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Thetopographyof Topography Louisa King

What is topography?

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Marx, Roberto Burle 1953

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T

able of Contents

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07. abstract 12. glossary

26. Chapter 1.

The Material Topography

The Topography of topography

54. Chapter 1.

159. Reflection

82. Chapter 2.

181. Conclusion

The Cultural Topography

14. intro

132. Chapter 3.

Narrative

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ABSTRACT

Thetopographyof Topography Louisa King

What is topography?

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his project seeks to investigate number of approaches to design within my own practice, through a central question about topography. Exploring topography as an object, a concept and eventually pure image, this paper first argues that topography is something that is material, made up of all the tangible contents of the universe. By a process of making, topography is then looked at as a construct of “our� cultural consciousness that we have invented to make spatial sense of the world and only becomes into being when we start to conceive it. To make sense of how the material and cultural topographies come together, the project begins looking for its structures. From an epistemological investigation I concluded that topography, for me, is being constructed through narrative, this has been explored to find out how topography can come about through a narrative design process. Finally I have moved on to conclude that what narrative is constructing for me, using material and culture, is an image of topography. These findings are then used to attempt to answer the question, (what is topography?), by performing a reflection back on how I have chosen to represent the topography through the research. From this I can see what topography means to me, by observing what I have chosen to bring forward, blur, contrast, punctuate and leave out of its image.

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PREFACE. The Wrecks of Trial Bay

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have travelled to the same beach town with my family, every summer since I was 4. When we first went to Trial Bay, on the north coast of New South Wales, we sighted out in the half moon shaped bay shallows a structure rising from the shallow water, resembling at that time the ruins of a pier structure or jetty. However its distance from the shore and height where spatially disorientating. On closer inspection, it became clear that this pair of pylons, where in fact the exposed top half of a ship wreck. On further exploration off this part of the beach, we went on to find another smaller wreck sitting at the crest of the berm of the dunes. This ship was completely exposed and we could stand on its bridge and jump of its bow into the sand. The wreck looked at though it had been there for hundreds of years. So the story goes that on January 8, 1972 the passenger ferry “Sydney Queen” and vehicular ferries “Koondooloo” and “Lurguerna” were blown ashore by strong winds after breaking their mourning in Trial Bay. These vessels in company of another vehicular ferry “Kooroongaba” were being towed to the Philippines for scrapping. The Kooroongaba sits out in the bay only visible in strong winds and heavy seas. The show boat the Sydney Queen, sits at the shoreline at low tide, only its steam exhaust sticking out of the sands. And Lurguerna is being pushed further and further into the hinterland. The wreck’s erosion along with the beaches erosion tells the story of the topography, so how is this occurring? This research investigates a cluster of related topics as the gather around this central question about topography.

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Teardrop park Landscape Architecture: Michael Van Valkenburg Associates, Inc Location: Lower Manhattan / NYC / USA Area: 1.8 acres, less than a hectare

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G

lossary of terms

Topography - defined and redefined as the research progresses. Culture – An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behaviour that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning

Material – all things physical in the world I have first argues that topography is something that is material, made up of all the tangible contents of the universe

Image – although image is used in theory “anything that presents itself to the mind, “whether it be real or not”.

Representation – the practice of materialising a concept into a physical tangible product. Used in this research to refer to the drawing that is produced within the process of design.

Narrative – a spoken or written or drawn account of connected events; a story.

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INTRODUCTION

I

have always had a great interest in topographies. I enjoyed grading, and undulations and reading topographical maps. My practice would always begin with obtaining the topographical survey of the proposed site; until this was obtained, I would not begin the task! And my design outcomes would always be coming from, fundamentally, this first image I was creating (either on paper or in my mind) of the topography, obtained from that initial set of vectors. But I, like Bernard Cache, ask the question: “what is the nature of this vector?” (Cache, 1995) What is the true image of the topography? If the image of the topography was to me then a set of vectors, what is the picture it is conjuring up for me? The topographical map was communicating to me in a certain way that no other mode could. For me it was as if “language betrayed what (the) orthographic maps display’s” (Cache, 1995). But how do I access all the information in the map? I must first understand my own processors to be able to understand what is happening through the readings of these maps.

