The countryside is often presented as bucolic, close to nature; the city, by contrast, as artifice shaped by capital. Raymond Williams addressed many of the fallacies of this disjuncture in his classic study The Country and the City (1973). What has happened to the countryside since then, and what is the relationship between the urban and the rural today? While a great deal of scholarly attention has been dedicated to urban development and urbanization, the study of the rural has lacked a comparable systematic analysis. This event is the first in a series devoted to the countryside, intending to address that imbalance. The school also plans to offer a Rotterdam-based option studio devoted to the topic in the spring of 2016.
Introduction by Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander Wiley Professor of Design Main presenter: Frédéric Bonnet, codirector, Équipe Obras; Lecturer at the Accademia dell'architettura, Mendrisio, Switzerland; winner of the 2014 Grand Prix de l'Urbanisme With short statements by: Anita Berrizbeitia, professor of landscape architecture and chair of the Landscape Architecture Department at Harvard GSD Neil Brenner, professor of urban theory; director of the Urban Theory Lab at Harvard GSD John Dixon Hunt, visiting professor of landscape architecture at Harvard GSD; emeritus professor of the history and theory of landscape, University of Pennsylvania Christopher Lee, associate professor in practice of urban design at Harvard GSD
The invention of landscape has always oscillated between a history of beliefs in nature, with its many representations, and a history of terrain measurements through various techniques of appropriation.
In his talk, Christophe Girot will consider the longstanding balance between culture and its instruments for sensing and conceiving a landscape, noting that the particular representation of landscape that we hold true today has roots in the dialogue between ars and techne that has characterized every epoch.
The aim of this talk and discussion is to open a window on topology’s shifting point of view with regard to this form of interdependence that will considerably affect our ability to act and perform effectively on landscape’s reality.
Girot is chair of Landscape Architecture at the Institute of Landscape Architecture, ETH Zürich. Christophe Girot is professor and chair of landscape architecture in the architecture department of the ETH in Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), and from 2005 to 2014 he directed the Institute of Landscape Architecture at the same institution. In his current role as principal investigator in the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, he leads a team of ten doctoral and postdoctoral researchers on a flood control project in the coastal metropolis of Jakarta, Indonesia.
His three principal research topics are topological methods in landscape architecture; new media in landscape analysis and perception; and the history and theory of landscape architecture. Before coming to the ETH, Girot was professor and chair of landscape architecture at the Versailles School of Landscape Architecture (Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Paysage) from 1990 to 2000. He has lectured and been guest professor in many renowned academic institutions around the world; he has also published extensively in key reference books and contributed significant articles to the landscape architecture literature. He current book, entitled The Course of Landscape Architecture, will be published by Thames and Hudson at the end of this year
Exploring the transformation of the modeling of land from garden-making to landscape architecture, this lecture by Joseph Disponzio will establish the intellectual origins of landscape architecture in relation to the new garden practices that emerged during the 18th century, and the texts that codified these practices, amid Enlightenment-era changes in the understanding of nature. Disponzio is Preservation Landscape Architect for the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation, and Director of the Landscape Design program at Columbia University. He has taught at several institutions, published widely on garden history from the 18th century to the present, and is currently writing introductions for an edition of N. Vergnaud’s L’Art de créer les jardins (1835) and a translation of Jean-Marie Morel’s Théorie des jardins (1776).
4th December 2014
The difficulties of making the case for maintaining wetland landscapes are as present in London as they are in countryside localities. The lecture will discuss whether an ecosystem-services approach can help in conserving what remains of our lowland wetlands. Jacquie Burgess was Head of the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA from 2007–10. She has worked with English Nature, the Countryside Commission and the Environment Agency and was made Vice-Chairman of the Broads Authority in 2013. This lecture is co-hosted with the Landscape Research Group
It has been almost four decades since the idea of process erupted into the field of landscape architecture as a primary driver of design. Initially associated with hermeneutics—a poetics inherent to the medium of landscape and a conceptual framework to bridge the divide between ecology and design—the idea of process today remains largely unquestioned, applied uncritically regardless of social and political conditions. Anita Berrizbeitia MLA '87, professor of landscape architecture and chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture, will explore the limits of process and will argue for the need to define the term differently today in order to address the conditions of diverse contexts of urbanization. With a response by Michel Desvigne, Peter Louis Hornbeck Design Critic in Landscape Architecture.
