She reclaims toxic waste dumps, and she just won a major landscape architecture award

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A desolate parking lot filled with weeds and debris was transformed into Core City Park in Detroit, Mich. Nearly everything used in the construction of the park was found on site — the benches, for example were recycled from old concrete walls.

Prince Concepts and The Cultural Landscape Foundation.


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Prince Concepts and The Cultural Landscape Foundation.


Architecture
2021 Pritzker Prize goes to French architects who ‘work with kindness’

«The gnarliest!» Bargmann exclaimed in an interview with NPR. «The more gnarly, the better.»

Born in New Jersey, Bargmann is no stranger to industrial sites. She’s redesigned abandoned railyards and quarries, landfills, derelict factories and coal mines. In Detroit, she redeveloped an urban woodland around an apartment complex using Quonset huts in patterns inspired by the sheet music for John Coltrane’s «A Love Supreme.»

Maurice Cox ran Detroit’s Department of Planning and Development at the time (he currently holds the same job in Chicago). He remembers when Bargmann started another Detroit project on what appeared to be a vacant parking lot.

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Core City Park under construction in Detroit, Mich. The design added greenspace and new local businesses to a distressed commercial corridor.

Prince Concepts and The Cultural Landscape Foundation


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Prince Concepts and The Cultural Landscape Foundation

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The foundation of Core City Park in Detroit.

Prince Concepts and The Cultural Landscape Foundation


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Prince Concepts and The Cultural Landscape Foundation

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Julie Bargmann, the 2021 Oberlander Prize laureate.

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Urban Outfitters, Philadelphia. Julie Bargmann’s studio finds ways to reuse salvaged materials in redeveloping industrial sites, such as the decommissioned Navy Yard that became the headquarters of retailer Urban Outfitters.

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    Urban Outfitters campus, Philadelphia.

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    Barrett Doherty/The Cultural Landscape Foundation

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    Urban Outfitters campus, Philadelphia.

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    Barrett Doherty/The Cultural Landscape Foundation

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    Urban Outfitters campus, Philadelphia.

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    Charles A. Birnbaum/The Cultural Landscape Foundation

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    The Turtle Creek Water Works in Dallas, Texas, became a public space with native plantings and art installations.

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    Charles A. Birnbaum/The Cultural Landscape Foundation

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    Turtle Creek Water Works, Dallas.

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    Barrett Doherty/The Cultural Landscape Foundation

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    Turtle Creek Water Works, Dallas.

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    Barrett Doherty/The Cultural Landscape Foundation

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    Turtle Creek Water Works, Dallas.

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    Barrett Doherty/The Cultural Landscape Foundation

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    And she is quick to agree that although nicknames like «slag queen» may be catchy, a strong whiff of sexism is involved. «I’ll get calls and have to say, are you interested in the chick in the hard hat? Or are you interested in the work?» she says.

    The work is only expanding. In a release from the Cultural Landscape Foundation, Bargmann says while she’ll continue reclaiming individual sites, she’s increasingly drawn to larger canvases. «Namely, post-industrial cities and regions,» she said. «There exists massive potential and sublime beauty in places that may seem, at first blush, to be trashed. Sites, neighborhoods, entire cities — they are full of energy waiting to be recognized, released, and given new form.»

    • The Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize
    • Julie Bargmann

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