Landscapes - Summer 2011 - (Page 74)

THE LAST WORD | LE MOT DE LA FIN We are moving...from a fixation on things to an appreciation of relationships, both in our understanding of landscapes and of life. “The obsession with objects is giving way to an obsession with ritual...” JULIAN SMITH OBSESSION SARAH SCOTT ENG_ ARCHITECT JULIAN SMITH, writing in this year’s award-winning book, Grounded: The Work of Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg, observes that “the 20th century will be looked back upon as a time when people were obsessed by objects.” Buildings were made, and they became the focus of urban design. “The building as object became the identifier of change, of progress, of the Modern city.” That may still be true. Yet as Smith observes, times are changing. We are moving, he believes, from a fixation on things to an appreciation of relationships, both in our understanding of landscapes and of life. “The obsession with objects is giving way to an obsession with ritual, the focus on observation is giving way to a focus on experience, and the concern for buildings is giving way to a concern with landscape.” This is a true paradigm shift. Instead of focussing on objects or sculptures, we’re thinking about the relationships between objects, and those relationships, of course, are always changing. THE PRIMORDIAL LANDSCAPE This puts landscape architects into the spotlight. “If architects were the primary form-givers in the 20th century,” Smith writes, “landscape architects will be the primary place-makers in the 21st century.” Buildings are now just a component of their city or country setting; landscape is “the primordial base of a sense of place and identity.” Smith’s essay is provocative, clear and inspiring. It is not only a brilliant description of how landscape architecture reflects and contributes to the new wave of contemporary thinking, but also a clear example of the qualities that describe the national and regional winners in this year’s Awards of Excellence competition. This year’s jury—five landscape architects from across the country plus one journalist (that would be me)—chose nearly two dozen projects in a broad range of categories. The national winners all broke new ground. Janet Rosenberg applied the knowledge of landscape architecture to the question of how to create a beautiful and practical highway crossing for animals, which would protect both animals and drivers. Brook McIlroy created a new plan for College Quarter in Saskatoon that was so clear we could instantly imagine what it would be like to walk through the campus. In Winnipeg, where the deep winter temperature hovered at minus 30°C while we were judging, Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram looked ahead 100 years to think of how Duff’s Ditch, as the artificial floodway is affectionately known, could turn into a massive and lengthy park. In the town of Baie Comeau, the imaginative design of a boulevard and public square, as conceived by OPTION amenagement, should inspire designers across the country to enliven small towns. The national winners showed the breadth of landscape architecture today. In Vancouver, a winning team redesigned a park to cut local crime. In suburban Toronto, car-maker Honda used landscape design to clean the water on the property before letting it run into a local river. In False Creek, landscape designers faced a daunting challenge: What do you do with a hot water plant under a highway that will recover heat from human sewage? Their answer is an appealing pedestrian and cycle link that might inspire those who complain about Toronto’s Gardiner expressway. The scope of the winning projects ran from small to vast, from a remarkably green sports arena in Gatineau to a crystal clear master plan for Brantford’s waterfront. The environmental plans that O2 Planning and Design Inc. devised for Calgary gives bureaucrats and politicians the analytical tools they need to see clearly how their development decisions will affect the city environment. Yet Schollen & Company Inc.’s campaign to encourage homeowners to create residential rain gardens shows that small scale projects can be sweet too: this deserves to be seen across the country. As a journalist, I was delighted to see how some of Canada’s leading landscape architects showed such intellectual clarity and courage in creating the designs that won national and regional prizes in this competition. Perhaps this is, as Smith observed, the century when landscape architects will become the key figures shaping our physical and cultural landscape. FR_ UNE OBSESSION GENERATIVE SKETCH OF ROCKCLIFFE MASTER PLAN, OTTAWA ON. PHOTO PHILLIPS FAREVAAG SMALLENBERG 74 LANDSCAPES PAYSAGES

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Landscapes - Summer 2011

Landscapes - Summer 2011
Limitless! | Illimité!
Letters | Courrier
Up Front | Prologue
Essay | Essai
Work That Defines Us | des Oeuvres qui Nous Définissent Aapc
National Honour Awards | Prix Honneur National
National Merit Awards | Prix Mérite National
National Citation Awards | Prix Citation Nationale
The Regionals | Les Prix Régionaux
Adjudication | Sélection
Opinion | Opinion
Lacf | Fapc
Site Specific | État Des Lieux
Collaborators | Collaborateurs
Inspiration | Inspiration
The Last Word | Le Mot De La Fin

Landscapes - Summer 2011