Renowned Belgian landscape architect Jacques Wirtz has passed away at the age of 93 on Saturday July 21st. He studied Landscape Architecture & Horticulture at the Tuinbouwschool in Vilvoorde (BE) and founded Wirtz Tuinarchitectuur and Wirtz International respectively in 1957 and 1989.
He rose to fame by winning the competition for the Belgian Pavilion at the Osaka World Exposition in 1970, and by winning the competition to redesign the Carrousel Gardens, which connects the Louvre Museum in Paris with the Tuileries (1990-1995). Other noteworthy projects are his redesign of the Elysée Gardens for French president Mitterrand, Jubilee Park at Canary Wharf London (2002) and numerous high quality private gardens in Europe, America and Japan.
As a true virtuoso in the use of plant materials, his works excels in putting the human experience, atmosphere and plant character at the center of his work, always supported by strong space making and structure. He favored big gestures with strong sculptural presence, good sequencing and the creation of outspoken uplifting atmospheres.
Truly a romantic at heart, he remained his whole life inspired and driven by music, Bach, Bruckner, Chopin, Mahler, Wagner, Cesar Frank and many others. His company and tradition are continued by his two sons, Martin & Peter, who joined him in the late eighties.
His free and intuitive style balances between strict formality and organic composition, often mixed in a virtuoso manner. There are numerous formal projects like the Albert II Boulevard (Brussels BE), the Cloister Garden of the Cistercian Monastery of Hauterive (CH) or the Carrousel Gardens at the Tuileries (Paris, FR). Free flowing organic projects are his beloved Bremweide Park (Deurne, BE), ‘t Kristallijn Private Museum (Mol-Rauw, BE) and the powerful campus of the Antwerp University UA (Wilrijk, BE).
Well-known projects open for visitors include Ernsting’s Family Campus (Coesfeld, DE), The Alnwick Garden (Alnwick, GB), Warsaw Spire (Warsaw, PL), Cogels Park (Schoten, BE) and ‘t Kristallijn Private Museum (Mol-Rauw, BE).