Earlier this year we introduced you to the team of landscape architects taking part in Christchurch’s Festival of Transitional Architecture. While it was the festival’s seventh year, it was the first time a team consisting solely of LAs has been involved. Here the team shares its experiences of the occasion.
For one night over Labour Weekend, Mollet Street, a new linear park and laneway area in central Christchurch and the surrounding sites, became a hub of activity. Temporary architectural installations and lighting, food, dancing and a variety of different activities brought the space vividly to life. This was part of FESTA (the Festival of Transitional Architecture), a festival lasting five days which looks at Christchurch from a variety of aspects and includes events such as workshops, talks, tours, live performances and art.
This year’s theme was the connection between food and the city and a team of six Landscape Architects: Adrian Taylor, Meg Back, Sasha Sheremetieva, Erin Diao, Jess Rae, and Sarah Peddie, contributed to this with seven brightly painted ‘biodiversity beacons’.
These beacons created from recycled drums planted with brightly coloured plants were constructed and installed during a series of working bees. There were multifold aims to the installation, including increasing people’s knowledge of the connections within our environment, and of other living creatures which also exist in the city and need food. We demonstrated how we can design in ways that ensure food is provided for other species sharing our space. We also raised the profile of landscape architecture by positively promoting the NZILA, and what we do.
Experiencing the engagement of people young and old with the beacons was wonderful. As they were scattered through the site they acted to guide people through. With the falling dark, lighting helped them to vividly stand out. Their height was perfect for children which meant an element of play and interaction was introduced through finding all seven.
On the evening of the event, Adrian presented the project and talked about our aims. The experience of creating the installation was most enjoyable and the night of FESTA was a success. We hope that this will be the first of many such landscape team involvements in FESTA.
We would like to thank all the people who assisted through donations and sponsorship of materials: the NZILA local branch (major sponsor), Resene (paint and equipment for painting) and Monster Print (signage).
Once of the exciting parts about this project is that beacons’ life has continued beyond FESTA, with the barrels having now been distributed out into the community in Christchurch. From community gardens and schools in the city out to Sumner, the biodiversity beacons’ life continues. More information about the project can be found on social media links which are active for more information.