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Bank of Canada Head Office Renewal, DTAH


Asphalt Jungle

Text by Matt Lundstrom
Wagon Landscaping is an opportunistic Los Angeles firm that designs in challenging landscapes like pavement and parking lots. In the 11th district of Paris, they transformed a paved courtyard into the Asphalt Jungle. The project goal was to repurpose asphalt to accommodate living things.They start by cutting and removing the asphalt to expose the compacted sandy gravel base. Next, fluffing the compacted gravel with a jack hammer loosens the substrate so they can mix in compost and soil to create a habitable root zone. This newly engineered soil composition, or “technosol,” provides a sufficient environment for many plant species to take root. The raised bed helps to contain the added volume of technosol and house the large pieces of broken asphalt. To highlight the materials, the smaller pieces of asphalt run a soldier course to frame the garden and expose the rough aggregate edges. The prepared bed is seeded and planted with annuals, perennials, and a low-growing tree to provide shade. 

The once barren, paved courtyard is now a garden with aesthetic value, insect habitat, seasonality, water management, and passive cooling. This low-impact solution has activated this outdoor space to inspire more human activity as the garden invites attention. Asphalt Jungle embodies the fundamental idea that we can always make room for nature within urban development, benefiting both people and the planet. Wagon Landscaping proved with just a few tools and organic matter that we can repurpose pavement and turn it into a garden.

BIO/ Matthew Lundstrom is an MLA student at the University of Guelph, and Ground Editorial Board Member.

Wagon Landscaping asphalt rehabilitation project in Paris, France. IMAGES/ Yann Monel