August 31, 2010 at 4:31 am #168021
Mr. Urbanski is a principal with the office of Michael Van Valkenburg Associates where he has worked since 1989, first as a model maker and plant specialist and currently as a lead designer and project manager. He has been influential in the conception and realization of the Allegheny Riverfront Park in Pittsburgh, the Teardrop Park in Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn. Since 1993 he has taught as a lecturer teaching planting courses and a studio Instructor at the Harvard University sGraduate School of Design. With his father, he manages Red Hill Nursery, a 15 acre specialist plant nursery. In dispatch 24, Mr. Urbanski describes his projects for the Brooklyn Bridge and Teardrop Parks, choosing the right practitioner and his ideas regarding robust naturalism.
http://www.terragrams.com/Site/Terragrams/Terragrams.htmlAugust 31, 2010 at 2:56 pm #168024
Thanks for your always intriguing Terragrams dispatches. I especially appriciate the in-depth nature of the interviews. I think its a great way to encourage discussion on theory, history etc that is often glossed over out of the academic arena.
Keep up the great work!
-NoahAugust 31, 2010 at 3:27 pm #168023
Thanks Noah. It is great to hear that you are listening.
CraigSeptember 2, 2010 at 8:12 am #168022
Great interview , Craig. Thanks for sharing this.
I was partcularly struck by the notion of ‘hypernature’ (can’t recall the term Urbanski uses) as a design language which communicates natural circumstances in an urban context. I can see this process in a lot of MVVA’s work and appreciate the seemingly fundamental application of basic landscape materials in complex urban settings–unpretentious yet refined. I think what makes MVVA’s work so convincing is their careful attention to scale and experience without letting a specific pattern develop arbitrarily. For example, in recreating the synthetic version of an adirondak mountainside in Teardrop Park it’s evident to me that the designer prioritized the scale and experience of the a simple granite ledge. What would perhaps have become a binal rock outcropping in middle of a lawn instead evokes a sense of curiousity and exploration. Another point I would mention is the playfulness of their work. So much design today feels like an exhibition of public space rather than good space in and of itself, whereas a lot of the MVVA work appears to be intended to be touched, climbed on, and pondered.
Really insightful and thought provoking discussion. Thanks again!
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