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land scape architecture

ecological design Prof. Antonio di Campli

USAC, Turin, 1 june 2012


The Map. Intro


Garden design over the years has always tried to combine natural forms with subtle artifacts, the nostalgia of Eden has provided gardeners a tension towards a certain idea of perfection. Gardens are always created within an architectural background, we have few examples of gardens dissociated from the temple, the house of the god, from the palace. Venice 1499. Is published the first book dedicated to the art of garden design, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili , a strange book that is both a kind of novel. This book is accompanied by woodcuts that define a formal repertoire that will be use across the centuries, the temple with the pyramid, the tomb of Adonis, the herm of Priapus.

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, called in English Poliphilo’s Strife of Love in a Dream, is a romance said to be by Francesco Colonna and a famous example of early printing. First published in Venice in 1499, with refined woodcut illustrations in an Early Renaissance style, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili presents a mysterious arcane allegory in which Poliphilo pursues his love Polia through a dreamlike landscape, and is, seemingly, at last reconciled with her by the Fountain of Venus. The book begins with Poliphilo, who has spent a restless night because his beloved, Polia (literally “Many Things”), shunned him. Poliphilo is transported into a wild forest, where he gets lost, encounters dragons, wolves and maidens and a large variety of architecture, escapes, and falls asleep once more.


Cinematic visual logic One of the features of the Hypnerotomachia that Liane Lefaivre uses to argue for the Alberti attribution is the cinematic visual logic at work in the book, based on Alberti’s interest in capturing movement. Moving bodies. Leon Battista Alberti, in his De pictura, had argued that painters should depict human figures in movement. The illustrations of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili appear as applications of this tenet. 

Alberti was one of the early inventors of cinema. His precocious cinematic forma mentis lead him to represent several episodes in the Hypnerotomachia through a sequence of images, like consecutive frames on a film. Double page spread.
This obsession with movement is probably responsible for the invention of the double page spread, no doubt a feature of the original Alberti manuscript, enabling the representation of bodies moving from one page onto the next.


Eros punishing the chaste nymphs

Poliphilo swoons and is revived

The Union in the Temple


In 1918 Gertrude Jekyll publishes Garden Ornament, a volume somewhere between history of gardens and catalog of models. Also here we have examples of doors, stairs, pots, pergolas, orangeries, fountains and bridges.


Antoine Joseph Dezallier d’Argenville picked and ordered all the classical knowledge about this argument in La Théorie et la pratique du jardinage (1709): “The porches, pergolas and cabinets of verdure, these fragments of architecture, when they are well situated surely have something nice and magnificent, they increase and enhance the natural beauty of the gardens; it is a pity that with all that it costed their construction and care, they can be damaged so easily. “


Here everything is expressed. The rules of convenience or the research of a correct relationship with the context, their appearance and their transience. Treillages, viewpoints and caves lined with rocaille or shells are common elements of the repertoire of the gardens of the Renaissance and eighteenth century. Sans-Souci, Mon Plaisir and other “hermitages� combine their linear forms to the classicism of parks rococo, it can be in Piedmont, in the of Russia of the Tzars or in the Germany of princedoms. The construction of parks and gardens in England in the eighteenth century is one of the most important chapters in the history of architecture, engineering and ecology. In a country where often the landlord is a amateur noble, a general passed from the battlefields to wheat fields or a banker who owns feudal rights, landowners invest money and knowledge in agriculture and horticulture. Something very different from the french context where the State, with certain exceptions, almost alone transformed the territory with colossal works of ports and roads, marking it with very long road axes running through sparsely inhabited lands. In England the total transformation of English landscape is the result of a multiple and widespread work. The classic English garden, William Kent style, is the result of particular climatic conditions but also of a question of mentality: the taste for the irregular or the asymmetrical, features already characterizing the English literature of the seventeenth century. This taste is associated with the new feeling of freedom, to the aversion to every straight line aesthetic, either classical or baroque.


1731-1748 Stowe Gardens. In the 1710s and ‘20s Charles Bridgeman (garden designer) and John Vanburgh (architect) designed an English Baroque park, inspired by the work of London, Wise and Switzer. Bridgeman’s plan of long, radiating avenues, a monumental octagonal pool, classical temples, and lawns brilliantly separated from the working meadows by a ha-ha opened up the countryside in a dramatic and revolutionary way. The hidden barrier of a ha-ha fist used at Levens in about 1695 was derived from a French military bastion. The ha-ha made uninterrupted vistas possible. In the 1730s William Kent and James Gibbs were appointed to work with Bridgeman, who died in 1738. Kent and Gibbs designed more temples. Stowe began to evolve into a series of natural pictures, to be appreciated from a perambulation rather than from a central point. It was Horace Walpole who said of William Kent that he ‘jumped the fence and saw all nature was a garden’.


