2024 Recognitions
2023 / 2022 / 2021 / 2020 / 2019 / 2018 / 2017 / 2016

Tuesday, 25 June 2024:

Members of the LILA 2024 Jury, Catherine Mosbach, Joost Emmerik, Lilli Lička, Lisa Diedrich, and Zaš Brezar selected projects for the 9th edition of LILA. Editors of Landezine selected LILA Honour Award, LILA Office Award and LILA Portfolio Award.

Landezine congratulates all the recognized practitioners and thanks the jury members, all participants, and the LILA 2024 sponsor Landscape Forms.

LILA is sponsored by Landscape Forms.

LILA 2024 Honour Award
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

MVVA was established in 1982 in New York City by Michael Van Valkenburgh and today comprises over 100 people in four offices. Their portfolio features an astounding number of dramatically diverse works of all scales, from complex waterfronts, flood infrastructure, parks, plazas, and campuses to tiny courtyards.

A subtle and particular MVVA’s touch is tangible throughout the portfolio. It is a quiet, yet recognizable presence, unconcerned with the passing trendy aesthetic regimes and introduced so diligently, it always positively complements landscape’s performative functions and ultimately deepens the experience. MVVA’s design approach reflects a respectful yet confident and playful conversation between expression, function, and the dynamics of natural processes.

Their projects feel immersive and comfortable, almost as if they aim to embrace the visitor through the outstanding use of topography and vegetation, as is visible in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Chelsea Cove, and others. Another distinguishing feature in MVVA’s work is the use of stone, often in the form of pavement or seating areas, but also in a bolder display, like the beautifully strange ice wall and playscape in Teardrop Park, stone work in Gathering Place in Tulsa or marble slabs in the Boston Children’s Museum Plaza. Such creative translation of everyday material into an uncanny landscape experience is vital for awakening the landscape into public perception.

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LILA 2024 Office of the Year
Wagon landscaping

Wagon Landscaping is a Paris-based practice that has been featured on Landezine for many years now. They gave lectures for our platform, and our enthusiasm for their work has only been growing with time, mainly because we see it as a more and more relevant and interesting for wider use. Although their projects address a narrow niche of small-scale situations, the modes of attention and engagement with landscape that Wagon practices offer pertinent answers to how we could rethink the approach to landscape in other typologies and scales.

Their work is often conceptually intriguing and bold, yet based on minimal transformation, mainly dealing with conditions for growth and studying dynamics of the soil, plants and water. A range of projects address asphalt opening and investigate the aesthetics that emerge from an ethical position of leaving the material in place. Although it could be seen as a reference to artist Lois Weinberger’s work titled Burning and Walking (1992), Wagon took the approach further into research and a range of diverse applications. They build most of their projects by themselves; the office is also well-equipped with shovels, rakes and hoes.

The questions that arise from this position are a discussion we need to have. How much should we change our engagement with landscape, program, transformation, and maintenance to minimize negative environmental impact? Where is the sensible and possible line between emission-heavy constructions and Wagon’s DIY reuse approach?

Through their clever landscape ideas and the masterful Versailles School-educated practice, Wagon addresses big issues on a small scale and establishes itself as a unique voice that should be heard widely in our global professional community.

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Winning Projects

The jury recognises a sensible uncovering of the palimpsest and handling the ‘objects trouves’ from various layers of time. Specifically, the jury appreciated the use of waste and rubble found on site and the different creative transformations into very distinct and unconventional landscape features that spark thoughts and reflection, such as the retaining walls or the objects found in the paths and lapidarium. The rubble was used as an aggregate for the concrete, perhaps abstracting the strata and suggesting that an essential layer of history is buried underneath. The jury appreciates that even with the park’s most monumental features, the designers introduced a sense of playfulness and dynamism that eases the heaviness this memorial could otherwise embody.

Besides the site’s sensitive historical aspects, the designers established new access to park spaces for as wide a group of visitors as possible. Natural processes are invited to develop in the park, rendering the rubble mound a ruin taken over by life, establishing itself as Fourth Nature. It invites multi-species populations into the same space, a public space that, by definition, is a shared space.
The jury found the park’s design to be a coherent and well-set attitude that can elegantly overcome intricate complexities of memory. This approach enhances a landscape project as a living memory of several temporalities, anthropic, mineral and plant, without one overhanging the other in a context still relevant today.

