Tuesday 27 June 2023 – Landezine proudly presents the recognitions of the 8th edition of LILA – Landezine International Landscape Award. The jury (Ana Kučan, Hannah Schubert, Luigi Latini, Marti Franch and Zaš Brezar) selected the winners and special mentions in project categories. The editors of Landezine selected LILA Honour Award, LILA Office of the Year Award and LILA Portfolio Award.
We thank all participants, members of the jury, and Landscape Forms for their support, and we congratulate the recognised practitioners!
Prof. Dr Lisa Diedrich (b. 1965, Minden, Germany) studied landscape architecture, architecture, urbanism and has a certificate in journalism. She held several academic positions as a professor of landscape architecture; the more recent include the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and, since this year, she has been a professor at the Walter Gropius Chair, University of Buenos Aires, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism, Argentina. Her teaching record spans over two decades and comprises various landscape architecture programmes at universities in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Argentina and Australia.
Besides the plethora of remarkable positions and achievements in the academic sphere, the editors of Landezine specifically recognise Diedrich’s outstanding contribution to the professional discussion on topics concerning landscape architecture. Through her work as editor-in-chief of LAE – Landscape Architecture Europe and co-editor-in-chief of ‘scape, the International Magazine for Landscape Architecture and Urbanism, she has continuously taken leadership in bringing in focus topics and notions relevant to our time. Both publications significantly impacted how we think about European landscape architecture and with ‘scape also internationally.
The editors of Landezine further recognise Diedrich’s profound ability to voice her thoughts on practice. Her writings beautifully balance the professional, grounded, objective critique with more personal, often poetic notions and comparisons. Her soberly precise and methodological yet at the same time abstract, ‘full-bodied’ vocabulary reflects the very contrasts embedded in the design process of landscape architects.
LILA Honour Award 2023 celebrates Diedrich’s already outstanding career that will hopefully inspire many landscape architects to participate in reflection, to be curious and continuously challenge their work.Read More
Battleiroig is a multidisciplinary firm celebrated for its innovative and sustainable designs that have made a significant impact on the field of landscape architecture both within Spain and Europe. Founded in Barcelona, Spain, by Enric Batlle and Joan Roig in 1981, the firm has gained international recognition for its progressive approach to design. They have been at the forefront of the ‘Catalan wave’ of the nineties, pushed by Oriol Bohigas’ plans for The Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, which made spectacular never seen before projects possible. The ‘wave’ included names such as EMBT, RCR Arquitectes, Arriola & Fiol arquitectes, Manuel Ruisánchez, MICHELE & MIQUEL, Bet Figueras, Beth Gali, Teresa Galí-Izard, later EMF and others. Already in that time, the work of Batlleiroig helped bring contemporary design attitudes from the region into an international focus and also influence.
The editors of Landezine recognize Batlleiroig’s multidisciplinary approach that has been continuously bringing projects that challenge their briefs, find smart answers and materialize in aesthetically convincing creations fit to their time and context. There is an evident omnipresent quality in the design language of their work – a mix of subtle but still joyful play and, at the same time, calm sobriety that often supports witty solutions.
The project for Garraf Landfill, also awarded LILA 2023 in Revisited Projects category, was based on a landscape idea that served as the main guideline for this very technical transformation. The Forest Path cemetery questions the very structure of symbolic particularities of landscape in terms of our relationship to life and death and proposes a shift of the spiritual to the immediate nature. The Scenic Path Along Igualada’s Old Gypsum Mines was awarded LILA 2019 in Public Category for its unique blend of subtle design that explores existing landscape qualities and a new layer of playfulness that gives the project a new frame. In Esplugues de Llobregat’s modification of the General Metropolitan Plan, they questioned how a productive landscape could be made fit for public use in an innovative way.
The editors of Landezine appreciate the office’s fitness to conquer complex problems and come up with solutions that can move visitors rather than entertain them.Read More
The Dark Line is a former railway that, for most of the 20th century, served as the main transport route for coal to nearby ports. After the closure of the mines, the area, due to its scenic qualities, became increasingly popular with visitors. Now the Dark Line is a part of the tourism infrastructure emphasising the area’s industrial heritage.
