June 7, 2011
Visitors to the soon-to-be unveiled PHS Pop Up Garden at 20th and Market Streets in Philadelphia will have an opportunity to revisit Temple University Ambler’s award-winning 2011 Philadelphia International Flower Show exhibit while enjoying an extensive showcase of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s community greening programs.
Titled “Écolibrium – French Traditions/Modern Interpretations,” the recreated interactive display, envisioned and created by Temple University landscape architecture and horticulture students, combines classic components of iconic French gardens with touches of modern art — specifically the paintings of Piet Mondrian — and sustainable design and acts as a gateway to the Pop Up Garden landscape.
“Écolibrium is all about balance — balancing landscapes and buildings, light and shade, and ecology and progress,” said Baldev Lamba, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, who coordinated Temple’s 2011 Flower Show effort along with Horticulture Staff Supervisor and Adjunct Assistant Professor Grace Chapman and Adjunct Assistant Professor Michael LoFurno. “We all need more balance in our lives and gardening is a great way to accomplish that.”
Écolibrium was presented with the prestigious Bulkley Medal of the Garden Club of America at the 2011 Philadelphia International Flower Show. The Bulkley Medal is awarded to a special exhibit in the fields of horticulture, botany, or conservation and “must be one of exceptional educational merit, which increases the knowledge and awareness of the viewing public,” according to Flower Show organizers. One medal is presented each year across all of the competitive classes at the Flower Show.
Lamba coordinated the design of the Pop Up Garden, extending the artistic and environmental themes of the exhibit to the entire site. Lamba’s design includes colorful geometric blocks of plantings which echo Mondrian’s art work. Moving the exhibit from an indoor environment to the outdoor site on Market Street required some adaptation for its second life. But the goals of the exhibit remained the same.
“Be it at the Flower Show or in the new garden, we want the display to be colorful and multidimensional to draw people in. As they explore, visitors will see that beauty and sustainability can complement and uplift each other,” said Lamba. “Think of a green roof: it has practical, environmental benefits while adding something aesthetic. The Pop Up Garden strives for the same thing.”
The 32,000-square-foot Pop Up Garden will be open to visitors every Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 2 p.m., when free, on-site programming will include horticultural workshops on container gardening, cut flowers, organic pest control and other topics. Tours, special events and family programs are also planned at the garden throughout the summer and early fall. A complete listing of activities is available at PHSonline.org.
The Temple students who recreated the Écolibrium exhibit as the Pop Up Garden entryway used sustainable materials wherever possible; including recycled wood and papercrete (construction material consisting of re-pulped paper fiber with cement or clay).
“Items like these bring our traditional French ideas into the modern age, and we hope to blur the line between what’s natural and what’s manmade,” said Lamba.
With more than 25 years of professional experience, Lamba creates sustainable environments that explore the relationship between built and natural forms. His extensive portfolio includes projects in the United States, India, and the Middle East. As an educator, Lamba promotes a symbiotic relationship between teaching practice and research. Lamba is principal of Lamba Associates Landscape Architects located in Doylestown.
Lamba has been the faculty coordinator in the development of Temple University Ambler exhibits at the Philadelphia International Flower Show for the past few years. In 2009, he supervised the creation of “Green Renaissance,” a garden space inspired by Roman aqueducts and the social aspect of Italian gardening. The 2010 exhibit, “Metromophosis,” exemplified Lamba’s focus on global urbanization and how to enrich habitat, conserve resources, and protect water. Flower Show visitors now associate Temple University exhibits with advanced ecological ideas.
For more information on the Écolibrium exhibit, contact 267-468-8108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.