October 9, 2009 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
This is the second incarnation of BilbaoJardín, an urban garden design competition launched for the first time in 2007. This year, of 138 submissions from Spain and 52 other countries, 27 of those were selected for their innovative, personal, and creative conceptions of modern urban gardening.
As the contest had no theme, the gardeners, landscape artists, architects and other creative individuals invited to participate, were free to create within 80 square meters (about 860 ft.) whatever they pleased , as long as their main elements included living matter, vegetation, and other botanical elements such as trees, bushes, ivy, perennial plants, flowers, water plants, and succulent plants.
Cacticity was composed of more than 900 cacti of varying heights from the same species
Third prize, Bosque de Alisedes Urbanas, by A. Santacreu and S. Garcia-Gasco at the Plaza Levante
One of my favorites, and one which has rightfully generated quite a bit of buzz, is the “The Garden That Climbs the Stairs,” designed by Diana Balmori of New York firm, Balmori Associates. I love it for its sensuality, its color, the element of surprise seeing a garden rising up a stairway, interrupting the normal flow with wit and whimsy:
The Garden That Climbs the Stairs, by Diana Balmori, at Torres Isozaki, photo: Iwan Baan
Like a beautiful green monster’s “vegetalia”…photo: Iwan Baan
Ah, the colors…photo: Iwan Baan
Some of the others that particularly interested me:
Swimming in La llegada de la Primavera, by Stefano Giovannini, at Plaza Indautxu
You get to peek underneath the Paisaje en Cadena, by Guillem Planchadell and Gaizka Zuazo, in Plaza Ramón Basterra Izenburua
I love the textural quality of Kale Antzokia, by Ana Aizpuru, Ioritz Galarraga, Maitane Otaño on Campa Ibaizábal
…and the geometry of Reflejos de Bilbao, by Tantaka Taldea, at Plaza del Carmelo (Santutxu)