Seems who ever wins of June 4 when the winner of the Lansdowne Park Competition will have to deal with a large amount of consultation with stakeholders and be ready to compromise on parts of there design as Parks Canada and Ontario Heritage Trust raise concerns about some of the design – Read more at the Ottawa Citizen – Lansdowne makeover hits new snags
Recently the City of Ottawa revealed the five designs submitted by design firms for the redevelopment of the Lansdowne Park area. The designs where labeled as anonymous entrants (although if you have seen prior work of the entrants you can guess who’s design is who’s). The entrants included the following design firms:
- Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
- Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg
- SWA Group
- West 8
- Williams, Asselin, Ackaoui & Associates
What is encouraging is that 5 firms developed differing designs and approaches to the space, often competitions can fall flat as the designs can mimic each other. This also shows that the competition brief was not too restrictive in its design constraints on entrants. The entries all offer different approaches but it is great to see entrants have given thought to the integration of storm water, heritage, planting, public art with some being more resolved and effective than others.
The design presentations are all of good quality and show that as landscape architects we can produce amazingly presented design work. However, some of the presentation graphics where more polished than others; this may have to do with the size of the firm or there international resources and will be seen if this made a difference when the design firms for each entry are revealed.
The design entries are interesting with many different approaches to spatial arrangement, program & function, circulation, aesthetics, seasons, public art, water, budgets. However, I feel that the all the designs have the same issues which is true of much of current landscape architecture. These issues are compartmentalization, under programming (lack of cross programming) and international design style.
Compartmentalization and under programming are interlinked in that when designing we draw a bubble around an area and state this shall be X and this is Y. Programming should be cross programmed and programs should be allowed to extend beyond the boundaries of an area to create a more dynamic design. Some of the greatest cities and designs in the world are when two uses and/or programs intermingle to create an interesting and energetic place.
International design style which has in recent years grown more pronounced as the globalisation of landscape architecture services takes place. In some ways international design can be beneficial as firms can offer a unique perspective on the area and use their experience of other cultures and designs. However, often the culture of the place can be lost or represented with the token piece of public art or a local sport placed in the design. The design entries presentations sometimes fell into this ‘international design style’ in which the design could have been anywhere in the world or northern hemisphere. How we improve on this is yet to be determined and will be one of the many issues that as landscape architects we face as we design landscapes across the globe.
I also found it interesting that only one of the design entries featured French text for a design competition held for a site in the capital of an officially bilingual country. Maybe it wasn’t a request of the brief; however I find it interesting to see what language was used when presenting a design in a different country and culture from the design firms.
Overall to decide on a winner will be hard and will require deliberation, resident feedback and evaluation of budgets. I hope that the winning design is implemented in its entirety over a well staged implementation. Congratulations to all the teams for producing amazing presentations that shows that landscape architects can produce high-quality world class designs.
Below are the plans and one image from each design. If you would like to see all the designs and presentations go to the City of Ottawa – Lansdowne Park.
IMAGE SOURCE: City of Ottawa