Unexpected and experimental problem-solving was at the centre of this year’s edition of the Landezine International Landscape Awards – short LILA –, according to Landezine editor-in-chief Zas Brezar. The jury awarded ix awards and three special mentions, while the Landezine editorial staff selected two further awards, the Honour Award and the Office Award.
Ex-aequo winners in the category Public Projects are Objets Trouvés by the Dutch Bureau B + B and H + N + S Landscape Architects, and the Camí de les Guixeres by Catalan architects Batlle i Roig Arquitectura.
Objets Trouvés forms part of the expansion of an existing canal system. Several bunkers of the 19th century military defense line are nestled in a network of fields, dikes and waterworks. Due to the required relocation of a dike, the idea arose to carefully move, twist and turn the affected bunkers. As Objets Trouvés they become a legible part of the landscape’s history. This radical gesture, which shows that contemporary landscape architecture can be an artistically informed cultural practice, was specifically applauded.
The ex-aequo winner Camí de les Guixeres, a footpath along a former gypsum quarry, highlights the peculiarities of the site, a scarred landscape in a magnificent natural setting, through punctual interventions and lays the foundation for the transformation and rediscovery of this place. Noteworthy are the subtle design and the play with a restrained number of materials.
Two new categories
Two categories, best Infrastructure and Hospitality Projects, were awarded for the first time this year. Brezar points out that these quite particular, high-quality projects are often passed over at award ceremonies.
The best Infrastructure Project award went to the project Noordwaard, a collaboration of Dutch offices ipv Delft and West 8, while another Dutch project, Prins Hendrikzanddijk by Feddes / Olthof, received a special mention. The award for Best Hospitality Project went to Change Studio for the Clouds – Vanke Art & Aesthetic Center in China.
In the Residential Housing category, Studio Basta studio was awarded for its Coteau Saint Barbe project in Belgium, while Juul Frost Architects received a special mention for their project Danish Køge Kyst.
Two American projects were honoured in the Gardens category: the first prize went to the TED IN CLAY _ WY Garden by Straub Thurmayr in Winnipeg, Canada; the Californian project Sonoma Mountain by Hocker Design Group was given a special mention.
Common thread among this year´s winners
Michael van Gessel received the Honour Award for his minimal and timeless, yet bold and playful design interventions. The Landezine editorial staff chose the Swiss office Studio Vulkan as recipient of this year’s Office Award. The editors of Landezine particularly commended their interest to investigate the context and potential of each project, and to create an experience and atmosphere, rather than developing a specific style.
While each of the selected proposals is unique in its context and innovative approach, Zas Brezar sees a common thread across this year’s award winners. Not only do they live up to social and environmental aspirations beyond ecological aesthetics, but also bring a distinctive and unpredicted quality to the site.
The award ceremony took place on September 20 at the Geneva Pavilion Sicli as part of the Quinzaine de l’Urbanisme Festival.