Ganz Landschaftsarchitekten is a landscape architecture and garden heritage conservation firm based in Zürich and founded in 1995 by Daniel Ganz.
We are a multidisciplinary team of professionals deeply rooted in the swiss landscape architecture tradition. Our work focuses mainly on gardens and garden landscapes, but we also engage in the survey, conservation and restauration of historic gardens.
The longing to create a paradise is a part of being human and can be satisfied especially in the garden. The best gardens emerge when the gardener’s intention meets nature’s own momentum. The garden as a symbol of life and as a metaphor of growth and death reveals itself as an open encyclopedia. Gardens tell stories and express an attitude towards life. The garden can be seen as an arranging of the soul.
Garden landscape is the word-for-word reversal of ‘landscape garden’, which came into being in England in the eighteenth century. A garden without fencing round it is a landscape but also a cultural landscape, as it is always created by control and cultivation by man. The landscape elements form the repertory (topography, trees, clusters of trees, shrubs, perennials, water courses, and so on) that join the ‘great outdoors’ to a coherent garden landscape.
We are increasingly faced with the challenges of roof and vertical gardens. Roof and vertical landscapes are self-contained landscapes, only partially accessible and mostly understandable from above or afar. In our recent projects we aim to link the design of roof and vertical gardens with the broader ambition of understanding and implementing biodiversity.
All cultural landscape – and therefore all garden – has helped shape the wealth of biodiversity over centuries and is an integral part of it. The ecological diversity is thus inconceivable without human intervention. With the help of experts, we address ecological and climate challenges integrating them into our design.
Our approach is both pragmatic and subtle. The discussion about biodiversity and suitable plants is becoming in Switzerland increasingly dogmatic. A lively and diverse flora and fauna is to be strived for in any case. This is not only a valuable contribution to a rich biodiversity, but also shows us the diversity and beauty of nature.
When we choose the plants for our projects, we don’t want to miss the opportunity to combine plants undogmatically, taking into account similar site and weather conditions. This can result in unexpected plant compositions with different leaf textures, flower colours and growth forms. Certainly, our aim is to create plant images that do justice to the specific character of the site. But the question of whether to use native plants or so-called exotics is exceeded by the combination of both. We want to create site-specific vegetation images that stimulate our sensory perception and that keep us sustainably grounded in an age of uninterrupted touchscreen use.
An inspiring work environment is important to us. We surround ourselves with books, pictures, found objects, graphics, models and quotes. We cultivate dialogue with each other. We find lengthy meetings unnecessary; we much prefer to solve problems directly or during coffee breaks, at lunch together, or during our daily game of cards at noontime.
Playing Jass, the traditional swiss card game, is an integral part of our studio culture. For more than 10 years now, we have been playing Jass every day after lunch together. Playing Jass promotes exchange, is invigorating and relaxing, connects and shows differences, puts people in a good mood and fosters passion.
We have an extensive library and an even larger archive and collection of materials. Archive materials consist of documents, files, maps, plans, pictures, film and sound recordings, and other kinds of electronically stored information of lasting value. Our garden archive mainly consists of plans and pictures of our work as landscape architects over the past 25 years. Our collection contains stored memories. There are pieces we have collected throughout our lives in addition to an herbarium, a large number of photographs and a great diversity of building materials.
These heterogeneous materials, which are physically stored in our studio, are also accessible through our website. The digital cabinet of curiosities (Wunderkammer) mirrors our working space and reflects our approach to landscape architecture, our passions and personalities.