Azure recognized these three landscape and temporary architecture projects from around the world with 2017 AZ Awards of Merit.
Project: Public Laneway Puncture
Location: Toronto, Canada
Firm: Victoria Taylor Landscape Architect, Canada
Team: Victoria Taylor with Mike Layton, Robert Mays, Jode Roberts, Michelle Senaye and Jonas Spring
As large North American cities like Toronto densify, their barren and slapdash laneways are drawing renewed attention from urban planners. Their ultimate goal is to update these hinterlands with Jane-Jacobsian ideals by turning them into inviting, inclusive green spaces where local communities can gather. Public Laneway Puncture, led by landscape architect Victoria Taylor, is a prototype of an initiative that incises the impervious paved surface of a laneway with central channels filled with open-grid paving bricks. This more porous surface allows runoff to drain, and both planted and wild greenery to sprout. With the laneway’s hydrologic cycle restored, life can return.
Project: Governors Island Phase 2: The Hills
Location: New York, U.S.
Firm: West 8, Netherlands
Team: Claire Agre, Lisa DuRussel, Adriaan Geuze, Perry Maas and Daniel Vasini
Tapped in 2006 to lead the redevelopment of this 70-hectare island off the southern tip of Manhattan, West 8’s New York office just completed the second phase of its master plan: a playful four-hectare park. The park’s four sculpted mounds, which make up a flood protection barrier that ranges from eight to 21 metres high, are made of recycled demolition debris. These hills (Grassy, Slide, Discovery and Outlook) tease hikers with a sense of anticipation by staging such moments as the “granite scramble” and “hammock grove” along a promenade of constructed views, which alternately conceal and reveal Manhattan’s iconic skyline in a series of spectacular vistas.
Location: Boston, U.S.
Firm: Matter Design, U.S.
Team: Brandon Clifford and Wes McGee with Myung Duk Chung, Etta Dannemann, Cody Glen, Matthew Johnson, Asa Peller, Christoph Reinhart, Maya Shopova, Tyler Swingle and Luisel Zayas
In her influential book Thermal Delight in Architecture, Lisa Heschong contends that people take pleasure in variably hot and cold environments – imagine, for instance, sitting outside in a hot tub during winter. The exterior of the Microtherme installation by Matter Design resembles a floating wooden shed, but inside, visible through portal-like holes and accessed through its open bottom, is a sculpted concrete interior. The temperature of the structure ranges from a chilly 9 degrees Celsius to a stifling 50 degrees thanks to embedded copper tubes carrying frigid or scalding water. Stepping inside to feel these extremes is a destabilizing and thrilling experience.