WORDS Within my practice and within the broader discourse, we have forgotten how weighted the concept of topography is. What makes it so interesting to me and inspired this exploration was the multitude of definitions that come up through reading and discussions with peers and within critique sessions. This project has been about what topography mean’s to me, and what that in turn says about my

practice. I hypothesized that the conflict these discrepancies were causing, were coming from a split between the dictionary definition of topography and the origins of the word, they are; DICTIONARY DEF. to•pog•ra•phy [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] –noun, plural -phies. 1. The detailed mapping or charting of the features of a relatively small area, district, or locality. 2. The detailed description, esp. By means of surveying, of particular localities, as cities, towns, or estates.

3. The relief features or surface configuration of an area. 4. The features, relations, or configuration of a structural entity

EPISTEMOLOGICAL DEF. “The term topography originated in ancient Greece and continued in ancient Rome, as the detailed description of a place. The word comes from the Greek words ( topos , place) and ( graphia , writing). In classical literature this refers to writing about a place or places, what is now largely called ‘local history’” (Harper) What was great about this question is it that forced me to define the word topography for myself. It also gave me a way of positioning myself within a larger theoretical framework, as I could look at other’s definitions and align or distance myself from them. I have assembled a chorus of definitions from which the following are the two I found to be most aligned

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with my own. Nunes “What topography depicts is a system of representation. The spontaneous or attributed form of the earth. Its functions as the source for defining the relationships between systems and the earth, and functioning of a-biotic processors and those that refer to metabolism of water” from Landscape Architecture and 100+ words to inhabit Nunes is, for me, is talking about the material topography, but implies that it depicts a “system of representation”. There is an implied disconnection between those representing the topography, what they are representing and who is receiving this image. This idea of representation spoke to me, however there was no hint at how the topography was being represented. It seems simply that topography is a representation of the material world, however this seems somewhat simplified. w

Miller From “Topographies”

“Topography originally meant the creation of metaphorical equivalents in words of a landscape. Then by another transfer, it came to mean representation of a landscape accordingly to conventionally signs of some system of mapping. Finally by a third transfer, the name of the map was carried over to name what is a map. Today we might say “lets make a topographical map of the topography of Key West”” Topographies, Joseph Hillis Miller


Parc de Pedra Tosca in Les Preses, Spain RCR Arquitectes design strategy as being one of „uncovering rather than discovering

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Miller on the other hand offers a system for understanding how the fissure in the idea of topography has come about, through these transfers. This idea of transfer of definitions, meaning and myths of the topography will become more important as the research develops. By exploring the word’s epistemological makeup, Miller exposes the various motivations of the persons representing the topography throughout history. The idea that our concepts of topography and the way we represent it are highly politicised in this way, has developed to become one of the overarching themes of the research.

NARRATIVE Topography is not just a set of vectors “painted” with material. it is also a stage, on which the stories of our lives are played out The way we organize memories through geographical coordinates. Landscape is pre-historic; it is eternal. Topography only “comes” into being when “we” begin to talk, write, and conceive it. Topography is a concept of “our” collective and cultural consciousness’. Topography is also made of a tangible materiality, that which we can touch, that which is eternal, and exists whether or not we conceive it to be so. Topography must be understood through this dichotomy that exists within the concepts of topography. For the intervention of the landscape architect, one either sits upon the topography, cuts into its land-forms, rearranges its configurations and will always be thereby interfering with those conversations occurring between what i have come to refer to as the cultural and the