Anita Berrizbeitia is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture. Her research focuses on design theories of modern and contemporary landscape architecture, the productive aspects of landscapes, and Latin American cities and landscapes. She was awarded the 2005/2006 Prince Charitable Trusts Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, she studied architecture at the Universidad Simon Bolivar before receiving a BA from Wellesley College and an MLA from the GSD.
Berrizbeitia has taught design theory and studio, previously at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Her studios investigate innovative approaches to the conceptualization of public space, especially on sites where urbanism, globalization, and local cultural conditions intersect. She also leads seminars that focus on significant transformations in landscape discourse over the last three decades. From 1987 to 1993, she practiced with Child Associates, Inc., in Boston, where she collaborated on many award-winning projects.
Berrizbeitia is co-author, with Linda Pollak, of Inside/Outside: Between Architecture and Landscape (Rockport, 1999), which won an ASLA Merit Award; author of Roberto Burle Marx in Caracas: Parque del Este, 1956-1961 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), awarded the J.B. Jackson Book Prize in 2007 from the Foundation for Landscape Studies; and editor of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates: Reconstructing Urban Landscapes (Yale University Press, 2009), which received an ASLA Honor Award. Her essays have been published in Daniel Urban Kiley: The Early Gardens (Princeton Architectural Press), Recovering Landscape (Princeton Architectural Press), Roberto Burle Marx: Landscapes Reflected (Princeton Architectural Press), CASE: Downsview Park Toronto (Prestel), Large Parks (Princeton Architectural Press), Retorno al Paisaje (Evren), and Hargreaves Associates: Landscape Alchemy (ORO Publishers), as well as in magazines such as A+U.
Michel Desvigne, Peter Louis Hornbeck Design Critic in Landscape Architecture, is a landscape architect internationally renowned for his rigorous and contemporary designs and for the originality and relevance of his research work. His projects, developed in more than twelve different countries, are regularly published in the international press. He works with leading architects including Herzog and de Meuron, Foster+Partners, Jean Nouvel, Rem Koolhaas, Christian de Portzamparc, I.M. Pei, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers. He was awarded the French national Urbanism Grand Prize in 2011. Desvigne’s most renowned urban public spaces include Draï Eechelen Park (Luxemburg), Sammons Park in Dallas (US), the Saint Louis Art Museum (US), the New Qatar National Museum in Doha, Burgos Boulevard (Spain), Lyon Confluence 2 and Ile Seguin prefiguration garden (France). Recently Michel Desvigne has been awarded the leading role in the planning and implementation of the Paris-Saclay cluster (7700 ha), the landscape and urban plan for the development of Euralens (1200 ha), as well as the redevelopment of the old port of Marseille, awarded “prix de l’aménagement urbain” in 2013.
As emergence theory is invoked and operationalized in a wide range of projects and studios, cities are becoming adaptive in ways they never were before. But the concepts mobilized by systems thinking require us to reexamine the very nature of our human encounter with the world, whose complexities are not often considered in landscape architecture. With the aid of key concepts of emergence such as difference, disturbance, and assemblage, this lecture will attempt to situate designers within the systems they intervene in while acknowledging that the systems are within them too. The Olmsted Lecture is an annual honorific lecture in landscape architecture.
Rod Barnett is Chair of the Graduate Program in Landscape Architecture in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at Auburn University.
Formerly at Unitec New Zealand, where he was director of the Unitec Landscape Unit, the research wing of the Department of Landscape Architecture, he has devoted the last ten years to experiments in emergence and nonlinear design.
A strong advocate of research by design, Barnett has investigated emergence in landscape architecture across a range of academic and professional venues, including design studios, professional practice and publications. This has included field work in the islands of the South Pacific, explorations of nonlinearity in imagined gardens and, currently, the reformulation of forgotten urban and rural landscapes in the South.
Barnett's recent book, Emergence in Landscape Architecture, explores these issues, arguing that the open, uncertain condition of all landscapes places them at the heart of 21st century design practice.
Lecture date: 2012-11-05
History and Theory Studies Lecture Series
Wastelands are a characteristic feature of many urban and industrial landscapes. Although the term ‘wasteland’ has become widely subsumed within various utilitarian discourses concerning the redevelopment or redesign of ostensibly empty or unproductive spaces, the idea encompasses a multiplicity of meanings, material origins and ecological characteristics. It is suggested that a more theoretically nuanced and historically grounded conception of the intersections between critical cultural discourses and recent advances in urban ecology might provide a useful counterpoint to narrowly utilitarian approaches to urban nature.
