Canadian design magazine Azure recently announced the winners of its third annual awards program. Some 677 entries came in from 38 countries. Out of the finalists, more than 30 won merit awards and 14 won outright. Unlike other architecture and interior design awards programs, Azure also offers landscape architecture awards. American landscape architect Ken Smith, ASLA, was on the jury this year.
Being a Canadian magazine, it’s not surprising that a new park in Montreal took home the prize for best landscape. According to Azure, Place des Festivals in Montreal, Canada, by Daoust Lestage is “among the most welcoming redevelopment projects in North America, comparable with New York City’s High Line” (see image above and below). The park’s success, they write, is based in its “ability to assume multiple identities. On any given day, 235 high-pressure water jets pierce the pavers underfoot with an interactive show of illuminated water, while a central fountain shoots over three stories high. Programmed to respond to movement, light, and sound, the plaza’s computer-controlled geysers have become a favorite spot for impromptu refreshment on sweltering days.”
Ken Smith wrote: “This space is part green and part hard, which means that during the course of a year it can have many different lives. Daoust Lestage has built an environment out of the whole cloth, and we should all be doing a lot more of that.”
The park is a key part of Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles, an urban redevelopment initiative that aims to transform the city’s red-light district into a cultural and arts center (see more images).
Another intriguing landscape is Azure‘s Best Lighting Design winner: the Städel Museum Skylight Installation in Frankfurt, Germany, by Schneider + Schumacher. Instead of building yet another new tack-on museum wing, Schneider + Schumaker inserted a 3,000-square-meter gallery under the museum’s existing green courtyard. “The main element that ties it all together is a grid of circles, installed into the garden’s domed concrete slab, which ushers light into the underground spaces” (see more images).
There were also merit awards for landscape architecture. Vladimir Djurovic, International ASLA, took home one of these awards for his Hariri Memorial Garden, which was created to honor former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005. The memorial’s long slabs are meant to represent the “incremental rebuilding of the capital” after decades of civil war and foreign intervention.
In Kansas City, Missouri, landscape architecture firm El Dorado took home another merit award for Troost Bridge, which spans the south side of Brush Creek. The firm “retooled the concrete bridge to handle both pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Three-meter-tall glass panels coated in an anti-graffiti film stand together to form the guardrail; and mirrored stainless steel panels line the concrete barrier between cars and pedestrians, reflecting daylight onto the glazing.”
This has to be one of the more elegant pedestrian bridges out there (see more images).
Separately, another recent project from Melbourne featured in Landezine is worth highlighting. A temporary urban coffee farm and brew bar created for a festival shows how design can totally transform the usual urban spot into something fun and inviting, even for a short period of time.
Image credits: Place des Festivals / Landezine, (3) Stadel Museum / Azure, (4) Hariri Memorial / Azure, (5) Troost Bridge / Azure