Enchantment

Landscape architects like to design places considered diffcult and unrewarding and sometimes regarded as ugly even. In such cases they appear on the scene to salvage a seemingly hopeless situation and remedy it through their endeavours. If they are brought in to enhance a carefully planned and well­ fashioned project like Tempelhof, however, which enjoys general appreciation and is simply wonderful, the challenge they face is much tougher.

In the case of Tempelhof the main task con­fronting the designer teams was to transform an airport into a public park, to convert a screened o and tightly controlled arena into a completely open urban space.

This placed very considerable demands on the landscape architects selected by the competi­tion jury. Their understanding of the specific nature of the undertaking had to be such that their project would reflect its essence and move it ahead as if the two were in complete harmony – the product, as it were, of a secret pact concluded long before with the original designers. (…)

In their scheme the Gross. Max. landscape architects have merged the preservation of the setting and the sensuousness of the landscape with their own specific project design. They have thus succeeded in maintaining the spirit of Tempelhof while at the same time setting the site almost imperceptibly in motion.

Their proposal that different park curators should be brought in on an annual basis underlines this concept of movement and tes­tifies to their creativity and a spirit of innova­tion rooted in the notion that a park is ‘not an object but a process’. Although their approach is very clear and formal, it is geared to enchantment rather than formalism.

Henri Bava, Urban Urge (2012)

Gross. Max., Parklandschaft Tempelhof Winning Entry (2011)

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