This “green revolution” modify power relationships. Inside, in a space enclosed by invisible barriers, soil and vegetation modeling organize the dialectic between peigné (combed) and sauvage (wild). A series of knowledge takes part in all this. In England in the first half of the eighteenth century, the garden is a technical laboratory, it offers the spectacle of the representation, it is, finally, a place of aesthetic experimentation. As the technical laboratories are here applied the procedures of military engineers, the art of topographic surveying, mapping and hydraulics: embankments, dikes, canals.

Spectacle of representation: a system of geometric shapes (straight line, wavy line, line of beauty or Hogarth’s serpentine, spider net, circle) organizes the vision and interweave a net of routes and connections between the observer and the observed space Aesthetic experimentation: the references to ancient and Arcadian myths and monuments proceed in a parade that is, at the beginning of a picturesque kind to acquire later sublime connotations. Pictorial and allegorical references are organized in a system of allegorical references.Later, with the development of the profession of gardener, the most famous of which was Lancelot “Capability” Brown , we turn more directly to the natural world.


At the beginning of the nineteenth century with Richard Payne Knight and Uvedale Price the composition of the park is once again associated with literary and imaginative. The theory and practice of the picturesque introduce the modern method of critical choice in design: the technique of montage and fragment assemblage. Paradoxically, while in modern times we see the transition from the dominance of the Public to the Private, arises the necessity to equip cities with public spaces such as parks or gardens for health and enjoyment of dwellers. The most famous theorist of such a public happiness is Jeremy Bentham who in 1790 had become famous for having conceived the sinister and ingenious Panopticon, a circular spatial device suitable for most situations where one person can supervise many. A Panopticon can be a prisons, a school, an hospital or a factory.

In the Chrestomathia (1816), a work dedicated to education systems, he has describes the “art of wellbeing”, assuming that welfare is the subject of any action of a man or “thinking subject”. This way of “quantifying happiness” led to the rise of the movement for the promotion of public parks in the UK. This phenomenon was related to the rise of urban hygienism issues: definition of new open spaces and other public facilities, personal cleanliness etc. John Claudius Loudon, the founder of horticultural movement wrote in the Gardener’s Magazine that when the cities and their surrounding areas will be governed properly and when the recreation and well-being of the society will finally be taken into account, large parks provided with small greenhouses will be created at the expense of the community. This is in fact the program for the construction of the great metropolitan park.


If the eighteenth-century landscape garden is mainly for private leisure, the metropolitan park is characterized by an institutional and urban aspect. This is the main diffirence between them. The “central park” is, to borrow a phrase from Walter Benjamin, an urban equipment, it is conceived according moral and hygienic purposes, it is a part of the city. From the formal point of view, landscape architects of the nineteenth century like P. J. Lenné, J. Paxton, F.L. Olmsted, conceived the park as an alternation of concavities and convexities. These figures define a continuous flux and allow to obtain a total circularity, a kind of movement necessary to the personal enjoyment of the park. In the central park the arabesque runs everywhere, putting every situation in relation to the whole. The arabesque figure is linked to the impressionism and to the metropolitan image of the moving crowd. Passing from “The Man of the Crowd” a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe to the flaneur of Benjaminian figure of the flaneur, the central park organizes the intensities, the sounds, depths of space of the metropolitan city.


The philosopher Michel Serres noted that this kind of park is conceived in analogy to the engine: the arabesque as a cycle and the circuit is something that goes beyond the classic idea of the promenade. The park is the engine: tank (central park) and movement (paths, movement of people, of water...). Machine and Nature celebrate the same rite.

The positivity of the idea of the park produces in Germany the models of Volkspark, Kleingarten, Jugend park and Totengarten. These kind of green space definee together the device of Gartensozialismus. These spaces of modernity are well structured, functionally identified, addressed to an European or American public, which was able, until then, to enjoy the park a picturesque way.

Today people tend to look televisionally at the park, in a distracted, little contemplative and onnicomprehensive way. The meaning and role of the garden change today, a situation that produces several design attitudes and strategies.


The Map To explain the sense and meaning of contemporary park desing and landscape architecture I propose to define a sort of cartographic map able to describe the different cultural positions and design strategies in contenmporary landscape architecture. this map is defined by 11 terms; some of them are in opposition to each other.

Ecological Design The Hortus Conclusus or Garden Design as Composition Garden Design as Social Art The Regional Approach The Hybrid The Picturesque The Palimpsest Evolutionary Processes The Uncanny Garden The Garden as Interios design Product vs The “Third Landscape�


Ecological Design


It is useful to start a reflection about garden design form this particular topic. Something that at the begninning sounds very functional, rational. Starting form this point we can observe how, at the beginning of modern age, a period obsessed with the effects of metropolisation and industrialisation, architects, garden designers and planners try to find solution for a better dwelling. n this context the concept of ecology played a central role since many designer tried to modify environments according to a sort of air conditioning process, ie trying to make the air condition explicit. Environment or Umwelt is a term introduced in 1909 by Jakob von Uexküll. According to Jakob von Uexküll Umwelt is “the biological foundation that lies in the exact epicenter of communication and meaning of the animal-man” Each body recreates and gives form to its umwelt when interacting with the world. This mechanism is called “ functional circle “.