Matthew Gandy is Professor of Geography at University College London and was director of the UCL Urban Laboratory from 2005 to 2011. His books include Concrete and Clay (The MIT Press) and most recently the edited collection Urban Constellations (Jovis). His essays have appeared in many international journals including Architectural Design, New Left Review, and Society and Space.
This is the first of the History and Theory Studies lecture series, organised by Mark Cousins, Mollie Claypool and Ryan Dillon.
Women in Design (WiD) and Latin GSD, in collaboration with the Department of Landscape Architecture, present “Landscape Architecture in Latin America: Unpacking Theory, Practice, and Agency.” This symposium will provide an opportunity to debate the current and future state of landscape architecture in Latin America. Latin America is formed by a diverse set of territories, offering both challenges and opportunities to the landscape discipline. This symposium brings together professionals from several countries to discuss the complex social, political, and environmental realities engaged in their work.
From the creation of ecological corridors in Bogota to urbanization in the Galapagos Islands, these designers interpret landscape through a range of lenses that include urbanism, architecture, ecology, and social engagement. Speaking to the many interdisciplinary interests at the GSD, panelists will frame conversations around theory and practice, established firms and emerging voices, and the role of equity in design. What is the intersection of research and built work? How is the discipline taught and regulated? How does landscape translate to academia and public policy? By presenting the current state of landscape architecture in Latin America this symposium will provide a space for imagining its future possibilities.
In 37 years of practice with Grupo de Diseño Urbano (Mexico City), Mario Schjetnan has overseen award-winning projects in architecture, urban design, and landscape. Among his most recognized works are the Parque Tezozomoc in Mexico City, the El Cedazo Park in Aguascalientes, and Parque Ecológico Xochimilco, for which the firm was awarded Harvard GSD’s Veronica Rudge Green Prize in 1996. Other landscape projects include Union Point Park in Oakland, California and, most recently, the transformation of a PEMEX oil refinery in Mexico City.
In the context of today’s generic urban developments and the eradication of public space by market forces and power structures, does landscape as a discipline have any capacity to challenge those mechanisms that produce contemporary urbanization as opposed to its conventional role in producing their aesthetic component? Eva Castro and Jose Alfredo Ramirez explore this question in their understanding of the landscape discipline and their radical utilization of infrastructure. These ideas represent a paradigm in the construction of our own political position not only in respect to questions of identity and public space but in the construction of our approach towards nature. Nature and ecology begin to serve as a mechanism of de-politicizing discourses linked to territorial planning and design as an effect of the mainstream ecological urbanism related practices. This professional shift towards pretended neutrality, in terms of both its social and political context, further reaches the domain of spatial design. As a counterargument, beyond the romanticist, a-politic, altruist, protectionist or mimetic conceptions of nature of the so-called ecologic or sustainable urbanism, Castro and Ramirez understand nature as an artifice, along the lines of an artificial construct, reinforcing rather than minimizing its political power. Castro and Ramirez argue that a spatial definition of the concept of ground can turn “nature” into a radical component of a morphologically driven urban discourse, signaling ways in which the discourse around the concept of ground and nature can be re-centered as a source of a radical approach to engineered landscapes.
Eva Castro is the co-founder and Director of Groundlab and Plasma studio. She has been teaching at the Architectural Association (AA) in London since 2003 and at the School of Landscape Architecture at Tsinghua University as a guest professor since 2011, where she directs a Landscape Urbanism Unit. She studied architecture and urbanism at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and the AA Graduate Design program with Jeff Kipnis. She has won a number of awards, including the Next Generation Architects Award and the Young Architect of the Year Award, and has published and exhibited worldwide.
Jose Alfredo Ramírez is an architect co-founder and director of Groundlab and currently co-director of the Landscape urbanism MA at the Architectural Association. He studied Architecture in Mexico City and graduate from the AA Landscape Urbanism graduate program in London 2005. Alfredo has worked and developed projects at the junction of architecture, landscape and urbanism in a variety of contexts such as China, Mexico, Spain, among others. He concentrates mainly in large scale developments like the Olympic Master Plan for London 2012 or the International Horticultural Exhibition in Xian China 2011. He has lectured on the topic of Landscape Urbanism and the work of Groundlab worldwide.
