Double Serpent Nature Walk | Legge Lewis Legge | Grand-Métis Canada

Double Serpent Nature Walk

Nature Walk, August 2010. Photo credit: ©2010 Louise Tanguay

Nature Walk is a further development of Round Up (After Monet), Legge Lewis Legge’s project commissioned for the 2008 International Garden Festival, held annually at the Jardins de Metis, Reford Gardens, Grand-Métis, Québec, Canada. Round Up (after Monet) was an array of 9 6-foot high earthworks bound with sod, heavy-duty strapping and cam buckles. The steep mounds grew and changed shape individually over time. An act of extreme landscaping, part lawn, pinch, pile and stack, this modern topiary was a growing sculpture sprung from ideas conflating Romantic Impressionism with the typical American lawn. The project spanned 2 entire seasons of the Festival, from 2008 to the spring of 2010, when it was programmatically enhanced to provide further interactivity with the public.

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NIP Paysage wins Place de l’Acadie design competition

NIP Paysage-Place-de-l'Acadie

The design competition was held as part of the project to redevelop Place de l’Acadie and Place Henri-Bourassa, was intended primarily to produce a concept for creating areas to refresh the surrounding air in order to help fight the urban heat island effect.

The jury found that the project from NIP paysage stood out for the variety, quality and cohesiveness of the proposed areas, the potential performance in producing coolness, the user-friendliness of the meeting spaces, and the concept’s technical feasibility and viability, especially regarding its adaptability for future stages.

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Canadian National Urban Design Awards announced

Urban design and architectural excellence play an important role in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Canadian cities.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects in cooperation with Canadian municipalities, wish to promote public and private awareness of that role.

Recently the award winners were announced:

Community Improvement Projects

Ottawa Children’s Garden (Ottawa, ON)
Sustainable Living Ottawa East and the Community of Old Ottawa East

Urban Design Plans

Transformation of the Bonaventure Expressway at the Montreal Downtown Gateway (Montreal, QC)
Groupe Cardinal Hardy collaboration: Urban Soland :
paysages urbains and Société du Havre de Montréal

Urban Architecture

Manitoba Hydro Place (Winnipeg, MB)
Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, Smith Carter Architects & Engineers, Transsolar KlimaEngineering

Urban Fragments

Capital Health Centre (Edmonton, AB)
Dub Architects Ltd.

Civic Design Projects

Waterloo Public Square (Waterloo, ON)
GSP Group Inc.

Special Jury Award: Sustainable Development

Tower Renewal Opportunities Book (Toronto, ON)
E.R.A. Architects Inc. and the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto, Project lead Graeme Stewart, ERA Architects Inc.

Special Jury Award: Small or Medium Community Urban Design

HRMbyDesign (Halifax, NS)
The Downtown Halifax Plan, Heritage and Design Department, Halifax Regional Municipality

Student Award

City_Program: Hybrid Area (Montreal, QC)
Virginie Pontbriand, Anik Malderis and Alexandre Guilbeault
(Université de Montréal)
Certificates of Merit

Urban Design Plans

The RiverWalk Master Plan (Calgary, AB)
Stantec Consulting Ltd.

Urban Architecture

Life Sciences Complex, McGill University (Montreal, QC)
Diamond and Schmitt Architects, Provencher Roy + Associés Architectes, Architects in Joint Venture

Royal Conservatory, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning (Toronto, ON)
Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects

Civic Design Projects

Spadina WaveDeck (Toronto, ON)
WEST 8 + DTAH Joint Venture

SOURCE: RAIC

Lansdowne Park Design Competition entries revealed

*UPDATE*
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

IMAGE CREDITS: All images are copyright of the entrants – currently anonymous

Living Wall at Nova Scotia Community College [VIDEO]

Dartmouth, NS – A living, breathing example of innovation is growing at Nova Scotia Community College’s (NSCC) Centre for the Built Environment at the Waterfront Campus in Dartmouth.

Earlier today, NSCC president Dr. Joan McArthur-Blair helped students complete the first, permanent, exterior “living wall” east of Vancouver. “This living wall demonstrates the capacity of the Centre for the Built Environment to help Nova Scotians study the renewable energy and green technologies that are essential to our sustainable future,” said Dr. McArthur-Blair.

Living walls combine the natural and built environments. They filter the air, create habitats and add vitality to a building’s design. In 2007, Centre for the Built Environment architects, Barrie & Langille, hired Sue Sirrs, owner of Outside! Planning and Design Studio, to study the feasibility of an exterior living wall that would thrive in a cold climate. Horticulture students and faculty from NSCC’s Kingstec Campus in Kentville helped to plan then design and build the living wall.

The 7,000 plants that make up NSCC’s living wall offer a variety of colours, textures, flowers and berries, providing a living piece of art that will change with the seasons.

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