Landscape architects from ZF MENDELU succeed in international competition

23. 3. 2023

Landscape architecture students have advanced to the semi-finals of the international Streetlife Design Competition. A mixed team from the Faculty of Horticulture at MENDELU and the Faculty of Architecture at BUT worked on a design located on the slope above Mendel Square. The aim of the competition was to find an original solution to a specific problem space in the city. A jury of experts selected twelve finalists out of a total of seventy designs to compete for the six main prizes tomorrow in Leiden, the Netherlands.

The students of the team called (not so) lost site chose a lost site in the heart of the city, on the slope above the Augustinian Abbey and the Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Old Brno. “This site was the subject of above-standard field surveys, where they returned to the site repeatedly in an attempt to uncover its most basic characteristics and features. They also looked at the sociological structure of the users, interviewed people and experienced the place together with them. They drew, documented, sketched, thought about it,” outlined the workflow Barbara Ševčíková from the Institute of Garden and Landscape Architecture at MENDELU.

The aim of the competition was to choose a specific problematic public urban space and to look for an original design solution that would be specific to the site, but at the same time universally applicable. “The commissioners of the competition were expecting new ideas that would improve the quality of the urban living environment and could possibly also challenge the existing ways of urbanisation. The winning project should be an innovative work that successfully tackles the key layers of a place – its past, which includes genius loci, its present, which addresses sustainable mobility or urban biodiversity, for example, and its future, which also means adapting to ongoing climate change,” Ševčíková outlined.

It was clear from the competition brief that strong, original ideas that surprise with a non-standard solution to a certain type of urban space are expected. At the same time, the commissioners also asked for a certain paradox – the solution should respect the identity of the place, but at the same time it should be universal and transferable,” Ševčíková said. According to her, the proposal by the creative group (not so) lost site already plays with paradox in its name and could have attracted the attention of the evaluators at this point. “The content of the work is minimalistic, but it goes deep and goes straight to the heart of the problem – it reveals beauty that is not normally perceived and provokes reflection on what we really expect from the public space of the city. Moreover, with their holistic approach, the authors have managed to incorporate all three basic layers of time – past, future and present – into their design,” the landscape architect described.

As part of the WORKSHOP I course, three mixed student teams worked on the design of the various sites. Based on field research, each team chose their solution area, a distinct site, which they then worked on during studio consultations. In the end, one of the three teams advanced to the semi-finals. The successful group consisted of Paulína Demovičová, Kristina Molnárová and Eliška Štainerová from MENDELU, while the BUT was represented by Tomáš Koudelka and Nina Olekšáková.

The competition was announced for the first time ever. “Our students have participated in various international architectural competitions related to public urban space in the past, but they have not achieved similar success as now,” Ševčíková said. The winning team that convinces the jury in Leiden will receive 7,000 euros. Second place will receive 3,000 euros, third 2,000 euros and the other three teams will each receive 1,000 euros.

The Streetlife Design Competition is organised by the Dutch firm Streetlife together with the Landezine Landscape Architecture Platform. The competition was first launched last May, and finished designs had to be submitted by mid-December 2022. Students and young professionals from landscape architecture and other professions involved in planning and designing public open spaces were invited to participate.

Contact for further information: Barbara Ševčíková, Ph.D.,, +420 777 540 625, Department of Garden and Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Horticulture, MENDELU

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