Landscapes - Summer 2013 - (Page 13)
Finding beauty in spontaneity and imperfection
A WÜRDIGUNGEN* FOR FOLLY FOREST
Editor’s Note: It is a remarkable coup to win an award from the Association of German
Landscape Architects, Bund Deutscher Landschaftsarchitekten (BDLA). The BDLA holds the
competition only every second year, and prizes are few. In 2013, for example, the contest
catchwords were “Vom Guten Das Beste” (“The very best of the good stuff!”), and some 124
works were submitted. The Jury selected just one top prize and eight “Würdigungen”. The prizes
are among the most recognized in the German speaking world, and also in Europe. On a Thursday
evening last March, Dietmar Straub and Anna Thurmayr received a call from Berlin announcing
that they had been awarded a “Würdigungen” for a project which Dietmar Straub describes as “a
humble project in Winnipeg”. LP asked him to explain the project.
IN THE FOLLY FOREST, the ﬁrst question I am often asked is about the rusty pieces: what
are they for? My response is that they are look-out towers for earthworms. These producers of
fertile soils have nothing to climb on for a rest or for an overview in a ﬂat landscape. But that
is not their only purpose. The rusty bits are also breeding places for dinosaurs! The material
captures the sun, the heat incubates the eggs and some day something will happen…. I do not
know how long it will take, but....
Rust. Cracks. Leftovers. These are the building blocks of the Folly Forest. The project began two
years ago in spring. Anna and I had talked to Anastasia, the Principal of the Strathcona School in
Winnipeg, and two teachers, Matthew and Lori, who are so infectiously engaged in children and
their education that there was no way for us to escape! We felt compelled to tackle the project.
If you want to leave no child inside, you should offer a stimulating environment outside. We
volunteered our time to help the teachers and children translate their dreams and imaginations
into a spatial design. We produced design concepts, details, images, text and several design
portfolios for fundraising over the following two summers.
I should explain two things. First, I am a landscape architect and gardener. Before university,
I served an apprenticeship as a landscaper and received an approved German journeyman’s
certificate. Such a certificate does not receive much attention in an academic world, yet
digging in the ground and having dirt under
the fingernails are unforgettable experiences
of extreme value. This, above all, taught
me to find beauty in spontaneity and
Second, all the money was fundraised:
$80,000 for a 4000 square metre space.
The key to Folly Forest was controlled
reuse – giving materials a second life, and
transforming them into a new context. Our
building materials were leftovers that the
city produced and threw out. We reclaimed
the concept of bricolage, and when the
forest was complete, the total cost for the
metamorphosis of the fifty-year-old asphalt
field was $20 per square metre.
There is no evidence that earthworms have
ever been on the look-out towers so far, but
perhaps one day, some scientific evidence
will come to light. In the meantime, the
children will make their own stories, and the
trees will mature, their root suckers cracking
the asphalt from below like vegetative
anarchists. The resulting cracks, gaps and
fugues will create more and more freedom
for unexpected life.
DESIGN STRAUB THURMAYR CSLA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS AND URBAN DESIGNERS: PROFESSOR DIPL. ING. DIETMAR STRAUB AND PROFESSOR DIPL. ING. ANNA THURMAYR. CONSULTANTS: ANASTASIA
YERENIUK, MATTHEW ADKINS, LORI HARDER-CHOCHINOV. * WÜRDIGUNGEN : A TRIBUTE
SUMMER ÉTÉ 2013 13
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Landscapes - Summer 2013
My NEW Favourite Places
Mes NOUVEAUX coups de coeur
From Terrain VAGUE to Terrain VIEW
L'Initiative de charte canadienne du paysage
What is Don Hill Listening to Now?
LACF FAPC: Rewarding Curious Minds / Curiosité primée
The Nature of Design
National Honour Awards
National Merit Awards
National Citation Awards
Meet the Jury
B2B : Thanks for Asking!
The Last Word
Landscapes - Summer 2013