Gardens and Parks are Backdrops

The settings of gardens and parks form backdrops before which visitors, whether public or private, are able to act out a role in their very own play. The manner in which we approach the design of gardens, parks and landscapes depends entirely on the character of the space and how it will ultimately be used. We consider both the shape and structure of the existing surroundings and, naturally, the needs and wants of the visitors or clients, and then act as an intermediary and instigator between the space and the user. We see ourselves as a tool which can be used to lend shape and expression to the conscious and subconscious wishes of clients or visitors. The design must be strong and clear so as to bestow lasting energy, expression and purpose upon the open space we have crafted. Our aim is to create gardens and parks with which we can identify on an emotional level, yet which still retain a lasting, timeless clarity. Our garden-creations are therefore not restricted by genre. We are able to bring our ideas to fruition whatever the desired style. A contemporary style is neither a prerequisite nor a hindrance to achieving high-quality design.

Moabit Prison Historical Park, Berlin – Germany

The prison in Moabit was constructed 1842-1849. In Worldwar II political prisoners and resistance fighters have been captured in it. In 1958 the buildings were demolished. The city of Berlin rediscovered the historical value of the reminiscent rests in 1990 and commissioned a redesign. The design of the ‘Geschichtspark Moabit’ faced the difficult task of reconciling the burden of history with the need to create recreational space for residence. A combination of people’s park and a memorial developed with elements of Land Art and Minimal Art. A 5m high prison wall, which remained intact, encloses the park on three sides. A passage from the “Moabit Sonnets” is inscribed in large letters on one of the walls. Variously designed entrances are sculpted with sandblasted concrete walls.

Inside the park the star-shaped layout of the prison building is recreated by sunken or elevated lawn levels and hedgerows. In a reconstructed cell in its original dimensions a recording of Albrecht Haushofer “Moabit Sonnets”, written during his incarceration in 1944-45, is played. The central surveillance area of the prison is designed as a concrete cube, the Panoptikum. A citizen’s project involved children and young people in the creation of the play area. Together with artists they produced recreational and educational installations inspired by the area’s history.

German Landscape Architecture Award 2007,
Daylight Spaces Award 2007,
A’Design Award 2017.

Moabit City Garden, Berlin – Germany

The Moabit City Garden is replacing an old freight station, in a district of Berlin with more than 60 ethnic groups. Citizens were asked to convey their wishes and conflicts. Priorities, like sport, playing and cultural activities suitable for all ages, were a result of the process.

The inspiration for the new playground arose from suggestions by young residents. In turn they provided their active help decorating the surrounding wall and realizing the vegetable garden. The park is ruled by an orange-red colour shining from the noise barrier that divides the park from the Westhafen in the north, ending with a gate. A central old industrial building has been converted into a cultural centre for artists: the ZK/U (Centre for Art and City Planning). The vast lawn around it, interspersed with islands of plants and trees, invites people to take a stroll, relax or have a picnic. Retaining the character of the former depot, sustainable artful swings were forged of bending rails, gabions with stones and wooden seats were converted into benches and storage cabinets.

On one side of the building, a vegetable garden is divided by narrow paths, enriched by thriving green areas and colourful flowers; on the other side, a bizarre playground is portrayed by old crates and wooden toys, retaining the old station atmosphere. Here and there wooden boxes resemble forgotten trunks striving for a new destination, climbing walls and round benches complete the scenario.

United World College, Dilijan – Armenia

UWC Dilijan is an international boarding school for 650 students. The architecture is created by Tim Flynn Architects, London. Particular attention was paid to environmental issues, and how to organically embed school buildings in the surrounding nature using the local materials. Based on the theme of “blend with nature”, this sustainable school design includes 4750 sqm of green roof and 1500 sqm of living walls that reflect the tranquility of the mountainous surroundings. Rather than creating a manicured lawn, Armenian wildflower species of plants and grass were collected, harvested in the free landscape by hand and used for living walls, lawn and green roofs by students and local population to create an extension of the National Park effect, so that the school itself seems to go through seasonal changes. On a long term basis the local nursery should form a team which will faster implement the soft landscaping and take over the cultivation. Such a nursery will be able to breed and produce endangered local species, especially perennials, grasses and bulbs. The idea of using local materials was already tested with young people from the village, who volunteered out of interest in the way of using the surrounding nature to create garden-like spaces. UWC College is the first BREEAM certified building in Armenia and has won the 2015 leadership award for the Trendsetting Architecture at the International Green Roof Association (IGRA) conference.

Gardencenter Garten von Ehren, Hamburg – Germany

The Lorenz von Ehren Nursery – a very traditional German Nursery situated in Hamburg and Bad Zwischenahn – wanted to relaunch the garden center and build a new glasshouse with an almost 2 ha sales garden around it. The idea was to build the first deluxe garden center in Germany. A kind of front garden between entrance and parking area was designed, that is open to the public all time. The sales garden is open only to clients who enter the glasshouse. Both a relative static, representative entrance situation and a flexible sales garden with an upgrade and stylish look should be created. In front of the entrance a Broderie in a mixed modern-historical style was realized – a tribute to the tradition of the nursery and the need of showing new elements. A circle of a very classical French style ornament is used the inverse way with gravel and Buxus. At the right side of the circle ball shaped Buxus, Taxus and Ilex embedded in black copper cinder chippings create a playfull and almost amorphe garden. At the left side a formal garden in constructivism style was developed. Flat and high cube formed Taxus and Buxus are contrasted with umbrella shaped Pinus sylvestris. Most of the final design was done on site in cooperation with the workers. This can be called ”taille directe” like the 20th century abstract sculptors called their way to chissel their artwork direct into the stone without maquettes or exact drawings.


glasser and dagenbach are implementing elements of sculpting and land art in their work where it is possible. Udo Dagenbach studied landscaping in Japan and worked together with the Japanese Stone sculptor Makoto Fujiwara for some years beside creating own stone sculptures.
 In several projects he created an idea of a European equivalent to Japanese gardens by adding a strong impact on switching the scales and using a radical minimalistic language. Formally shaped plants like boxwood and yew are combined with beige lime stone. 
A condensed idea of a garden or landscape, in one variation visually switching the logic of gravity. 
The cube sculpture has won a Silver award at the 2016-2017 A-design award in Como and is nominated for the German Design Award 2018. It is now located in Armenia, Dilijan at the United World College.
The design process of this type of sculpture / garden offers endless chances.


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