The Dark Line is a generous, confident and yet careful intervention that materialises through a sequence of uniquely moulded rebars. The choice of the material fits the postindustrial site and handles all topographical anatomies, the site’s historical charge and its purpose seemingly effortlessly. Complementing the lush green vegetation, the dark brown steel carries a dense atmosphere along the former railway and beautifully balances the transitional character of this space with a sequence of ambiences where one can stop, rest and observe.
From a phenomenological perspective, the rebars are, essentially, materialised cross-sections that outline the elements such as fences, benches, and pavement. Elements are described by shaping the rebars as if they exist only through a series of descriptions.
Besides the well-crafted material, the jury appreciates how masterfully the designers embraced and responded to simple spatial facts that often go ignored in landscape architecture, those concerning the shifting conditions of light, surrounding vegetation, morphology and cultural memory.
The jury finds the Dark Line project as a sublime intervention that respects the local ecology and greatly enriches the site’s functional, historical and aesthetical dimensions with incredible charisma and grace.Read More
Bridgefoot Street Park is a story about public space, community participation, circular economy, and ecological measures, and, above all, it is a project that well reflects our growing care for social and environmental issues of urban open space in the 21st century.
DFLA carefully embedded particular design approaches that have been occurring in the landscape architecture community in the past decade into a successful whole. The ‘beautiful messiness’ of the design language of the concrete surfaces reminds us of Catherine Mosbach’s approach to shape-finding. They suggest free use and are a platform for the community to get together and play. The ‘curiosity’ of the hill composed of demolition debris reminds us of Governor’s Island in NYC.
But it is not only the debris that forms the play of topography; other elements found on site were catalogued and were given a second life, a new meaning and a new purpose in a creative way. This is one of the most important challenges for landscape architects, namely recycling, upcycling and reducing the shipment of material to its minimum.
Bridgefoot Street Park is an extremely well designed hectare of urban land. The jury also praises the universal value of Bridgefoot Street Park; cities of various latitudes will hopefully learn from this approach and will have a benchmark for a reference.Read More
C21 is a small, almost left-over space by the Atelierhaus, a building where creative freelancers and artists live and work. Despite the scale of the site, rajek barosch landscape architecture managed to design a complex but comfortable space that takes into account the surroundings, water management, the residents and biodiversity.
It is a densely planted small piece of urban wilderness, wedged in between a road, an entrance in the underground garage, air-ventilation infrastructure, the building and the train tracks. The jury appreciated how these site-specific conditions were allowed to co-exist with the design. Similar to Bridgefoot Street Park, the C21 garden well represents the future of compact cities where small spaces will need to take on such elaborate designs in order to improve the quality of living for all living beings.
Although this urban landscape is intended for a relatively slim layer of the local social strata, one can easily imagine such a design attitude can cater for the needs of more diverse profiles and age groups. The jury applauded the incredibly effective use of space and, above all, the open dialogue between the garden and the surroundings – contribution to the genius loci that well reflects living in the Anthropocene.Read More
The landscape for Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture is a multidisciplinary effort to establish a diverse and healthy working, studying and dwelling environment.
From the design perspective, MASS Design Group found a delicate balance between complementing architecture with very subtle beautification, empowering campus spaces, immediate agricultural land fields embedded in the campus, the rural landscape outside the campus and nature.
The design for the campus is based on the health and well-being of people, animals and the environment. The plan extends to protecting two savannah zones, a wetland buffer, and corridors for biodiversity. It implements wastewater systems and on-site waste management and is overall a highly ecological plan. It achieves many goals relevant to the site, programme and challenges of today whilst considering localities, carefully interwoven in the design and building of architecture and landscape.Read More
Carve’s work in the historic Tophane Park is largely based on a curious object made of stone. It seems that with its contemporary appearance it questions its historic surroundings. It is a complex morphology that offers many different types of play. In Carve’s words, it comprises stimulating challenges for ‘sliding, stepping, climbing, lounging, crawling, performing, balancing’ and also invites other unforeseen means of interaction. All in one excellent exercise in shape and material. The jury praised the use of local craftsmanship. The shaping of the stone wouldn’t be possible in many other countries due to high expenses, which, essentially, makes it site-specific.
