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AGENDA Territory as Design Praxis Landscape Urbanism at the Architectural Association explores the emergence of ‘territory’ as a field of design praxis. Through this lense the programme operates within contemporary conditions whereby urban environments are understood not as discrete independent collections of objects but rather as interconnected and related landscapes with far reaching implications at local and global scales. Their implications are best reflected in current environmental concerns such as climate change, energy crisis and widespread pollution but less apparent in their social and political implications, currently being disguised by ecological and sustainable design driven agendas for the ‘urbanised world’. The production of Treaties (i.e. European Landscape Convention), Networks (Delta-Net), governmental plans (Room for the river Netherlands) and other local policies and agreements with potential impact on specific geographies is symptomatic of the demands for implementation of synchronized responses and projects at the scale of territory. However, they have rarely been seen as a space for research-led projects by design practices, given their potential impact on the production and/or reconfiguration of their space. Territory, understood in Elden’s terms as a ‘political technology’, has the capacity to involve designers

in complex processes, - social, political, economic - that are the engines - historically, geographically, conceptually - behind these contemporary conditions, but most importantly it allows them to intervene in those realities in alternative ways via the production and development of innovative yet critical design projects of territories. Thinking practice through the concept of territory, the agency of the designer can be extended beyond its current disciplinary confinements: those of architecture, planning, urban design, landscape architecture, engineering, etc. as well as those of the various (un)-disciplinary re-alignments and hybrids in which these are currently configured. In the process, geographic knowledge and practices, such as cartography and geomorphology, are reappropriated and mobilised as the means to ask and respond to these fundamental questions. In doing so, the programme explores the types of project, forms of documentation, theories, technologies and techniques required to rethink and redefine the temporal production of territorial spaces through the praxis of design. It engages critically with a range of social and material formations in given territories, and with the conflicts that resonate at geographical scales of the local, the regional and the continental.

Projective Sandscapes - Atlas - Elena Longhin, Chris Lo and Chan Howe







What is AA Landscape Urbanism? The AA Landscape Urbanism (AALU) model is distinctive. Some have envisaged Landscape Urbanism as a means to decamp the depopulated western post-industrial city; to use landscape as the medium through which the urban can be reprogrammed for its post-fordist fate. Others have adopted a critical regionalist position in which landscape is mobilised in the conservation of site and tradition against the encroachments of globalisation and its supposedly universalising technology. The position developed, within the AALU programme has eschewed both the strategies of dispersal and the politics of conservative resistance, largely as a result of the locations with which we have been engaging. The ever expanding metropolises of Mexico, Sri Lanka, Dubai and China, Europe for example, have rendered any straightforward adoption of conventional models incongruous to its concerns. On the other hand, the programme’s theoretical orientation, drawing at its outset upon the poststructuralist thought of figures such as Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and FÊlix Guattari, has placed it directly at odds with the phenomenological and humanist orientation of regionalist positions. Rather than operate under the dictates of a post-fordist teleology, or be guided by a phenomenological/ Flooding Mechanisms - Social Formation Silvia Ribot-Gil, Dimitra Bra, Lida Driva

humanist agenda, AALU has forged a distinctive framework of practical knowledge, responsive design instruments and theoretical perspectives developed in an ongoing dialogue with the conditions it has addressed over the course of its existence. In this sense the programme has developed through a logic of PRAXIS. The concept of Territory underpins our current Praxis, engaging the programme with wider conversations and disciplines, in particular Geography and Geomorphology. The programme has been constantly evolving, integrating practices such as cartography and new applications of technologies such as scripted simulations and GIS mapping, all of which are widely available in geographical disciplines but relatively untapped within disciplines engaged with large scale territories. Following a research by design methodology, students develop the ability to abstract complex territorial formations and landscape-based models to generate a set of novel guidelines that can potentially be deployed in comparable territories. These guidelines for new socio-spatial outcomes provide an alternative to conventional planning projects, challenging how urban territories are designed and ultimately reconfigured.




