Friday, February 27, 2009

10 Avant-Garden Makers You Should Know

1. Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe
(1900 – 1996) Jellicoe was one of the 20th century’s leading landscape architects with a career spanning almost seventy years. A trained architect, town planner, landscape architect and garden designer, his strongest interest was in landscape and garden design, describing it as “the mother of all arts”.

Christopher Bradley Hole

Architect turned landscape designer, Bradley Hole's widely published garden designs have been highly influential in changing the climate for global attitudes toward contemporary landscape and garden design.

3. Mien Ruys
(1904-98) Ruys exploited the textures of plant material and was one of the first designers to use grasses on a larger scale. She created her own garden at Dedemsvaart (below) where she experimented with bold perennial planting in combination with modern hard landscape design.

Dick Beijer
Beijer's work is characterized by simple, austere and symmetrical designs, whereby free form individual plants underline the clear cut lines. His work includes many unique designs for private clients as well as the Royal Gardens at the De Horsten country estate in Wassenaar and the design of the United Nations building in The Hague.

5. Jacques Wirtz
Wirtz has a strong sense of history, which he combines with innovation and an encyclopedic knowledge of plants. He often uses clipped plants and hedges to form undulating and modular masses setting off sculpture. He has an incredibly moving book of his gardens and landscapes which you can find in The Studio Library.

6. Dieter Kienast
Dieter Kienast ranked among the most renowned landscape architects of Europe n the 90's. In 1998 he wrote " a habitable town needs nature yet this cannot be limited to a concentration of vegetation" and so his landscape architecture gives expression to the fundamental relationship which exists between man and nature.

Kathryn Gustafson
Gustafson’s award-winning landscapes and structures can be found throughout Europe, North America, and the Middle East. Her diverse span of prominent works, ranging from one to 500 acres in size, are known as ground-breaking, contemporary designs that intuitively incorporate the sculptural, sensual qualities that are fundamental to the human experience of landscape.

8. Gilles Clement
Clement is a gardener, landscape designer, botanist, entomologist and writer. He made his name with his uncompromisingly modern designs for the Parc Andre Citroen in Paris (below), created with landscape architect Alain Provost. Clement also has has a passion for plants and the infinite possibilities of association, countering the criticism often levelled at modern designers that they prefer hard elements to soft.

9. Topher Delaney
With an academic background in philosophy, cultural anthropology, and landscape architecture, Delaney’s work crosses disciplinary boundaries. Her work focuses on healing gardens, creating engaging and peaceful spaces for the suffering.

10. Fernando Caruncho
The Catalan landscape architect Fernando Caruncho runs his own office in Madrid and, since 1980, has designed and created a great number of gardens, mainly in Spain. Caruncho has carefully studied the history of oriental and occidental garden architecture and translates a number of archetypal elements of Moorish and Arabic gardens into contemporary designs.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Weekly Green

I think it would be a great injustice to my readers if I published a Weekly Green post this month and left out the grand opening of New York's first Green Depot. While Home Depot is laying off workers Green Depot is adding new employees to its roster. The green building supply store, which already has 15 locations, opened its doors to the public this month in New York City. Green Depot will contain the city's first and only zero-VOC paint bar, a resource and design center and a 3,000 square foot showroom.

Architecture firm Mapos LLC designed the space and anticipates LEED-platinum certification.

Green Depot's new location was previously home to the studios of artists Mark Rothko, Fernand Leger, and author William Burroughs.

images courtesy of Inhabitat

What is Green?
The Icon System
Green depot's icon system is designed to identify at a glance what constitutes a "green" product.






For more information please visit their website

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stairways to the sky

The Rice Terraces of the Phillipines, China and Japan.
These images represent a unique agro-technical method of building which was created thousands of years ago by rural village communities in arduous hard graft with primitive equipment. The final product is a breathtaking example of human ingenuity.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Victoria's Urban Fabric

As part of a follow up to January's successful post, Landscape Fabric, I thought a mass and void study of Victoria's downtown core was long overdue.

