The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL Autumn Show 2020
Villa Grazia (1942), Asmara, Eritrea, designed by Antonio Vitaliti. Location of the Architecture & Historic Urban Environments field trip. ÂŠ Edward Denison
4 Introduction Bob Sheil, Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange 8 Architecture and Historic Urban Environments MA 10 Design 14 History & Theory 22 24 30 36 42 44
Landscape Architecture MA/MLA Design Studio 2 Transformations: Shifting Landscapes Design Studio 3 Rewilding the Urban Design Studio 4 First, the Forests: Radical Reforestation Environment & Technology History & Theory
We are immensely proud to introduce this year’s work from our Architecture & Historic Urban Environments and Landscape Architecture Master’s programmes here at The Bartlett School of Architecture. Our Architecture & Historic Urban Environments MA is led by Edward Denison, Professor of Architecture and Global Modernities; our Landscape Architecture MA/MLA is led jointly by Laura Allen, Professor of Architecture and Augmented Landscapes, and Mark Smout, Professor of Architecture and Landscape Futures. Working with these innovative and pioneering leaders are exceptional teams of tutors, in history and theory, technology, professional practice, and design, all highly respected researcher-practitioners in their own rights. Together with the precision and care of our professional services colleagues, these programmes have guided and supported the work you will see from an excellent cohort of students. It has been an unprecedented year. In mid-March, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the entire school transitioned online to remote working in a very short period of time. Yet despite these extraordinary challenges, and the hardships for our students who were suddenly dispersed across the world, the quality of our students’ projects, the quality of creative and reflective thought, the quality of care, collaboration, respect, intelligence, imagination and determination have been impressive. The projects collected in this book demonstrate understandings of noncanonical architectural and landscape histories, writings and designs that extend beyond Western-centric viewpoints, that challenge and repair legacies generated by colonialism, imperialism, modernism, and anthropocentricism. This work addresses different and complementary aspects of ecological, cultural and social sustainability, setting new international standards of design that reflect our increased collective responsibility and accountability worldwide. On behalf of the school, we would like to thank our students, our staff and also all the support structures of friends and families. The ideas and work we have evolved together this year, culminating in this fantastic Autumn Show and book, will be carried forward by us all. Bob Sheil Director of The Bartlett School of Architecture
Deputy Director of The Bartlett School of Architecture 4
Landscape Architecture Design Studio 2 students at Purini and Thermesâ€™ Sistema delle Piazze (1990), Gibellina Nuovo, Sicily
Mai Jah Jah (1938), Asmara, Eritrea, designed by Lorenzo Azzoni (Geometra).Location of the Architecture & Historic Urban Environments field trip. ÂŠ Edward Denison
Architecture and Historic Urban Environments MA
Architecture and Historic Urban Environments MA Programme Director: Edward Denison
We are living in a time of planetary crisis. Last century’s ‘great acceleration’ and rapid urbanisation have placed enormous pressures on cities and their built heritage. For architects and other built environment professionals, this presents unique challenges in a world that has already largely been constructed. Rising to these challenges, this programme promotes a fresh and critical approach to creative interventions at all scales, aimed at reinterpreting, rejuvenating and rethinking historic urban environments in the 21st century. Students examine cities from around the world, using London as an outstanding laboratory for learning. Working alongside historians and researchers from the Survey of London team, students learn the processes of urban surveying, recording, mapping and analysis alongside urban strategies and key issues concerning urban and cultural heritage. Excerpts included are taken from the ‘Survey and Recording of Cities’ and ‘Issues in Historic Urban Environments’ modules as well as the final Dissertation. In tandem with developing a robust theoretical and practical understanding of different sites and critical methods, students have the opportunity to develop their own design practice, thinking creatively about how historic urban environments might thrive sustainably in an uncertain future. The design work shown is taken from the Design Research and Practice modules and the Major Project. This year, students have investigated spaces for making. London has a rich history of light manufacturing, creativity and the arts which has consistently shaped its social and built fabric and its urban grain. For logistical and legislative reasons these activities historically lined the Thames and the original city walls. Over recent centuries, creative and light industries have radiated away from the centre and into the city fringes. However, since the beginning of the 21st century, the UK has witnessed an explosion of co-making, makerspaces, and community workshops. Recognised as sites of civic and social innovation, creativity and learning, makerspaces are increasingly held up as a potential game-changer for design, entrepreneurship, fabrication, manufacturing, and technological innovation. Many believe they can lead the transition to more sustainable forms of production and consumption, and provide solutions for economic recovery. The maker movement has transformed into a global ecosystem for prototyping. In the design modules, students have investigated contemporary architectural solutions, urban conditions and social, economic and cultural practices, and proposed creative interventions that challenge, reinterpret, and reuse the historic environment. In their Major Project, students have drawn upon the work carried out over the course of the year to produce an original piece of research in the form of proposals and provocations sited anywhere in the world. 8
Students Eylül Bulgun, Yina Che, Anqi Chen, Xinran Chen, Jianmin Gao, Junbin (Steve) Ge, Elen Ghahramanyan, Eleftheria Grammatopoulou, Yiye Han, Weiwei Huang, Wei (Veronique) Huang, Barbara Huszar, Yuqi Kong, Thomais Kordonouri, Samuel Langley, Hanchun Li, Xueying Li, Ismini Linthorst, Yiming Liu, Anqi Liu, Yumeng Long, Sunyige Luo, Tyesha McGann, Vikas Mittal, Iason Ntounis, Saif Osmani, Zhan Shi, Maria Skagianni, Qiaoxi Wu, Zhuoying Xu, Yijin Zhang Design Tutors Hannah Corlett, Afra van’t Land History & Theory Tutors Eva Branscome, Ben Campkin, Clare Melhuish, Sarah Milne Postgraduate Teaching Assistant Ecem Ergin Additional Supervisors Peter Guillery, Aileen Reid, Guang Yu Ren, Colin Thom Skills tutors Danielle Purkiss, Hannah Terry
Thank you to the Asmara Heritage Project for their help and support for our Field Trip to Eritrea and to Donald Insall Associates for hosting this year’s Heritage Declares event. And to those who have been guest lecturers and critics this year: Peter Bishop, The Bartlett; Christopher Boyce, Assorted Skills and Talents; Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange, The Bartlett; Phil Coffey, Coffey Architects; Andy Crispe, Historic England; Tovi Fenster, Tel Aviv University; Iulia Fratila, Fletcher Priest Architects; Jeremie Hoffmann, Tel Aviv Conservation Dept.; Therese Gallagher, London Borough of Camden; Marco Goldschmied, Marco Goldschmied Foundation; Wayne Head, Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture; Nick Jackson, Arup; Phillippa Jopp, London Borough of Camden; Jonathan Kendall, Fletcher Priest Architects; Tarek Merlin, Feix&Merlin; Chris Redgrave, Historic England; Alexandra Steed, Urban; Matthew Whitfield, Historic England
