2018 Honor Award, American Society of Landscape Architects
Marnas provides the first public access to the garden laboratory of master designer/theorist, Sven-Ingvar Andersson (SIA). From 1990 to SIA’s death in 2007, I visited Marnas fifteen times, often staying for several days, studying it though my camera’s lens, discussing ideas with him and hearing about the history of Marnas, his ideas and practices and how they were embodied in the garden.
Andersson recorded his experiments at Marnas, over the course of 50 years, in thousands of photographs, and I made hundreds of photographs over twenty years. Given this extraordinary documentation, I decided to create an interactive multimedia website, designed as an immersive, three- and four-dimensional experience of the place so that others might experience this extraordinary garden. It is now possible to journey through the garden in space and time across five decades: to walk down leafy tunnels, through diverse spaces; to travel across time in successive views of the same space across decades.
The website and the videos embedded within it evoke the magical quality of Marnas and bring alive the ideas that shaped it. The homepage unfolds in a vertical scroll through a series of gateways. One gateway invites you to take a guided tour of the garden, others, to explore on your own, meet the designer, or travel in time.
“Marnasgarden.com models the transformative power of the digital humanities as a tool for understanding landscapes across space and time. Image, text, and sound take us on an exquisite journey that cuts to the heart of dilemmas driving twenty-first century practice – given the dynamic nature of landscapes, how do we design for inevitable adaptation? How do we preserve that which must necessarily change? Anne Spirn’s masterful work connects points in time, liking theory and practice in a provocative living expression that breaks new ground in landscape architecture research.” Phoebe Lickwar, FORGE