Julie Bargmann turns Superfund sites into must-see destinations.

Julie Bargmann, 2021 Oberlander Prize laureate [Photo: ©Barrett Doherty/courtesy the Cultural Landscape Foundation]

Bargmann has specialized in get the job done on overlooked, environmentally challenged, and deeply polluted web-sites, bringing an ethos of recycling, remediation, and restore to destinations other individuals could see as much too much gone. In tasks like the Vintondale Reclamation Park, created on a former coal mine’s dumping floor, and the retrofit of the Philadelphia Navy Lawn into the headquarters of Urban Outfitters, Bargmann turns design and style initiatives into environmental interventions, and vice versa.

City Outfitters, Philadelphia Julie Bargmann, landscape architect [Photo: ©Charles A. Birnbaum/courtesy the Cultural Landscape Foundation]

Started in 1992, D.I.R.T.—which stands for Dump It Proper There—has normally reworked elements of a site’s past existence into the new layout, working with rubble and chunks of former properties to attract connections to the earlier. Bargmann’s get the job done also emphasizes the relevance of working with landscape layout and ecological procedures to filter and take out pollutants from greatly impacted postindustrial landscapes, which includes Superfund sites—areas of land that have been designated by the Environmental Security Agency as hazardous to human overall health and/or the setting.

[Image: courtesy the Cultural Landscape Foundation]

“To function with these toxic and degraded web sites, you should look thoroughly, and treatment about, the processes of their past—industrial, social, environmental, and cultural,” Bargmann tells Rapid Organization via e mail. “It’s only when you understand the flows and the stories that you can picture their future everyday living. And the sites’ landscape narratives are the only way to have interaction the neighbors’ story.”

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander in 2007 [Photo: Susan Cohen/courtesy the Cultural Landscape Foundation]

The Oberlander Prize is becoming awarded by the Washington, D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation as a landscape-concentrated counterpart to the $100,000 Pritzker Architecture Prize, regarded as architecture’s major honor. To be offered each individual two a long time, the $100,000 Oberlander Prize will also consist of two a long time of public engagement targeted on the laureate’s work. Named for the pioneering environmentalist and landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, who died before this year at age 99, the prize was developed to shine a spotlight on a design occupation that is often disregarded as simply filling in the spaces about architecture tasks.

In truth, the historical past of landscape architecture has performed into that notion, with its roots in ornamental backyard style that was much more about aesthetics than effectiveness. This, about time, has progressed into a a lot more broadly thought of practice, with landscape architects doing the job on weather adaptation, regional water setting up, and environmental justice, in addition to coming up with gardens and parks.

“Where the earth is right now in conditions of weather change, fairness, and what we know, in a post-COVID environment, the role that the general public realm plays in our day-to-day life, it is far more important than ever that we need to make noticeable the usually invisible hand of the landscape architect,” suggests Charles Birnbaum, president and CEO of the Cultural Landscape Foundation. “With the prize we’re hoping to genuinely elevate its visibility and a broader general public knowledge of what landscape architecture is and what landscape architects do.”

Bargmann was selected by a jury of designers, which include landscape architect and professor Dorothée Imbert, architect Tatiana Bilbao, landscape architect Gina Ford, and landscape architect Walter Hood.

Main Metropolis Park, Detroit [Photo: Prince Concepts/the Cultural Landscape Foundation]

Hood claims Bargmann was selected for her radical influence on the apply of landscape architecture and her persistence in working with design and style to deal with broader issues than pure aesthetics. “It’s not about obtaining the subsequent significant venture, but still investigating those people concepts and concerns in excess of a 25-yr time period and staying capable to stay with it,” he states. “We really don’t get rewarded a good deal of the times for being reliable.”

Bargmann’s get the job done, Hood claims, has pressured persons “to see landscape and the medium in a diverse way. I use the phrase messy in my perform. Julie afforded me that see that the function could be messy and could still be superb.”

Turtle Creek H2o Performs, Dallas [Photo: ©Charles A. Birnbaum/courtesy the Cultural Landscape Foundation]

In advocating for the reclamation and remediation of seriously polluted internet sites, Bargmann has extensive been a provocateur, but she can also be playful. Her City Outfitters venture at the Philadelphia Navy Property incorporated the notable placement of two huge chunks of concrete from the web-site, which she nicknamed Betty and Barney Rubble, right after cartoon people from The Flintstones. Hood states that go encouraged one of his individual projects, Solar Strand in Buffalo, New York, a number of many years in the past. “I acquired a customer to allow us to do some major Barney Rubble, far too,” he says.

Bargmann’s strategy to landscape architecture has pushed the industry past its ornamental roots. Hood claims that whilst the profession continue to has a long way to go, Bargmann’s impact has pushed other designers to consider a much more holistic watch of what their initiatives can do. “She’s often been that voice out there in the wilderness doing the operate, and I believe she is an inspiration for the long run,” Hood states.

Core Metropolis Park, Detroit [Photo: Prince Concepts/the Cultural Landscape Foundation]

Bargmann seems gratified by the award, and is hopeful that the interest might assist inspire much more designers to have interaction with the social and environmental issues embedded in just the designed natural environment. “Out there are 25 years’ worth of my previous students who have ventured into this derelict territory with me and now they, together with other colleagues, are poised to nurture unpleasant duckling landscapes,” Bargmann says. “If I paraphrase Cornelia Oberlander, the award is a agency tug to pull your head out of the sand and to regenerate, with pleasure and optimism, these fallow landscapes.”