Above: George Kessler 1907 “General Plan of a System of Parks and Parkways for the City of Cincinnati” 1)
I am delighted to invite you on behalf of former How do you Landscape? lecturer of our first series in 2010, Matthew Skjonsberg, at the time a lead designer at West 8. On this way he invites the Dutch academic fellows of Landscape Architecture to the public defence of his PhD thesis …
A New Look at Civic Design: Park Systems in America
On Nonlinearity, Periodicity and Rural Urban Dynamics
By Matthew SKJONSBERG
Thesis director : Dr E. Cogato Lanza
Architecture and Sciences of the City doctoral program
Monday, 12 March at 18:00, in room SG 294.22 (Foyer SG).
EPF Lausanne (Ecublens Campus) Switzerland
A New Look at Civic Design reflects on the nature of the various crises facing the very idea of democracy today, explicitly in relation to climate change – namely mass extinctions, water scarcity and overabundance, and in general widespread and increasing ecological, social, and economic inequity – characteristics of our era, known now as the Anthropocene. The research demonstrates that these crises share anthropocentric materialism as a root cause, as instrumentalized by military industrialism and extractive industries, and asks:
How would cities look if water had rights? How would regions be organized if soil had rights? How does a nation change if political boundaries are made congruent with ecological boundaries? How does the world look if we create a ‘charter of elements’?
Video of the secure on 19.3.2010
1) Note to the Illustration: George Kessler, born in Germany in 1862, moved to the United States at the age of three. He returned to Germany as a young man for instruction in botany, forestry, landscape design, civic design, and civil engineering. In 1882, at the age of 20, Kessler returned to the United States to begin his career. He first gained national attention with the development of a park and boulevard system for Kansas City, Missouri, in 1893. Eleven years later, he provided the landscape design for the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, and later adopted St. Louis as his home city. During his 40-year career, Kessler prepared plans for 26 communities, 26 park and boulevard systems, 49 parks, 46 estates & residences, and 26 schools. His projects can be found in 100 cities in 23 states, Mexico, and China. Image / Note Source: Matthew Skjonsberg 5.9.2017 Studio Lecture at Master Studio Park Design with Prof. Adriaan Geuze, Lecturers Ir. Ben Kuipers & Daniel Jauslin MSc Wageningen UR
In the field of the arts, criticism often plays a key role in situating artistic production and instigating debate but especially in propelling theory and practice. As Dave Hickey suggests “Criticism, at its most serious, tries to channel change.” However, in the domains of landscape architecture, architecture and urban design, criticism seems to have a more distanced role from reflection and design. Besides a few notable examples, such as the influence of the critical writings of Reyner Banham and Alan Colquhoun on a generation of British architects and urban designers in the 1960s, criticism seems to hold a marginal position within the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape architecture.
Given that the object of criticism—the urban landscapes and buildings that surround us—are very complex and layered realities, criticism seems to have a kaleidoscope of possibilities to start from: the value frames (formal, social, cultural, political, aesthetic) are multiple and a panoply of methods is at the disposition of the critic. This broad scope of possibilities seems to paralyse the critical activity in the design disciplines. In-depth criticism seems to be a rare phenomenon and if profound critical investigations are undertaken, they too often are rallied to the pages of very specialized academic and artistic journals that remain at a large distance from design practice.
Against this background this mini-symposium—and the parallel theme issue of the online journal SPOOL Criticising Practice – Practicing criticism—will enter into the discussion on the possibilities and impossibilities of criticism within the field of the design disciplines. We are especially interested in how criticism can make an active contribution to taking a position vis-à-vis what we have called in earlier issues of SPOOL the contemporary condition of ‘the landscape metropolis’. Criticism is an important means of reflection on the creative processes and interventions that are part and parcel of this landscape metropolis. Critique throws light on particular projects by describing and explaining them, but also by evaluating and generalizing these reflections towards an entire discipline, be it landscape architecture, architecture, or urban design.
public lecture, free entrance.
RSVP before 23.03.18 at: C.Termini@tudelft.nl
For questions feel free to contact: S.I.deWit@tudelft.nl
All different projects made during the workshop suggested a wide variety of solutions to address the assigned energy problem, combined with different spatial and aesthetic qualities. We might suggest that a common theme, looking at the different projects lies in the tension between two different conceptions of the periphery: ‘The landscape as an attractive image’ and ‘The landscape as a productive field’. The identity of Holland’s cultural landscape seems to combine these two approaches into one particular image, which is also seen as representative of the Dutch culture.
