Landscapes - Summer 2013 - (Page 20)

EXCELLENCE 2013 THE NATURE OF DESIGN It is a bad plan that admits of no modification. Sententiae, Maxim 469, Publilius Syrus 1ST c. B.C. excellence 2013 BRIAN PARKER, GUEST EDITOR CHAIR, CSLA AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE JURY EN_ 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
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