APPLICATIONS How to Apply and Entry Requirements Entry Requirements MSc Landscape Urbanism (12 month course) Professional degree or diploma in architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism, urban planning, geography or other relevant discipline. MArch Landscape Urbanism (16 month course) Five-year professional degree or diploma in architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism or other relevant discipline (BArch/Diploma equivalent). Application Procedure Entry to the Landscape Urbanism Programme is made by completing an online Graduate School Application Form and submitting a design portfolio showing previous professional and academic experience (no larger than A4, and between ten and 30 pages, CDs are also accepted but must be accompanied by a printed hard copy). Please refer to the AA Graduate Prospectus for more information. Graduate Bursaries The AA is committed to giving as many talented students as possible the opportunity to study. Approximately one in six AA students receives financial assistance through our Scholarship, Bursary and Assistantship programme. Awards range from one to one-and-a-half terms, covering a

proportion of student fees for the year. English Language Requirements If not from a national from a majority English speaking country (as defined by on a list on UKVI website) all candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Fees Fees for 2015/16* academic year: MSc: £ 23,727 MArch (16 months): £31,636 All graduate students are required to pay an additional £95 AA Membership and Student Forum fee per year. Fees are payable in advance or on an annual or termly basis. A three per cent discount is deducted if a full year’s fees are paid by 15 July 2017. Contact For more detailed information please see the AA Graduate Prospectus at http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/APPLY/ PROSPECTUS/prospectusGraduate. php Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Graduate Admissions Team on +44 (0)20 7887 4007/4067/4094 or graduateadmission@aaschool.ac.uk


FAQ’s What are some of the computer programs used within the course? Students are encouraged to explore a range of different tools relevant to their project. Alongside some of the more common 3D modelling and drafting software such as Rhinoceros or CAD, we explore the potentials of GIS mapping techniques in addition to some scripted simulations using firstly Grasshopper and later moving into the Python programming language. We also explore the potential of videos, online maps and websites. Another central part of the course is the use of physical modelling and fabrication techniques, making use of the AA’s excellent Digital Prototyping Lab. I saw that a lot of the studio work done seems to require knowledge of computing software like GIS, Rhino, Grasshopper, etc. Are these taught as part of the programme or is prior knowledge necessary? Students aren’t expected to have any prior experiencing using the software. Throughout the year, the computational support is provided by the technical tutors. In Term 1, workshops will be undertaken with the intent of bringing everyone to an equal base level. Of course, prior knowledge of the software is beneficial. Throughout term 1, on the weekends, the AA runs seminars in a variety of different software which are open to the whole school.

Littoral Negotiations - The Mediterranean Liam Mouritz, Ting-Fu Chang, Xiabin Hu

I don’t have a background in design—can I still apply? The Landscape Urbanism program encourages a multi-disciplinary approach. The staff themselves come from a variety of backgrounds including architecture, landscape architecture, civil engineering, spatial analysis and structural engineering. As a result, while the course is specifically geared towards advanced level research students in architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism, we encourage students from any related discipline such as engineering or geography. What happens after Landscape Urbanism? Where do graduates typically find jobs? The Landscape Urbanism studio is an internationally regarded laboratory for tools and ideas useful for landscape and territorial research. You will learn relevant technical skills along with an approach which fosters critical thinking, collaboration and the ability to consider issues through time, something fundamental to the contemporary urban condition. Landscape Urbanism graduates have found employment around the world. Some have worked in practices such as Groundlab, Plasma Studio, ARUP, AECOM, Heatherwick Studio, Foster and Partners, Gustafson and Porter, Marth Schwartz Partners, others have become involved in academia, and some have started their own practices.




TERRITORY OF ENGAGEMENT Pan-European Atlas of Radical Cartogrpahies In October 2000 the European Landscape Convention in Florence became the first pan-European project with the ambition of defining the entirety of the European territory from a cultural perspective. It promised a collective sense of the appreciation of territorial specificity supported by comprehensive studies of charters and tailor-made recommendations. However, the decidedly encyclopaedic spirit of the Florence Convention trumped a stubborn reality where practices of property developers and, perhaps more importantly, a set of labyrinthine policies were never translated into meaningful systems of space production. Framework 2015-2017: Europe It is within this rift between the utilitarian and cultural practices of European policies that Landscape Urbanism aims to locate a space of research. For the third year the course seeks to explore how productive and natural formations can generate the

basis of a pan-European project of territories which are neither generic nor iconic, neither conventional nor touristic. As such, the course will be concerned on the one hand with the geomorphological formations of relevant landforms and on the other with the actual cultural, political and economic forces that drive and choreograph the social formations of these landforms. The outcome of these concerns will be primarily the production of a set of radical and experimental cartographies to form a pan-European Atlas as the basis of new ways of documenting the future of European environments. These cartographies are seen as projective machines with the capacity to unveil the glitches between conflicting systems at stake: tectonic landscapes, political governance, land administration and their material and spatial organisation, therefore putting forward projects and design intentions at territorial scales as alternatives for the future. Aeolian Sand Odyssey - Atlas - Niki Kakali and Anastasia Kotenko LU Final Jury 2015