material topography. What are the conversations that are happening through topography? I have come to see these conversations manifesting through narratives. Those taking part in these conversations, engage in a narrative comprising itself of; geological narratives, tectonic narratives, alluvial narratives, aolian narratives, hydrological narratives, communities narratives, personal (human) narratives. They combine to make up the metanarrative of the topography. But what do these narratives look like? How are they represented, and how do these representations translate to designs? What is it like to inhabit my topographical narrative? And what do these images say about what topography is to me? Site Topography was chosen as the theme for this research, in order to answer questions about my own practice. It was apparent that topography was provoking me to intervene with it, through every project I would attempt. If I was given a site to work on in a studio, that did not have running through it a soft, morphing surface topography (usually obtained through alluvial river typologies), then I would bring a river through, or excavate to find one, buried underground. I always needed that type of flexibility of the ground; there also needed to be flexibility in pictorial view. The ground must morph to change this view. This simultaneous morphology, happening through both, as Cache explains it, “plan vector” and “architectural frame” (Cache, 1995) was for me best observed and tested on a flexible ground like a flood plain. Topography was

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always driving every move I made. The finished products, which I will talk about later, always involved a morphology of the ground, the ground was telling a story. There is a drama within the topography; a drama of the ground, through its surface morphology and also on the topography, through the acts of those that inhabit it. This morphology was seen to be playing out through both this material topography and what I call the cultural topography. But where do they meet and what events occur at their meeting point.

I have used as my testing ground for this research a floodplain that once housed a munitions factory, located on the at the top of the Maribrynong River flats, in the suburb of Maribrynong. The site offers me a large alluvial body of earth, which I can, with the help of the river; form into new topographies two suit wherever the research took me.

REPRESENTATION I have attempted to work initially and primarily through plan, top down, and then sub sequentially critiqued this through the smaller personal, experiential scale. I would however like to add that there is, in fact, an experience at the larger plan view. The experience of the designer; this is both happening through the design process (as a form of critique), but also through the collecting of past experiences, by the designer, in the topography, being assembled and re-assembled through the drawings she produces. These drawing will materialize into real spaces at the 1.1 scale, but will carry with them the imagery of topography being


alluvial path

hard sandstone clis

Avondale Heigts site perimter

Maribrynong River

site* Defunct Maribrynong Munitions Factory

Marbyrnong

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explored through the actions of master planning, stretched and skewed on the ground. It is this transfer of image, across scales and between “Representer” and “Receiver”, which drives this project.

sandstone revealed by alluvial soil removal and carving of bedrock

soft sandsotne

N Essednon

traversable sandstone terrace

sandstone beneath 20 m of alluvial soils

concept plan crops

To attempt to answer of the questions by critiquing topography, it is too broad to simply look at my practice as a whole thing, and it must therefore be investigated in parts. This project has sought to do this by looking at how I design the topography in terms of; • A physical material thing that can be touched. • A cultural construct that is built on aesthetics • The image of the topographical map, contours and vectors • A programmable surface full of exchanges between objects and ground plain • Narrative as design tool of the topography • The narrative of the ground topography of the site itself. • The final image of the topography; this image, a final image of the topography. The body of work will now be discussed through eight iterations that show how the research has come to be formed and will conclude some of the questions posed in this introduction, starting with the setting up of the material/ culture divide.

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definition

The act of defining the word Topography. The research takes the position that with the multitude of definitions for topography it has become undefined and blurr y . if i am to ask “what topography mean’s to me?� And what that in turn says about my practice. i need to move through a process of defining the word through both design iteration and the writing of the definition. Each iteration attempts to state, what topography means to the myself at that moment. it is this morphology, along with the accompanying drawings, of meaning that illustrates best the progress of the research

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to·pog·ra·phy

to·pog·ra·phy

  [tuh-pog-ruh

  [tuh-pog-ruh

-phies.

-phies.

Topography is a completely cultural constructed concept.

Topography the material landscape that exists before my comprehension of it. It is the world without human experience, although it contains humans. Humans exist in the Material topography however they are simply objects or ornaments set about a ground plain

to·pog·ra·phy

to·pog·ra·phy

  [tuh-pog-ruh

  [tuh-pog-ruh

-phies.

-phies.

