Duisburg, 1985: The Meiderich Ironworks abandons the coal and steel production plant in Duisburg, after polluting the area for more than eight decades. Six years later, the landscape architect Peter Latz is commissioned to design a public park on site. Instead of turning the area into a classical garden park, Latz embraced the site’s industrial past. In Rust Red, Latz shares his firsthand knowledge of the project to present. A book review.
In August 2015 the Guardian architecture critic Rowan Moore ranked the Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park as one of the ten best parks in the world. Yet this icon of contemporary landscape architecture had already found recognition outside of specialist circles. In 2005 the Museum of Modern Art in New York used an exhibition entitled “Groundswell: Constructing the Contemporary Landscape” to showcase modern landscape architecture to an interested public. This park landscape on a former industrial site was one of the projects shown in the exhibition, while this magnum opus from Peter Latz has also come to feature regularly in expert discussions.
Now Latz has called on more than 20 years of personal experience to pen the book Rust Red – Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord. He seeks to present a “mature park”, showing what can evolve out of ideas, sketches and colorful pictures. In five chapters (approach, structures, methods, places and visions) he takes readers on a walk through the park and shares with them thoughts, reflections and concepts surrounding the design stage, as well as experiences, impressions and developments from the subsequent years. He explains how he and his team approached the seemingly chaotic layout of the former Meidericher Ironworks, analysing the site, filtering out feasible structures and eventually transforming them into a contemporary park. Project partners and associates also chip in with their own written contributions. In addition to numerous well-known pictures, new photographs provide new perspectives. It is easy to think that everything has been said about such a renowned project, but this publication is certainly a must-have for any professional library.