1.1 Eritrean Orthodox Christians praying outside St Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, which stands on the site of the original village of Arbate Asmera. The cathedral, designed in 1938 by Italian architect Giuseppe Malaguti, is exemplary in the way it combines African vernacular building techniques and motifs with Rationalism in a colonial context at the height of the Fascist period. The building represents Eritrea’s distinctive experience of modernism, which relied on local skills, labour and materials. The religious depictions in mosaic panels were added after the Second World War and designed by the celebrated female artist, Nenne Sanguineti Poggi. The building is one of the sites explored by students on their field trip to Eritrea. Photograph by Edward Denison. 1.2–1.3 Yiming Liu ‘Pedagogy in Transition Space’. The design attempts to interrogate and refocus attention on architectural elements and architecture as a subject itself. It seeks to establish links between not only Piranesian elements and Vitruvius’ teaching, but also art and architecture in a mannerist way, exploring the missing authority through a network of transition spaces connecting destinations whilst making a significant contribution to the occurrence of interaction through happenstance. 1.4–1.5 Maria Skagianni ‘Adaptable Housing ’. Implementing the banding principle that derives from Nash’s original urban plan for Regent’s Park, and through an examination of the Camden Housing typologies, a new housing approach works with the historic urban grain. By drawing on Heath Robinson’s illustrations in How to Live in a Flat (1937), and on the work of Team 10, the scheme provides a flexible design enabling resident appropriation of the central structure according to their changing needs. 1.6–1.9 Iason Ntounis ‘Duopolis: Survivors in a Bipolar City’. Duopolis is an imaginary visualised narrative. The project explores the changing value of architectural objects. Taking as its starting point a pandemic – which, as Yuval Harari states, presses the fast-forward button on history – the story describes the social divisions that are shaped, and reflected in architecture and the city. Architecture has the simultaneous power to shape and to reflect people’s actions and hopes, becoming a tool and a mirror of its sociopolitical context. 1.10–1.13 Eleftheria Grammatopoulou‘Glimpses of Picturesque: The Re-introduction of Regent’s Park Barracks’. An alternative solution to the HS2 proposal, this scheme organically re-stitches the fragmented urban landscape at multiple scales. A new urban grid welcomes the regeneration of the impenetrable Regent’s Park Barracks, shaking off its military past and adopting new civic uses. The Barracks become accessible through a series of penetrations adopting the architectural language of the ‘New Picturesque’ that derives from Nash’s original proposal. Their design methodology follows three main axes –the landscape, the gate, and the cottage. 1.13 Eleftheria Grammatopoulou, Maria Skagianni ‘Glimpses of Picturesque: The Re-introduction of Regent’s Park Barracks’. 1.2-1.13 Supervised by Hannah Corlett
Design Guide for Independent Shops Barbara Huszar Supervisor: Hannah Corlett This project explores the idea of a comprehensive design guide for independent shop owners. Looking to attract particular audiences, it considers our underlying human personality traits, when guiding shop owners in choosing how to design their shop fronts to attract their target customers. This idea grew from my project exploring the concept of inhabitable façades for shopfronts. Aimed specifically at small craftsmen and makers, the individuals who perpetuate the mission to keep the old tradition of crafted goods alive and inform the public of the value and unique traits of their products, the project proposes an inhabitable façade for their small shops. The architecture serves to reduce massconsumption and mass-production, and to nurture conscious quality purchases. The research revealed that the individual shop owner is often in charge of altering their own store front, which can be a challenging task for someone with little to no architectural knowledge. Having found little help on how to treat shop-front upgrades strategically, apart from a few legal documents and seemingly outdated guidelines, there seemed to be a missing part to the puzzle. As a result, this project focuses on setting out a framework for assisting shop owners to engage with shopfront design concepts through deepening their understanding of their premise and their target customers, whilst also pointing out the importance of understanding the heritage of 14
shop fronts in order to protect the important architectural detailing which might get lost when shops change hands. To achieve this, the project sets out a design guide aiming to engage creativity and assist individuals in opening their own businesses which will ultimately serve as community-building pillars in the urban fabric. Given that shops have had a particularly hard time during the current climate of Covid-19, the project considers the current challenges not just in the short run, but rather as potential solutions which can have considerable effects in the future on the way people shop. As shop design has recently become part of the language of a ‘brand’, shop fronts have to appeal to the target audience aimed to purchase the sold product or use the offered service. The project plays with the idea of considering distinctive psychological profiles to outline the way a shop owner should treat retail architecture in order to attract the right buyer to the business. The project asks how these ideas could be communicated in the format of a guide.
Image: Photographs of the fold-out design guide for independent shop owners. Image by the author
Gerani: Athens’ Forgotten Marketplace Ismini Linthorst Supervisor: Afra van’t Land Historically, Gerani served as the central marketplace of Athens whilst simultaneously being the reception point for the newcomers to the city. In the last decade the area has fallen into a state of disrepair, acting as an urban enclave, neglected by the local authorities. Gerani is often referred to as a ghetto; it is perceived as separate from the rest of the city. This perception is influenced by the human geography of the area and the apparent existence of monocultures. Immigrant populations are divided within the public space in separate ethnic clusters. 1 It was observed by the Space Syntax analysis of the area in 2015 that the spatial quality of the urban spaces and shops that each ethnic cluster occupies is relative to the time that this ethnic group is present in the area and its numeric superiority. These space-clusters reflect the dominant group’s identity through shops, signs, posters and human practices.2 As a result, the existence of unmixed and often male-dominated population groups discourages the admittance and use of space from other individuals. Another aspect influencing this perception is spatial. The narrow streetscapes, the non-cohesive street network and the presence of many arcades and patios offer invisibility and spatial protection allowing the operation of illegal activities, such as drug-dealing, smuggling and prostitution. Moreover, the area is surrounded by three important axes of
increased traffic that act as hard limits, disconnecting it further from the rest of the city centre. Together with the neglect by the local authorities in terms of hygiene, infrastructures and conservation, Gerani has gained a poor reputation which is almost erasing it from the map of the city. Although often creating feelings of insecurity and threat, the streets of Gerani are also vivid and full of people. The streets are used as informal meeting spaces, where people spend free time and socialise in large groups. These gatherings are often related to the existence of informal mosques and other places of worship or to the ethnic restaurants, usually of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin. While streets are vibrant with movement the public squares in the surrounding areas are not so populous. It seems that immigrants take advantage of the dense and protective environment of Gerani, keeping them somehow hidden from the wider society and allowing them to create microcosms of small-scale relations. The sense of invisibility seems to offer freedom to the immigrant communities but simultaneously to exclude them from participating and integrating into wider society.
