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Development News

Landscape architects show off their outdoor ideas inside

Studio for Landscape Culture 'The Language of Plants'

Ben Watt-Meyer 'A New Archeology For The Leslie Street Spit'

Adrienne Hall  'In a Place of a Forest'

Sometimes you have to go indoors to radically reimagine what can be done with the outdoors.
The Gladstone Hotel’s Grow Op, which opens Thursday for a four-day run, invites landscapers, gardeners, students, artists and place-makers of all sorts to explore how design can enhance the sustainability and the enjoyability of our outdoor urban spaces.
Certainly there’s increasing pressure to push the limits. Yards in newer urban developments are smaller, if they exist at all. Parks and other exterior spaces are getting squeezed amidst more and more intensive downtown development. So using the confines of hotels-sized lobbies and corridors to propose landscaping solutions and experiments is not such a farfetched idea.
“It’s an important challenge for designers of outdoor spaces,” says Victoria Taylor, who has curated this year’s exhibitions with Graham Teeple and the help of Britt Welter-Nolan. Principal at VTLA, Taylor one of the event’s cofounders. “Especially in Canada, we think we have so much outdoor space, we don’t do anything with it. But we should still consider the aesthetics, the ecology and even the economy of our outdoor spaces.”
Many artists who have shown during Grow Op’s three-year history have spread their wings beyond the confines of the hotel. The group Play the Walk, which advocate for exploring neighbourhoods with childlike delight, has hosted expeditions through different city spaces since Grow Op 2013. “They’re an alternative to Jane’s Walk that’s more ad hoc,” says Taylor.
This year, a group of students with the University of Toronto Master’s of Landscape program will exhibit bee-nest boxes they’ve designed for several specific species of bees. After the show, the boxes will go into community gardens across the city. “Then the science will start and the students will see if their designs will attract the bees they’ve designed it for,” says Taylor.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Victoria Taylor
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