Topography is whatever I represent it to be.

Topography is the resulting image of the Material and Cultural worlds collisions through

narrative,

to·pog·ra·phy

to·pog·ra·phy

  [tuh-pog-ruh -phies.

1.

  [tuh-pog-ruh -phies.

e recording of relief

topography is what tells us how all systems will operate. It is the overruling landscape grading, and undulations and reading topographical maps.

terrain, the three-dimensional quality of the surface, and the landforms.

to·pog·ra·phy

to·pog·ra·phy





 [tuh-pog-ruh -phies.

originated

ancient Greece

ancient Rome, as thedetailed description of a

 [tuh-pog-ruh -phies.

(Miller) “Topography originally meant the creation of transfer, it came to mean representation of a landscape accordingly to conventional signs of some system of mapping. Finally by a third transfer, the name of the map was carried over to name what is a

Greek wordsIJǗȺǎǐ(topos, place)

DQGDŽǏĮijǁĮ graphia, writing).In classical literature this refers to

map. Today we might say “lets

make a topographical map of the topography of Key West””

writing about a place or places, what is now largely called ‘local history’” (Harper)

Topographies, Joseph Hillis Miller

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to·pog·ra·phy

to·pog·ra·phy

  [tuh-pog-ruh

  [tuh-pog-ruh

-phies.

-phies.

Topography is “is

Topography is an arrangement of many images of the landscape.

a system

spontaneous or attributed form of the earth.” Nunes

from Landscape

Architecture and 100+ words to inhabit

to·pog·ra·phy

to·pog·ra·phy

  [tuh-pog-ruh -phies.

2. Detailed, region.

  [tuh-pog-ruh -phies.

precise description of a place or

to·pog·ra·phy

to·pog·ra·phy   [tuh-pog-ruh -phies.

[tuh-pog-ruh -phies.

Topography is the Growth medium which supports the conversations of the Material and Cultural world’s collisions, fusing and growth via the process of narrative. Narrative

Topography is a stage on which the stories of our lives are played coordinates. Landscape

is pre-historic; it is eternal.

Topography only becomes when we begin to talk, write, and conceive it. Topography is a concept of cultural consciences.

and process are interchangeable facilitators of the evolution of the topography. It is through narratives that we make sense of the topography.

to·pog·ra·phy

to·pog·ra·phy

  [tuh-pog-ruh -phies.

  [tuh-pog-ruh -phies.

"

therefore this image of topography is a completely subjective thing, and its arrangements are as equally subjective and determine further the resulting image of the topography.

the definitions of topography as they evolved throughout the research.

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the material topography

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surface models and follies, looking at strata and pattern

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T

he voices

THE MOOD.

Reflection

This is the essence if the motivation for the iteration. The poetic sensibility that underlies what topography is to me, at that moment in time. This is the research, trying to find out what that sensibility tells me about What topography is. It is driven by the aesthetic of the representation of topography on the page. The page is where all of the meanings embedded in the word, the concept of topography, play out. What is this aesthetic type of writing telling me about what topography means to me. It is the lyrical abstraction of topography, what the topography “looks� like as an image through language. This is the initial starting point to for each iteration, the subjective nature of my work. This is the way I see topography, but what does it produce?

a theoretical framework, from what was initially seen to be “a collection of drawings and iteration of topography that were simply floating in space�.

                                                                  

In retrospect, how are these two motivators, effecting the “form� of the research? This point, written at a time of reflection, is intended to talk about the entire body of research. It is used to talk about the research as an entire body of work. Drawing these two parts, in addition “what I already know�,

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I

teration I

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def: Topography [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] The shape of the land. That which determines all other systems, hydrolic, river, soil. (geology)

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Matter and force, these are the fundamental components of the material topography Geological parameters and flood gauges, soil types.. I am making topographies, through acting out on the site, with materials. The laws of the universe are important. Topography must perform in a certain way. This is how you make topography. The process of making seems to be more important at this stage of the project. The first four iterations belong to this stage and are all concerned with the way I make, essentially, landforms and then design programmes for those landforms.