1. Vaughan, L., A. Vlachou, ‘Successional segregation in Gerani, Athens: Unpacking the spatial structure of an immigrant quarter.’, 10th International Space Syntax Symposium, (London: UCL, 2015. 115:22), 3. 2. SARCHA, ‘City Common Resource: Athens – Gerani 2010-2012’ Image: Stills from a short stop-motion film ‘Above Gerani’ that animates life in the proposed urban interventions. Image by the author 15
Piecing Together Morphogenic Junctions: A Study of Pre-Existing Conditions in Mayfair and Soho Tyesha McGann Supervisor: Hannah Corlett As districts that have had to respond to pre-existing conditions in their environments to accommodate the increase of capital, goods and people, Mayfair and Soho represent London’s becoming and its convoluted processes of change and redevelopment instigated by agents of transformations and improvements. In Mayfair, the gridded ambitions of the Grosvenor Estate development accommodated the natural curvatures and orientation of the Tyburn River, while John Nash’s Regent Street development in Soho was superimposed over the former communities around Swallow Street. Circumstances like these are often viewed as constraints impeding on the possibility of the upcoming development. However, both the Grosvenor Estate and John Nash implemented a development strategy that engaged and interacted with their pre-existing conditions under different approaches and have in turn had a lasting influence on the way these districts are experienced and perceived today. As remnants and ‘ulterior moments’ that are overlooked in the ‘normative impulse’ that characterise Mayfair and Soho as elitist and fashionable districts, the Tyburn River and Swallow Street present a unique opportunity to perceive and experience these areas in a 16
new light. Elements of the urban environment are present but not perceived, as they exist beyond what is overtly recognised and therefore hidden away. This thesis aims to demonstrate how the relationship between historical development and contemporary experience can benefit from animating the pre-existing ulterior moments in the urban grain by engaging in a study of urban morphology and site-specific perception. Building on a framework of urban morphology, this methodology helped to understand how the pre-existing circumstances have impacted the development of the urban forms of the present day and how their presence in the urban environment can help create new relationships to develop new visual perceptions. Through this process, the analysis uncovered ulterior moments that, through site-specific interventions, can help establish a ‘composite view’ of Mayfair and Soho from a ground-level perspective. Drawing on the work of Kevin Lynch (1984)1 and the artist Richard Serra, cartographic and ground-level analyses are amalgamated to develop intuitive and informed interventions in order to embellish our interactions and experiences with the historic urban environment. 1. Kevin Lynch (1984), A Theory of Good City Form (Cambridge: MIT Press) Image: Photomontage by the author of the Tension Street Intervention intended to make visitors aware of the ‘charming panorama’ of Regent Street’s function as a barricade that was orientated to fragment and neglect the pre-existing environment of Swallow Street
Crossroads: What Makes Brick Lane’s Banglatown Culturally Distinct? Saif Osmani Supervisor: Ben Campkin In the East End of London, a stretch of Hanbury Street starting from an inconspicuous walkway from Whitechapel, reaching to Bishopsgate eastward through Brick Lane holds very early memories of walking a London street. A few old civic centres, pre and post-World War II housing and estates line this eclectic stretch towards Liverpool Street’s financial district. Hanbury Street appears to turn towards a green but instead winds around a small set of 1970s offices, a mix of factories refashioned with contemporary-designed facades and rooftop viewing stations. The street suddenly narrows to reveal a short row of early 20thcentury red-bricked frontages above street level leading towards traffic and commotion at a distance. Here, small businesses from tailors, wedding services, room rentals above shops and Asian eateries all reach towards a narrowing crossroad where Hanbury Street meets Brick Lane. Posters, stickers and sprayed graffiti tags decorate edges of shop windows and entrances to courtyards behind buildings. A stark difference to the adjacent side of the street with an artisan chocolate shop, an art bookshop, a pizzeria and designer shops with carefully painted window ledges, bespoke signs and restored interiors and facades, where even the graffiti is allowed space to flourish – these two sides exist simultaneously.
The crossroad where Brick Lane and Hanbury Street meet is also known as ‘Banglatown’. This is where the city meets community, ‘hipster’ cultures meet a longstanding ethnic group and the art world meets community. A vast array of workingclass English heritage has been absorbed into hipster moulds to create a divide pronounced through racial lines. The complexity of cultural layering plays out in this intersection between Hanbury Street and Brick Lane, where since the 1970s Bangladeshis have enacted different genres of artistic expressions: baul music, Bengali classical, poetry, theatre, dance and the visual arts with art exhibitions and fashion shows squeezed and stretched over Hanbury Street and scattered along Brick Lane’s tributaries. Bangladeshi arts survive yet struggle here, holding on by a thread because of an innate need to express culture, with an active audience nearby to legitimise this artistic expression. As an artist from this community I’ve found myself navigating the Hanbury Street-Brick Lane stretch often: meeting other artists, producing solo and group exhibitions on it or nearby and visiting countless cultural events. In this thesis I ask why and how cultural expression has become embodied in this crossroad where commodified, animated forms of contemporary British culture meet with localised forms of British-Bengali community arts. What makes Brick Lane’s Banglatown culturally distinct? Image: Montefiore Centre, Hanbury Street. Photograph by the author 17
The Imaginary Cultural Landscape of the City and Harbour in Quanzhou Wei (Veronique) Huang Supervisor: Eva Branscome Water, in the guise of a protective snake or the auspicious carp, was sacred for Quanzhou, in both the material and intangible city. The identity of Quanzhou’s citizens is rooted firmly in the natural landscape as an unconscious backdrop to their lives. If not always clearly reflected within the urban grain, it functions nonetheless a palimpsest of these two interconnected forces through time. In my stories of Quanzhou, I try to rediscover the existential meaning of the river to the people. But I have also explored the human reactions to the water within their urban spaces. The built forms, but also the smells, colours and textures have become mnemonic devices. As a Quanzhouer myself, I am a cultural magpie, taking foreign concepts and integrating them within this hybrid analysis of my city. I have explored the ideas of ‘urbs’ and ‘civitas’ allowing the implicit negotiation of spaces within the town as an arena for debate.1 I have also come to understand the water-related settlements outside the city walls as very particular and unique heterotopias that distinguish Quanzhou from other harbour cities. They are heterotopias in the sense that they balance and augment the order of the town through their less controlled activities while the norm of the walled-city order was suspended.2 The narrative in this thesis started from the site, collected the elements from the location 18
itself and explored their almost-disappeared stories. The phenomena of the past and present are like a rolling ball, the narration is the ground that tracks and traces its motion. Each time the surface of the ball hits the ground the marks and lines are different. And that leaves a question for Quanzhouers today: how do we move forward, replace and rewrite our historic trajectory while yet preserving the essence of our past? The complexity of the harbours of Quanzhou shows in the relationship between its land and water, hybrid genius-loci and religious markers as well as a social system that grapples with identities that span between private and state ownership to vernacular cosmology and communal Fordism. Perhaps as such it can serve as an example among China’s other modern cities, to allow for a rethinking that allows modern life and urban environments to incorporate the spontaneity of streets, alleys and urban nodes as public gathering spaces, which have embodied the layers of culture and the soul of a historic city, yet without indulging in too much of a nostalgic re-enactment.