Furthermore, due to its sculptural quality, it doesn’t necessarily look like a playground. The design of the playground holds many situations with an abstract charge; there is a hole that can act as a door, and there is a clear distinction between being inside and outside, up and down, so children may see it as a fortress, a space-ship, a creature from another world …
The object’s context, everlasting material, contemporary shape, and its relation to the park and the trees offer enough contrasts and use interpretations that engage the imagination of children much more than conventional, catalogue-based playgrounds.Read More
Garraf is a long-term infrastructure project that transformed a vast amount of waste into agricultural land in its final step. The jury appreciated the role of design in this complex infrastructural landscape rehabilitation project since the entire programme for the closure of the Garraf Landfill was based on an initial landscape idea. The result is an interesting morphology that tells the story of its past with a beautiful surface fit for future use.Read More
The Park of Encounters is a complex design that deals with the public use of a once-army base. Built by the Nazi regime in 1937 and taken over by Allied forces after the war, Campbell Barracks later served as NATO HQ for Europe, which closed in the mid-2010s. Decades of army use left a palimpsest of traces that were waiting to be reinterpreted.
The jury recognises how difficult and yet successful it was to redesign this army-charged site with ‘respectful lightness’ and a ‘slight twist of humour’ as if the designers wanted to decompress the site and add play in a witty, nearly mischievous way. That is evident, for example, in a stripe of play elements that run through the entrance checkpoint, emphasising its disuse, or colouring and displacing the found artefacts from the 1970s. In a different configuration, stripped of their original use, these artefacts represent the retreat of control, repression and are abstracted into new constellations, provoking new interpretations and ways of interaction.
The jurors appreciated this underlying attitude, also resulting in elegant and much more subtle means of change, for example, mixing and shredding of the existing pavements and using them anew. The material/colour palette is exceptionally well thought-through; it communicates the different layers of the site’s palimpsest and connects different parts into a coherent whole.Read more
The jury recognized the masterful dialogue between the old and new, the more restrained approach to the redesign of ‘urban villages’ in dense Chinese city centres. Wanggang Park is a social space that is, above all, generous to its users and respectful of traditional elements from the rich Chinese culture. Several concrete elements of the existing structures were rearranged to reference ancient calligraphic elements. The abundance of features for sitting and covering provides shelter in less favourable weather conditions. Wanggang Park is, considering its historical milieu, a remarkable social space well equipped for transgenerational use.Read more
The Forest Path is part of a larger, existing cemetery, where Batlleiroig designed one of their first projects as early as 1985. A shift in people’s relation to burial traditions and issues of space brought the need for a new, more nature-friendly means of burial practice.
Batlleiroig designed a Krainer wall structure, ready to host plants and wooden urns that contain the ashes. With time, the wooden logs and the urns will disintegrate, leaving behind a slope overgrown by plants that will further change through the passing of seasons. This reference to the cycle of life effectively acts as the memorial whilst providing more efficient use of land, infrastructure and other resources.
Besides the progressive and innovative solution, the jury was also charmed by the elegant design of the Forest Path and its forest-edge ambience.Read more
The Fire Ring is an object in the landscape, seemingly simple yet a complex node of several design intentions. The simplicity of the circle is challenged by the playful displacement of the logs and by orientation. The elegance of the shape is contrasted by the rough treatment of the surface of the logs. Furthermore, there is an ambiguous relation between the Fire Ring having a public or private feel. In this regard, the jury appreciated the scale, being too large for groups to claim it for private use and too small to lose the sense of ‘togetherness’. In terms of the overall attitude that shaped this object, and in the words of the designer, the Fire Ring transcends» one’s own body, local culture and global lifestyles«. That makes the Fire Ring not only an object or a playscape but (also literally) a hotspot that captures and radiates multiple relevant notions and contextual particularities.Read more
The jury was impressed by this subtle an elegant physical transformation that is at the same time bold in its colour and scale. A generous covering of the central courtyard reveals a whole new dimension of this tourist centre and of the overall spatial context. The jurors specifically appreciated the way in which the shape of the roof channels the rainfall and thus allows for the emergence of the entrance ‘garden’.Read more
At first glance, this garden completely ignores or even challenges all the dogmas of garden design ‘by the book’. However, at a closer look, it offers a number of appropriate statements and manages to remain open to interpretations.