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the plaster model, made by covering the existing contours of the site with a number of plaster pours, then abstracted further by tracing these forms into land masses. 36


to·pog·ra·phy [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] –noun, plural -phies.

The lay of the land.

1. The shape of the earth. The topography is what tells us how all systems will operate. It is the overruling landscape grading, and undulations and reading topographical maps.

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to路pog路ra路phy Is the topography specifically involves the recording of relief or

terrain, the three-dimensional quality of the surface, and the identification of specific landforms.

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THE MOOD. The land shall grow through morphology. The morphology was made up of the matter of the material, and the force of the gravity pulling the alluvium along the location. Matter and its motion through space-time playing out on the site. All of the topography can be broken down into energy and force. This is what I need to use to “make� the topography.

       !    "    

  #                    $                 %    & &     Reflection Just making arbitrary forms. plaster being poured onto the existing site contours. However what is it I’m making at this point? How am I making decisions, what are they based on. There is a desire to see what new landforms can be generated. However these decisions are the result of a motivation that I can’t quite put my finger on. The focus at this stage is not on what the topography is, but how you make it. This endeavor into making would end up forcing me to question what is what I was trying to make in the first place. If you don’t know what your striving towards, how will you know when you have achieved it.

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I

teration II




The shape of the land. That which determines all other systems, hydrolic, river, soil. (geology)

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[tuh-pog-ruh-fee]

             !                   

 

                                       

 



def: Topography


THE MOOD.

T

he site is to become a new type of surface. Because the site is a floodplain, it has an unresolved surface. This shall be taken advantage of, to make a new place with a morphing topography. This is the most important type of topography to me as it is able to tell a story, through erosion and deposition. And these stories are within the same time frame as “our� stories. The new site is to be a place where these two stores, that of the topography and “our� stories, are told together.

                                 "        &   

 

     '  (  )                                                 

Reflection

Applying program to a form is what makes that form a topography? What is the moment when this happens in the design process? when does the landform become topography?

                          

        *   "    +   ,  -%     

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to·pog·ra·phy [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] –noun, plural -phies.

1. Detailed, precise description of a place or region. gardens of varying permanency. surface morphology to match program morphology

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to·pog·ra·phy [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] –noun, plural -phies.

originated

in ancient Greece and The word topography continued in ancient Rome, as the detailed description of a place. The word comes from the Greek words τόπος(topos, place) and γραφία (graphia, writing). In classical literature this refers to writing about a place or places, what is now largely called ‘local history’” (Harper)

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Second Stasimon

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B

ut some topographies that I’m making aren’t looking like they should. They are the result of entering the wrong digits into rhino or lofting the wrong surface. These drawings don’t perform in the

e pond Topographical Hercules Freaks

“right way”,

“I don’t like them”. They were put

they are freaks.

aside into a folder called freaks and forgotten. There is an emerging performance of within the drawing. There is a subjectivity underlying what I am trying to create.

Bearded Lady

atoll

Bird Girl

two heads

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Siamese Twin*

delta

Half Woman-Half Man

*\S[\YL (Culture)

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T

he splitting of the topography

The area from what is now Trial Bay around to Grassy Head is a wide delta with various channels connected to the river. Around 1885, English marine engineer John Coode advised on improvements to various rivers and ports in Australia, including the Macleay. The Department of Public Works prepared four plans for improvements to the mouth, Coode favored improving the existing entrance. In 1893 a flood enlarged an opening near Trail Bay and the department elected to improve that, called the New Entrance, though Coode had thought it not enough to drain all the waters of the district. Work on the new entrance commenced in April 1896, improving the channel and adding training walls. A new pilot station was built in 1902, establishing the town of Trial Bay. Work was completed in 1906. Today the old mouth has silted up, leaving Stuarts Point on a dead-end reach. The high levels of silt in the sands of that bay created over several years a higher than normal sandbar, which shifted on the night of January 8, 1972, to expose the reef that struck the hull of the Lurguerna.

