LILA 2019 Office Award Winner

Studio Vulkan is a Zürich based landscape architecture practice. They are not bound to finding a formula for their projects, but rather seem to be more interested in re-questioning everything a project might bring: context, ambience and all available tools for solving problems and making an experience. They are not committed to finding a style, although there is a notion of ‘relaxed aesthetics’ present in most of their projects that is well-anchored in the project narrative.

Toni Areal, for example, is a roof garden, an urban oasis that uses only time to make itself more defined by natural forces, and one in particular – decay. Exposing the beauty of decay, or decay itself, is still a taboo across our profession; oddly enough, in an age when nature is in focus. Similarly, Park Naturmuseum St. Gallen is dealing with ‘artificial naturalness’. It aims to question the occurrence of nature in an entirely artificial/urban context. Studio Vulkan seem to enjoy introducing intentional imperfections, knowing that in this way, their works are far more interesting. For Park Naturmuseum they wrote in the project narrative: “In addition to the predominantly native plants, exotic hydrangeas stand for the paradox of the place.”

In times, when our profession still produces a monoculture of ideas resulting in sameness, Studio Vulkan is showing the way to keep landscape architecture interesting. Their work provokes an endless curiosity while also featuring a catalogue of solutions to a range of relevant issues.

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