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Material Landscapes / Liane Hancock

Article - Friday, August 12, 2011

By Sofia Balters

Material Landscapes is an exhibition that recently opened at the Sheldon Art Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri. The show is curated by Liane Hancock, Assistant Professor at Louisiana Tech University.  It features materiality in contemporary landscape architecture through projects by a group of national and international landscape architects.

The projects shown in Material Landscapes exhibition are presented through photographs and drawings. The designs range in location, scale, and program, but they each address material conditions in an innovative manner.

Highlights of the exhibit include designers using parametric modeling and common materials to create patterned gardens, a park with a unique appreciation for asphalt, and a thoughtful, beautiful memorial. The eight architects featured and their projects are listed below.

The Urban Outfitters headquarters in the Philadelphia Navy Yard by D.I.R.T. Studio, a Brooklyn residence by dlandstudio, a vertical container garden in Hong Kong by ESKYIU, the Pentagon Memorial by Kaseman Beckman Advanced Strategies (KBAS), a garden of movable containers by Legge Lewis Legge, one project using fabric and digital technologies to create planting patterns, and another using sealer on concrete to create a patterned resist that appears when it rains, both by PEG office of landscape + architecture, Citydeck and Erie Street Plaza, both landscape urbanism projects along working waterways by Stoss Landscape Urbanism, and asphalt tattoos and Asphalt Garden for the Jardins Metis in Quebec by Wanted Landscape, LLC.  Each individual projects is worth mention, and as a collective they present a great survey of interesting ideas in landscape architecture.

Hancock brought together this impressive collection of designers and projects to share with a city where landscape architecture has had a rapidly growing presence in recent years. St. Louis has enjoyed a number of recent successful projects such as Citygarden, a downtown park featuring sculpture and water features, and the Old Post Office Plaza. Washington University in St. Louis also recently finished its first year of a new Master of Landscape Architecture program chaired by Professor Dorothée Imbert at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. Landscape architects, designers, and urban planners also had their attention on St. Louis for the international design competition “Framing a Modern Masterpiece | The City + The Arch+ The River,” which called for ideas to rethink the riverfront and downtown St. Louis by Saarineen’s iconic Arch. Michael Van Valkenburgh Architects was announced as the winner in September 2010.

Material Landscapes exposes St. Louis to contemporary landscape architecture projects across the country and around the world. It is on display at the Sheldon Art Gallery until January of 2011.

Curator: Liane Hancock 
Exhibition: Material Landscapes
Location: Sheldon Art Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri
Exhibition Dates: June 17 -January 21. 2012