A former wasteland in the centre of Arnhem (Netherlands) is transformed to an iconic park: A flourishing heather landscape with a huge PartyAardvark (an artwork by Florentijn Hofman) lying amidst of it. Together with office D.T.O. we took the initiative to transform this desolate area - due to the economic crisis - to a patch of spectaculair nature in the city. The Bartok Park is a symbol for Arnhem: a city that is uniquely situated on the edge of the Natural Park the Veluwe, but doesn’t seem to take much pride in this fact. The vegetation is transplanted from that Natural Park into the city centre: we brought nature literally to the city.
This new form of nature development (transplantation) has never been applied like this - in the city. Second hand nature (to develop the heather is has to be removed from time to time) thus can be used in a city park the way the city park once was meant to be: a real nature experience in the city. Cheap and exciting. The artwork of Florentijn Hofman, a huge statue of an Aardvark, is a gift from Burgers Zoo to the city of Arnhem and attracts many (young) people to this former black hole in the city. 'The happiest square of the Netherlands', changed a non-place to an area developers started investing in, made a theatre turn around - with it's entrance towards the park - and gave a boost to surrounding shops and bars. Therefor the Bartokpark won the 'Golden Phoenixs Award 2015' for urban transformation. What started with an idea (and no commissioner) to do something temporary with a vacant spot transformed into a project where more and more organizations started working together, contributing to this - let's be honest - quit a strange but extremely happy park.