Education

  • Diplom - Ingenieur Univ. Landespflege, (at that time German equivalent of Master of Landscape Architecture), Technical University of Munich.
  • Certificate in vocational education and training qualifications for crafts sectors (pedagogy for professional vocational training and educational psychology), Technical University of Munich, examination office.
  • Journeyman’s certificate of competence in garden and landscape industries.

Professional qualifications

  • Co-founder of Straub Thurmayr Landscape Architects and Urban Designers.
  • CSLA/MALA, licensed as Professional Landscape Architect in Manitoba, Canada.
  • ASLA, Member, American Society of Landscape Architects.
  • ByAK, enrolled as Stadtplaner (equivalent to City Planner/Urban Designer) in Bavaria, Germany.
  • ByAK, licensed as Professional Landscape Architect in Bavaria, Germany.

Professional experience

Dietmar has had the opportunity of dealing with a diverse range of assignments in his career, in very different places, cultures, sites and countries - both as a teacher and as a landscape architect and urban designer. He has been tackling gardens and landscapes, squares and cities for more than 30 years and have gained a fundamental understanding and knowledge of design, urban nature and ecology. He believes that an intelligent cross-linking of ecology, design, art and engineering will provide sustainable solutions for humankind and nature.

Gardens

Gardens and landscapes are experimental grounds for innovation and improvisation. Dietmar embarks on the search for expression in open space design strategically navigating between the adventurous and the everyday. Teaching, research and practice, as well as a robust interdisciplinary discourse are the indispensable sources of his passionate quest to innovatively apply landscape architecture as a social, ecological and spatial transformer for everyday landscapes.

In 2005/2006 Professors Dietmar Straub and Anna Thurmayr succeeded in winning the international landscape and urban design competition for the Chenshan Botanic Garden in Shanghai, China. The 206 hectare Garden was part of the Expo 2010 in Shanghai and is among the largest botanical gardens in the world. All the other nation pavilions migrated after the show yet the new Chenshan Botanic Garden continues to flourish in the Songjiuang District.

Gardens are ubiquitous phenomenon. They offer homo sapiens the opportunity to creatively adapt themselves to new worlds, led by the deeply rooted hope to maintain values of culture, ‘feed’ everyday needs, and to create a place called home. To cultivate a garden also means to become profoundly immersed in a landscape and to ensure that the utilisation of existing resources does not damage the environment, thus contributing to a sustainable life.

Teaching

Dietmar teaches Design Studios and Site Planning in the Environmental Design program and in Landscape Architecture. He has frequently invited students to gain hands-on experience on outreach projects. They were involved in tree-pit construction and asphalt painting. They dug in Winnipeg clay, compacted Manitoban limestone, hammered stones, bricks, logs and asphalt, and used brushes and paint rollers. He uses this model to narrow the gap between theory and practice and to create a closer relationship between scholarly work and teaching.

Creative work

As landscape architects we are agents for change on a path from research to design, and in the end, to implementation. In an era of overexploitation and over-consumption of the globe’s natural resources we as designers have to adopt new design attitudes which are, in Dietmar’s opinion, very distant from ‘glossy’ design gestures, produced for the first photo shooting after realization to compete for media attention. This forces a radical paradigm shift for designers of built environments towards a building culture of improvisation, repairing and recycling.

In parallel with his teaching, Dietmar maintains an active creative practice, in tandem with Professor Anna Thurmayr. Dietmar’s creative work focuses on designs for community groups in impoverished areas or areas lacking sufficient funds. His community engaged scholarship, design and teaching approach encompasses a continuous interaction with people and an intensive exploration of their environments. The work with communities on their land, coupled with a 'sound measure' of strong local ties leads to a personal and intimate relationship that can be turned into silent strength and empathy while designing their environments. The design implementation integrates research inquiries and allows the construction of fresh theories and the ability to test new methods. It is a significant contribution to a body of knowledge and experience that feeds back into the professional world of landscape architecture.

