a person climbs the spiral staircase to look out over the earth ripple installation
Photography by Pieter Kers.

4 Global Firms Reinvent Outdoor Space

From Prague to St. Louis, firms are inventing and repurposing outdoor space with newfound creativity.

Wutopia Lab

Golden Barnyard, Cockaigne of Everyman, Shanghai

On a working rice and rapeseed farm, a 2-acre expanse once used for food processing has been converted into a place for outside movie screenings and similar activities, named after the land of plenty from medieval lore, complete with rolling piles of “grain” in porous yellow concrete.


VisKringloop, Wieringermeer, Netherlands

A collaboration between the landscape architecture firm, artist Pé Okx, and ecologist Cor ten Haaf, visitors can climb a painted-steel staircase for a birds-eye view of this earthwork, its ripplelike forms symbolizing the life cycle of the fish that live within and part of a 40-acre site devoted to improving their migration between fresh and salt water.


Air Square, Prague

A partnership with hot-air balloon maker Kubícˇek Visionair yielded prefabricated, recyclable partitions of inflatable FR-coated polyester that, when supported by a base of CNC-cut plywood planks, can be arranged into a 20-foot-high, interlocking circle for a partially shaded and protected plug-in park or performance locale.

Kiku Obata & Company

Spring Church, St. Louis

Courtesy of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, the limestone shell of a 19th-century Gothic revival–style church ravaged by fire has been fortified and revitalized into a combination open-air house of worship/public art space, which recently featured Jordan Weber’s installation All Our Liberations, its three tiers painted with words by local poet Cheeraz Gormon.

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