or ornaments set about the ground plain. This way of looking at the topography is in fact somewhat useless as it does not really exists, for being human I am unable to conceive of the world outside my own experiences within it. What then is the point of it through this lens? These parallel worlds, material and cultural, need to be understood first as separate, in order to see how the two are in fact constructing the image of topography. I set out to do this quite unguided and free. I moved about the research jumping between what I considered two very separate worlds of designing, namely the physical world and non-tangible dream world; in the material world I quite literally design through the materials of site, or perhaps abstracted idea’s of the materials of the site. Geological parameters and flood gauges, matter and force. The process of making seems to be more important at this stage of the project. The first four iterations belong to this stage and are all concerned with the way I make, essentially, landforms and then design programmes for those landforms.

As I moved through the research I noticed that categories were starting to emerge and divisions became clear. At this point I saw a division within my practices; I call this the material and culture binary. I was either being driven by the material world or by the cultural world. I was unsure of which I belonged to as a designer or which is the “best” for designing topographies. Which world should I align myself with? , I started to refer to this as The Gap within my own practice. The Gap, was excluding me from designing a totally “cohesive” topography. I would either be privileging the material world, through say allowing the river to have the overwhelming dominance over the site. Or the cultural world, and upholding the right of people to go about there daily lives in a safe flood - free environment.

Iteration V is where I am finding myself slipping into this cultural conception of topography. When constructing topographies through simple materiality, it can become difficult to imagine what the human experience of being in that place is like. I saw this somewhat of a lack of transfer within my own design processors. I was grappling with the idea of landscape being a visual image that affects or perhaps controls completely our experience within it. I choose to look at concepts of the sublime, knowing that the sublime refers to a greatness with which nothing else can be compared and which is beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation. Why I would choose this as a lens is perhaps evidence for how ambitiously I wanted to attack this question about topography.

The material topography Matter and force

The sublime is a completely human construct, and does not work as an absolute or exact measure of the physical world. It is perhaps the most elusive widow through which

The cultural topography

The first half of the project has been about setting up a dichotomy of the division between the material topography and the cultural topography. The task this presents was to design topography, a topography that flexed, morphed, stretched and fused. This was how I saw topography and I wanted to explore this using what I saw to be the ultimate morphing topography, the floodplain. The material topography is the topography that exists before my comprehension of it. It is the world without human experience, although it contains humans. Humans are in the material world simply as objects

to start attacking my questions about topography. Perhaps through looking through an impossibly ambiguous window, I could get a hint if what this cultural component of topography was. Not knowing where to start, but knowing I must start somewhere, I chose to view the topography of my site through the lens of the sublime.

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topo-,




53


cultural

the topography

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T

he Sublime.

(down the rabbit hole)

C. Why would anybody want to live on a floodplain? L. Because it would be beautiful. C. But a park next to a river that doesn’t flood could be said to be beautiful. L. Yes, but it would be a special type of beauty, a beauty that it also connected with and created by the terror of living on a flood plain. But what is that beauty?

O

n each visit back to that beach I would be filled with anticipation to see where the wrecks may have wandered to along the beach, through the water, further down towards the bedrock or out of the territory of that bay altogether. On arrival at the beach the task of finding the exact spot where that “the one that’s up in the dunes” sat, was always a familiar pleasure. As I would move towards that place, the excitement of seeing the ship, its red-rust punctuating the white sands, along with the fear that it might have disappeared forever. One of the ships has already disappeared out into the bay and one is sinking into the shore. And with 12 months between each visit, the storms of winter could and one day will bury the wreck forever. It will become its second sinking, only to emerge one day in some different form. These images of the topography, that come together to explain the narrative of that place for me, are arranged and re-arranged on each visit, to collectively make that topography.