Research

Dietmar uses the architectural design process to create new insights, knowledge, practices and spaces. His Research by Design facilitates a close relationship between scholarly work and creative work, academia and local communities, teaching and outreach. It operates successfully and effectively at the University of Manitoba to generate critical inquiry through realized design work while also integrating outreach activities and community work. The research results obtained by this approach are consistent with experiences in practice gathered in many field trials. The practice of Research by Design shapes a resilient intellectual culture with a critical view toward established tools, methods and processes.

RESEARCH FIELDS
GARDENS - Fields for Experiments and Innovations
TRAUMATIZED LANDSCAPES - Concepts for Ecological Rehabilitation
PERISCAPES - Landscapes for Transitory Peripheries
WATER - Designing with the Wet in the Prairie
LIVING SOILS AND POLLINATOR MEADOWS - Preparing Grounds without Pesticides

Major awards

Dietmar’s scholarly and creative work out of Straub Thurmayr Landscape Architects and Stadtplaner garners tremendous attention. Highly recognized juries granted his work more than three dozen national and international prestigious design awards since joining the Faculty of Architecture in 2007. The awards honour both his exceptional achievements in the design of sustainable community and educational spaces, as well as highlighting the innovative and experimental nature of his creative work.
 

2021 CSLA National Award of Excellence. Category: Residential Landscapes.

2019 LILA – Landezine International Landscape Award in the Gardens category.

2019 CSLA Jury’s Award of Excellence 2019. “Rooted in Clay - WY Garden in Winnipeg”

2019 CSLA National Award of Excellence 2019, Category: Residential Landscapes.

2019 CSLA National Award of Excellence 2019, Category: Small-Scale Public Landscapes.

2019 Deutscher Landschaftsarchitektur Preis 2019, selected and shortlisted.

2019 LILA – Landezine International Landscape Award, shortlisted, Category Residential Housing.

2017 Western Living Designers of the Year Award.

2016 The Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Campbell Outreach Award. The Campbell Award is the University's premier award in recognition of outstanding outreach activities by a member of the University.

2016 Urban design competition, Regensburger Straße Nürnberg, Germany, 5th prize.

2015 Manitoba Premier’s Award for Design Excellence, Category Landscape Architecture.

2015 CSLA Award of Excellence 2015, Regional Merit Award, Category: Design.

2014 Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize, Finalist. Folly Forest - A Dance Floor for 100 Trees, Manitoba, Winnipeg.

2014 Prairie Design Award 2014, Award of Merit in the Category Landscape Architecture.

2014 CSLA Award of Excellence 2014, National Merit Award, Category: Design.

2014 AZ Award for Design Excellence 2014, Finalist in the Landscape category.

2014 AZ Award for Design Excellence 2014, People’s Choice Award.

2014 Recipient of the 2014 Students Teachers Recognition Award, University of Manitoba.

2014 Manitoba Excellence in Sustainability Award 2013 in the category of Sustainable Community for Folly Forest.

2013 Deutscher Landschaftsarchitektur Preis 2013: “Würdigung/Commendation“ for Folly Forest.

2013 CSLA Award of Excellence 2013, National Citation Award, Category: New Directions for Folly Forest.

2012 CSLA Award of Excellence 2012, National Merit Award in the Category: Design for Chenshan Botanic Garden.

2012 CSLA Award of Excellence 2012, Regional Merit Award, Category: New Directions for Instant Garden.

2012 Western Living Designers of the Year Awards 2012, One To Watch, Landscape Design.

2012 Prairie Design Award 2012, Award of Merit in the Category Landscape Architecture.

2012 Best private plots - Die besten Gärten 2012, Finalist.

2012 AZ Award 2012, Finalist in the Landscape category.

2012 Chinese Design Award for the Chenshan Botanic Garden in Shanghai. 1st price for Outstanding Infrastructural Projects.     