Overcoming the opposition between the city and the periphery
On the one hand the cultural landscape is often seen as the counterpart for the city’s intense urbanization: As an image of calmness and harmony, completely different from the dense and frenzy environment of the city. Green fields, open horizons and undisturbed views seem to be part of a conservative image, where the landscape plays the role of the city’s counterpart. The persistence of the pictorial conception of landscape, rooted in the Picturesque ideal, still remains one of the most important ideological boundaries that restrict the thinking and practice of landscape architecture. Within the prevalence of the pictorial image, “Nature is represented by a softly undulating pastoral scene, generally considered virtuous, benevolent, and soothing, a moral as well as practical antidote to the corrosive environmental and social qualities of the modern city. This landscape is the city’s other, its essential complement drawn from a nature outside of and excluding building, technology and infrastructure”. (Terra Fluxus, p.25)
As the material produced within the workshop suggest, the contribution of landscape architecture in addressing the complexities of the contemporary urban situation has to be something more than an ideally composed harmonious image of utopian wilderness. By recognizing the capacity and the potential of the landscape as a working landscape, we may overcome the ideological boundaries of the picturesque tradition. Instead of focusing unilaterally on the landscape as a sequence of scenic views, we are challenged to think and reflect on the role of landscape architecture in a more critical way.
Landscapes potential to work as something more than a beautiful naturalizing veil, was also emphasized in the symposium after the summer school. Kathryn Moore, president of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), emphasized landscape’s capacity to become a new driver and catalyst in the urban development. By telling the story of the HS2 planning guidelines in Birmingham, she discussed how it redefines the relationship between the infrastructure planning and the underlying landscape topography.
The landscape as a productive field: how images of technology become part of a new picturesque
The relationship between landscape and infrastructure brings us to the second conception of the landscape as a highly productive field, a source of food and energy production. This feature of the Dutch landscape seems to be over-emphasized in the spatial exercise of the summer school. The question how much load can the landscape undertake, in order to be super-productive, to cover-up for the energy and food consumption of the city, as well as for the increased demand for housing was asked many times. It seems inevitable that in order to correspond to these demands, the image, the character, the identity and the experience of today’s cultural landscape has to radically change. The question is, if this change is inevitable, will the landscape still be attractive? As an image, as an experience and as a place to live.
From the one point of view we might say that by embracing radical change, we are moving closer to overcoming the pictorial conception of the periphery and recognizing that contemporary problems need new solutions. Furthermore, the landscape is no longer approached as the city’s other, but as a field able to incorporate urban qualities. By trying to sketch a landscape in between the urban and the cultural, new, hybrid, experimental typologies might emerge, by loosing up the constraints of conserving the purity of either the ‘character of the urban’, or that of ‘the cultural landscape’.
However, the question still remains: Are we free from the prevailing emphasis on the landscape’s image or are we moving toward a new conception of the pictorial? This time we do not encounter images of mysterious forests and picturesque lakes, but of a romanticized, highly productive landscape. Vast areas of windmills and solar panels are approached as sites of strange and intriguing beauty. Even though the emphasis on a designed and approachable wilderness is replaced with a new kind of technological nature that can still work as a base for enjoyment and recreation, the image remains more than important. Should one not focus more on what conditions the installation of these devices create, what processes they generate and how they interact with the natural processes of the landscape?
Design as control over the landscape. Are we trapped in a new loop of exploitation of our landscapes?
As John May also suggests, nice images of exploitation have a larger effect than we think. “In our desire to comprehend and control life at larger and larger scales, we are perhaps unknowingly putting in motion whole regimes of mass phenomena that can initially appear natural, or at least non-human, in origin. We are somehow managing to alter the world at the level of ontology”. (John May – On Technology, Ecology and Urbanism, Verb magazine/crisis, p.112) This raises the question: Are we, as designers of the next landscape, trapped in a loop of overcontrol of the landscape? Should the capacity of the landscape be exhausted to balance the over-consumption of energy for the comfortable life of the future inhabitant of the city? Since many practices of excessive control of natural landscape processes have proven to enhance the problem they were initially trying to address, why do we keep insisting in them and try to camouflage them with a green cloth of sustainability? Is “this vague conception of sustainability as a kind of substitutive network of green technologies little more than a band-aid, a small patch on a swiftly deteriorating skin”? (Ibid, p.107) What is it that makes new “sustainable” devices of exploitation different from the rapid processes of urbanization of the modern age, often criticized by many thinkers in the field of contemporary landscape architecture?
The need to protect the landscape from processes of urbanization, whether they are given the label of sustainability or not, was also a theme appearing at the symposium. Kees Christiaanse (KCAP Architects & Planner and professor at the Chair of Architecture and Urban Design at the ETH Zurich) discussed the term of ‘Inverse Urbanism’ in the first part of his presentation at the Triennial. As he suggests, there has been a change of perspective in the relationship between nature and the built environment. While, in the past, the landscape was the ‘leftover’ of urbanisation, the Inverse urbanism reverses this balance giving high priority to the natural and cultural landscape. This approach of the city as a residual area, emphasizes the need to reconsider our contemporary, over-comfortable ways of life. “This involves less comfortable and convenient methods of being in the world, and probably more uncertain and dangerous individual lives. It involves decoupling ourselves from the crass culture of speed and efficiency that has colonized our psyches”. (John May – On Technology, Ecology and Urbanism, Verb magazine/crisis, p.110) Understanding change as a threat often leads to the problem of excessively controlled landscapes. However, what contemporary treatises of landscape architecture suggest is to embrace indeterminacy, rather than trying to precisely predict and strictly control it. As M. Prominski writes: “…with the acceptance of indeterminacy, the celebration of processes and the productive use of systemic relationships for design purposes… landscape architecture is able to deal with complex problems…. Uncertainty should not be seen as something to be resolved, but as an integral part of the design and inspire an approach more guided by time and process rather than image and production”. (Prominski, Designing Landscapes as evolutionary systems, p.30-32)
As a result, thinking of radical change is not only about imagining scenes where the image of the cultural landscape is combined with green technological interventions. The idea of sustainability needs to be seen as an integral part of our everyday practices. It is about imagining new ways of living, maybe less comfortable and fancy, but more able to accommodate change.
