Bryan Hanes Studio is the one of the winners of the Jardin de Metis 2010 Design Competition.
His project, Veil Garden caught my interest. I wanted to know more.
Why submit a proposal for Les Jardin de Metis?
We are a young studio, working in challenging, but exciting times. Competitions have long been a way for young designers to explore ideas, define themselves and publicize their existence. Thankfully, we’ve been a bit too busy to take them on, though we would like to do more. Les Jardins de Metis is the only competition we have pursued and we did it for a number of reasons. I’ve followed the Festival for many years. It is an extremely well respected program, and they have an uncanny ability to identify the best emerging designers from around the world. Whether we can live up to that challenge or not remains to be seen, but we are honored to have been selected.
What do you want to explore in doing this garden, which of course, is different from working for a client?
The theme for the 2010 Festival is “Paradise.” The Paradise Garden is one of the fundamental original garden typologies and can be traced back to Ancient Mesopotamia. As the garden was adopted by various cultures across a wide geography, its use evolved relative to its geography and environment and new symbology was adopted to reflect the values and beliefs of the people. So we wondered – what is a contemporary Paradise Garden on the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec? What are the values of our current society? How should this garden respond to its climate?
Traditionally, these gardens were strongly connected to the land through the embodiment of the elements; they provided privacy and protection from the elements as well as bands of marauders; they reflected ideas of beauty and bounty through planting and water elements that represented the necessities and luxuries of milk, honey, water and wine; while at the same time referencing a larger world beyond.
Today, we are generally disconnected from the land. We take access to food for nourishment or even festivity for granted. We have come to a point where we post our entire lives online so our idea of privacy has obviously changed. This paradox between privacy and transparency/visible and hidden is what we have tried to explore.
What are you working on now?
Our work is almost wholly in the public realm in urban environments. As a developing studio, we’ve started to look at our work and find common threads. What we have seen is that we tend to address the ecological components of each project at the scale of the problem, but rather than being the premise of a design response, it tends to underlie a larger belief that our urban cores provide great social and economic opportunity. We work very closely with the communities in which we work to ensure that the space we create is one that they will use and care for.
Does the issue of sustainability interest you?
We are landscape architects. A lot of our work tends to be based on vegetation and stormwater management, so everything we do fits nicely into most people’s definition of sustainability, which has been such a hot topic lately.
Ultimately though, these things that we are talking about – history, culture, climate, plants, etc. – these are the elements that lie beneath a larger idea of “sustainability.” It’s not just about recycled materials and using less energy, it has to do with maintaining a cultural identity which is based on tradition, geography, availability of building materials, etc., etc.
A movement toward sustainability is certainly prevalent in the building industry today, but has also begun to reach a wider audience. As a society, we are becoming more informed and understand that, for the future of our planet, we need to address energy consumption, our individual carbon footprint, etc.
In the end, we have pushed harder on ideas of sustenance, tradition, and local resources, which may speak to a very broad idea of sustainability, but is hopefully more rich and complex than a simple collection of beautiful native plants.
June 5 – October 3, 2010
STUDIO BRYAN HANES
Landscapes Architecture/ Urban Design
340 N. 12 St., Suite 421, Philadelphia<, PA 19107