Peter Sloterdijk uses this concept to explain that life is always a life in an environment, and therefore against the environment. “Starting from the beginning of the twentieth century, the totality of the circumstances that we can not give up bears in called environment.” The notion of environment has allowed to identify and disconnect materials, natural and cultural relations, processes until then perceived as a whole. It was an “accelleration of explicitation of life facts and of knowledge that leave their condition of background elements to become manifest operations”. Through the environmental discourse modernity takes the form of a process of explicitation for what once “rested” and “enveloped” the lives of individuals and local societies. As in a process of air conditioning we can describe the process of spatial construction (in general terms) in the Modern era as the search for a form of explicitation of the atmosphere. In first World War , for the first time are experimented environmental modification strategies similar to certain contemporary atmo-terrorism practices . We begin to realize that “the subject is not only what he eats or what he does but also where he immerses oneself “into the air as into cultural systems. One of the main issues addressed by the scientific thought of the twentieth century has been explicit as so to make the “air condition explicit” . Let’s see how this attention to the environmental dimension of living has produced design strategies for green spaces observing in particular four experiences. 1 Leberecht Migge’s gardens in Frankfurt. The garden as a social product. 2 Sigurd Lewerentz, Skogskyrkogården (Stockholm Cemetery). Ecology as cultural construction. 3 Carl Theodor Sorensen, Naerum Allotment Gardens. Ecology as individuality and freedom. + 4 Toyo Ito, Parque de la Gavia, Madrid (Other references might be: Joseph Beuys, the struggles of the U.S. Green Guerrillas during the Seventies and the Community Gardens experiences).


Leberecht Migge (1881-1935). Ecological Design


Leberecht Migge worked with significant modernist architects of the age – including Martin Elsaesser, Ernst May, Bruno Taut, and Martin Wagner. He was responsible for some of the most important housing and planning projects of the age; the mass housing settlements, or Großsiedlungen, of Frankfurt Main and Berlin. Using “biotechnic” principles to integrally link dwelling and garden, Migge was able to recycle household waste to grow foodstuffs through the use of innovative infrastructure and open space planning. Also a skilled park and garden designer, he drew together green and architectural elements in his “garden-architectonic” approach. His greatest significance comes from his ability to synthesize practical and theoretical developments from a variety of fields, including architecture, garden design, urban design, social reform, agricultural reform, and ecological gardening. He was a central figure in four great movements: garden and park reform, urban planning, the Siedlungen (housing settlements), and organic architecture and planning. Perhaps his single most significant contribution to architectural theory was his own redefinition of the primitive hut. Migge argued that the original dwelling had been purposely constructed as a movable or temporary structure in order to facilitate relocation in search of food or new ground. Thus dwelling in its most fundamental form not only provided basic shelter, it was also an expression of dwelling as biological act, and thus symbolic of the essential integration of human life with the organic systems of the earth. the hut


Leberecht Migge’s “Green Manifesto,” published in Germany in 1919, represents one of the most overtly political tracts ever written by a landscape architect. In this document, Migge proposed that all social and economic problems of the German nation could be solved by creating as many gardens as possible, which included parks, but most importantly, small, intensive vegetable gardens where everyone could grow their own food. If “everyman” could be self-sufficient, then they supposedly would enjoy relative freedom from the domination of the capitalist system”. Migge’s vision was not of a nostalgic return to nature, but a synthesis of garden, dwelling, and communal space that embraced the latest developments in technology. Migge applied the principles of the garden and gardening to the whole country, proposing such forward-looking policies as regional and national resource management


Pankow Housing blocks in Berlin had traditionally contained one or more inner courts, a type that Migge proposed to enlarge to the greatest extent possible, to be planted as garden-like spaces, complemented by roof gardens providing still more outdoor activity areas. A housing block in the Berlin district of Pankow designed by Erwin Gutkind, with a garden court by Migge, is a concrete example.


Onkel Toms Hütte This siedlung was, built in ‘a much-loved conifer forest on the edge of the wealthy Zehlendorf villa district... simple modernist housing blocks among stands of evergreen trees... stood out against the plain facades... the main open spaces were semi-public courtyard-like wooded areas inside the major blocks.’


Dessau, Siedlung Ziebigk In the 1926 book Die Deutsche Binnen-Kolonisation (the internal colonization) Migge described gardens as industrial products, as tools for a better living; the garden not as an escape from industrialized but as a mechanized object, a tool to improve the quality of life. The concept of internal colonization was also a critique to the ambitions of imperialist Guglielmine Germany. In his collaborations with Ernst May in Frankfurt, Martin Wagner and Bruno Taut in Berlin, Otto Haessler in Celle, Migge’s gardens drawing are associated with little terraced houses. One of the most interesting example is the Ziebigk Siedlung in Dessau, designed with Leopold Fischer in 1926. Migge’s reflection focused on the interpenetration of architecture and landscape. This relation has been defined through two devices: The Schutzmauer (protection walls) were functional element defining patterns and Siedlungs’geometric lines , at the same time they joined the garden in a more general spatial system. Extensive use of glass (doors and windows) defined the Zwischenglieder (the gap) between interior and exterior, providing a visual link with external environment, in winter the greenhouses provided protection and heat for the house.