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PROGRAMME CONTENT Bifurcation Model The Landscape Urbanism programme is offered according to a Bifurcation Model, whereby two degrees are offered, MArch and MSc. Students from both degrees will share a substantial proportion of their course, developing their projects in groups. The MArch and the MSc students will be firstly mixed together, allowing them to share each others skillsets before later separating and developing their specific design proposals. The MSc in Landscape Urbanism will develop the ability to comparatively analyse, interpret and generalise large-scale and complex territorial formations in order to generate a set of design guidelines (i.e. Manual) that can potentially be deployed and transferred into comparable territories (i.e. Atlas). These design documents will be the outcome of a research by design methodology based on analytical and design tools and techniques (its development and refinement) such as digital geomorphological simulations, GIS mapping and cartographic concepts and practices. This technical and scientific methodology will be used to facilitate the reappropriation of landscape-based models into the production of alternative and novel design guidelines, as opposed to traditional and conventional planning projects, for the design of large-scale territories.

The MArch in Landscape Urbanism will produce site specific projects that will work as an operative test bed of territorial design guidelines. As such the projects will be understood as the critical application and on site implementation of techniques and theories into concrete designed scenarios. The MArch degree will foster a way of thinking in which the overarching questions developed in territorial design guidelines and the specificity of particular site conditions will mutually feed back. The students will have an opportunity to additionally develop an in-depth research on the given site, in collaboration with local universities and institutions, over the summer months. This investigation will contribute to reflect critically on the theoretical aspects of the course, and discuss the relevancy of the discipline in the given specific context.

Energy Landscapes - Eugenio Da Rin and Josine Lambert



Course Structure & Lecture Series Term 1: Territorial Formations • Workshop 1: Landscript • Workshop 2: Social Formations • Workshop 3: Manufactured Grounds • Seminar Series: Model, Methods and Histories • Lecture Series: Landform Dynamics Term 2 : Cartogenesis • Design Studio: Territory Research • Design Studio: Atlas of Transferable Grounds • Design Studio: Cartogenesis • Lecture Series: Cartographies; Genealogies and Practices • Seminar Series: The Rhetoric of Mapping • Seminar Series: Machining Landscapes Term 3 : Tectonic Grounds • Design Studio: Territorial Morphology • Design Studio: Tectonic Grounds • Workshop 4: Digitally Fabricated Territories • Lecture Series: Landscape Urbanism • Seminar Series: LU Core Seminar • Seminar Series: Machining Landscapes Term 4: Design Thesis • Final Design Thesis Preparation (MArch) • Final Design Thesis Preparation (MSc)

The studio is supported by Seminar and Lecture Series that take place during Terms 1 and 2. In addition to mandatory attendance at these events, students are required to make presentations and to undertake 4 essays. A series of weekly lectures, approximately an hour in length, are followed by an opportunity for students to discuss the issues raised. Appropriate reading for each lecture is indicated in advance, with a broader reading list provided for each course. Some notable guest lecturers proposed for the 2015-17 schedule include: • Stuart Elden, a Professor of Political Theory and Geography at the University of Warwick • Charles Waldheim, a Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard GSD • Erik Swyngedouw, a Professor of Geography at the University of Manchester focusing on political economy, political ecology and urban theory • Andrew Barkwirth, a Geologist working with computational simulation at the British Geological Survey • Tom Coulthard, a Professor of Physical Geography, specialising in fluvial geomorphology, at the Geography Department, University of Hull

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FIELD WORKSHOPS Site Explorations & Consultations A field trip to the location chosen for the studio project of each group takes place generally at the end of Term 2, in order for students to examine specific site conditions, access sources of information, and meet with local practitioners and researchers. Students select the site to be visited on a group basis according to the previous research and project location. Recent locations include Lake Manzala, the Aralkum Desert, the Navarra Floodplains and the Volga Delta.

Page Right - Top - Fisherman, Lake Manzala - Xiabin Hu Page Right - Left Bottom - Aralkum Desert - Elena Longhin Page Right - Right Bottom - Lake Manzala Liam Mouritz

Curonian Spit - Anastasia Kotenko Aralkum Desert - Elena Longhin



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EXHIBITIONS 2015 AA Projects Review The AA Landscape Urbanism program exhibits every year at the AA Projects Review and regularly around the world in different venues. The exhibition spaces are collaboratively designed and installed by the current students.