1. Dwyer, O.J, D.H. Alderman, ‘Memorial Landscapes: Analytic Questions and Metaphors.’ GeoJournal 73 No.3 (2008, Springer) 2. Foucault, M., ‘Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias’, Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité no.5 (1984), pp.46-49 Image: The interior of the library reading room in Quanzhou Library. The LED ‘sky’ is showing a nature scene from Quanzhou. Image by the author
Seeing Architecture in the Paintings of the Song Dynasty: A Reading on The Social Hierarchical Attributes of Chinese Traditional Buildings Yijin Zhang Supervisor: Guang Yu Ren Research into Chinese traditional architectural history has been dominated by a focus on official and ceremonial buildings such as palaces, altars, temples and mausoleums, whose images demonstrate a strict hierarchy. Non-official architecture, such as residential and commercial buildings, is often overlooked. Consequently, the attempt to understand the architectural progress of any era in Chinese history often lacks a more comprehensive study of both aspects â€“ the buildings occupied by the ruling class, and the buildings used by the general public. This raises the important issue that the superiority of official architecture and the bias of historical inheritance result in the dominance of official architectural language in the process of forming the knowledge and understanding of traditional Chinese architecture. What are the characteristics of historical buildings if the perspective is changed and non-official architecture serves as the main research object? As a medium in which the social and material conditions coexist and present complex social relationships, Chinese painting provides a unique lens through which to study everyday architecture and gain insight into social hierarchies. This research investigates the different view of architecture from different classes through
the contradictions caused by this collision, in order to better understand the nature of architecture in the context of traditional Chinese society. The official architecture in this research refers to buildings constructed entirely in accordance with the strict code of social hierarchy. Non-official buildings, including but not equivalent to vernacular architecture, are excluded from the code of hierarchy for buildings, as well as buildings that do not conform to the hierarchy. Considered the peak of Chinese feudal society, with great material enrichment and prosperity of culture and ideas,1 the selected period of study is the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279AD). In addition to paintings that reflect the expression of subjective consciousness, there are two reasons why architectural paintings of the Song Dynasty may be used as methods of research. Painting is an important means of obtaining historic architectural imagery, as few physical structures from the Song dynasty survive today. Compared to buildings of high status and constructed with more manpower and resources, non-official buildings are more vulnerable in their survival. Secondly, during the three hundred years of the Song Dynasty, painters who painted architecture valued architectural knowledge and represented the buildings and their details faithfully, from style to structure and decorative patterns. 1. Qi, X., (2018), Economic History of Song Dynasty, (Nankai: Nankai University Press) Image: Sketches of the objective residential system with polyline and T layouts. Image by the author 19
Landscape Architecture Design Studio 2 students at the Cretto di Burri (1984), Vecchia Gibellina, Sicily
Landscape Architecture MA/MLA
Landscape Architecture MA/MLA Programme Directors: Laura Allen, Mark Smout
Landscape Architecture MA and MLA are new and evolving professionally accredited programmes at The Bartlett School of Architecture. They respond to an increasing urgency to contribute to the understanding of ecological and environmental fields and their relationship with the built environment. In this era of climate emergency, these Master’s programmes – focusing on landscape research, technical knowledge, strategic thinking and imaginative design – give us the unique ability to work with real-world problems at a local and geographic scale. These challenges include issues of sustainability, biodiversity and landscape inequality affected by the transformative potential of climate change across our rural and urban landscapes. Shown here are the three design studios, all staffed by landscape practitioners and academics with distinct agendas. Their interests were broad and varied, addressing numerous speculative grounds for designing a better future. Themes that include extreme earthquake environments and resilient landscapes, new ways of thinking about urban rewilding via future biomorphic urbanism and biophilic cities, and the radical reforestation of the UK’s northern forests are testament to the breadth and depth of Landscape Architecture’s spatial and intellectual focus here at The Bartlett. The design studio provides fundamental and specialised knowledge and a strong identity for students to use as the basis for developing their own approach to the contemporary study of landscape architecture. Design teaching is delivered side-by-side with History & Theory, Practice, and Environment and Technology teaching. Also presented here are three of the key modules from the programme: Landscape, Inhabitation & Environmental Systems; Landscape, Ecology & Urban Environments; and Landscape Thesis. It has been a challenging year. We are profoundly impressed by how swiftly our students adapted to working at home, online teaching, navigating digital whiteboards and contributing to virtual crits since working together face-to-face at 22 Gordon Street was interrupted in March 2020 and they were scattered across the globe. We finally say farewell and thank you to our and MA students and first graduating MLA cohort from a distance. As we say our goodbyes, we have already embarked on a new year of Landscape Architecture at The Bartlett. The programme has grown, which has had a positive effect on the diversity of our teaching, increased staff and student numbers allow us to embrace a greater scope of design, theoretical, technological, cultural, environmental, and ecological enquiry.
Prizewinners MLA Year 1 Prize Sheetal Muralidhara MLA Year 2 / MA Prize Ngoc Anh Phan (Sally) Tran Environment & Technology Prize, Landscape Design Prize Nga Man (Alison) Tang Landscape Thesis Prize Alec Tostevin Design Studio Tutors Richard Beckett, Blanche Cameron, Elise Hunchuck, Cannon Ivers, Alex Malaescu, Doug Miller, Krystyn Oberholster History & Theory Coordinator Tim Waterman Thesis Tutors Loretta Bosence, Gillian Darley, Dr Eric Guibert, Will Jennings, Aisling O’Carroll, Ed Wall Environment and Technology Coordinators Ana Abram, Blanche Cameron Practice Tutors Aitor Arconada Ledesma, Blanche Cameron, Kelly Doran, Gunther Galligioni Coordinator of Skills and Workshops Maj Plemenitas
Image: Nga Man (Alison) Tang, Design Studio 4, ‘Resurrection of Artefacts?’. Guided citizen actions, such as destructive guerrilla greening, engage citizens in city-making
Transformations: Shifting Landscapes
Design Studio 2
Cannon Ivers, Alex Malaescu
‘The society of spectacle has been replaced by the society of surveillance […] Correspondingly, the idea of landscape has shifted from scenic and pictorial imagery to a highly managed surface best viewed, arranged and coordinated from above’. 1 Juhani Pallasmaa describes the experience of architecture, which extends beyond its boundaries, as being ‘multi-sensory; qualities of matter, space and scale are measured by the eye, ear, nose, skin, tongue, skeleton and muscle’. While some of these ideas might be present in modern architecture, some scholars argue that the failure of modernism is its inability to manifest and relate to the comprehensive nature of landscape as a practice, generating inconsistencies between architecture, landscapes and cities. Moreover, the tendency of technological culture to standardise environmental conditions and make the environment entirely predictable is causing sensory impoverishment. Addressing the profound gap between the inheritance of landscapes and the modernist interest in spatial experience, Design Studio 2 looked to understand and map the operational nature of landscapes, the fragments of structures and territories with the purpose of projecting speculative scenarios - ‘the projection of new possibilities’. In 1968 a series of major earthquakes shook through the Belice Valley in Western Sicily. The epicentre of these seismic events was the fourteenth-century town of Gibellina, and Poggioreale, both of which were completely destroyed. Drawing on various elements of the utopian visions of François Marie Charles Fourier, William Morris, Frederick Law Olmsted and Ebenezer Howard, the new Gibellina (Nuova Gibellina) was conceived as a garden city, as a utopian art-andgarden community, designed by renowned architects, urban planners and artists. It now presents itself as unfinished and partially uninhabited, and was described by the one Italian commentator as ‘a cemetery of the avant-garde’. The studio investigated the unfinished, the forgotten, the destroyed, the ephemeral, the unseen, memory, substitution, transformation and rearrangement of landscapes and cities in which time is the central focus. Students developed multiple scale design projects and future scenarios set within the extraordinary sites of ruination and memory in New Gibellina, Old Gibellina and Poggioreale. ‘The projection of new possibilities’, was derived less from an understanding of form and more from an understanding of processes, moving away from fixed, rigid models and towards a more flexible approach to city making.
