Addressing the lie of the land

Monday 05 Aug 2013

How does Landscape differ from Urban Design?

In recent years Landscape Architecture has had a bit-part role in the WAN Awards featuring in other sectors such as Urban Design which, although conjuring up some incredible entries in the past, didn’t open up the full potential of superb landscape projects around the world.

This year we have decided to give Landscape Architects their time to shine with their very own dedicated sector widening the scope far beyond the city boundaries. For there is much to celebrate - A well designed landscape scheme can have massive positive impacts from hospital patient recovery to breathing new life into a historic treasure or returning fauna and flora to an area where heavy industry once ruled.

A common question that arises is that of scale; how can a garden design for a hospice compare with a park master plan to improve the health and wellbeing of thousands of citizens? What we are looking for is exactly the same as any other sector; a scheme that, regardless of scale, fulfils the client's brief and also manages to bring something new to the table in terms of end user experience or the palette of materials used.

A park or residential landscape plan may look wonderful on the drawing board, but if it hasn’t factored in the desire lines of the surrounding inhabitants, the end result may look a little different to the intended design and will suffer.

Another interesting development is the use of landscape architecture to address problems arising from climate change; such as sea defence against increasing hurricane activity and flooding or creating green, ‘spines’ or ‘lungs’ within the beating heart of a city. Each natural area poses new challenges when it meets the built environment but with landscape architecture comes innovation and beauty in the solutions.

The inaugural award closes on 31 August and already we are seeing fantastic designs such as the one pictured at Castle Hambach in Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Germany by LOMA. This project redefines, simplifies and contemporises the grounds of a sympathetically remodelled and modernised castle steeped in history, regarded as the cradle of German democracy. The breadth of entries received already is going to make for long discussions on judging day.

Jim Davis

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