Monday, April 12, 2010
How a Frenchman became America's Hottest Landscape Architect: A Focus on Michel Desvigne
Desvigne’s recent U.S. work includes the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (with architects Herzog & de Meuron), the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts (with architects Norman Foster and REX/OMA), and the St. Louis Art Museum (with architect David Chipperfield).
Desvigne owes much of his recent success to his association with European starchitects such as Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Renzo Piano, Herzog and de Meuron, and Jean Nouvel. Cities across the globe are turning to these celebrity architects to revive neglected urban areas by creating sensational cultural buildings. When cities want an architectural adrenaline shot—what Gehry did for Bilbao, Spain—then Desvigne is often the corresponding landscape architect.
The irony is that Desvigne’s designs are anything but iconic. “Having reached what one architecture critic described as the midpoint in my career, I feel I have nothing to show,” describes Desvigne in the introduction to his book Intermediate Natures: The Landscapes of Michel Desvigne. He continues, “Or at least nothing that resembles the seductive images in architecture books.”