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Extension + Preservation Project


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Public Programs

Special Events


Public Realm of the Senses:
Free-Flowing Urbanism

During the 20th Century, the particular became generic, landscape became environment and a delicate green tissue turned into a monstrous green blanket. Recently the garden as urban typology has been re-discovered; the garden as intensified space of condensed nature...safe heavens for idle strollers...voluptuous voids of hidden desire.
Project Statement for Rottenrow Gardens (GROSS. MAX., C3 Publishing Co., Seoul, Korea, 2007)

Escaping (as he describes it) from the Dutch functional approach to landscape, Eelco Hooftman moved to Scotland and co-founded the design firm GROSS. MAX with Bridget Baines in 1995. Fifteen years later, the practice is known for the provocative integration of art, nature and contemporary landscape architecture in award-winning designs. Hooftman will present Public Realm of the Senses, the secondnov10_pottersfield Landscape Visions lecture of the season, on Saturday, November 20 at 1:30pm.

Hooftman brings a new approach—artistic, philosophical, and experimental—to landscape architecture with the purpose of introducing nature and landscape into the city environment. Hooftman uses the term “free-flowing urbanism,” looking not only at designed spaces but the spaces in between, reconnecting the "tissue of landscape embracing the city."

In our connected global society, GROSS. MAX works to intensify the sensual experience—sight, smell, touch—of urban landscapes. Collaborating with artists, horticulturists, and architects, the firm has taken on many large-scale projects including Pottersfield Park in London (pictured above right). The park design pays attention to the history of the site, once the location of English manufacturers of blue and white ceramics, and its wonderful views to the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. A large green oasis spreads along the riverfront, divided by stepped terraces. In the neighborhood park, paving and herbaceous plantings by Piet Oudolf combine to create a more intimate environment.

nov10_rottenrowIn Glasgow, contrary to the normal practice of building on open space, a new garden (pictured at left) was created on the site of the demolished Rottenrow Maternity Hospital. GROSS. MAX wrote of the project: “Our desire is to unravel the (historic) layers of the site not unlike a sensuous urban striptease.”

In addition to the physical realization of its designs, GROSS. MAX is known for its creative visualizations of designs. Following the tradition of landscape painting, the pixel is pigment and the computer screen is canvas. The glass house built on the Hofplein Viaduct in Rotterdam (image at the top of the page) “becomes a light box with gigantic shadow projections of exotic plants.”

The firm is currently working on the Landscape Master Plan for the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, London, a project which includes reviving the historic water entrance from the Thames River.

Landscape Visions Lecture: Public Realm of the Senses
with Eelco Hooftman, landscape architect, artist, and cofounder of GROSS. MAX
Saturday, November 20 at 1:30pm in the Tapestry Room

Tickets: $15 General Public; $12 Seniors; $5 Museum Members; FREE Students
Tickets are available through the Gardner Box Office (617 278 5156 or online).

2010-11 Landscape Visions Lectures: CITY.GARDEN.NOW
Chris Reed, founder of Stoss Landscape Urbanism and the landscape architect for the Gardner Museum’s Extension and Preservation Project, draws together designers, curators, and environmental activists at work in today’s cities, gardens, and landscapes to present new thinking about gardens in relation to the city.

Mark your calendar! The next Landscape Visions lecture will take place on Saturday, January 22, at Simmons College (exact location to be announced) and will feature Alexander Reford (Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens).

Images: Study for Hofplein Viaduct by Eelco Hooftman, Pottersfield Park, London, and Rottenrow Gardens, Glasgow, Scotland.

November 2010