Bilbao Jardín Garden

A wonderful addition to the International Urban Garden Competition “Bilbao Jardín 2009”, by Diana Balmori of New York-based Balmori Associates and a design that literally ‘climbs the stairs’ with a undulating vegetated strip and cor-ten walls splaying out in a wider planter at the lowest landing.

:: image via Bustler – Photo: Iwan Baan

Some of the designers explanatory text, via Bustler: “The garden climbs the stairs, running in undulating lines of different textures and colors. Envisioned as a dynamic urban space; it moves in time and with the seasons. Its lush planting cascades down as though the garden was flowing or melting, bleeding the colors into each other. In one gesture, it narrates a story of landscape taking over and expanding over the Public Space and Architecture, therefore transforming the way that the stairs and the space is perceived and read by the user. It is a garden of contrasts: the contrast between native and exotic
plants, between the red flowers and the green grass, between the green grass and the grey paving. In form, the garden engages the horizontal plaza with the rising vertical plane of the steps and the upright gesture of Eduardo Chillida’s sculpture. Like the famous Spanish Steps in Rome, the garden is not only designed for visitors to ascend and descend, but for them to linger, and just be.”

:: images via Bustler – Photo: Iwan Baan

It’s an elegantly simple composition, and definitely takes advantage of the ‘topography’ of the stairway and foreshortening perspectives utilized to create a constantly changing perspective of vegetation in a somewhat grand, but otherwise barren staircase area left between the architectural objects. Check out more images including construction photos on Bustler.

:: images via Bustler – Photo: Iwan Baan

10 thoughts on “Bilbao Jardín Garden

  1. Absolutely gorgeous… must have been a tough sell though. The steel is the perfect – and only – edging that would have worked for this application. The design is daring for a public space, yet melts into it. Looking at it I have one of those, “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments.

  2. I have been very busy for the past few days and I did not have the time to visit this blog. But, hey! Look at my sweet reward after being gone-a nice gorgeous, so stunning garden!

  3. This is absolutely spectacular, and one of the most creative public displays of landscape architecture I have ever seen. As a NJ landscape architect, I would have loved to have the chance to do something so creative. I would love to see it in person !!!!

    href =”” title=”New Jersey Landscape Architect NJ”

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  4. I think it looks cool but it’s kind of anti-urban. You have to walk all the way around the planter to get across the stairs.

    I enjoy the environmental designs that are sprouting up in cities, but I do see a tendency for some ill-advised design solutions that do not flow well with good urbanism (kind of like putting deep swales in central city streets).

  5. Hey Jason thanks so much for the post the garden is gone now ( it was meant to be only for the summer, temporary ) so its nice that it will live on in your blog and others 🙂

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