The oversized stairs seem to have no excuse, yet they embody a sculptural dimension whilst providing seating in a peculiar grove of densely planted trees and shrubs. More importantly, the stairs lead out of the garden, through a small door in a wooden fence, into the forest, where a ‘forest garden’ ambience is achieved by almost nothing – a table and a hammock.
There are several different dialogues between pastureland and forest, private and public, an object and its context, inside and outside, but above all, between a garden as a notion and its relation to the surroundings. The design seems to be based on questioning, yet it feels entirely confident at the same time.
This garden is full of deliberate contradictions, contrasts, beautiful strangeness, and the jury was inspired by the scope of questions it poses with so little.Read more
Estudio Ome again receives recognition with a lush garden, and the jury was impressed by Ome’s ability to blur the margins between the ‘wild’ and the ‘tamed’. The garden establishes a firm and fitting relation between the geometry of the architecture, new features and the forest. The designers added the notion of ‘ruin’, where the intention was to render some new structures rapidly overgrown by the lush vegetation as if they were historic remains being rediscovered. This is achieved carefully through vegetation letting it kick in and, formally, by just the right amount of suggestion that doesn’t feel overdone at all. Or, in the words of the designers, they questioned ‘how the landscape project could possibly disappear with time or reappear when used’. Such a design statement reflects a mature attitude where playfulness also embeds a much larger question of the temporality of the garden.Read more
Werkspoorkwartier is a commercial/production area near Utrecht. It looks similar to many other such areas across Europe. A rhythm of warehouses where open space is mostly defined by parking and lorry access, and there is a critical shortage of pedestrian and green infrastructure. The lack of a sensible masterplan is often the main issue, especially as these are vibrant spaces where people work or spend time as customers.
Flux designed spaces around an old bridge factory which now hosts businesses, restaurants and event venues. The other part of the project is the Werkspoor path, a 2,5km pedestrian necklace commissioned by the municipality. Both parts can act as benchmarks for improving warehouse areas. The jury appreciated the systemic approach to the redesign, the sense of the visual language effortlessly handling all the challenges, and the translation of the industrial feel of the site into a contemporary work environment. The project, at the same time looks ordinary and excels in detailing, materiality and implementation of green infrastructure.Read more
Buurtschap Te Veld is a temporary, mid-term residential area that was pushed into being by the critical shortage of housing around Eindhoven. Built on a plot that is close to the highway and not meant to be built permanently, a plan was accepted that will offer a 30-year interim solution and will also be used to strengthen the ecological characteristics of the landscape once the housing is moved. Only the bare minimum is hardscape, ensuring routes for pedestrians, cyclists and cars. The rest is landscape, used as ‘commons’. Hundreds of new trees will be planted, re-creating the ‘chambers’ structure of the original landscape that was lost. The landscape that will further be populated with small clusters of housing, based on the old Dutch principle of a ‘Buurtschap’ a small neighbourhood that is characterised by its tight-knit social network and mutual help. The land in between the houses is shared and treated as commons. A robust water system is implemented for buffering and infiltrating water.
The jury praises the experimental approach, both in housing typologies and the experiment of how communities can live together based on a shared public space/landscape without private appropriation. The jury is curious how the landscape will grow and mature in the coming three decades and what the profession can learn from this approach.Read more
Fish Cycle Wieringermeer is a fish habitat, an ecological link between the Amstelmeer canal and the water system of the polder.
The project represents an interesting blend of the more playful approach to design and technical, ecological measures.
The jurors appreciated the honestly artificial, visibly anthropogenic structure that doesn’t aim to pretend to be a result of natural processes and is entirely oblivious of any »ecological aesthetics«. The true ecology is found in the complexities of litoral morphology with shifting sun conditions that result in a biodiverse water habitat and give the necessary living environment to fish.Read more
Ruby Zielinski is currently finishing her masters in landscape architecture at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. She has a bachelor degree (BFA) in Graphic Design from the Memphis College of Art, studied mathematics in Arkansas and also describes herself as a musician, storyteller and explorer. Her background, the diversity of skills and interests perhaps contributed to her visibly colourful approach to problem solving. Her portfolio reflects remarkable understanding of spatial complexities concerning function, heritage, ecology, and community engagement. The editors of Landezine also appreciate the clear and aesthetically sound visual communication and experimental approach.Read More