Students MLA Year 1 Zichao Lin MLA Year 2 Siqi (Emily) Chen, Chongyang (David) Huang, Si Teng (Cintia) Huang, Youngjin Jun, Zhenni (Litri) Liao, Xiaoying (Yannis) Liu, Carlotta Masina, Ngoc Anh Phan (Sally) Tran, Yujia (Yvonne) Wang MA Huang (Heather) Qi Practice Tutor Kelly Doran
1. Charles Waldheim, ‘Aerial Representation and the Recovery of Landscape’ in James Corner, Recovering Landscape (1999, Princeton Architectural Press), p.121 25
2.1 Ngoc Ahn Phan (Sally) Tran ‘Living Canal’. This project looks at forgotten landscapes, with the aim of repurposing ruins, abandoned infrastructures and undesirable surrounding landscapes for contemporary use. Located in the hot, dry Mediterranean climate of Sicily, Paceco’s abandoned canal faces the potential of flooding during the wet season. At the same time, Paceco’s residents hope to get more access to water for agriculture, and to revitalise the canal walkway. ‘Living Canal’ challenges the use of recycled material and water in the extreme weather conditions, while bringing economic, recreational and ecological benefits to Paceco’s landscape and residents. Integrating the existing ecology, the canal introduces different cultural zones along its path. A new agriculture settlement, a stormwater walkway and green roofs as cultural gardens allow agriculture to adapt to the new irrigation system. 2.2 Zhenni (Litri) Liao ‘Tradurre: Therapeutic Landscape in Gibellina Vecchia’. Inspired by Arakawa and Gin’s Site of Reversible Destiny, the aim of this proposal is to create a contextualising therapeutic site of remembrance and shared spiritual salvation. This project imagines the sense of disorientation that residents of Gibellina Vecchia would have felt in the aftermath of the 1968 Belice earthquake. In lieu of burying the debris under the Cretto (as in an unfinished artwork by Alberto Burri), the proposal views the entirety of the ruins as alternative grounds and spaces in multiple dimensions to provide both social and spiritual realms, interacting and resonating with generations’ perceptions of their fabricated conditions and contested realities. The symbolic appearance, the meanings and everyday community activities, associated with the fusion of ruins and new Gibellina, come together to create an evocative milieu for healing and diagnosis. 2.3 Xiaoying (Yannis) Liu ‘Landscape Transformation’. The project focuseson the reuse and reclamation of existing landscapes by inserting soft programmes and art installations while retaining the characteristics of the places: the ruins of an old town, a post-mining quarry. 2.4 Siqi (Emily) Chen ‘The Ongoing Archive of Poggioreale’. Poggioreale is a rural Sicilian town destroyed by the Belice earthquake in 1968. Incredibly, the ruined town retains its layout after the disaster. For the Poggiorealeans, the town becomes a treasured archive of the dead and the gone. Although no one is living in the place, time has not stopped since the earthquake happened. Inspired by the drawing ‘Appian Way’ (1756) by Piranesi, this project aims to bring the rural story back by creating an imagined reality of vegetation and cultural artefacts. Ruins are not seen as a monument of sadness, but a connection to a different time in the landscape. The design is divided into sections based on the living habit of Poggiorealeans. Through taking different approaches towards material management, the story and aesthetic of the ruination can be preserved. 2.5 Zichao Lin ‘Earthquake Museum in Poggioreale’. The earthquake was catastrophic. The devastating power of nature tore up the town, however, it left an unplanned beauty in the ruin of Poggioreale. After people moved out of the town, animals and vegetation became the only residents. The town seemed to freeze in 1968, yet the changes of the landscape tell the story of time flowing. The proposal turns this ghost town into an Earthquake Museum. It aims to give people the chance to experience an amazing landscape where ruins and vegetation, human history and nature coexist after a disaster. Visitors can enjoy traditional 1960s Sicilian architecture, find traces and details of the past life and experience unique and unexpected vistas of the Sicilian landscape. The vistas are emphasised by landscape devices which channel the flow of people through the museum. 26
2.6 Yujia (Yvonne) Wang ‘Shifting Landscape’. This project aims to reveal the succession of vegetation, the weathering of materials over time and different spatial experiences of the Sicilian landscape, by inserting tools of spatial reappropriation. Although Gibellina Nuova is famous for its utopian concept and its art, local people are unsatisfied with it as the urban fabric does not seem to relate to the historical town. The existing urban environment needs to be revived by adding activities. Movable landscape elements enable people to create their own unique personal spaces. Local residents are encouraged to collaborate in the process of designing of their town. The sculptures, seats and plant containers move along the set track, creating shifting spaces. 2.7–2.8 Youngjin Jun ‘Food Forest in Gibellina Nuova’. The aim of this project is to make an organic food production system, particularly a food forest for African migrants and natives in Gibellina Nuova, which could be one of the solutions to current issues in Sicily. Food production would give migrants an opportunity for economic activity. Participation in agricultural activities of young migrants would satisfy a lack of workforce in Sicily which is experiencing a decrease in population. In addition, the influx of the new industry could invigorate Nuova Gibellina by bringing new people into the ‘ghost town’. The food forest, as an organic farming component, contains diverse programmes such as an agricultural school, food manufacturing facilities, and entertainment space. The various programmes serve as a bridge to connect the forest to the urban context. Therefore, the project proposes several methodologies to enable the food forest to coexist with the urban context, encouraging communities to live and work together. 2.9 Ngoc Ahn Phan (Sally) Tran ‘Frozen Time Museum’. An open-air museum is proposed in Gibellina to explore the social life that existed before being destroyed by the 1968 earthquake. A transect of the Cretto is excavated, to expose the former street scene as a living exhibit, while concrete blocks are crushed and recycled to create conditions that allow pioneering species to colonise the opening crack of the land art.
Rewilding the Urban Richard Beckett, Kyrstyn Oberholster
In the face of a climate emergency, 20th-century approaches to nature conservation have been criticised for being too conservative in their efforts to fix ecologies. This is true also within the context of the built environment, where urban greening approaches have had limited success as a response to the rapid nature of anthropogenic land use in cities. Ecologists now classify the planet using a series of anthromes with cities or ‘urban anthromes’, predominantly associated with high nitrogen and carbon emissions and low biodiversity, dominated by introduced species. Spending up to 95% of the day indoors, urban residents live an increasingly antiseptic lifestyle: the effects of this indoor lifestyle on human health is only just beginning to be understood. Far from the ‘wild’ nature in which our forefathers evolved with pre-Neolithic revolution, contemporary city living is evolving a new species of ourselves, which Richard Dunne calls ‘Homo Indoorus’. The notion of rewilding has emerged within conservation biology as one that shifts the paradigm of landscapes from premodern to a prehistorical baseline. In its purest sense, rewilding is about the (re)introduction of keystone species that have the ability to instigate processes with desired landscape-scale impacts, towards the re-establishment of diverse ecosystems that require limited human intervention. Continental-scale schemes have been proposed to rewild Europe and North America, yet this idea remains relatively unexplored in the urban context. Could these and new adaptations of rewilding be applied to our future cities? Designing and planning future cities requires thinking of urban design beyond our own species and rewilding not only the physical surroundings at the macro scale, but also ourselves at the microscale. Ecologically speaking, rewilding cities can enhance interspecies and planetary health. This year, students explored new ways of thinking about future cities, questioning the roles that humanity and nature play. Using rewilding as a lens, students investigated and independently developed real and speculative solutions for future cities through landscape architecture, material exploration and computation, to creatively apply and implement feasible interventions at different scales.