AALU Exhibition 2015 AALU Exhibition Video Screen 2015 Bottom Left - AALU Exhibition 2010 Bottom Right - AALU Exhibition 2012



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PUBLICATIONS Theorisations & Deliberations The following publications by the AA Landscape Urbanism staff document some of the key recent ideas which underpin the development of the research agenda within the program. Castro, E. Ramirez, A. Rico, E. Spencer D. (2014) Critical Territories: From Academia to Praxis , London, Actar/List This book describes the phases and processes through which we have arrived at a distinctive model of Landscape Urbanism and the movement, from academia to praxis, through which this has been achieved. Recent Journal Articles: Ramirez, A. Castro, (2014) Flowing Gardens. Xi’an International Horticultural Expo, Presterl Verlag, Munich-London-New York Spencer, D. (2014) “Nature is the Dummy”. New Geographies: Grounding Metabolism, 6 Ramirez, A. Oloriz, C. (2014) “Lost Landscapes, Reclaiming Remoteness Interview”. Journal of Landscape Architecture: Kerb, Issue 22 Ramirez, A. Castro E. (2014) Landscape Urbanism Interview. in: Jeannette Sordi (ed.) Beyond Urbanism. New York, Actar/List



Suggested Reading List Cosgrove, D. Social Formations and Symbolic Landscape (London: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998).

Nurturing Dreams: Collected Essays on Architecture and the City, (MIT Press, 2008).

Elden, S. The Birth of Territory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013).

Hall, P. Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2002).

Letherbarrow, D. “The Project of Design Research” in: Michael U. Hensel (ed.) Design Innovation for the Built Environment. Research by Design and the Renovation of Practice (Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2012). pp. 5-14. Spencer, D. “Nature is the dummy” in New Geographies Journal, 06, 2014, pp. 112-117.

Benevolo, L. Origins of Modern Town Planning (London: Routledge, 1967). Carpo, M. The Alphabet and the Algorithm (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2011).

Wood, D. Rethinking the Power of Maps (New York: The Guilford Press, 2010). Shane, G. ‘The Emergence of “Landscape Urbanism”’ in Harvard Design Magazine, Fall 2003/Winter 2004, Number 19. Shane, G. Recombinant Urbanism (John Wiley & Sons, 2005). Graham, S., Marvin, S., Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition (London and New York: Routledge, 2001). Maki, Fumihiko, “Some Thoughts on Collective Form”, in Mulligan, Mark,

Littoral Negotiations - Co-operative Spit Formation - Liam Mouritz, Ting-Fu Chang, Xiabin Hu

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RESEARCH 14/15 Littoral Negotiations This project explores the blurred interface between the land and the sea known as the littoral zone. The very matter from which this condition is constructed is wet sand or sediment. This is the material from which we begin to envision alternative design scenarios for the littoral zone of the Mediterranean Sea. Find out more about the project on http://littoralnegotiatio.wix.com/ littroalnegotiation?fb_ref=Default By Liam Mouritz, Ting Fu Chang and Xiabin Hu



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RESEARCH 14/15 Flooding Mechanisms The project proposes a new design approach towards ‘Water Management Policies’ in Europe and specifically the North of Spain. It intersects social and geomorphological formations to intervene and design new productive and political entities that could make use of micro-flooding in order to provoke scenarios of river and agricultural landscapes alternative to the current technocratic conditions. By Silvia Ribot-Gil, Lida Driva and Dimitra Bra



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RESEARCH 14/15 Projective Sandscapes This project delves into questions of ongoing desertification processes in remote landscapes. Frequently we find claims about the overuse of land and unsuitable agricultural processes that provoke droughts and desertification, leading to increasing human conflicts. In this project we intervene within Nukus, part of the desiccated Aral Sea region, where shifting sands are moving over cities and productive grounds. We attempt to choreograph dune formations as a way to re-sow preserved urban clusters, transforming their morphological conditions with landscape spatial qualities. By Elena Longhin Chris Lo and Chan Howe



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RESEARCH 13/14 Aeolian Sand Odyssey Control over Nature manifested itself in the concept of landscape preservation. The Curonian Spit – a 100km length strip of sands, is today under strict UNESCO protection, which actually results in the disappearing of territory. Current dune management approaches negate the dunes, while at the same time social and economic activities are in decay. Is there a degree of control that allows both territorial forces and human activity to coexist? This project proposes to open active sand areas – corridors of dunes, shifting according to time cycles of both dunes and forestry formations. By Niki Kakali and Anastasia Kotenko



