karres + brands
Situated in the centre of Amsterdam, Zuidoost this area is being transformed to become Amsterdam’s second leisure area with shops, restaurants, hotels, the Amsterdam Arena stadium, a train and bus station and large scale music venues. The design is based on logical pedestrian connections, views and orientations and thus connects the surrounding areas in a self-evident way. The design activates the connection between the public function of the square and the functions in the building. Thomas commented “They are linking different kinds of areas in the city and they do it in a very nice and convincing way, no doubt about it.” Sibylla also added “It’s very graphic and has some fantastic detailing in the paving and I really like the lighting.” Hoekenrodeplein functions as a welcoming ‘foyer’ for the area, a public space that is both equally comfortable for five people or for thousands. Brian added to this saying “Genesis for additional development. Provides the nucleus for redevelopment activities.”
Two projects outside of this shortlist were commended from the jurors:
UK Pavilion, Milan Expo 2015 by Wolfgang Buttress/BDP which raised the awareness of the impact that food production and consumption has on people’s lives around the world. In response to the theme for the Expo, the UK Pavilion highlighted the plight of the honey bee. The structure was a collaboration between art and landscape which showcased the world’s bee population and the importance of pollination in the production of food. Keith declared “It is a very beautiful structure and what works beautifully is the inter-play between the people, the structure and the upper levels. The narrative and the way it un-folds, the simplicity of it. “Thomas supported him in saying “I do think this is very special and has beautiful materials and a beautiful atmosphere.”
City Fields by KANVA was a public art installation which was designed to create an immersive experience that provides light therapy during the dreary winter months in Nordic conditions. The installation examines at an urban-scale the physiological and psychological benefits of providing the public a rallying point where they can go outside to get fresh air and the essential exposure to natural light. Brian noted that this project was most definitely a “Destination landscape” and Sibylla expressed that this project “Has impact and is very strong, especially in the snow it looks quite fantastic. It looks like a really positive thing that is going on here and is something quite special.”
Congratulations to all those who have been shortlisted and to the two projects selected as commended. Thank you to all of those who were involved in contributing to this awards success so far. A winner from this six will be announced in WAN News Review on November 3rd.