Design Studio 3
Students Year 1 MLA Xinyu He, Shuqi Jiao, Francesca Lawes, Junyi Liang, Zuoyang Liu, Hai Qin, Jiingren Wang, Zhengkun Xu, Yizhan (Eden) Zhang Year 2 MLA Daffodilo Samsoemin, Haoming Tang MA Charatporn (Pear) Assavasoth, Alec Tostevin Practice Tutor Aitor Arconada Ledesma
3.1, 3.3 Haoming Tang ‘Chemical Topographies’. This project explores the chemical remediation of iron-orepolluted landscapes surrounding the Kirkenes mine in northeast Norway. Kirkenes is the largest mining town in this region, with a large production of iron ore, which results in high levels of ground pollution caused by tailings after the processing of raw material. Currently this is directly piped into the nearby fjord, negatively impacting both the land and marine ecosystem. The increasing trend of climate change is predicted to have significant impacts on the Arctic environment with global temperature rises, shortening winter periods, and increasing soil erosion from melting ice. This would accelerate the chemical pollution process and severely impact the surrounding environment and the urban residents living next to the former iron production site. The project aims to create a landscape formed by chemicals which can remediate the iron ore through a series of chemical dilution ponds producing a paradoxical dichotomy of contamination and aesthetics driving the recovery of the local ecosystem. 3.2 Charatporn (Pear) Assavasoth ‘Coralline Ecologies’. The project proposes rewilding of Oslo’s industrial port by creating a non-human ecosytem along the coastline, rewilding the biological diversity of both the land edge and seabed. The project serves as a connection between the city, existing natural areas and the marine environment. The coral landforms protect this edge condition, allowing the re-establishment of biodiversity within, on and around the artificial coral, which also facilitates the filtering of pollution and sediment between the coast and the fjord and creates a habitat for plants and animals within the boundary. 3.3 Yizhan (Eden) Zhang ‘Land Mosaic’. Physical model. This project proposes a future plan for the currently excavated coastal site around Rogaland Mine, Norway. The design process places emphasis on the environmental governance of the ground condition, mixing soft landformed flood pools that were integrated with modern biotechnological approaches towards productive landscapes, including bioreactor algae farming. 3.5 Alec Tostevin ‘Glacial Remediation’. Proposal for Follodal mine, Norway. This project explores landscapeled interventions to stabilise, extract, metabolise and degrade the contaminated mining spoil, to cleanse the damaged riverine and riparian ecosystems. The result provides a new immersive landscape for the town and its surrounding communities. Through the utilisation of computational design techniques and a phytoremediative programme, the project looks to create a fully situated parametric landscape inspired by glacial landforms within the context of the old mining town, to combat the effects of the historical mining activities. 3.6 Daffodilo Samsoemin ‘Porous Landscapes’. A novel landscape proposal for Foster + Partners’ Thames Hub Airport, Isle of Grain, London. The project rejects the notion of hard boundaries between the natural and the manmade. Instead it expands and integrates the existing marshlands with the airport proposal. The natural and constructed marshland geometries and topologies serve to maintain biodiversity while also acting as a protective landscape, preventing this area from flooding due to rising sea levels by performing like a sponge, absorbing excess water from the fluvial and coastal flood. 3.7 Zuoyang Liu ‘Rewilding the Air’. This project looks to rebuild the connection between urban dwellers and the natural environment via novel landscape techniques. Addressing decreasing diversity of natural microbiomes through urbanisation, the project addresses the urban issues of air pollution and emerging health problems, such as allergies and intestinal diseases. The speculative solution provided by this project is to spread microbial 32
aerosols from air containing spores and bacteria that can spread over long distances in the urban environment if sown from a suitable height. Airships spread clouds of the microbes cultivated on the ground. High towers hook onto the front end of the airship and pull it towards a mooring site on the ground, where the airship can be charged and refilled. 3.8 Xinyu He ‘Cyborg Botany’. Abandoned gas tanks on a north London site are tranformed into a park that provides public space for humans integrated with planting stategies that increase pollinator species in the area. The project uses the existing structure of the gas storage tank to divide the activities of people and pollinators by height. Different gas storage tanks are given different functions, depending on species type. 3.9 Jingren Wang ‘Urban Food Farm’. The design tackled rewilding urban dwellers’ relationship and access to food. The main concern of this design is the food shortage in future megacities. The design incorporates the tradition of rural farming into the city to solve the problem of insufficient urban food caused by the rapid increase of urban population. Future trends of the human diet inform the farm design: the vegetableproducing farm is replaced with a vertical agriculture consisting of a vegetable and insect farm that is managed using intelligent automated technology. 3.10 Zhengkun Xu ‘Back to the Past’. This project addresses issue of light pollution surrounding Tromsdalen, Norway. Increased urban lighting has resulted in a decrease of bird populations. The project uses landscape solutions to provide protected and shaded areas within the site to create nesting sites whilst integrating public spaces and birdwatching sites around the marina. 3.11 Shuqi Jiao ‘Decentralised Education’. The widespread use of virtual collaboration and the Internet has made online and distance learning more common. This project explores how landscapes might be considered to accommodate a variety of educational uses for both individuals and groups on the surrounding islands of Oslo, reducing the need to travel into urban areas. 3.12 Junyi Liang ‘Mycoremediation’. The project explores the formation of biological landscapes driven by rotting and fungal growth. Mycelium in particular exhibits mechanisms during its growth that can aid in the bioremediation of soils.
First, the Forests: Radical Reforestation
Design Studio 4
Elise Hunchuck, Doug John Miller with Blanche Cameron A forest is defined by the United Nations as any given area that is half a hectare in total area with more than 10% tree cover. This basic unit of measurement is part of a broader framework that presumes that land without trees is degraded. Put simply, it presumes the optimal land condition is a forested one. The story of Great Britain is the story of an island that was, once, a vast woodland. And it is also the story of the industrial revolution and the steam engine, where vectors of the Anthropocene, the climate crisis and the sixth extinction meet. They meet elsewhere, too, but conflicts around the regulation of those vectors are elaborated in the forest, at its edges, and even where it used to exist. This has produced a planetary array of sites where transformations and disappearances can be observed, measured, and felt – and where sites of intervention can be imagined, planned, and enacted. In an attempt to question current scientific and cultural understandings of forest dynamics, Design Studio 4 set out to develop alternative cartographies, representations and understandings of forests and their expanded sites, and in so doing, produced new imaginaries. In our first project, the studio sought out, mapped, and uncovered hidden topographies and dynamic landscape systems throughout London, operating at multiple scales. Bomb-craters were unearthed in Epping Forest, and residual scar tissues leftover from the violent impacts were found to have, over time, formed highly specialised topographies through the development of intricate relationships of mutual support and growth. Abandoned industrial sites were identified throughout London and became a call to arms for a series of guerilla greening activities. Scattered throughout the city’s fabric, they engaged with communities, designers and educators to form new revolutionary possibilities through reforestation. Poetry and paintings created by historical Londoners became our guides and datums for drawing maps of lost routes into and through local parks. Plans for local demolitions revealed the potential removal of a valuable social housing scheme and became a fertile space for speculative studies on the use of future ruins. In the final project of the year, Design Studio 4 researched and developed responses to the proposed – and stalled – Northern Forest proposal. Responding to specific on-site conditions and the needs of local communities through deliberate and careful studies, the projects presented this year are a constellation of possibilities that stretch across the country, linking vast urban centres to remote coastal villages – and everything in between.