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RESEARCH 13/14 Coastal Futures The British territorial crust is subsiding, facing increased flooding risks. The short-term flooding protection tends to act upon a centralized territorial framework. From Cameron’s speech, the Flood policy presents more capital distributed towards the centralized model, which might cause a huge loss in areas along the coastal communities. Our proposition seeks to revert the broken economic model using tidal force as an instrument for transformation. Here flooding acts as an agent to influence the regional disparities and provoke decentralization. By Valeria Garcia and Yunya Tang



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RESEARCH 13/14 The Riparian Land-Shaping Machine Mountain landscapes have been subjected to a relentless conflict between conservative picturesque attitudes ad economic exploitation approaches. The project is informed by an understanding of the river as a water-sediment management machine that choreographs newly manufactured riparian landscapes. The proposed series of small interventions engage with dynamic variation through multiple time scales, with significant consequences along the river, not relying on a mere ecological restoration but also involving various human activities and production processes. By Eugenio Da Rin and Josine Lambert



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CREDITS LU Staff Directors: Jose Alfredo Ramirez is an architect and founding director of Groundlab where he has won and developed several competitions, workshops, exhibitions and projects. He is Director of the AA Visiting School in Mexico City and has lectured internationally on the topic of landscape urbanism and the work of Groundlab. Eduardo Rico studied civil engineering in Spain and graduated from the AA’s Landscape Urbanism programme. He has been a consultant and researcher in the fields of infrastructure and landscape in Spain and the UK. Currently he is working within the Arup engineering team. He has also taught at Harvard GSD and the Berlage Institute. Studio Master: Clara Oloriz Sanjuan is a practising architect and received her PhD from the eTsA Universidad de Navarra. She has worked for FOA, Cerouno, Plasma Studio and Groundlab. She teaches at the University of Navarra and is codirector of the AA Visiting School in Bilbao. She co-directs an AA research cluster titled Urban Prototypes. Seminar Tutors: Douglas Spencer has studied architectural history, cultural studies, and critical theory. His recent writing includes contributions to the collections The Missed Encounter of Architecture with Philosophy (Bloomsbury,

2014), Architecture Against the Post-Political (Routledge, 2014) and New Geographies 6: Grounding Metabolism (Harvard 2014). He is currently writing a book titled The Architecture of Neoliberalism, to be published in 2016. Tom Smith is a landscape architect and urban designer currently at Spacehub. His work has been diverse, ranging from master planning for the Chelsea Flower Show, to largescale multidisciplinary landscape, engineering and architecture projects. He has been instrumental in the design of the London 2012 Olympic and Legacy Master Plan. Technical Tutors: Gustavo Romanillos is an architect and researcher interested in the spatial analysis of urban and territorial dynamics. He completed his degree in Architecture at the ETSAM, and a Masters in Geographic Information Technologies at the UCM. His research and teaching activities are based in Spain, Nicaragua and the UK. Giancarlo Torpiano completed his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Structural Engineering at the University of Malta and holds an MArch in Emergent Design and Technologies from the AA. His main interests are algorithmic design focused on emergent behaviours, natural structures, structural engineering and computational techniques.

Littoral Negotiations - Model Making Catalogue - Liam Mouritz, Ting-Fu Chang and Xiabin Hu


Contact MSc / MArch in Landscape Urbanism 2015-16, Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES Website (Programme): http:// landscapeurbanism.aaschool.ac.uk/

Issuu (Completed Design Thesis): http://issuu.com/ aalandscapeurbanism Graduate School Administrator, Clement Chung clement@aaschool.ac.uk

Facebook (Galleries): https://www. facebook.com/pages/

Directors, JosĂŠ Alfredo Ramirez alfredo@aaschool.ac.uk

Twitter (News): https://twitter.com/ AALandscapeUrb

Eduardo Rico Eduardo.Rico@arup.com

Blog (Articles): http://aa-landscapeurbanism.blogspot.co.uk/


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Profile for AA Landscape Urbanism MArch/MSc

AA Landscape Urbanism Programme Brochure  

The AA Landscape Urbanism (AALU) is a Graduate programme of the Architectural Association explores the emergence of ‘TERRITORY’ as a field...

AA Landscape Urbanism Programme Brochure  

The AA Landscape Urbanism (AALU) is a Graduate programme of the Architectural Association explores the emergence of ‘TERRITORY’ as a field...