Helen Hoyle, MA Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield
The title of Hoyle’s project was ‘The use of cutting and irrigation to delay the flowering of native wildflower meadows’. The aim was specifically to explore the effect during the London 2012 Olympics from 27th July onwards, approximately six weeks later than would be the norm for flowering in southern England. Detailed trials were carried out on two 9m by 3m plots on the Olympic site, where conditions were varied and results monitored every week. These results were compared with previous trials in Sheffield, and found to tally.
The judges said: ‘This is an interesting and timely piece of research. The aims are clear and the research is thorough and well documented. It would be interesting to reflect on the implications for future projects.’
Roisin O’Riordan, MA Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield
The title of O’Riordan’s project was ‘Petrorhagia saxifraga germination response to masonry block substrates for use in living walls’. An experimental approach was used to assess the germination success and survival of the succulent Petrorhagia saxifraga on masonry-like blocks of two different aggregate types: sharp sand and grit. This was done with the aim of determining the success of a new type of living wall, in which plant-covered masonry blocks would be used as a building façade, using drought tolerant plants such as Petrorhagia saxifraga to reduce the need for regular irrigation.
Five different cement mixtures were used to make the blocks, each with cement, aggregate (sharp sand or grit) and organic material at varying ratios. The different mixtures produced varying textures, thus varying pore structures and water holding capacities. The aim of the research was to identify the mixture that created the greatest water holding capacity. This was determined by the germination success and survival of the seedlings across the blocks of different aggregates and mixture proportions.
The judges said: ‘This is a thorough and detailed piece of research which is well-structured and analysed. There is potential to develop it further to real-world applications.’
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