Berlin, city of workers’gardens


This garden would have to combine the useful with the physical activity with the pleasure of experiencing the garden and the production of food with the design of the inhabited environment. At the Sonnenhof these objectives lead to a integrated plan where the original humble house found itself absorbed by a pattern of terraces,pergolas and plant beds. Migge described the Sonnenhof as a ‘Nutzlustgartlein in drei Etagen’(a productive pleasure garden on three floors). ‘On the ground floor there are strawberries accompanied by bulbs, roses and one y ear plants. Then, as if to balance the slightly underdeveloped “productive department”, the second floor has gooseberry and red currant bushes and, in the third zone, cherry and apple trees unfold their branches heavy with blossom and fruit. [ ... ] The character and appearance of this garden results from its enhanced growth, its unconditional growth and, finally, its cheerfully controlled growth.’ The Sonnenhof was established as an integrated system and Migge experimented widely with methods for recycling the waste produced by the extended household and in the garden. The layout of the garden in rooms developingfrom the house refers to patterns and types of spaces known in traditional rural gardens. In contrast to the axial development of the regional Lower Saxon farm gardens, however, Migge used the topology of the gently sloping site by laying out the garden next to the house which overlooked the rooms made by pergolas and glass houses. These architectural elements in turn provide a skeleton, then covered and filled in by the plants which demand protection and special care. It is this precise understanding of the transitions from the sheltered microclimate surrounding the house to the larger scale of the surrounding landscape first realised at Worpswede which Migge used to great effect in his project for the urban landscape of the Frankfurt Siedlungen, thereby offering the opportunity for the urban individual not only to enjoy 1942, City of Auschwitz Plan, “Total Landscape Plan”. the cultivation of his habitat but for actively engaging with it. Or, as Migge put it: ‘Every modern city dweller is a farmer, every Sonnenhof, Worpswede modernfarmer is a city dweller.’farmer is a city dweller.’


Bruno, Taut, Siedlung Britz, Berlino, 1925


Ernst May, Siedlung Heddernheim, Roemerstadt, Frankfurt am Main


Leberecht Migge. The garden as an industrial product; expression of a form of dwelling intended as an ecological act


Sigurd Lewerentz (1885-1975) Ecological Design


SkogskyrkogĂĽrden (Stockholm Woodland Cemetery). A pine forest designed by Erik Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz from 1915 to 1961 in Enskede, Sweden. Tallum, from tall, in Swedish pine is the motto with which the authors took part in the competition. The theme of the forest, a forest of pines broken by the vacuum of some gravel pits, accompanies the story of the construction of a site conceived as a memory landscape, as a place where to highlight the inner link between dweller and nature. The inspiration and fashion of the cemeteries in the woods came from Germany, with its WaldfriedhĂśfe and the idea of a natural environment as a symbol of the spiritual dimension, something deeply rooted in the art of romantic landscape painters of the early nineteenth century like Caspar David Friedrich or Eugene, Prince of Sweden, who anticipated this tendency with his Symbolist paintings where he depicted scenarios of gloomy primeval forests.


Prince Eugene, Forest, 1892

Kaspar Friedrich, The Hunter in the Forest 1813


In 1939 Lewerentz wrote a short text on modern cemeteries, a series of notes on landscape: “In fact, one may consider the cemetery a sort of garden of a very special kind because it not only possess the typical characteristics of open spaces, such as trees, shrubs, paths and grassy clearings, but it is first of all a monument suitable as a field of burial. “ Equality, rationality and efficiency are, according to Lewerentz, the basic things to consider when designing a cemetery. Monuments are to be preferred simple, horizontal, harmoniously placed on the grass Work began in 1917 and the formal consecration of the Woodland Cemetery (Skogskyrkogården): its first chapel, the Woodland Chapel, was built in 1920 and soon proved to be too small and so the Chapel of Resurrection and a service building was added between 1923 and 1925. Unlike most of its contemporaries, Asplund and Lewerentz’s cemetery design evokes a more primitive imagery. The intervention of footpaths, meandering freely through the woodland, is minimal. Graves are laid out without excessive alignment or regimentation among the natural forest. Such interventions as the architects allowed themselves, such as the reshaping of the two old gravel pits and the layout of the area round the main chapel, are effectively concealed within the virgin forest around them; yet provide a vivid contrast to them. Their sources were not ‘high’ architecture or landscape design but ancient and medieval Nordic burial archetypes. The Woodland Chapel, built from wood with whitewashed walls and a shingled roof, represents both intensification and a formal disciplining of the romantic naturalism of the competition scheme. Its severity reflects Asplund’s increasing interest in classicism and classical composition methods. Each of the chapels has its own enclosed garden, and as a group they take full advantage of the natural landscape.


