Architecture prize goes to woman who reclaims toxic dumps : NPR


Next, we have the story of a landscape architect who specializes in unattractive landscapes. She’s received a important new prize for her function, and that contains her operate with harmful waste dumps. NPR’s Neda Ulaby has extra.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: Julie Bargmann is drawn to unloved areas, polluted and gnarly.

JULIE BARGMANN: The far more gnarly, the greater.


BARGMANN: I am from New Jersey.

ULABY: Bargmann is a professor at the College of Virginia who founded a style and design firm termed D.I.R.T. – Dump It Appropriate There. She’s generally preferred slag heaps, smelly quarries.

BARGMANN: I experienced a raw, type of instinctual attraction to them, you know, of landscapes that actually no landscape architects were being having to pay attention to.

ULABY: Bargmann pays respectful awareness to rusty twists of railroad tracks and acid treatment ponds, which she utilizes as style features when turning, for instance, an outdated Pennsylvania mine into a community park. She does not want to deal with up these battered scars. She wishes to honor record.

BARGMANN: You know, it can be the subsequent cycle of that landscape. That landscape will not have to be muted. But it does want to develop into wholesome.

MAURICE COX: It truly is a intelligent move by this jury.

ULABY: That’s Maurice Cox, Chicago’s commissioner for arranging and advancement. He says Bargmann, the initial winner of the new Oberlander Prize, is both equally radical and generous, a collaborator with historians, hydrogeologists, community activists and coal miners with whom she feels kinship – the newest laborer in locations outlined by difficult human get the job done. When, Bargmann was crawling close to a deserted coke oven in a rotting outdated Ford manufacturing facility in Detroit with the plant homeowners.

BARGMANN: We observed a pair of these clogs, you know? And I am like, what is actually up with these clogs? They’re wood clogs. And they mentioned, oh, they applied to strap these on to the base of their boots so the soles of their boots wouldn’t soften. I’m like, what (laughter)? And I just – I think that fuels my mission, my press to do appropriate by them.

ULABY: The very first-at any time winner of the Oberlander Landscape Architecture Prize, she says, is right here for the next change.

Neda Ulaby, NPR Information.


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