Students Year 1 MLA Tiecheng Chen, Junkai (Kai) Lan, Lian Liu, Xiyao Mo, Sheetal Muralidhara, Enxi Pan, Mengyang (Alex) Sun, Yuan Tao, Libaan Warsame Year 2 MLA Daoyang (Dawn) Han, Jingmin (Jamie) Liang, Nga Man (Alison) Tang, Siling Wang Practice Tutor Gunther Galligioni
4.1 Sheetal Muralidhara ‘Rebuilt to Collapse’. This project site falls on the eroding cliffs along the coastline of East Yorkshire, England. Withernsea, like many other small towns on the countryside coast, has seen its land disappear into the sea. Part of the town is protected through sea defences such as groynes and seawalls, increasing the severity of erosion down the shoreline which continues to collapse. Fishing communities and holidaymakers make up the majority of the cliff dwellers living on this windy landscape. The project looks into designing with the phenomenon of the collapsing cliff instead of trying to prevent it. How can we design for space which will continue to shrink and vanish? What can the land leave behind for the people before it is engulfed by the waves? The proposal forms a timeline addressing local issues today, marking the past and preparing the land for the future. The design becomes a continuous process, built and re-built over time, as the little town shrinks into surrounding agricultural fields. 4.2–4.3 Daoyang (Dawn) Han ‘City as a Plant Nursery’. Inspired by architect Aldo van Eyck’s ‘City as Playground’ project, which developed hundreds of public playgrounds interspersed within each Amsterdam block so that residents could access them at any time, this project proposes building a citywide plant nursery system throughout Liverpool. Seeding, starting to grow in the gaps of the city, the project expands into a network through existing transportation systems while engaging with local communities. 4.4–4.5 Nga Man (Alison) Tang ‘Resurrection of Artefacts?’. This project develops the subversive concept of destructive construction to regenerate post-industrial sites across Sheffield. When trees fall, their trunks and branches decay, providing nutrients to the earth, supporting and accelerating growth of the forest itself. Is it also possible for our built artefacts to support their ecologies, like the fallen tree. Through guided citizen actions, such as destructive guerrilla greening and nature’s effect on the imperfect relics, this proposal is an opportunity for citizens to engage in the city-making process for their wellbeing and sense of belonging. It is also a way to acknowledge and encourage an understanding of our entangled existence with nature, to build up a collaborative effort to develop a biodiverse and climate-resilient city. 4.6 Xiyao Mo ‘Fires’ Preventive Injection’. With the aggravation of global climate change, the frequency and severity of wildfires are increasing worldwide. According to reports, 2019 had the highest number of wildfires in the UK’s history. The most frequent wildfires in the UK are peat fires, which burn slower than bushfires and forest fires but last longer and are harder to control. The damage to global warming and human habitat is often greater; ecological recovery after that is harder. This plan aims to assess the risk of peat fire. Risk assessment is then used to identify where peat fires are most likely to occur. Planting schemes, landscape structures, and other external interventions are used to prevent further fires. 4.7 Lian Liu ‘Coastal Forest’. Accepting and maintaining the kinetic energy of geomorphic processes, the Coastal Forest adapts to natural coastal evolution and erosion dynamics and protects semi-natural habitats. It is committed to leveraging Formby Point’s most ecologically valuable dynamic coastal landscape resources to attract more visitors and provide a robust green infrastructure, helping visitors understand the area’s unique ecosystem. 4.8 Jingmin (Jamie) Liang ‘Grow with the Forest’. This project proposes the design of a Forest School in Northwich, Cheshire, in response to The Mersey Forest Plan. A site near an educational hub is selected, which can serve to enhance the existing educational programmes for nearby students of different ages. 38
The design proposes transforming the existing brownfield site into a mature forest park for permanent forest school. A series of ‘learning landscapes’ supplement the forest school’s construction, enhance biodiversity and establish connections among green corridors along the River Weaver. 4.9 Libaan Warsame ‘Reconstructed Ecology’. The waterways of Sheffield follow a history of urban modification that is similar to many global water bodies, straightened within an industrialised city context. This project aims to address Sheffield’s confluence of the canalised River Don and culverted River Sheaf at the Castlegate demolition site. Castlegate and its modern remnants currently sit static in development limbo as a result of purely infrastructural attitudes towards the mitigation of floodwater. 4.10 Junkai (Kai) Lan ‘The Flood Problem: Resilience through Green Infrastructure’. The project is located in the Salford district in the centre of Manchester. The Irwell River traverses the area, with the channel changing direction several times. As a result, this area has the highest risk of flooding in Manchester. Demand for housing forced the government to designate this site for residential development. As a result, the landscape design must react to seasonal floods to ensure residents’ safety. 4.11 Yuan Tao ‘Play in Nature’. Located in the centre of Sheffield, this project juxtaposes green space between the city centre and nearby suburbs. Concluding that the central area of the city lacks space in which to meet, play and study, this proposal seeks to reseed usable green space into the city for kindergarten and primary school pupils around the city centre. 4.12 Siling Wang ‘Forest Our Street’. Since the beginning of 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic, working from home and shopping online has become the norm and the need to commute to city centres is becoming less necessary. In the future, streets will be less about conduits for traffic and, instead, become public community spaces, green corridors, water collectors and distributors. Owing to these problems and the reality of life after Covid-19, this project proposes turning an urban street, Deansgate, into a forest garden by gradually removing and replacing empty street parking, leveraging surrounding shops and offices to provide green drainage systems, new community public spaces, and easy access to existing green space – all of which can finally form a new green network for the whole city. 4.13 Enxi Pan ‘Rebirth of the Pits’. In the 20th century, war and industry carved pits into the earth’s surface. This project explores the human-made pits forgotten (by humans) in the forest, to understand their evolution and the dynamic connections with the forest. The development of the coal industry in the 1930s left many coal pits in Darcy Lever, Manchester. Through natural processes, these shallow pits became ponds, forming unique habitats, and eventually, the site became into a forest – human beings’ extreme behaviours in nature transformed into new forms of life and precious habitats that we should be aware of and care for. However, Darcy Lever Gravel Pit has lacked management for a long time; sediments occupy the pond, the valuable habitat in decline. This design leverages the pits as frameworks to produce more ponds, seeking to attract even more wildlife. By increasing accessibility and facilities for humans to understand and care for the ponds, this project creates an interactive and ecologically meaningful forest pit landscape for all.
Environment & Technology Coordinator: Ana Abram
Environment and Landscape Technology teaching – two lecture series, case study reviews, seminars, site visits and inter-studio crits – is delivered by a network of practitioners and specialist consultants who teach a broad range of subjects. Earth sciences, planting design, ecology and climate change adaptation, planning and urban design, and construction technologies, amongst many others topics are taught and reviewed throughout the year concurrently with design-based modules. Year 1 students receive an overview and of the fundamentals of Landscape Architecture. Landscape MLA year 2 and MA students cover more advanced topics of climate change, landscape technology and advanced principles in landscape construction.
Landscape, Inhabitation & Environmental Systems This module sets out the discipline of landscape architecture in relation to physical and natural processes and anthropogenic impacts. This year, relationships to resource systems, ecology and climates, hydrology, and geology and topography were examined. Landscape architecture detailing was addressed, relating seasonality to materials, horticulture, and soft and hard landscaping. Across three lecture sequences, students developed an understanding of why key environmental systems matter in contemporary landscape architecture; an understanding of what those systems mean for built environments; and finally, of how to assess and realise built landscapes using contemporary building technologies.
Landscape, Ecology & Urban Environments
Lecturers Blanche Cameron – Maternity cover in Term 1 (The Bartlett), Fred Lebbe (Expedition Engineering), Darren Anderson (FMDC), John Little (Grass Roof Company), Charlotte Harris (Harris Bugg Studio), Donncha O’Shea (Gustafson Porter + Bowman), Neil Davidson (J&L Gibbons), Gary Grant (Green Infrastructure Consultancy), Philip Griffiths (Verdana Horticulture), Mary O’Connor (WYG), Alexandra Steed (Alexandra Steed URBAN), Anna Rose (Space Syntax) Practice Tutors Studio 2 Kelly Doran (MASS Design Group) Studio 3 Aitor Arconada (Foster + Partners) Studio 4 Gunther Galligioni (Gustafson Porter + Bowman)
The module addresses the role that landscape architecture can play in the synthesis of urban environments to help tune and fundamentally change the nature of the ‘urban metabolism’. This year, broader national and international, ecological and resource systems as well as environmental assessment and inhabitation scenarios were addressed. Part one focused on site analysis and the evaluation of landscapes over time. Part two looked at landscape strategies, phasing and future proposals.
Image: Libaan Warsame, Design Studio 4, ‘Future Riparian Edge of Castlegate’, 2020 42
History & Theory Coordinator: Tim Waterman
The history and theory strand of The Bartlett’s Landscape Architecture programme provides a robust foundation, tying together the ideas behind the built landscape and the resulting forms across time, from the scale of the garden to the continent. Building upon this foundation, students explore philosophy alongside patterns and methods of historic and contemporary practice. They develop their critical and research skills across the programme, in coordination with their studio work. In the first year of Landscape Architecture MLA, students undertake a comprehensive survey of landscape history that is both chronological and thematic. In the first year of Landscape Architecture MA – the second year of Landscape Architecture MLA – students develop essays from thematic history and theory lectures. This module is divided into research seminars which read deeply into specific topics, this year including such subjects as real estate speculation along the Thames, extractivism and colonialism, and ruins and ruination. History and theory culminates in the creation of the thesis, completed with the guidance of dedicated supervisors Loretta Bosence, Gillian Darley, Eric Guibert, Will Jennings, Aisling O’Carroll, and Ed Wall. In this, students research a specific individual area of interest that informs and supports their design research. In professional landscape architecture practice, there is much emphasis upon communicating sophisticated understandings and complex strategies through documents which thoughtfully combine text and image. The thesis supports such integrative and synthetic work, and is itself a work of design, engaging students in the creation of a thesis book. It supports the development of individual ideas and philosophies within the larger framework of landscape architecture history; current practice, politics, and dwelling; and speculative features, near and far. This year, the range of thesis topics was rich and fascinating, and many focused upon the topics addressed in a diverse set of studios. Three theses are included for inspection here, their subjects all closely linked to the studio work. All these theses, as with so many others submitted, are rich both visually and textually, and designed with elan.