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LILA 2024 Jury Award
Airlie Park by

With the expansion of the newly built and fairly dense urban fabric, Airlie offers a platform for a healthy life, both human and non-human. In spatial terms, it features a variety of scales, from cosy small spaces under the trees to a vast circle-shaped clearing. It seems like a contemporary interpretation of the previously existing agricultural fields with the relatively large open spaces and more shaded spaces under trees, which will develop over time and establish a tangible relationship with the surrounding cultural landscape, mainly through plant selection, distribution and creatively situated mowing regimes.

We applaud the team’s perseverance in meeting the landscape requirements over a long period of time, adapting to the programmatic constraints and reinforcing the conceptual qualities, even though the landscape is all too often sacrificed for the sake of the performance.

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This landfill transformation is a low-budget effort to establish a welcoming landscape for Brooklynites. The MVVA team, limited by a small budget, excels in precision, focusing only on what truly matters in designing an escape from the dense city, a space that is more open to the sky and sea and not burdened by many programs, shapes and features. In Shirley Chisholm State Park, MVVA exposes the very core of landscape architecture as a discipline that is able to transform tight budgets into flourishing and kind landscape gestures, improving human and non-human lives. It shows how important it is to have a truly open space that is undetermined, less specified, a space that breaths and leaves one to simply be in the landscape.

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The Passage and The Smithy is about how to think and transform small towns, how to connect small patches of common space in a useful, coherent and meaningful public space. The new connection is not just well-structured, robust, and resistant enough for public use, but it also exudes a warm and inviting aura.
The atmosphere is defined by the comfortable shade of local limestone, which is, through a range of different treatments, a complex design layer on its own. The space is flexible, unobtrusive, meticulously designed, and rich in storytelling. The interaction and articulated level of definition between landscape and architecture offer a delicate balance between design determination and the sense of a liberating, usable area for an active urban social life.

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Science Courtyard finds an outstanding way to introduce a small-scale layer to a previously unexceptional campus landscape. It introduces a masterfully articulated gradient in the material palette and plant species. It contributes to biodiversity and invites processes of growth and spontaneous change, all spiced with creatively designed elements, such as a seating area made of logs and play of mineral pavement, topography, planting, etc. The project reveals and brings into focus the processual nature of the landscape and favours a more relaxed and experimental approach to design. The garden is also a landscape laboratory for the designers as they intend to monitor and learn from it.

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LILA 2024 Jury Award / Revisited projects
Parc de la Feyssine by

Feyssine Park in Lyon is a gentle intervention in a well-established alluvial forest, executed on-site more than 20 years ago. The distinctively formal design language of the 90’s does not seem to obstruct the qualities of the park in any way. Moreover, the park turned out to be visionary and prophetic for its time, as nowadays, there is a widespread tendency to keep more of the untamed natural succession in city centres. The main part of the design is a system of paths that transverse the area or wrap it, as is the case of the circular path that surrounds a grove of poplar trees and orchids. With its strong axes, the park offers spacious vistas, clearings, views of the river Rhone and plenty of soft green tissue to escape the ‘too-muchness’ of urbanity.

The jury appreciated Feyssine’s reluctance to impress as its goal is to offer a simple, no-nonsense, yet high-quality open space on a very tight budget of 10 euros/m2 (early 2000s, app $1/ft2). It’s also worth noting the long-term relationship between the large-scale projects of several generations of contemporary landscape architects on large areas of land, reflecting the interpretive spirit of l’Ecole de Versailles, influenced by one of the founders, Michel Corajoud.

