Studio Florentijn Hofman: A former wasteland in the city-centre of Arnhem is transformed to an iconic park: A flourishing heather landscape with a huge statue of an Partyaardvark lying amidst of it. On it’s back, as if it has been partying to long. With children running and climbing up and down the Partyaardvark, jumping from it’s belly into the soft sandy landscape he’s lying in, this unconventional park had turned this absolute non-place into one of the most vivid squares in the city.

The transformation started when D.T.O’s Transitieteam and landscape architect Harro de Jong approached the municipality in 2012 with the idea to turn this desolate area (due to the crisis remaining unbuild after a church was torn down) to a patch of nature in the city. Arnhem is phenomenally situated on the edge of the huge natural park the Veluwe, but doesn’t seem to take much pride in this fact. So as an ode to Arnhems’ surroundings they took it to the city. Literally. The heather-vegetation is transplanted from the natural park into the city centre, a novelty.

In the meantime artist Florentijn Hofman was looking for a meaningful place to create his Artwork, a present from Burgers’ Zoo (just outside Arnhem) to the city. The combination of park and statue was perfect: The gently sloping mini-scale natural park is a soft bed for the 30m long overscaled Partyaardvark – a remarkable and joyful animal that sleeps 22 hours a day. And now this playful Gesamtkunstwerk attracts young and old, as archipuncture catalysing new life and meaning to this part of town where conventional urban designs was lacking thus far.

Initiative, idea and design Bartokpark: Buro Harro & D.T.O. – Transition Team
Partyaardvark: Studio Florentijn Hofman
Sponsor Park: municipality of Arnhem
Sponsor Partyaardvark: Burgers’ Zoo.
Construction: 2013
Bartokpark, Arnhem, The Netherlands
Photographer: Inge Hondebrink

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