As a member of the jury for the second edition of the International Urban Garden Competition “Bilbao Jardín 2009”, Diana Balmori of New York-based Balmori Associates was invited to create a garden. Dr. Balmori chose to sit the garden on the steps between two Arata Isozaki towers leading to Santiago Calatrava’s footbridge over the Nervión River.
The garden compliments the list of numerous projects of Balmori Associates in Bilbao that includes Abandoibarra Master Plan (competition winner, 1997), Plaza Euskadi (under construction), Campa de los Ingleses (competition winner, 2007), and the most recent selection of Balmori Associates as finalist in the Bay of Pasaia Master Plan Competition (previously on Bustler).
Here’s a project description from Balmori Associates:
The garden climbs the stairs, running in undulating lines of different textures and colors. Envisioned as a dynamic urban space; it moves in time and with the seasons. Its lush planting cascades down as though the garden was flowing or melting, bleeding the colors into each other. In one gesture, it narrates a story of landscape taking over and expanding over the Public Space and Architecture, therefore transforming the way that the stairs and the space is perceived and read by the user. It is a garden of contrasts: the contrast between native and exotic plants, between the red flowers and the green grass, between the green grass and the grey paving. In form, the garden engages the horizontal plaza with the rising vertical plane of the steps and the upright gesture of Eduardo Chillida’s sculpture. Like the famous Spanish Steps in Rome, the garden is not only designed for visitors to ascend and descend, but for them to linger, and just be.