The international garden design award “best private plots – Die besten Gärten” was conferred for the fifth time this year. While the main prizes went to Japan, USA and Switzerland last time, European competition entries carried the day this year. The award, endowed with 15,000 euros, recognizes excellence in the design of sustainable private outdoor spaces, and promotes quality in garden design as well as global networking between landscape architects and garden enthusiasts.
The winners were Mann Landschaftsarchitektur from Germany, Ewa Wagnerová from the Czech Republic, and Christine Rottenbacher from Austria for the community garden project Angerdorf in Unterretzbach, Lower Austria. Honorable mentions went to doxiadis+ (Greece) and to 1:1 Landskab (Denmark).
More than 150 participants from around the world attended the award ceremony for best private plots 2012, which took place last weekend at the Essl Museum in Klosterneuburg near Vienna. The event highlighted gardens combining architecture, ecology and landscape as well-designed, inspirational and productive spaces, and as habitats that tell stories. The prizes were awarded by the expert jury convened by the organizers, consisting of Stig L. Andersson (DK), Franziska Bark Hagen (CH), Teresa Moller (CL), Vladimir Sitta (CZ/AU) and Tom Stuart-Smith (GB). From among 104 competition entries hailing from 26 countries, the jury nominated 29 projects. The final round of judging yielded the three winners and two honorable mentions, presented to the public on September 29th , 2012 by Lower Austrian Deputy Governor Wolfgang Sobotka during a festive ceremony moderated by Mercedes Echerer, with musical accompaniment by Bee Pop by Team Tool Time featuring Paul Divjak and Wolfgang Schlögl.
1st prize: Mann Landschaftsarchitektur, Germany – Garden Labyrinth, Erfurt
The garden functions both as an image and as a physical, spatial experience. It offers great variety with a minimum of means, through a constant fluctuation of volumes and spaces. It extracts a maximum from a difficult sloping space and incorporates important elements from its previous life. It is a very seductive and inviting interpretation of the archetypal idea of the labyrinth. Although it is a private space, it also gains much from being overlooked by the surrounding houses for which this becomes a territory of imaginative wandering.
2nd prize: Ewa Wagnerová, Czech Republic – Trnka Garden, Brno
The project shows a clear spatial organization and carefully integrates the old and the new. It is a harmonious garden that seems exceptional and ordinary at the same time. It works well through the seasons, and the reflecting pond and long planks of paving form a poetic composition at the heart of the garden.
3rd prize: Christine Rottenbacher, Austria – Angerdorf, Unterretzbach
The “Allmende” (village common) has been reintroduced to the local people for their enjoyment and to involve them in a common social responsibility for the neighborhood. The idea of the garden is the process of changing people’s everyday life so that garden work becomes part of life and enriches health and pleasure. Beauty on its own is not enough.
Honorable mention: doxiadis+, Greece – Landscapes of Cohabitation
It is a brave decision to work in healing a landscape, keeping the line of time in the place, and resisting the temptation to introduce obvious and novel marks and materials. The nature of the interventions remains a little obscure in the presentation.
Honorable mention: 1:1 Landskab, Denmark – Courtyard Classensgade, Copenhagen
This is an exceptional treatment of a space that is public as well as private. A dark courtyard is transformed into a metaphor of paradise through the motif of the carpet and fountain. The intriguing paving pattern is not quite supported by the quality of the other materials