The landscapes of the Céide Fields

Rewarding a place means knowing how to grasp the singular, exclusive, speaking physiognomy.

Carlo Scarpa International Award for the Benetton Garden_

But, even before that, the very idea of ​​awarding a prize to a place means recognizing the foundational importance of the specificity of the system and of the fabric of relationships that make it up and animate it. Ecological, historical, social relationships that imply us and that only allow the bodily intelligence of sensible things, awareness and relationship with the other and therefore inhabit the system of political themes that come from every periphery of the world. It means, in the relief that is recognized to each place, that that place in particular can teach us to think and act appropriately, with greater awareness, balance, respect and creative ingenuity.

Since 1990, the International Carlo Scarpa Prize for the Garden promoted by the Benetton Foundation continues with a commitment launched every year with the foresight in identifying specific realities that are interpreters of a map of thematic and problematic joints. And that problematizing evolve, as well is noted to read the sequence of places awarded in the 29 editions of what is certainly not a simple conferment of the seal designed by Carlo Scarpa, from time to time to the “custodian” – single or community – of the investigated place , as the result of real research and analysis campaigns in the field. Which then take the form of photographic and documentary exhibitions, study meetings and the publication of a detailed dossier. From the Sitio, the home of the Brazilian landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx , and then from the garden house of Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson, at Sissinghurst , awarded in the first editions, to the horizons of the Stockholm Cemetery of Asplund and Lewerentz , from the stone quarries to the temples of Selinunte to the redesign of the paths that lead to Acropolis in Athens by Dimitris Pikionis, up to the least less gardener and more intent to investigate also liminary experiences of garrison and care of places like that of the garden -geborino created at the beginning of the last century in the inhospitable Icelandic fjord of Skrudur, or that of the recent rebirth of cultivated villages and cohabitations near Srebrenica.

Until the award-winning landscape this year, that of the C é ide Fields of County Mayo, in western Ireland (by Patrizia Boschiero and Luigi Latini with Seamas Caulfield, pp. 196, € 18, Antigua, with a photographic exhibition and documentary in Treviso, at the Foundation, entitled I Céide Fields in Irish landscapes, a place of millennial history along a research trip ). An integrated system of fields destined to pasture over 5,000 years ago after the extinction of the forest here, a Neolithic rural landscape evoked by the plot of dry stone walls then buried and preserved by the peat thick up to 4 meters. And just from the peat cut away for fuel use resurface following the fascinating story of curiosity and affection, attention and care of the places by individuals and the community, partly excavated, partly deliberately not, but detecting the design in a archeological practice with long rods and metal probes that recalls an artistic performance or an ancient ritual. 

As always for the award, from the central episode reverberate different analyzes of the context, from that of the frontier landscape and ruins outcome and witness of colonization, famine, depopulation, to the ecological one on the ecosystem of the humid peat bog, from the survey on the variant the landscape gardens and the tourism of the picturesque – or sublime – in the land of Ireland, the role of cartographic reading and the relief of an archeology renewed in methodologies, and integrated with the biological sciences, in the research on the history of gardens, landscape , of cultivated areas.