9 August 2011
Stefano on Schwartz
Stefano Marinaz, Designer and Project Manager at Arne Maynard Garden Design, reflects on the Martha Schwartz city park in front of the US Courthouse buildings in downtown Minneapolis. But it's what the garden conceals which he finds most interesting.
It's so refreshing to see an inner-city space landscaped to suit both the buildings around it - in this case the Minneapolis US Courthouse - and the people who use it. Martha Schwartz's established urban space in Central Minneapolis does just that - but the most interesting thing I found about the design was the car park it hides underneath it. Trees have been planted to great effect - native Minnesotan jack pines - despite the car parking space directly beneath the area - and the grassy mounds, which form the main design element, are intended as security features for the courthouse. So the effect is both beautiful and functional.
The park itself is well documented, having been designed in the mid 1990's by Martha Schwartz as part of the new US Courthouse development. Budget restraints meant that an area originally intended as a fountain is now a display for public art, and the simplicity of the minimalist design makes for easy maintenance, again, keeping costs low. But for me the grass, kept long for a lush and natural effect, gives this space unexpected life. Log benches provide welcome rest points and people are able to walk or lie on the grass meaning the space is well used by office workers at lunchtime. The sculptures pictured here are by Tom Otterness.
Our inner-city studio in central London creates magnificent garden projects for clients across the world - if only our urban surroundings were as inspiring and refreshing as those in Central Minneapolis.