July 7, 2006
by Canadian Architect
The Mobile Landscape Intervention Unit is a recycled shipping container that has been transformed into a live-work space for a team of intrepid gardeners, and it will be camped out in Toronto at Evergreen at the Brick Works, the site of the old Don Valley Brick Works factory, June 15 to September 24, 2006.
The Unit, as it is unabashedly called, visits ecologically degraded landscapes with the intent of rehabilitating these sites. Rather than a focus on fully restoring degraded sites, which can often take years to accomplish, the goal is to make a strong statement and give helpful demonstrations of how these sites can be prepared for future growth and sustainability with artistic expressions through nature. Equipped with all the tools necessary for a team to carry out its work and live comfortably onsite, the Unit contains storage space for tools and seeds, a workstation, a mini-kitchen, and bunk beds.
“The concept of a travelling garden, of a team that moves with and lives in the workspace, is an innovative approach to contemporary garden design,” says Lesley Johnstone, Artistic Director for the International Garden Festival. “The focus is to create a relationship between this notion of contemporary landscape/garden design and the social/ecological issues at hand, while being able to transport the work to different places like we are doing now with a wonderful opportunity at the Brick Works.”
The Unit was first installed and presented at the International Garden Festival in Grand-Mtis, Quebec. This summer is the first time that it visits Toronto, taking root at Evergreen at the Brick Works to help give the site’s natural landscape the makeover treatment it deserves.
Mousse architecture de paysage, creator of the landscape unit, has designed lines of compost that creep across the asphalt at the Brick Works site. The lines are seeded with green manure plants including rye, clover, alfalfa, mustard, and buckwheat, which will grow and further enrich the compost throughout the summer under the careful supervision of Evergreen workers and volunteers.
The restoration of the natural spaces at Evergreen at the Brick Works this summer will prepare the site for future gardening projects, and the installation of the Mobile Landscape Intervention Unit is a solid fit with Evergreen’s plans to maintain the nature and heritage at the Brick Works site as it continues to grow.
“The Unit is a reflection of the programming that Evergreen at the Brick Works will offer in the near future as it endeavours to teach about nature and creativity through direct experiential learning,” says Geoff Cape, executive director of Evergreen.
Evergreen is working to transform the old abandoned buildings at the Brick Works site vacant since 1989 into a centre for experiencing nature, culture and community. Evergreen at the Brick Works will be a destination for families and individuals alike to enjoy a natural refuge from the city through restored natural spaces and the quarry behind the buildings, while sampling a rich offering of programs and services; from heritage tours and demonstration gardens to gardening workshops, organic food markets, and retail nursery. It is a unique and creative social enterprise that will model sustainability on all fronts.
Evergreen encourages all those interested to visit Evergreen at the Brick Works to see the Mobile Landscape Intervention Unit or just to see first hand the ongoing restoration and renovation of the historical site.