Photo: Iwan Baan/courtesy Balmori Associates
The New York based landscape and urban design office of Balmori Associates is busy; after the High Line in New York (view slideshow) (where the studio was awarded second place), amongst many projects, Balmori Associates recently designed the "Garden That Climbs The Steps" in Bilbao, Spain. An elegant mass of different colours and textures is literally climbing up the stairs leading to Santiago Calatrava's footbridge. And the mass is alive, made up of a colourful mix of local and exotic plants, making it change with the seasons. (more photos below)Diana Balmori was invited by Bilbao Jardín 2009 to design a garden, and decided to make it crawl up the steps between the two Arata Isozaki towers.
Here is Balmori Associates's project description:
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.
All Photos: Iwan Baan/courtesy Balmori Associates