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MUDLARK: Metis garden competition submission

The 2020 Metis Garden Competition called for design submissions responding to the theme of ‘MĒTISSAGE’. Our response was MUDLARK, a project based on multiplicity and change. Built with sand and mud from across the region, the garden both celebrates the playful and sensorial experience of earth and water, while also engaging its ulterior aspects of unease, uncertainty and the site’s colonial history. 

MUDLARK is a garden that celebrates mud as an edge and threshold:  a mixture of water and earth, as smell, as texture, as play, as form, and as a conceptual idea that seeks to offer a broad response to the notion of Métissage. A low, mud-packed wall, walkway, and stepped bench surround a mud-pit where visitors participate in an immersive experience. The garden invites itself as material to be explored and altered (making mud-piles, squishing it through one’s fingers, getting stuck, making marks). The mud of MUDLARK is a mix of local substrate and sand, seeds and sediments from across the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes watersheds; a multiplicity of histories, densities and colors make this garden. The wall of tamed ‘mud’ displays these layers. The garden is at once a mud-atlas that is designed and grown over time. It encourages attendees to participate in its change, as the winds, rains, snows and heats of the garden’s seasons will do. MUDLARK is a place to reflect on the complex, sensorial and absentminded displacements of and by design.

THE TEAM: The interdisciplinary team for MUDLARK is composed of architects, landscape architects, anthropologists and students from across Canada and the United States. We come from Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Minnesota, Ottawa, Ohio and Johannesburg. We are Métis, settlers, immigrants, Canadians, Americans, South Africans; we are a collaborative that works across borders, scope and scale. Our proposal is reflected in the constitution of our team - a diverse assem-blage of skill, curiosity and capacity aimed at helping craft reflective and compelling environments and landscapes.

All work was produced by the project team:

Karen Lutsky (GLDL), Dr. Ozayr Saloojee (GLDL), Émélie Desrochers-Turgeon, Dr. Zoe Todd, Rachel Salmela, + Felix Mayer

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