Topos Landscape Award to Lola

On 8 October the Topos Landscape Award 2014 was presented to landscape architects LOLA (Lost Landscapes) from Rotterdam, the Netherlands at the Rolex Learning Center of EPFL University in Lausanne. The ceremony was held as a special event at the conference “The Narrative of Landscape”, organised by Archizoom. LOLA researches and designs the never ending development of the landscape, city as well as countryside. Founded by Peter Veenstra, Eric-Jan Pleijster and Cees van der Veeken in 2006, LOLA investigates public space at different scales. A total of 15 people work at the office. Characteristic for LOLA’s work is the fusion of urban and natural landscape and the integration of innovative spatial phenomena. From backyards up to the regional scale, they design “green” urbanity, maximize the accessibility of the landscape and enrich our daily environment. The famous Dutch Piet Oudolf commented on their work: „Lola is on par with the world’s most renowned landscape architects and at the start of a bright future!“

LOLA received the 2013 Maaskant Award for Young Architects and decided to use the prize money to finance a book. Even though they see themselves as representatives of the internet generation they deliberately opted for a book as “a dense medium in an era of fragmented and disrupted attention”. The result is a compact, handy-sized publication about the journey of the three landscape architects Eric-Jan Pleijster, Cees van der Veeken and Peter Veenstra through the landscape of the city, on which they embarked when they founded their practice in 2006. In three chapters LOLA takes three different paths from the city into the landscape of the 21st century – and they used a similar structure for their presentation in Lausanne. Their journey begins in the city where they see the linear park as the lifeline of the metropolis. The combination of infrastructure composed of vegetation and water set along old cultural lines such as dykes, canals and railways is creating new icons in cities all over the world. Long Tail of Leisure begins at the urban periphery and is devoted to recreational landscapes whereas the focus of The Fat of the Land is on the intrinsic nature of landscape which “shows itself in its full glory when all of its layers are exposed”.

They manage to embed their projects within a context that describes their approach and perception of landscape, whilst at the same time they encourage thinking about the relationship of man and landscape. The work of Lola will be featured in Topos 89.

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Since 2002, the Topos Landscape Award has been conferred annually by the editorial team of the journal Topos. The award is to honour a landscape architecture practice that has made significant contributions to high-quality and up-to-date designs of cities and landscapes, has enriched the landscape architecture scene through its innovative ideas, and whose work has come to be representative of the best of contemporary landscape architecture. The Topos Landscape Award aims to highlight that the landscape architectural challenges of our time are characterized by a lively dynamic and display a wide range of facets.

Past awards have gone to Stig L. Anderssons Tegnestue (Copenhagen), Karres en Brands (Hilversum), Gross.Max. (Edinburgh), McGregor and Coxall (Sydney), Stoss LU (Boston), Antje Stokman (Hamburg), and Taktyk (Brussels/Paris). The 2013 award, in a deviation from the criteria, was not given to a young practice but to a successful landscape architect of international standing: Peter Latz from Kranzberg near Freising in Bavaria, Germany.

The award is kindly supported by Lorberg Nurseries.