In an era of singular focus on environmental issues, how do we characterize other aspects of design, such as the role materials play in questions of expression, aesthetic sensibility, form, and perception? Three leading landscape architects will discuss how they communicate affective qualities in the landscape through specific material manipulations. Rather than being either merely decorative or sustainable, materials have the capacity to engage cognition, engage cultural discourse, and construct difference in otherwise homogeneous environments, offering a critique to the idea of landscape as a neutral surface for events.
Moderated by Anita Berrizbeitia, professor of landscape architecture and chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture.
Andrea Cochran, FASLA, winner of the 2014 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Landscape Architecture, believes that landscape architecture has the power to alter perceptions and ultimately initiate a deeper respect for the environment. Central to this belief is a conviction that materials possess inherent psychological content. Cochran begins her designs by envisioning how one will feel in the place. Through carefully selecting materials for their visual and sensorial qualities, and paying special attention to craft, her work elicits strong emotional responses in the landscapes. Though the overall spatial configuration of a project drives the design, ultimately materials support the integrity of the space and maximize the experience of the user. Cochran’s seventeen-person studio, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture (ACLA), is set apart by an emphasis on the experiential and material quality of built work, and effectively pursuing design excellence from a project’s inception to diligent oversight of its construction. A cross-pollination of ideas amongst project types is critical to the practice; experimentation pursued in smaller projects, where there is a greater ability to take risks, informs innovations at a civic scale.
James A. Lord founded Surfacedesign in 2001, his 27 years of experience and design vision lead the firm’s diverse portfolio of award-winning landscapes. Through leadership and innovative design, James has established Surfacedesign’s international reputation in urban design and sustainable landscape architecture in such notable projects as the AIA-award winning Smithsonian Masterplan, Auckland International Airport, Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary Plaza and ASLA award-winning IBM Plaza Honolulu. James' ideals-balancing culture, ecology and design vision with fiscal realities to ultimately create poetic spaces and experiences resonate through the office, no matter how big or small the project. Surfacedesign is a landscape architecture and urban design firm based in San Francisco, California. This internationally award-winning practice focuses on creating dynamic parks, campuses, plazas, waterfronts, civic landscapes and private gardens. Under the leadership of James A. Lord, Roderick Wyllie and Geoff di Girolamo, a multidisciplinary staff of landscape architects, urban designers and architects provide clients with a wide range of services. The firm’s approach emphasizes and celebrates the unique context of each project, and in the case of a public client, the project’s constituency. Working to cultivate a common understanding about project objectives through community engagement, Surfacedesign employs innovative design strategies to balance social, environmental and cultural goals for each project.
Ken Smith is one of the best-known of a generation of landscape architects equally at home in the worlds of art, architecture, and urbanism. Trained in both design and the fine arts, he explores the relationship between art, contemporary culture, and landscape. Ken Smith Workshop, established in 1992 and based in New York City, is an award winning design firm with experience in a wide variety and scale of projects, practicing landscape design primarily in the realm of public space. Typical design problems involve making landscape space within the context of existing, reworked or complex urban fabric. This requires a strategic approach in making the strongest conceptual landscapes within the limits and possibilities of the site’s infrastructure, context and program. This has led to pushing beyond traditional landscape typologies of plaza, street, and garden to conceptualize landscapes that are hybridized from diverse traditions and influences of the contemporary culture.
"Landscape on Trial" will develop main concerns about landscape shapes.
The movement of understanding—tactile, tentative, anxious—leads us to an exploration of the sedimentation of forms in an experimental mode.
The images that we are proposing here is more of the nature of image as material, a neither-here-nor-there, between fabrications that precede it and processes that extend beyond it.
Their visibility requires that the interwoven layers of several time-spans be shown: the short-span of production which threads and commands the taking of form; the long-span of accumulation which transforms everything even as it perpetrates its memory.
Working on the form of a space means working on the issues that run through it, it means opening up the critical space needed to evaluate them.
The work of configuration consists in putting this difference in place, not in presenting it as yet another 'object' (an anecdote), but on the contrary arranging it around us, more effectively configuring it so that it has an impact on us...and open up new horizons.