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Special Mentions

Special Mention by the LILA 2024 Jury: Still Alive – Rocaille Vivante, Italy

Still Alive is a temporary intervention, small in scale yet powerful in meaning or at least in an abstract charge. Weaving together two different time periods introduces a spark for thinking about contemporary issues within a preserved historic garden. The installation is grounded in topical discourse by re-using materials and points at some disturbance by offering a highly aesthetical and dense arrangement within the quiet historical setting. It is a witty juxtaposition of preserving heritage and ecology that drives one to reflect on social and environmental changes, the eclectic strangeness of our time, and how landscape architecture practice can answer playfully and provocatively. The relation between the historical and the today ignited a lively discussion among the jury members, offering different perspectives on the work, which proves that landscape architecture can produce highly charged conceptual statements on a small scale.

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Special Mention by the LILA 2024 Jury: Shanghai Super Tube: The Cultural Metamorphosis of Infrastructure, China

In the times when ecological matters deeply inform LILA’s consideration, Super Tube feels remarkably surprising, creative and refreshing. FISH Design turned The Shanghai underpass into a phantasmagorical landscape that finds its inspiration in the artificial, urban language of signage and infrastructure and offers a meticulously designed and executed playscape. It draws from several historical references of graphic and on-site design and provides a colourful and cheerful new interpretation of formerly uncanny underpass spaces. Super Tube is an honest tribute to city life, to flashy, saturated, and perplexing navigating through hyper-urban centres full of infrastructure and visual density. It is extremely fun; one can find references to moments in contemporary Chinese art and design or even perhaps to Memphis Style, pop art, or hyper-pop.

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Special Mention by the LILA 2024 Jury: Pico Playground, Switzerland

Pico strikes a delicate balance between repurposing the old, creating an abstract playscape and including pre-fabricated play equipment. Plant and material distribution form a diligent reference to an alluvial atmosphere, reflecting this water-rich Alpine region and local flora. The wall made of recycled concrete slabs offers a precious movement and coordination exercise, while the slabs placed on the grounds form an ambiguous playscape where children can continuously discover ways of interaction anew. It can be seen as an example of subtle reuse and re-interpretation on site.

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Special Mention by the LILA 2024 Jury: Tepoztlan Spa, Mexico

The Tepoztlan Spa aims to immerse itself in the jungle. It features a roof garden that absorbs the architectural features and connects visitors with the jungle canopy. On the ground floor, the itinerary is emphasised with a ‘Sacro Bosco’ experience, where the distribution of seemingly historic objects would reference the presence of another world from another time. The jury was impressed by the groundwork and the apparent objective of blending the garden with the dense vegetation. The integration of this wellness facility into the existing dense natural surroundings is well conceived, as the paths and entrances are reduced to the necessary minimum of built interventions. On the other hand, the jury was less impressed by the lighting, which is at odds with the immersive experience.

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Special Mention by the LILA 2024 Jury: The Croft Garden, USA

The Croft Garden makes a statement about the productive industrial landscapes by creating a Hortus conclusus in which plants are the main protagonists (and horticulture is emphasised). The large volume of the former barn (can be seen as a symbol of this agricultural production. It has been reduced to a wooden wall.
The landscape architects of ‘landscape practice’, a four-woman company that promotes garden culture, juxtapose this peaceful garden with the reality of agricultural production and inherent exploitation. They have created an island of tranquillity and togetherness for individuals, neighbouring farmers and friends. The planting scheme focuses on perennials, with only three Crataegus visible from the outside, emphasising the place’s introversion. The wide variety and continuous development contrast with the monocultural production outside the garden.
The Croft Garden project goes beyond skilful garden design. It is – in a successful interplay with the conversion of the barn – a powerful call to rethink the way we abuse agricultural land. It offers a way of adapting and re-using its structures and the land itself.

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Portfolios of Students and Young Professionals

LILA 2024 Portfolio Award:
Portfolio: Tatiana Nozaki

Tatiana Nozaki’s portfolio showcases several elaborate political statements questioning complex social and environmental situations. Tatiana fearlessly addresses those issues with a visionary approach, committed to finding an appropriate ethical position, as well as spatial response. Her projects confidently tackle visible and invisible forces that take part in the production of space. Precise and poetic visual communication effectively complements project objectives. Diversity in graphics reflects the ability to approach projects with an open mind and readiness for a more nonlinear design process and provocative outcome.

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LILA 2024 Projects Jury


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