Written by: Eleni Chronopoulou and Inge Bobbink
The chair of Landscape Architecture is inviting you to a new series of events as part of our How-Do-You-Landscape lecture series – the HDYL Film Night.
Films are an exceptional communication middle to build narratives, document positions and transfer knowledge in an entertaining way. Dovetailing in with the lecture series, the screenings will address themes related to landscape and ways to understand it, order and act with it. The films will be based on contemporary themes such as walk-scapes, water-scapes, social-scapes, food-scapes and transport-scapes. Students of the master track Landscape Architecture are closely involved with the organization of the film in the role of curator and commentator in discussions around the topic. Students will introduce the theme and the film of the night with a short talk, followed by the screening and a closing discussion.
Our first Film Night on Thursday 18th February – 18.30, in room K, is on the theme of Disaster-scapes, the privileged ground for an array of questions in landscape architecture, urbanism and architecture. Increasingly part of our planetary condition, disasters are destructive events that radically disrupt environmental, spatial and social conditions. The role of spatial design disciplines in post-disaster environments is thus not only about reconstruction of territories, but is also critically encumbered with addressing trauma, loss and memory of past landscapes. Paradoxically too, post-catastrophe sites are also rich milieus for the examination of new ideas about nature, landscape and the human condition. Moreover, catastrophes often lead to paradigm changes in spatial development, policy and governance, and can catalyse dramatic technological and design innovations. And disaster landscapes are also forbidden places, generating stories of lost worlds and vague secrets.
Students Sarem Sunderland and Barbara Prezelj, will tease out some of these themes in the prelude to the film Stalker by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky.
Sunderland contends that ‘Post-traumatic landscapes and memorial designs provide cases where the relation between landscape and memory is critical; in such cases, the transmission of memory through design becomes an assignment on itself – what is memory, how is it transmitted, and what role does space play in this transmission?
Prezeli will give an introduction to her work on Unfamiliar Territory: ‘In my research I primarily focus on territory and territory-production and its relation to landscape. The ‘unfamiliar’ as I approach it is first the unfamiliar as found and then the unfamiliar as novel, something that is not scripted or pre-determined. Basically what I argue is that if landscape architecture has any role in connection to disturbed sites these days then it is not about healing what society has damaged but rather redefine the problem and consequently the intervention. So keeping the unfamiliarity, embracing contingency, engaging us critically, moving from a product (final image) to production’.
Stalker – Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979 – Russia
Near a grey and unnamed city lies the Zone, an alien place guarded by barbed wire and soldiers. Ignoring his wife’s objections, a man rises in the early morning and leaves her with their disabled daughter to meet two men. He’s a Stalker, one of a handful who have the mental gifts (and who risk imprisonment) to lead people to the Room , a place in the Zone where one’s secret hopes come true. His clients are a burnt-out popular novelist, cynical, and questioning; and a quiet scientist more concerned about his knapsack than the journey. In the deserted Zone, the approach to the Room must be indirect. As they draw near, the rules seem to change and the stalker faces a crisis.’
Denise Piccinini and René van der Velde, with contributions from Sarem Sunderland, Barbara Prezelj .
Sinds 16 mei zijn onze tien tuinen voor Vincent van Gogh te zien in De Tuinen van Appeltern. Onze tien tuinen zijn inmiddels door tienduizenden bezoekers bekeken en beleefd.
Voldoende redenen voor een feestelijke samenkomst en een uitwisseling met groengenoten waarbij tevens het gouden potlood wordt toegekend aan de beste ontwerpen verdeeld over meerdere categorieën.
U kunt genieten van tien boeiende sprekers die we als ambassadeurs hebben uitgenodigd bij onze tuinen om zoveel mogelijk stemmen dan wel sympathie te vergaren.
We zouden het leuk vinden als jullie erbij zouden zijn op 19 september vanaf 13.00 uur in De Tuinen van Appeltern.
LET OP: MORGEN WOENSDAG LAATSTE KANS voor AANMELDING VERPLICHT met gratis bezoek aan De Tuinen van Appeltern 2015 en bij deze besloten bijeenkomst met de web-link http://www.appeltern.nl/nl/gouden_potlood_2015/
Kom proeven, ruiken, kijken en luisteren en breng je vrienden en collega’s mee om te stemmen op onze
Excellentie Tuin-Ambassadeur Guido Marsille