Translated by David Mardell
To turn a piece of abandoned land into a social playground
Not far from the European institutions, Apollonia noticed a piece of abandoned land. This small plot of around 4000sq.m was for a many years the bowling green of the Robertsau. Being at the entrance to this suburb, it was a sort of showcase. In the past it was a lively area where the inhabitants gathered to play boule together. It has of late become rather desolate. Even though it is now fallow, it nevertheless retains its potential as an important area for life in the Robertsau. For this reason, Apollonia decided to take it over within the Artecitya project.
This suburb was for many years Strasbourg’s market garden. It welcomed no fewer than 117 families cultivating fruit and vegetables at the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately things have declined to such an extent that there are nowadays only two families active in the field. So it seemed essential to us to move into this historical site. We have therefore opened a partnership with a family of market gardeners, the Horneckers. We will set up an artistic kitchen garden where the local inhabitants can also join in. The land, leased to Apollonia by the city of Strasbourg for three years, is thus destined to become a lively area where both youngsters. The older generation will be able to share their passion for gardening.
The plot is in fact highly desirable building land, so Apollonia cannot envisage taking it over permanently. So that leaves us with quite a challenge: a fairly big project that will have to be carried out in a relatively short time. The garden will be planned and built so that it can be moved. This leads us to develop new technical and practical means to enable a future transferal of the garden elsewhere. But, no worry, if this garden is to be short-lived, the project itself will be long-lasting. It will be transferred close by and will always be connected to the association’s premises. Evolving in form and in space and adapting to socio-artistic aims are indeed among our chief objectives. For this reason, together with our partners, we are studying up-to-date layout techniques of building movable, transformable and transportable garden structures.