2011 Design Exchange Award in the category Landscape Architecture for the Instant Garden.

2009 Landscape and Urban Design competition Kaufbeuren Neugablonz, Germany, honorable mention.

2008 Best private plots 08 - “Garden Kistler - a Place for Plants and People”, shortlisted.

2008 Landscape and Urban Design competition New South Coburg, 4th prize.

2008 Recipient of the 16th Students’ Teacher Recognition Award at the University of Manitoba.

Publications

These award-winning contributions are displayed in numerous books, journals, magazines, and websites, and have been exhibited across Europe, Asia, South and North America. Through significant refereed publications in books, proceedings, journals, and noteworthy presentations at national and international conferences Dietmar has brought forth a new state of mind among designers and the general public; provoking the amalgamation of academia and real-world issues, advancing design theory and practice, and transforming how people think and act.
 

Straub, D., & Thurmayr A. (2021). Instant Garden in Winnipeg. Mooool.

Straub, D., & Thurmayr A. (2020). Rooted in Clay _ WY Garden in Winnipeg. Mooool.

Straub, D. (2020). Radical play in a non-domesticated environment. In N. Basford, K. Sherrin & M. Stokes (Eds.), Warehouse 29 (pp. 92-95). Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2020.

Thurmayr, A., Straub, D. (2020). Walking the AIRE. In N. Basford, K. Sherrin & M. Stokes (Eds.), Warehouse 29 (pp. 24-25). Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2020.

Straub, D. (2019). Kiss over a tweet: Operating a snow academy in a cool climate. In N. Amoroso (Ed.), Representing Landscapes: Traditional (pp. 152-161). New York, NY: Routledge.

Straub, D. (2019). Cultiver son jardin. Landscapes Paysages, Landscape Architecture in Canada, L’ Architecture de Paysage au Canada, 21(2), 28-29.

Straub, D. (2018). Success is sexy. In U. Weilacher, L. Hopstock & S. Weber, Lehrstuhl für Landschaftsarchitektur und industrielle Landschaft (Eds.), Inspiration High Line (pp. 60-61). Munich: Technical University of Munich.

Straub, D., & Thurmayr A. (2017). Folly Forest, A dance floor for 100 trees. In S.B. Ferre, J.B. Chiva,M.C. Alsono de Medina, A.F. del al Reguera March, M. Goula, M. R. Capelastegui, … A.Z. Xifre (Eds.), A Landscape for You: Catalogue of the 8th International Biennal of Landscape Architecture, Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize (pp. 256-259). Milano: Paysage Il gruppo editorial 2017.

Straub, D. (2015). We did not bring the trophy home: Some good reasons for travelling, In A. Johnston & A. Austin (Eds.), Warehouse 24 (pp.313-316). Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2015.

Straub, D. (2015). Landschaftslinien: The obvious, the hidden and a method for their decryption. In N. Amoroso (Ed.), Representing Landscapes: Digital (136-143). New York, NY: Routledge.

Straub, D. (2014). Folly Forest A dance floor for 100 trees, Canada. Landscape Architecture: Landscape Architecture Journal, Bejing Forestry University, 6, 106-113.

Straub, D. (2014). Life after the Party_ Monitoring a Dance Floor for 100 trees. In L. Lanzar & K. Complido (Eds.), Warehouse 23 (pp. 324-327). Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2014.

Straub, D. (2013). Folly Forest in Winnipeg. TOPOS: The International Review of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, 83, 86-89.

Straub D., & Thurmayr, A. (2013). Tactile models carved by binary numbers: Connecting digital and physical design methods. In E. Buhmann, S. Ervin & M. Pietsch (Eds.). Peer reviewed proceedings of Digital Landscape Architecture 2013 at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. Berlin and Offenbach, Germany: Herbert Wichmann Verlag, 40-47.

Straub, D. (2012). I spy with my little eye.... In N. Hunt & B. Bergem (Eds.), Warehouse 21 (pp. 328-329). Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2012.

Thurmayr, A., & Straub, D. (2012). On the Preparation of Images. In E. Buhmann, S. Ervin & M. Pietsch (Eds.). Peer reviewed proceedings of Digital Landscape Architecture 2012 at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. Berlin and Offenbach, Germany: Herbert Wichmann Verlag, 59-64.

Straub, D., Thurmayr A. (2009). Gone, never to return + Chenshan Botanic Garden. Dead On Arrival: Journal of the Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba. Winnipeg: DoAPress, 108-117.