Bittersweet: Unearthing the ‘Fourth Soil’ at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Alec Tostevin Supervisors: Eric Guibert, Tim Waterman Winner of the 2020 Landscape Thesis Prize Soil, stone, wood, concrete, metal and vegetation are the core materials of landscape construction. Each material represents a single thread that is specified, acquired and woven into a vibrant, dynamic and tangible landscape tapestry. This thesis seeks to tug at those threads in order to stimulate a more profound understanding of the mechanisms and implications of material specification in landscape architecture. The investigation is influenced primarily by the written works of Jane Hutton and Caroline Knowles. Both authors trace and analyse the journey of a single material commodity from its source landscape to its end destination, a practice that commonly comes under the rubric of ‘trail anthropology’, ‘resource geography’ or ‘environmental history’. Much of Hutton’s work is predicated on Robert Smithson’s ‘non-sites’, a series of gallery installations where he brought ‘geological material from quarries, mine dumps, and other industrial landscapes (which he called sites) and installed them as sculptures alongside maps and other site documentation into gallery spaces (which he called non-sites).’ 1 These installations referred to the sites that they came from, while becoming provocative anecdotes of human interference. Elizabeth Meyer describes similar sites of extraction
as ‘disturbed sites’, and explains that such landscapes ‘render visible the consequences of economic, political and social decisions.’ 2 Material specification within the landscape architecture discipline is often unwittingly accountable for the obscured, and predominantly detrimental, modification of faraway source landscapes. This reality is often shrouded by the commodification and manipulated form that the extracted product(s) take following their abstraction. This study picks at the threads of material specification by tracing the ecological, social and political implications of seemingly geographically detached sites that are fundamentally linked through disproportionate material transactions. Similar to Hutton, this investigation learns from Smithson’s theory of non-sites as an impetus to reveal the furtive link between the landscape from which a material is derived, the disturbed site, and the landscape where that material ends up, the non-site. However, it soon becomes apparent that Smithson’s concept is not always completely applicable, as more complex, layered and concealed material dynamics quickly become unearthed and a more convoluted metaphor is necessary.
1. Hutton, J. (2020) Reciprocal Landscapes: Stories of Material Movements. London: Routledge 2. Meyer, E. (2007) Uncertain Parks: Disturbed Sites, Citizens and Risk Society. In: Czerniak, J. and Hargreaves, G., ed. Large Parks. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, pp.59-85 Image: Aerial image of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. © Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 45
Seduction in Post-Industrial Landscape Ngoc Anh Phan (Sally) Tran Supervisors: Aisling O’Carroll, Tim Waterman This thesis argues for the importance of the seductive aesthetic that a space can create and the multi-sensorial experiences which have been overlooked and under considered in landscape architecture, as the aesthetics of landscape and landscape design process are mostly dedicated to visual representations. However, the landscape’s aesthetics also lie in the spatial and temporal dimensions that explicitly link to human emotions and sensory experience. It is the beauty of a dynamic process that plays out and builds over time, driven by someone, something, or some place that has the ability to seduce. Within this account, the thesis studies different types of industrial ruins, in which the visual perspective is diminished, to elucidate and highlight the seductive value of a forgotten somatic experience in space. My first encounter with ruins was in Poggioreale, Sicily – a town destroyed by an earthquake in 1968. The massive neglected landscape that is deadly silent, sends people to explore another world without surveillance or the disciplinary gaze of others. It embraces various uncontrolled activities. The thesis scrutinises different theoretical frameworks, studying human movement, the sensorial and hybrid aesthetics of landscape ruins; exploring the somatic experiences in different typologies of ruins such as railways, canals and fragmented industrial infrastructures 46
through film sets.1, 2 It then captures and unfolds factors and qualities in ruins that modulate the role of senses and enhance the seducing atmosphere based on the criterion set out by Robert Greene in ‘The Art of Seduction’.3 The work illustrates how inadequate some means of representation in capturing the characteristics of industrial ruins, and the use of audio and materials maps demonstrates the richness of everyday experiences that spaces offer, compared to the de-sensualised urban area we are living in. Through the use of film, industrial ruins are revealed as a natural seducer. They can be mysterious, dangerous, cheerful, romantic and even poetic. The performance of new hybrid beauty of landscape, the qualities of attractiveness, vividness and interest that build over time, are revealed. This thesis highlights the value of sensory experience, which offers a valuable opportunity for designers to see and understand landscape critically and deeply. That understanding is an essential starting point in landscape design, taking into consideration the seduction of a place, the pleasures and effects of sensual diversity as well as the spirit of a place.
1. Edensor, T. (2007) ‘Sensing the Ruin’, The Senses and Society, 2(2), pp.217-232. 2. Meyer, E. K. (2008) ‘Sustaining Beauty: The Performance of Appearance’, Journal of Landscape Architecture, Routledge, 3(1), pp.6-23. 3. Greene, R. (2001) The Art of Seduction New York: Viking / Penguin Books. Image: Audio and material maps were used to explore sensory experience in landscape. Drawing by the author
Postcards From the Future: A New Journey Through the Town of Gibellina Carlotta Masina Supervisors: Gillian Darley, Tim Waterman â€˜Postcards from the Futureâ€™ responds to the invitation of architect Mario Cucinella to re-imagine the experience of visiting Nuova Gibellina in Sicilyâ€™s Belice Valley, an important modernist new town. The modern city was built in place of the medieval town of Gibellina, which was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1968. Despite the urban layout being inspired by visionary ideas, and enriched with an incredible number of noteworthy artworks and architectures, the town did not thrive as predicted, and the inhabitants never recognised themselves in the architectural language and the typologies adopted. The few visitors, often hasty passersby, report always the same picture: a ghost town, a failed experiment. By integrating the study of the historic documentation and the present data with the direct knowledge of the territory (examination of the environmental image and analysis of tourist experiences), the research investigates the reasons for this negative feedback and aims to identify guidelines for the valorisation of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Gibellina. How could a new type of tourism not only honour the memory but also become central for the local community? And what part can designers play to transform and expand the range of perceptions, sensations, and feelings, evoked by the now semi-abandoned utopic
spaces of the town? Which strategies can be proposed to break the silence and make the city live up to its great and dramatic history? Designers can act on two levels. On one hand, they can promote the past to retrain the observers, making them more aware of the whole tragedy of the Belice Valley, but also of the hidden stories of bravery and hope that lie behind the art and the architecture of Gibellina. On the other, they can improve the present, reshaping the image of the town and giving to it new meanings, to respond to its environmental, economic, and functional contemporary needs. The thesis explores sensitive future perspectives to envision at town scale and, to visualise them better, it illustrates in three possible parallel site-specific interventions (Piazza 15 Gennaio 1968, Piazza Joseph Beuys, and the so-called Sistema delle piazze). The design ideas are represented in the form of infographic postcards to show how it is not the clean, finished architectural solution that matters and is desirable; but the process, the succession of phases, and their human interpretation.
Image: Postcard 04: Focus on the human scale. Infographic reinterpretation of Sistema delle piazze, inspired by the book Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec. Drawing by the author 47
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