In a drawing by Asplund from 1937, showing the northern part of the site, the entrance to the cemetery is represented by a semicircle on the right side of the drawing. From here, a walled allĂŠe marks a strong axial movement to the south, interrupted when it opens to present the visitor with a tranquil rolling landscape devoid of graves. Asplund and Lewerentz studied this entry sequence carefully, establishing it as both monumental and contemplative to communicate the importance of nature, to which all living things ultimately return. As Asplund had in devising the walled and forested precinct around the Woodland Chapel (the rectangular form on the left side of drawing), which is discreetly surrounded by the crematorium and other ancillary buildings, they saved monumentality for the landscape, rather than trying to achieve it through any structure or object.


Diagrams These diagrams study the edge conditions, surrounding context, grave distribution, vegetation, and experiential qualities of the cemetery. Asplund and Lewerentz exploited qualities of light and dark invoking spatial experiences and the idea of rebirth.


The entire project is permeated by a from processional conception that is evident in the spatial sequence of the first built elements, the chapel of the forest and the chapel of the resurrection. The visitor goes through narrow slits in a forest populated with graves that from time to time presents bright clearings. Transition from darkness to light, from pain to hope. The memorial ground, a hill covered by a forest of pine trees on the top, beneath which one can scatter the ashes, takes in almost total depletion of artifacts and architectural reminders the iconographic significance of the reunion between life and death. Keywords / strategies Sense of social equality> sense of limitlessness boundaries Cemetery as a path, as Calvary. Valorization of the characters of the site

Skogskyrkog책rden it is a single body: all the elements are connected and removed at the same time.


Sigurd Lewerentz. Ecology as cultural construction


Carl Theodor Sørensen (1893-1979). Ecological Design


Nærum allotment gardens, Denmark, are considered one of C. Th. Sørensen ‘s most important creations. In 1948, 40 oval allotment gardens, each measuring c.25 × 15 m, were laid out on a rolling lawn, a common green, in a fluid progression. The gardens are mostly placed so that the oval lies across the curves of the slope. This use of the rolling terrain, combined with the sweeps and curves of the hedges, accentuates the dynamic impression. The individual garden plots are enclosed compartments surrounded by hedges; their cottages may be situated in different ways, but comply with the overall plan. The hedges were originally intended to be both clipped and unclipped, using such species as hornbeam, hawthorn, privet, and roses, but today there are mostly privet and hawthorn, clipped in different heights and forms. The design of the individual garden plots was left up to each owner, but a guide from C. Th. Sørensen shows various models. The allotment gardens are situated close to a large public housing scheme, Nærumvænge, with flats and terraced houses, characterized by its homogeneous look and red hipped roofs.


All in varying heights the gardens are placed as small, individual and living laboratories. On the other side of the hedges are the interconnected series of common grounds, which serves as an open meeting ground for both the garden owners and the visitors.. On the one hand it is a spatially changing landscape where movement not only leads to continuous shifts in perspective and vision, but also a growing sense of changing spatial depth. On the other hand the individual gardens are shaped by a variety of usages and activities that reflect the individual garden owners needs and desires in everyday situations. The landscape is constantly subject to a continuous process of change and in an ongoing state of becoming something else. Every garden is both an individual laboratory and a visually available micro-landscape and what in one scale is experienced as a high degree of openness towards self-organization and complexity is in another scale experienced as a high degree of organization and order.


In this middle ground enriched by paradox a lot of the gardens resemble small groves on the outside, often with the hedge as part of the groves edge, as its outer boundary. But while the individual gardens are experienced as groves from the in-between spaces, they are partly experienced as a series of integrated clearings from inside of the individual gardens themselves. In this forest of clearings the unique character lies thus not only in the individual gardens or in the spaces in between, but in the relation between them that can be characterized as “dynamic processes, always in transition, always unfinished.� a forest of clearings

Towards the north action-oriented exchanges takes place in the interface between the allotments and the forest edge of the nearby forest Dyrehaven. An exchange, which brings the mode of production found in the gardens into the in-between space of the ellipses and which connects both the formalism of the overall scheme and the informal designtaking place in each garden with the larger scale of the forest in Dyrehaven. The allotments are thus double coded and loosely structured in common use but more tightly bound in particular situations.


