TTT – Thirtythreetrees Ltd.
In the pursuit of timelessness, TTT – (thirtythreetrees) have redefined landscape architecture. They have created award winning spaces that offer people the chance to feel. They have imagined and realised modern-day sanctuaries in unlikely places. They have returned innocence and character to the earth that they have dug up. They work with Ireland’s leading architects, cultural institutes, developers and private clients to promote energy efficiency and environmental design, while deepening the connection that we have with our cities and our towns- so how do they do it? And Why?
Founded in 2004, by partners James J. Shields and Maria Vlahos, TTT is a landscape architecture practice that is committed to site specific conceptual installations. This dedication stems from a belief that once you engage with a city, you begin to see through its commercial facades, straight through to the true beating core of its society. And that’s what drives their work- they are not trying to sell anything. There is nothing cosmetic about their work. They strive to create something in the absence of commercial, political or popular information- something that will feed the soul.
This all started in New York City; “I was designing high-end apartments on Park Avenue and 5th Avenue in New York City,” Founder, Jimi Shields explains. “My wife, Maria, was studying horticulture, at the New York Botanic Gardens, after an internship at Mount Usher Gardens County Wicklow, Maria was offered the Hard Gardener’s position. After much deliberation, they decided to make the move to Ireland. The partners now consider their 4 years at Mount Usher, as a unique form of training – and now could not imagine living and applying their work anywhere else but Dublin City.”
Not long after settling here in Ireland, circa 2002, the couple were asked by a friend to design a garden. The garden was seen by a developer specialising in house renovations, who invited them to design all of the gardens they had in their urban portfolio. The rest TTT now call history.
Each commission awarded since, has grown not only in complexity, but in meaning and purpose. Naturally able to move within the realms of each other’s expertise and creativity- the design duo strike a balance that is rarely seen and hardly ever explored.
“If it were films we were making – I guess, as design principle I’m the director,” says Jimi. “Maria specifies the planting according to a concept I’m trying to achieve. We work very well together- we understand each other and our strengths. Everything I do I show to Maria, who usually has short comments like, “it’s strong”, or “what’s this!?” That’s enough feedback. Over the years we’ve learnt a lot about production, quality, precision and efficiency. We’re uncompromising in our commitment to build a feeling. We like imperfection, roughness – but in a way that is intentional. We call it Rustic Precision”
Ultimately, we have a responsibility to our clients first and foremost, but as the great Indiana philanthropist once said, we are being expressive for our clients and ourselves. That is the beauty of it. It is that relationship we enjoy, some of the art of it lies within that trusting relationship. We don’t have the money to build our ideas, so we rely on our clients to believe in us- to trust in the quality that we can offer. All it takes is a look at their award winning portfolio and a glimpse at their long list of clients, to become a believer in the possibilities that TTT bring to the landscape architecture table. Working all over Ireland and abroad, the Dublin based firm are currently working on a number of projects that are guaranteed to give their perimeters a stir, while allowing continued development of their own skill set.
“We are evolving constantly- but we believe in pushing the boundaries from within one’s expertise. Commerciality is not the goal- creative innovation is the goal. Every project starts with an immediate response, a reaction; followed by years of meticulous specification. We stay true to that early response; no second guessing. It comes from somewhere deep.”
77 Merrion Square – Dublin 2
Tel: 01 507 9161