Three NYC Architects Selected for Quebec's International Garden Festival 2011


Fleur de sel by Urbanbees// Image (c) 2011 by

The International Garden Festival 2011 in Quebec has selected three landscape architects from New York City to design three gardens to be shown from June 25 to October 2. The gardens will be shown on the site of Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens. In total, this year’s show will feature a record 25 gardens by leading designers from New York, Berlin, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Switzerland and the United States.

The theme of this year’s show is “Secret Gardens.” Answering the question, “What do secret gardens look like today?” designers connected to the critical contemporary issues of today and offered a challenging range of new experiences.

The International Garden Festival has chosen three designers from New York to showcase their gardens in this year’s show:

Ken Smith
Ken Smith is the founder of Ken Smith Workshop and one of the leading designers of conceptualist gardens. A professor and design critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, he has designed the Village of Yorkville Park in Toronto as well as the MoMA Roof Garden in New York. Ken’s project for the festival, A Ditch With A View, is an exploration of borrowed view and the role of voyeurism in the secret garden. A collection of three frames, using recycled natural and cultural materials, bind the secret garden space of a utilitarian drainage ditch, reframing one’s perception of this everyday infrastructure.

Diana Balmori
Diana Balmori is the founder of Balmori Associates and a landscape and urban designer. She has designed the Garden That Climbs the Stairs in Bilbao, Spain, and has taken part in the effort to realize Robert Smithson’s concept for a floating island around New York City. Her entry to this year’s show is entitled Making Circles in the Water. It consists of a circular water tank in the bay of the Mitis River that will capture images of the changing sky and pixellate them onto the surface of the St. Lawrence, reconnecting the space with its body of water.

Michael Von Valkenburg
Michael Von Valkenburg is the founder of MVVA and a leading American landscape architect. He has designed the Teardrop Park and the Brooklyn Bridge Park, as well as Harvard Yard. His entry is This Rocks! Get Lost!, a garden that re-affirms the timelessness of landscape in our lives. It combines a fragmentary exploration of an archetypal Canadian evergreen landscape with an assemblage of white Vermont marble.

The festival will also feature three gardens chosen from the 2011 international competition, held earlier this year:

Fleur de Sel
By Urbanbees, this entry is a garden of salt that allows the visitor to connect with the space by touching, smelling, and even tasting. Visitors can reconnect with this common material and consider the secrets it hides beneath our feet.

The ALGAE Garden
Heather Ring, landscape architect, Dr. Brenda Parker, plant scientist and Synnøve Fredericks, artist collaborate to celebrate the beauty and potential of algae. The garden presents algae organized by color and species organized in plastic sleeve curtains hanging from wooden frames. The oft-maligned algae becomes an object of beauty, inviting the visitor to consider its potential as an alternative energy source.

Noli tangere
Designed by Terragram, Noli tangere is formed of a geo-textile mat perforated with holes and supported by trees and posts. The natural light, plants and insects at eye level contrast with the secretive, dark and strange world beneath the mat.

The 2011 festival will also feature a garden developed by Asesnsio Mah in collaboration with students in the Master of Landscape Architecture, Masters of Design and Master of Architecture Programs at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Entitled On the Surface, it consists of a garden wall with an experimental moss surface that flips between wall, floor and cover, creating multiple orientations and microclimates.

This year’s festival will also feature 16 gardens from previous years, reexamined to fit this year’s theme, as well as a symposium on contemporary landscape design, a culinary benefit event, and an award-winning documentary on the festival.


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