Creativity and Ecological Connections Contrary to the implementation of an “order defined from above”, Sørensen establishes a deep understanding of the value of landscape in all of its subjective complexity. His design is oriented towards the human dimension emphasizing the individual creativity as well as the common solidarity. Contrary to standard urban planning of Modernism, in his thought there are similarities to the critique of Modernism started in Denmark in 1947. Here the Danish painter Asger Jorn criticized the Corbusiean ideas about housing as they were presented in “La maison des hommes” (1942). What Jorn was criticizing was the problematic relationship between on the one hand the possibilities for bringing out individual creative abilities and on the other the industrialization and the planning of the urban environments. His basic idea was that planning should give room for the bringing out of individual creativity in such a way that the individual had the opportunity by oneself to create his/hers immediate surroundings: The elementary joys of man are not sun, fresh air and green trees but the possibility to build, make use of and exploit its creative power and ability to the benefit and joy for itself and its surroundings. ( Jorn, Asger, ”Menneskeboliger eller tankekonstruktioner i jernbeton”, published in Arkitekten Ugehæfte, årg. XLIX, nr. 16/17, pp. 61-68, p. 63, 1947. Found in Nielsen, Tom, Gode intentioner og uregerlige byer, p. 25, Arkitektskolens Forlag, 2008.)

In relation to this, ecology should be understood as a mode of production of subjectivity and space, where subjectivity is produced through different ways of dwelling and where space is produced through ways of inscribing life in the surroundings. Sørensen characterizes European garden art as a stylizing of the surrounding cultural landscape. He affirmed that the Spanish garden is a stylized irrigation system, the Italian a mountain brook, the French a river landscape and the English a hilly landscape. Sørensen and Andersson characterize the Nordic garden as a clearing in forest.


Carl Theodor Sørensen. Ecological design as individual creativity and communitarias togetherness


Toyo Ito (1941). Ecological Design


Gavia Park, Madrid, 2004. 36.46 ha The project concerns an urban park along the banks of the Gavia river in Madrid to be equipped with a filtration system for waste water capable of processing 6000 cubic meters of water per day. The project area is adjacent to a newly developed area in Vallecas, Madrid, being planned by Empressa Municipal de la Vivienda. The main requirement for this park is to use natural resources to further purify treated water from the district sewage plant. The key theme of the design is to create a new type of public space that could be called an “infrastructural landscape.� This infrastructure is intended to treat wastes and recycle energy using natural water treatment processes to sustain a rich forest and wildlife with a low environmental load. The project defined a double device able to adapt to the orography, a non-linear water course, the ridge water tree and the valley water tree, this system allows a slow percolation of water from the ridge to the valley; water is cleansed thanks to the steep terrain and vegetation planted. Besides these facilities, the park consists of woodlands, wooded pastures, paseos and plazas.


Toyo Ito. Ecology as infrastructural interface between city and territory.


Herzog and De Meuron, Purification Basins, Barcelona 1992

The project concerns the construction of a new interface between the city and the sea through a system of wastewater purification basins on the site of a disused railway line at the end of the Diagonal street. The basins are designed according to sinusoidal paths that follow the old dune alignments; an elevated path allows the observation of the different types of vegetation in the water.


In addition to this there is a series of small urban parks created inside the CerdĂ grid irrigated by a underground network of channels with purified water. These gardens are lowered to 2 m below the level of street according to Islamic tradition.


Ecology as expression of a form of dwelling (The garden as an industrial product) Ecology as cultural construction Ecological design as individual creativity and communitarias togetherness Ecology as infrastructural interface between city and territory.

Ecological Design


1973, Liz Christy. The Invention of Guerrilla Gardening


Guerrilla Gardening is a practice consisting in ephemeral actions of a temporary nature. Groups of citizen-activists will self-organize and take action, preferably at night (but not only), to plant flower beds in abandoned spaces. This term, with its connotation of struggle, appears in 1973 to name of a group of activists, led by artist Liz Christy, who had succeeded in capturing a vacant lot in the neighborhood of Losaida New York, throwing seed bombs through the fences. This action was followed by others, and above all, followed by the city administration permission to enter that piece of land in order to make it a community garden. The environmental struggle, therefore, was successful, and today New York has more than six hundred community gardens. Especially since the nineties, this practice of guerrilla Situationist inspiration has spread internationally, resulting events are also spectacular.


orchard landscapes


Worcester Street Community Garden, Boston (ph. Alex MacLean)


Brooklyn Grange, New York (ph. Alex MacLean)


Les Courtillières, Pantin, Paris (ph. Alex MacLean)


Turenscape Shenyang Campus, Shenyang City, China, 2004 Project Location: Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China Project Size: 21ha Date of Complete: 2004; Owner/Client: Shenyang Architectural University This project demonstrates how agricultural landscape can become part of the urbanized environment and how cultural identity can be created through an ordinary productive landscape. The overwhelming urbanization of China is encroaching upon much arable land. With a population of 1.3 billion people and limited tillable land, food production and sustainable land use is a survival issue that landscape architects must address. The scope and challenges In March of 2002, the Shenyang City in North China’s Liaoning Province commissioned the designer to create a new, 80 hectares suburban campus for Shenyang Architectural University. Originally located downtown, the university was established in 1948 and played an important role in educating architects and civil engineers for the city of Shengyang and for the country as well. But due to a recent dramatic national surge in interest for architecture in China, the enrollment of the school ballooned, creating congestion and overcrowding in its downtown, urban location. After much deliberation, the school decided the best solution was to move the entire campus to the suburbs. The project submitted here is one portion of the campus at the southwest side of the campus, with an area of 3 hectares The design had to contend with the following existing site conditions and budgetary limitations: (1).Former agricultural use: the new site for the proposed campus was originally a rice field, the origin of the famous “Northeast Rice,� known for high quality due to cool climate and its longer growing season than the those from the southern China (one single crop of rice in this area will last from the mid May till the end of October, while in south China it can only last 100 days, this is one reason that rice can be used as a landscaping material). The soil quality was good and a viable agricultural irrigation system was still in place. (2). Small budget: only about one US dollars per square meter was allocated for landscaping. Most of the budget funded the design and construction of 320,000 sq m of new university buildings. (3). Short timeline: the university required the design to be developed and implemented within one year. Classes were expected to begin in the fall semester of 2003.


