-JACQUES WIRTZ -A short introduction to the firm. Wirtz international N.V., founded in 1989 as two separate design firms, originates in 1950 when Jacques Wirtz starts his landscape architecture business at Schoten, Belgium. When referring to Wirtz we are speaking of three people - Jacques and his two sons, Peter and Martin who joined the company in 1990. At the moment the company is developinggardens in Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and the U.S.A. As company they take on board private projects (small courtyards to large states, business park to housing developments) and public projects (parks, boulevards, city squares, museums and street planting). The company does the whole project from surveying to construction.
- Analysis of the three most remarkable designs. The Wirtz Companypractises as landscape architects, garden designers and magicians. As landscape architects they understand how to manipulate spaces on a large scale. As garden designers they now how to create areas of flowery intimacy enclosed in a framework of exquisite tailored hedges. As magicians they know how to conjure up the essence of a place and fix it vividly in the mind. Whether designing in France, London,Brussels, they always find a way of asserting the individuality of the place.
-Private castle project. Most Wirtz gardens have been designed for virgin sites or for modern houses, often both. However some of their most interesting and characteristic work has come from their response to a historic setting such as this one. Few sites could be more attractive -an elegant stone and brick moatedcastle, dated 1661, nesting in a valley below the walls of an ancient village. The project is entirely appropriate to its settings Spirit of the place is well achieved. The castle sits confident (showing balance) and upright on its moated island with the intricately patterned formal gardens (here herbaceous perennials - Hydrangeas, Roses, Viburnums under planted with Alchemilla mollis, Campanulas,Ferns, Geraniums and Helleborus. This characteristic arrangement of Wirtz gardens makes a decorative prelude to the castle. Here we observe how talented plants man the Wirtz are.) out to the front and back and the wilder water of the stream linking the valley to the formal calm water of the moat. Hedges of hawthorn follow the contours of the valley to delineate the area.
-Alnwick Castle inNorthumberland. This site is first English garden for the Wirtz and it is possibly its most remarkable of all they gardens. The estate in wild and beautiful country, dates from the 12th century. The part of the garden that Wirtz was asked to design was a five hectares site enclosure in fine 18th century walls. He was commissioned in 1997 to make a great ornamental garden with , at its heart amagnificent water feature. The site is a difficult one a steep slope and two interconnecting walled enclosures both very irregular. The lower and much larger space now have a powerful unifying feature (here Wirtz show us how good they are with water features and how they have linking the place and cope with the slope problem with this incredibly big water feature) spectacular cascade leading down thecentre and ending in a stepped pool. The cascade is enclosure in voluptuous curves widening out as it descends. Jets of water shoot out from either sides, as in tradition of Italian renaissance water games, occasionally (control by computers) jets shoots sideways, soaking passers by -to the delight of children and the discomfort of the parents. (here we can see how the Wirtz are into garden history,which is one of their strongest points in how they achieve the spirit of the place in most of their gardens around the globe). (Always related to the past, as any good writer, artists or garden designer do.) Iron gates lead to the upper walled garden now laid out as a dazzling flower garden. Wirtz imposes harmony on a irregular shaped garden by designing a stronger regular garden at its heart the...
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