Landscapes - Summer 2013 - (Page 20)
It is a bad plan that admits
of no modification.
Sententiae, Maxim 469, Publilius Syrus 1ST c. B.C.
BRIAN PARKER, GUEST EDITOR
CHAIR, CSLA AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE JURY
AS A RETURNING juror, the delight in reviewing a roomful of
submissions from almost every province and territory in Canada led
to a moment of contemplation. What I found most refreshing in this
year’s submissions was the acknowledgement that nature continues
to deﬁne much of what we do.
I have often been identified as a bit of a tree-hugging, flower-loving
kind of guy. Were I older, I would have been a hippy. (Some question
that time line.) But as a CSLA adjudicator, I was not alone in my
admiration for projects that revelled in nature. That was eminently
clear when the Jury unanimously recognized Toronto’s Evergreen
Brick Works for a National Honour. The Brick Works have been
a “work in progress” over an extended construction history, and
the (incremental) developments – or “modifications,” as Publilius
Syrus might have said – have come together to shape a delightfully
interesting place. Here is nature embraced in its urban suit, hard up
against Canada’s largest city.
The Awards of Excellence jurors honoured many full-blown
celebrations of nature: it is in our blood. But just as frequently, the
importance of the natural landscape was recognized with quiet
understatement. Among the 70 entrants for 2013, there were several
in which protection of the landscape was paramount, and respect for
20 LANDSCAPES PAYSAGES
the environment meant making changes that might at first appear
intrusive. The Cap Rouge Memory Wall, for example, required large
scale protection of the hillside with a combination of discretely
engineered retaining walls and plantings. Sculptural sheets of steel
screen and protect the disturbed land, and at the same time create a
palette for intriguing text from Cartier’s historic journal.
Many other entrants recognized that in cities dominated by the urban
fabric, “nature” can be a little hard to see. The Jury applauded projects
that brought nature to dense downtown environments where it
is perhaps most needed. In Calgary, for example, the water cycle
unfolds the in an interesting, appropriate prairie landscape, albeit in
the centre of town. The Water Centre is a terrific achievement – and
yet, it literally stands alone in a sea of concrete and asphalt, an oasis
for those who experience it. Montreal’s Parc Gewurz-Remer, too,
embraces nature in mid-city. Remarkably, it owes its existence to a
client who insisted on building it after higher government rejected the
idea because “a natural space cannot be aesthetic and architectural”.
The Park is a man-made watercourse, complete with concrete banks
and waterfalls, and the design fits so naturally into its dense urban
environment that it disproves the premise that nature and the
city cannot be compatible. Bravo! As Syrus might well have said,
surprising modifications lie at the heart of a sound plan.
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