A public garden & cultural center

Mags Harries and Lajos Héder


Remediate/Re-vision: Public Artists Engaging the Environment
Glyndor Gallery | August 1 – November 28, 2010

Terra Fugit is a four-acre section of the larger Miramar Regional Park, which was built as part of a completely new community in Broward County, FL, near the Everglades. Mags Harries and Lajos Héder were brought on board the project by the Broward County Public Art + Design Program in 1996 when the site was undeveloped. The project took ten years to complete, during which time it went through changes in client, design, and contractor, and the surrounding area became rapidly transformed and fully developed. In response to observing the total transformation of these wetlands into gated communities, the team developed a series of distinctive elements that shift people’s relationship to the environment.

Built amidst a rapidly developing community, Terra Fugit interprets and preserves part of this fragile landscape. By using boulders of coral fossil blasted from the site and native plants, the project re-orients the visitor to a landscape that has disappeared.

Plaques interpreting wildlife and ecology of 80 foot diameter untouched preserve designated by Harries and Héder.

Boulders embedded with fossils used for seating areas. 

Mags Harries and Lajos Héder on Terra Fugit
When we first visited the site, starting from flying over it in a plane, we were faced with a huge sense of upheaval and transformation in the landscape. The land was being blasted, dug up and rearranged in a series of half-mile by half-mile blocks as far as the eye could see along the eastern edge of the Everglades. We thought this type of huge change needed to be engaged by us as artists.

Our engagement with environmental issues has evolved over time. We never wanted to be directly polemical about these issues, but the constantly increasing sense of complex environmental degradation finds its way into all of our perceptions. Having children increases our sense of responsibility, our need to look at actions and consequences in the long run, beyond ourselves.

We always work hard to find out who will use our pieces and what types of things they will do there. We often see our pieces as stages to encourage the various dramas and stories that can take place in public, and add an extra flavor to those experiences. We envision our pieces for people, although some might be for the intimate use of a single person while others invite larger groups to participate.

This project took 10 years to complete and during that time it often felt like most of the energy and excitement had drained out of it. When it finally got into construction and working with the land, shaping things on this large scale became very exciting again. That sense of energy and excitement is definitely one of our measures of success. When the project was completed and the opening of the park drew many hundreds of visitors from this new community who were very excited about the project, we realized that this was a real community facility. We had contributed to the building of this community, and that also felt like an important measure of success.

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.