Landscapes - Summer 2013 - (Page 13)

PROLOGUE Finding beauty in spontaneity and imperfection A WÜRDIGUNGEN* FOR FOLLY FOREST DIETMAR STRAUB 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 imperfection. 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
Thompson Plus...
Planning Excellence
From Terrain VAGUE to Terrain VIEW
Folly Forest
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
Reading Landscapes
Meet the Jury
B2B : Thanks for Asking!
The Last Word
LP +

Landscapes - Summer 2013