Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park wins top landscape architecture prize

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London has won the Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize; one of world’s leading awards for landscape architects.

The park's designers, Hargreaves Associates, were named the winners of the €15,000 accolade following the decision of a jury chaired by James Corner; one of the creator’s of New York’s High Line elevated park.

The competition was organised by the Architects’ Association of Catalonia and the Catalan University as part of the ninth Barcelona International Biennial of Landscape Architecture.

Three hundred projects were considered for the prize, with the judges whittling submissions down to a final shortlist of 10. The runners-up included Sydney’s Goods Line park by Sacha Coles and Aspect Studio, and the urban reforestation of Bangkok by Tawatchai Kobkaikit and Wannapin Boontarika.

Speaking to CLAD, Corner praised the Olympic Park project for “creating beautiful experiences” for visitors.

“What distinguished this project is its breadth,” he said. “It's not just landscape as ‘landscape’ – in terms of what people would expect with earth and water and vegetation. It’s more than that. It’s tied into infrastructure, transportation and urban development. So that range and scope – tied into the fact it’s a beautifully designed, sculptural, muscular park with extraordinary horticultural design – is why it's the winner.”

The 274 acre park, divided into northern and southern sections, formed the centerpiece for the London 2012 Olympic Games. When it opened it became the largest new park created in Europe for over 150 years.

According to Hargreaves Associates, their design “synthesises centuries of British park tradition, the reality of post-industrial brownfields, advances in sustainability and resilience thinking to create a new type of park for the 21st Century.”

Explaining the purpose of the Rosa Barba prize and the wider biennial, which is themed ‘Tomorrow’s Landscapes’, the festival’s organisers said: “Our objective is to target the scope of contemporary landscape architecture research and professional practice to stir debate. In the context of climate change, personal or professional indifference is not an option. We will need to unlearn concepts, methods and attitudes.”

The final shortlist for the Rosa Barba prize was as follows:

• Yanweizhou Park in Jinhua, (China), by Kongjian Yu, Turenscape

• The Goods Line in Sydney (Australia), by Sacha Coles, ASPECT Studios

• Superkilen in Copenhagen (Denmark), by Martin Rein-Cano and Lorenz Dexler, Topotek1

• Renaturation de l’Aire in Confignon (Switzerland), by Georges Descombes, Julien Descombes and Marco Rampini, Atelier Descombes Rampini

• Barangaroo Reserve in Sydney (Australia), by Peter Walker, David Walker, Jay Swaintek and Doug Findlay, PWP Landscape

• River Forest Island in Changsha (China), by Xiao Zheng and Sean O'Malley, SWA group;

• The Metro-Forest Project: Bangkok Urban Reforestation in Bangkok (Thailand), by Tawatchai Kobkaikit and Wannapin Boontarika, Landscape Architects of Bangkok

• Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London (UK) by George Hargreaves, Mary Margaret Jones, Gavin McMillan, Hargreaves Associates

• Musée Parc Louvre Lens in Lens (France) by Catherine Mosbach, Mosbach Paysagistes

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park  landscape architecture  Rosa Barba  design  Barcelona  Barcelona International Biennial of Landscape Architecture 
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London has won the Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize; one of world’s leading awards for landscape architects. The park's designers, Hargreaves Associates, were named the winners of the €15,000 accolade following the decision of a jury chaired by James Corner; one of the creator’s of New York’s High Line elevated park. The competition was organised by the Architects’ Association of Catalonia and the Catalan
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The 274 acre park, divided into northern and southern sections, formed the centerpiece for the London 2012 Olympic Games / Hargreaves Associates
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