The concept The concept of this design seeks to use rice, native plants and crops to keep the landscape productive while also fulfilling its new role as an environment for learning. It is designed to raise awareness of land and farming amongst college students who are leaving the land to become city dwellers. In addition, the designer also seeks to demonstrate how inexpensive and productive agricultural landscape can become, through careful design and management, usable space as well.


3.The major features 1 The productive campus rice paddy: not only designed to be a campus with small open platforms, spanning the landscape, the campus is also a completely functional rice paddy, complete with its own system of irrigation. 2 Other native crops, such as buckwheat grow in rotation across the campus, annually. Native plants line pathways. 3 The productive aspect of the landscape draws both students and faculty into the dialogue of sustainable development and food production. By situating a new architecture school within a functioning rice paddy, the design allows the process of agriculture to become transparent and accessible to all on campus. Management and student participation become part of the productive landscape. The farming processes can potentially become a laboratory for students and the faculty as well. Golden Rice became an university icon: the rice produced on the campus is harvested and distributed as “Golden Rice,” serving both as a keepsake for visitors of the school, and also as a source of identity for the newly established, suburban campus. But perhaps most importantly of all, the widespread distribution of “Golden Rice” could raise awareness of new hybrid landscape solutions that could both continue old, yet crucial uses such as food production, while supporting new uses, such as the education of China’s new architects.


School of High Technology for Human Welfare Pasona O2 / Pasona Urban Farm, Tokyo, 2005 / 2010 The Pasona Group is a Japanese employment agency and one of the main activities carried out by the company, whose headquarters is located in the center of Tokyo’s business district, is the recruitment of workers in the agricultural sector. To fulfill this purpose the company has, in addition to its main office, a branch that runs a farm in the village of Ogata, Akita Prefecture. In a less traditional manner, since 2005 (with the first Underground Farm project called Pasona O2) the Tokyo headquarters has offered people the possibility to experience farming right in the city center, in the district of Otemachi. With Pasona O2 six rooms underneath the agency’s former offices were turned into cultivated areas, experimenting with the most innovative technologies of urban horticulture. In the absence of sunlight the plants were grown under artificial light provided by LEDs, halogen lamps and high-pressure sodium vapor lamps.The temperature of each room was controlled by computerized systems and the vegetables were raised without pesticides while fertilizer was delivered by frequent spraying. Currently a second phase of the project is underway, called Pasona Group Headquarters “Urban Farm,” in which the experience gained with the first project has allowed cultivation to be extended to all nine floors of the company’s new headquarters with a program entitled “Symbiosis with Nature.” The exterior of the building houses an intensive cultivation of 200 varieties of fruit and vegetables of different qualities all over the façade, as do many of the rooms inside. The hub of the Urban Farm is a large rice paddy near the main entrance illuminated by high energy efficiency lamps, whose brightness is regulated in relation to the phase of the rice’s growth. A ventilator blows air over the surface of the water, allowing pollination of the plants and as many as three harvests a year. In the adjacent rooms, offices and meeting rooms, sunflowers, tomatoes, eggplants, lettuce and cucumbers are grown both by traditional methods and in hydroponic tubs, in climate-controlled environments illuminated by fluorescent light reflected from the walls covered with sheets of aluminum foil. The produce is all harvested and consumed in the company’s restaurant.


Room 1

Flower field. White LEDs are used. Plant cultivation by RGB LED. Metal halids spotlights are used.

Room 2

Herb field. Metal halids spotlights are used.

Room 3

Shelf rice field. Metal halids lamps and high-pressure sodium lamps are used. It explains that it is possible to do by three crops a year.

Room 4

Fruit/vegetable field. Cultivation of tomato by hydroponics. 3 wavelength, 5000 deg. K, High-frequency fluorescent lamp.

Room 5

Vegetable field. Metal halids spotlights are used.

Room 6

Seedling room. Lettuces are being grown with fluorescent lamps. 2xFour steps cultivation bed.