Downtown Victoria / Johnson Street Bridge
Victoria mass + void study by Christian Barnard

Does Victoria's urban space work for you?
If not what would you like to see improved?
Where do you live and how do you feel about the design of your city's public space?
What makes a city's urban space work?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Elements of Perception

Exploring the work of contemporary Japanese artist Noriyuki Haraguchi.

I have long been a fan of Noriyuki Haraguchi and the Japanese minimalist approach to architecture and design.
Haraguchi creates sophisticated transitions between functional objects, pure use of materials and abstract requirements of space and surfaces. The following photos represent my favorite works, while giving my readers insight into Harguchi's diverse portfolio.

All visuals courtesy of Noriyuki Haraguchi Catalogue Raisonne 1963-2001

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Weekly Green

Seedy Saturdays

Seedy Saturdays are designed to develop a feeling of community focused around seeds that are open pollinated, not hybridized, and saved year to year. The heart of local food security starts with having a collection of seeds that people can save and continue to grow from season to season.

The first Canadian Seedy Saturday was created by Sharon Rempel (BC director of the Heritage Seed Program) and took place in Vancouver, BC on February 14, 1989. Rempel wanted to bring a large number of people together to share seeds and stories. The first event was attended by a small diverse group, who gathered for a day to discuss the merits of seed production and security.

Victoria, BC
Victoria Conference Centre
Saturday February 21, 2009  10-4

Open-pollinated seeds, specialty and native plants, shrubs, perennials, compost worms, fresh produce, seedlings, products from and for the garden, and more. The community seed exchange will accept your saved clean seeds in labelled packages.

Salt Spring Island, BC

Farmers Institute, Rainbow Rd.
Saturday February 14, 2009

Seed exchange, plant and seed sales and farmers market.
Reforestation around the world with Michael Nichols 12:30-1:30.
Small Scale Organic Seed Production with Patrick Steiner 1:45-2:45.
Contact: Pat Reichert 537- 4282

Vancouver, BC
The Floral Hall, VanDusen Botanical Garden, 5251 Oak Street (37th and Oak Street)
Time: 10-4 Saturday February 28 2009
Fabulous opportunity to purchase seeds from the farmers who grow them. 
Free open-pollinated heritage and heirloom vegetable, flower, and herb seeds.

Toronto, ON

Toronto Botanical Gardens
(Barn #2) Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St.
Saturday February 28, 2009 2-6
Sunday April 5, 2009 9-4
Guest speaker Colette Murphy owner of Urban Harvest Garden Alternatives in Toronto.

Friday, February 6, 2009

London Alpine

The Davies Alpine House
Location : The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, England
Architect: Wilkinson Eyre
Environmental Consulting Engineer: atelier ten

During my studies in London I came across the Davies Alpine House, located on the site of my final project. While not a huge fan of alpine plants this technological and engineering feat had me rethinking the horticultural merit of high altitude vegetation.

Home to the Royal Botanic Garden's internationally important collection of rare and precious alpine plants, the Davies Alpine House provides very special conditions: maximum light levels, yet relatively low temperatures and constant air circulation to prevent the plants from overheating.

Environmental consultants, atelier ten, proposed a labyrinth system for the passive cooling of the structure. Cool night air is drawn in at low velocity along an 80-metre tunnel where it circulates with a simple interweaving latticework of 3.5N standard concrete blockwork. The thermal mass of the concrete cools the air further, and it is then recirculated through the alpine house above via a series of displacement tubes nestled among the plants.

the following words are from Kew / above photos courtesy of  AEingineer
"The Davies Alpine House combines sustainability, technology and accessibility in an architecture that is at once pragmatic and arresting, reflecting Kew's ongoing commitment to public education, accessibility and world-leading research." For more info please visit

The photos below depict alpine plant ecology and their contribution to a healthier environment through extensive green roof systems.