Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Julie Bargmann - "Queen of Slag"

I was reading the 2009 July/August issue of Garden Design magazine and came across an article I had to share. It's about Julie Bargmann. She's a landscape designer that "regenerates" abandoned buildings and sites like manufacturing and mining properties, brownfields, landfills and former railroads.

Bargmann's approach is to gradually and visibly transform sites like the Ford Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan. The Rouge was one of many locations where she used "phytoremediation gardens". These are plants that detox biodegradable contaminants.

This Harvard School of Design graduate strives to combine the sites past with it's "ecological setting". She blends history with native species. While pursuing an undergrad degree at Carnegie Mellon University, she was intrigued by Eva Hesse's fiberglass, latex and rope sculptures. Bargmann was also inspired by environmental artist, Robert Smithson, contemporary earthworks artists of Rome and the Etruscans.

As one of the founders of D.I.R.T. Studio in Charlottesville, Virginia, Bargmann is quick to point out that she is part of a larger team that helps reclaim the land.

Learn more about this groundbreaking landscape artist by visiting the D.I.R.T. web site or reading the Garden Design article by Virginia Small.

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