|Diana Balmori at the BAC, photo by Ian Hester|
As part of the Spring 2013 Student Lecture Series, designer Diana Balmori presented A Landscape Manifesto at the BAC. As principal of Balmori Associates in New York, she has worked on a variety of projects around the globe and developed a unique perspective on design.
Balmori describes herself as a landscape architect, an urban planner, and an artist. She notes that as a result of breaking with its past and reinventing itself, landscape architecture has become a field that is on the edge of architecture, engineering, urbanism, and ecology. She emphasizes that landscape architecture is not a part of these other fields, but that an overlap has developed which allows it to implement their tools and thus grow and expand in new directions. One of her key concepts is that the purpose and intention of landscape architecture is to be able to create a sustainable environment, and to bridge the continuously shifting gap between nature and people.
The first project that Balmori shared was Long Island (Green) City, which is a green roof project in New York that was designed to improve environmental conditions as well as aesthetics. Green roof systems, especially when constructed on a large scale, are able to mediate climate and improve both water drainage and water quality. They also create open space and what Balmori described as a ‘fifth façade’, which is a roof that is visible from high rise buildings and bridges. The project began as a study, but upon being presented as a pamphlet, Balmori Associates found clients in Silvercup Studios and Gratz Industries in New York.
|Silvercup Studios Green Roof, photo from thecityatlas.org|
|Prairie Waterway Stormwater Park, photo from asla.org|
Abandoibarra Master Plan, photo and image from balmori.com
One of Balmori’s most artistic projects was also done in Bilbao. The Garden That Climbs The Stairs was a five month installation for Bilbao Jardin 2009, a landscape competition in which participants are given a plot of public space. Balmori noted that the decision to build on the stairs was a metaphor for landscape spreading over public space and architecture.
|The Garden That Climbs The Stairs, photo from treehugger.com|
|Sejong City, image from archpaper.com|