An international contest is being held for a new €36,500 peace garden in the village of Flesquières near Cambrai in northern France (Deadline: 8 September)
Open to teams of French and British architects and landscape designers – the free-to-enter competition seeks proposals for a new garden of reflection in the Hauts-de-France region which was a major centre of fighting during the First World War.
The winning team will receive €8,800 to design and deliver their proposal next to Flesquières’ Cambrai Tank 1917 museum and a British war cemetery. Proposals must encourage peaceful reflection and be easy to construct.
Contest site: Flesquières peace garden, France
According to the brief: ‘With an eye on the future, this Garden of Peace will be a testimony to the vitality of artistic creation to French-British friendship 100 years after the end of the First World War.
‘Damaged by the brutality of the twentieth century conflicts, the Hauts-de-France Region has chosen to celebrate the heritage of tomorrow and to affirm the resilience of the territory through landscape art and artistic creation.’
The competition focusses on a prominent site located around 12km from Cambrai next to a tank museum in the village of Flesquières. This area was close to the Hindenburg line and was the site of a major tank battle in late 1917 in which approximately 44,200 allied and 50,000 German soldiers lost their lives.
The project is organised by the Association of Art & Gardens in Hauts-de-France and the First World War Centenary Partnership Program. Together these organisations have already created 13 peace gardens across the region and a further two are currently under development.
Contest site: Flesquières peace garden, France
The competition languages are English and French and digital PDF submissions should include a cover letter, portfolio and CV for all team members. Teams must include at least one member of British and French nationality living in Britain and in France respectively.
The overall winners, to be announced in mid-September, will receive a prize of €8,800. The team will be invited to visit the site and make a final submission by mid-October and begin construction by mid-November.
How to apply
The deadline for submissions is at 23:59 local time (GMT+1) on 8 September
Q&A with Gilbert Fillinger
The managing director of the Association of Landscaped Gardens of Hauts-de-France and Hortillonnages discusses his ambitions for the competition
Why are your holding an international contest for a new peace garden near the Tank Museum?
So far, we have created 13 gardens in the five departments of the Hauts-de-France region. The gardens were done by landscape designers or architects coming from countries involved in the First World War. The teams have mainly worked on sites where their countries had battles or where they had signed a treaty nearby, for example:
- Vimy – Canada
- Thiepval – England and Wales
- Péronne – Ireland and Nothern Ireland
- Craonnes (Chemin des Dames) – Germany, Italy, Morocco
- Notre-Dame-de-Lorette – France
- Arras – Wales
- Neuville-Saint-Vaast – Czech Republic and Slovakia
- Compiègne Clairière de l’Armistice – France and Germany
- Le Quesnoy – New Zealand and Belgium
I suggested the project to the French mission for the centenary of the first world war beginning in 2017 and they supported it along with the region of Hauts-de-France and other sponsors. The battle of Cambrai involved many countries and particularly the British and the French. The project of Cambrai has big support from the city Cambrai.
The idea of this call is to ask to different artists to speak through their work about peace – not only about the past but also to open the door of the future and to give their interpretation today concerning the idea of peace. It’s open to French and British landscape designers and architects. A jury from both countries will come together to make the choice in September.
Source: Image by René Hourdry
What is your vision for the new garden of remembrance?
It’s not just a garden of remembrance. It’s true inspiration can come from the memory of the war or the death of the so many people in this region but its subject is peace, a garden where people can sit down and take the time to question themselves about peace. Questions about our future, the ecological crisis, water, food, the wars happening today in the world, the migration crisis can all be in part of the project. The proposal has to bring visitors to a point of reflection and also to create a peaceful experience for those in staying in the garden. The garden has to be perennial.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
The application is open to all architects and landscape designers without any limitation of age, it needs to be a team of at least two persons, one British and one French. A jury will make the selection in September.
British war cemetery in Flesquières
Source: Image by Camster2
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
For the garden of peace, we will produce around 30 of them until 2022. The next countries are:
- Portugal in Le Quesnoy – work to start in November (team of two architects and one landscape designer)
- Passchendeale near Ypres in Belgium – French garden (construction to start in September)
- Poland in Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
- Belgium/France in Neuville-sous-Montreuil
- Australia, China, USA, South-Africa, Denmark, Algeria…
We also have a different project in the mines area of France. Four gardens will be built by landscape designers in Lens, Grenay and Calonnes Ricouart (Pas-de-Calais). These gardens will be done in collaboration with the population and are only open to French speaking designers because of the particular nature of the collaboration.
Every autumn we send out an international call concerning landscape designers, architects and visual art designers for the ‘Festival International de Jardins Hortillonnages Amiens.’ The festival takes place from June to the end of October