Joseph Grima, Jeffrey Johnson, José Esparza Landgrab City, SZ/HK Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, 2009 Landgrab City is an installation commissioned by the Shenzhen/Hong Kong Biennale of Architecture/ Urbanism and located on Shenzhenwan Avenue (Nanshan), a busy shopping district in the city of Shenzhen. Conceived as an experimental investigation into the full extent of Shenzhen’s spatial footprint, the installation is comprised of two parts: an aerial photograph of one of the city’s densest areas, home to approximately 4.5m people, and a plot of cultivated land divided into small lots. This land is a representation, at the same scale as the city itself, of the amount of territory necessary to provide the food consumed by the inhabitants of the portion of city sampled in the map, projected to 2027 (the year China is expected to overtake the US as the world’s leading economy). Each lot represents the extent of a single food group’s footprint: vegetables, cereals, fruit, pasture (for livestock), and so on. In reality, of course, these agricultural territories are not actually clustered around Shenzhen, as in the installation, but scattered across China and contiguous regions. As China’s political and economic influence grows in range and complexity, increasing proportions of these territories of agricultural production have, in fact, migrated to far-flung regions of the planet, typically in Africa, Latin America or Eastern Europe. As is the case with many other regions of the world that urbanised rapidly in recent decades (such as the four Asian Tigers, the city-states in the Persian Gulf and even certain portions of northern Africa), one of the greatest threats to future stability and growth is perceived as the volatility in food prices on the international market. In response, agricultural land – as opposed to the food produced on that land – has itself become the target of acquisitions, leading, in some cases, to a situation in which nations have effectively purchased substantial tracts of agricultural territories in other (generally less wealthy) countries. This phenomenon is frequently criticized as a post-colonial land grab that enslaves vast agricultural territories of the planet to distant, wealthier urban enclaves. The countryside is a vital but frequently overlooked category in the contemporary discourse around spatial policy, and its role with respect to the future of urbanism is more often than not neglected. Landgrab City is an attempt to visually represent the broader spatial identity of the 21st century metropolis; it proposes a new spatial definition of the city and thereby a more complex understanding of urbanism, one that no longer considers city limits as the boundary of its remit, but instead looks beyond – even across international borders – to the spatial, social, economic and political implications of the planet’s rapid urbanization.


Fritz Haeg, Edible Estates Regional Prototype Garden #2, Lakewood, Los Angeles, 2009 The greening of suburban American has become a major issue in the US. Fritz Haeg proposes to tear up people’s front lawns to create something less dull and water-greedy and more productive from them.


STUDIO perFORM, Bamboozled, New York, 2010


WORKac Young Architects Program 2008: PF1, PS1, New York, 2008

PF1 (Public Farm One) is an urban farm concept that evokes the look of a flying carpet landing in the P.S.1 courtyard. Constructed from large cardboard tubes, its top surface will be a working farm, blooming with a variety of vegetables and plants. The structure will create a textured, colorful, and constantly changing surface in contrast with P.S.1’s angular concrete and gravel courtyard. PF1 will work as an interactive bridge between outside and inside, creating multiple zones of activity including swings, fans, sound effects, innovative seating areas, and a refreshing pool at its center.


AAA, Le 56 / Eco-interstice, Paris

This project explores the possibilities of an urban interstice to be transformed into a collectively self-managed space. Initiated in 2006 in St. Blaise area, in the East of Paris, the project engaged a partnership between local government structures, local organisations, inhabitants of the area and a professional association which run training programmes in eco-construction. The management of the project gives space and time to construction, the construction site becoming itself a social and cultural act. Parallely with the construction of the physical space, different social and cultural networks and relationships between the users and the actors involved are emerging. The project has an important take on the notion of proximity and active borders. Neighborhood walls transform the boundaries of the site into interactive devices, which rather than separating, multiply exchange and connections. Another strong take is on the ecological aspect: energetic autonomy, recycling, minimal ecological footprint, a compost laboratory.minimal ecological footprint, a compost laboratory.


Hector Zamora, Delirio Atópico, Bogotá, Colombia, 2009 Technique: 14000 kg of plantains; Exhibition: Lugares Comunes Place: Plaza comercial San Victorino and Edificio Monserratte – Bogotá – Colômbia In Delirio Atopico, Zamora selected two buildings with transparent glass façades situated on Jímenez Avenue in downtown Bogotá, Colombia. Although the buildings are separated by a mere few hundred meters, each one faces dramatically different socioeconomic realities. The project intended to interrupt the urban landscape with an unexpected intervention in each of the buildings, cramming one of their levels from floor-to-ceiing with plantains. Over the course of 20 days the color of the fruits changed from green to yellow, to brown to black; their final state of decomposition. The use of the plantains, one of the staples of the Colombian diet, in an intervention in the city center stirred up political, social and cultural resonances for locals witnessing the piece.


see also: James Corner Field Operations Shelby Farms Park Master Plan, Memphis, 2008 MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste Summer Park, Governors Island, New York, 2007 Lauren Bon and Metabolic Studio Not a Cornfield, Los Angeles, 2005-06

ecological design  

ecological design