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Magdalena Wnęk in the series 10 Questions for Landscape Architects.

10 of February '23

"10 Questions to a Landscape Architect" is a new series of short talks inspired by the series "10 Questions to...". This time our attention is turned to landscape architects and architects. In today's episode, landscape architect Magdalena Wnęk (topoScape) talks about her approach to design.

1. landscape architecture is, in one sentence, that...

... The art of shaping a good, common space for all beings - people, animals and plants. This is done at different scales, but always in the context of local nature, cultural landscape and climate.

2. the most underestimated aspect of landscape architecture is?

As landscape architects, we should always be working on many aspects of a space: topography, water, climate, paving and small architecture and equipment, because this is the only way to design a coherent space. Unfortunately, we are often seen only as plant specialists and are too late in the design process.

3 The most inspiring space for you is....

... Forests, meadows, trunks, groves and other natural and semi-natural landscapes are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for design work. In our studio we try to refer to the genetically encoded in our minds perception of nature.

4. most important book related to landscape architecture?

A book that has captivated me recently is "Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes" by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West. It is a contemporary treatise on gardening as a response to the destruction of pristine nature by humans.

5 Most inspiring figure?

Günther Vogt - a landscape architect with an extraordinary sense of genius loci.

Olga Tokarczuk - the description of the linden trees growing by the guesthouse to Yeshkotla in "Almost and Other Times," which I read while still in high school, changed my thinking about nature.

6 I begin the design process with...

.... viewing the plot. I try to observe the processes, dependencies, relationships on the plot and its neighborhood. I confront my observations with the impressions of the other people in the studio. Then together we look for the cultural context and theme of the whole project, which will help emphasize the genius loci.

7 Favorite moment during the work is....

... brainstorming. The wider the group, the better, such as at design competitions, or in multi-discipline and multidisciplinary teams. I like that moment when teamwork changes my perspective on a problem.

8. the most important realization in your career is?

The projects in our studio are very individual, each is different and interesting from a different angle, it is difficult to choose the most important one. At the moment it is the construction of the Park on the Warsaw Uprising Mound, which we designed together with Archigrest, which is heading towards completion. This is the first project we are implementing in the area of the fourth nature. It is also a site with an extremely complicated historical background. But I am already looking forward to the construction of Zeranski Park, the design of which has also been created over the past two years in cooperation between the topoScape and Archigrest studios.

9 The dream project is....

... One in which, thanks to the successful cooperation of the investor, the contractor and the entire design team, we are able to realize a good space. What is important in this is not the scale of the project, but the mutual trust between all those involved in the investment.

10 Favorite plant?

I never think about individual plants. I look for inspiration in natural and self-regulating plant communities. In our studio, we design based on the juxtaposition of colors, structures, seasonal variation, and take into account habitat conditions and the expense of making and later maintaining plantings. Rather than care and establishment of greenery, we are thinking more and more about landscape management.

asked Wiktor Bochenek

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