In 2010, the American organization ARC held an international competition to design a series of 25 wildlife crossings across highways to connect the southern and northern Rocky Mountains. Zwarts & Jansma Architects, in collaboration with OKRA landscape architects, Iv-Infra, and Sjef Jansen Plan Ecology, won 1 of the 5 finalists’ places with their “Landshape” design.
For the designers and ecologists, the main challenge was to create a series of wildlife crossings that would be buildable, affordable, and adaptable to context. To meet the set criteria, the team made an important technical invention. They designed a repeatable, modular structure.
For its construction, the team developed a flexible formwork, which can be used to create variable shells. The formwork is made of cable nets, over which a fabric (textile membrane) is placed. Its unique property is that the cable nets can be re-used many times in varying forms.
The ecological composition of an area is the decisive factor in the composition of a wildlife crossing. The most important organizational feature of the architecture is the extrapolation of existing curves in the landscape. With “Landshape,” the team produced a physical entity that connects culture and nature.