we produce. And as Lytoard explains, through critiquing Kant’s Analytic of the Sublime, representing the sublime is an impossible feat. For as Lyotard advises, the sublime is by its definition an un-representable image(lyotad, ). Once one finds the correct mode to represent the sublime it ceases to be sublime. However in an attempt to represent, the un-representable (the sublime), we are forced to arrange a series of non-sublime images. It is this process, that Lyotard believes is as close to the sublime that the image maker will get. What images, for example do I arrange through design. There are the images throughout the designing process, spoken about in the introduction; but there are also the images that we are This iteration gave the research a very important thing. I just have trouble saying what that thing is; but the thing defiantly had a transformative effect on the research. I can say that I started looking more closely how representation of the topography is affecting my design outcomes? And secondly what is this cultural overlay, that exist on the topography? I topo-, started  to think about the word topography. , “place”. Am I thinking about place when I’m designing topography? Or is it simply a physical object? Or is my knowledge of the experience of being in the landscape, embedded in the forms that I make? How do you separate the two? Is it important to separate the two? I would argue for my research yes! The topography must be broken up into all its parts in order to understand it as a whole concept.

What do I have to say about this exercise? if someone was to ask me about my experiences of using the sublime (in terms of an aesthetic theory) as a lens to ask these questions about topography, I would probably advise them to tread with caution; For as landscape architects we are forced to make representations of images of the landscape; not only though the paper/model/computer representation of our work. But also in the physical built designs

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“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt” — Immanuel Kant (Critique of Pure Reason)


collage created to represent the process of the conundrum of the sublime. 56


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I find quite humorous that the research felt at this time to resemble something of Kants explanation of the sublime. Perhaps in a way, one could say that the research should in some way reflect the topic it is currently pondering on. If I were to make a topographical drawing of the research at this point, it might look like this.

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TYPE IV

Melting The decay of a geological artifact. The impending doom of the falling away of the ground plain into the depths of hell. Yet the immense spectacle moves us but instills us with a degree of horror by what is "dark, uncertain, and confused* as the river is allowed to eat away at the foundation of this place, all that sits atop it waits for impending doom. The massive 100 year flood is not the concern here. It’s the daily lapping of the tidal waters, causing the ground plain to melt into the river and be sent out to see. ^ Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, Part I, Section VII, "Whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain, and danger, that is to say, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime; that is, it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling...." In Part II, Section II, Burke wrote: "...terror is in all cases whatsoever, either more openly or latently, the ruling principle of the sublime."

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type II

type III

CONTRUCTION:

shifting

The sublime fills us with an awe inspiring lofty aspiration. It requires us to search endlessly for the ultimate high. The search for this high sends us further and further upwards, towards the heavens. The continuously generating topography is a metaphor for this, its infinite form. .

The sublime requires us to shift between incomprehension and comprehension of the natural world, it is this shift back and forth that enables us to achieve the sublime. And leaves us ultimately with a feeling of anxiety. under the lintel, high, lofty, elevated, exalted

It is the representation of the unrepresent able that makes the sublime a useful lens. The aim of representing the sublime is one that will never be achieved. However it is the process of attempting to represent the sublime that is more interesting, as we dig deep into the various histories at our disposal.

Under the lintel, high, lofty, elevated, exalt

type I

Balance The sublime sits a tenuous state between life and death. Between beauty and terror. The responsibility of keeping these forces at bay, takes its toile upon the sublime, and its will have to choose one side to fall into. The flood, the first day of the bloom or the suburb carnival do not cause this event. These are there results of the sublime and only strengthen its resolve. The sublime represents the energy that holds together the banal and the extraordinary.

Topography as the study of place. What is it like to live in a place whose ground plain stretches infinity towards the future?

This content shifting around an impossible target is analogy for the infinite non-static ground of a floodplain. The inhabitants of that ground will never reach the final point of completion for their surface or their programs. And must continue to represent their collective identify through its spaces over and over again.

Along this ground plain all the programs the city could ever dream can be carries out.

(

A

“in an attempt to represent, the un-representable (the sublime), we are forced to arrange a series of nonsublime images. It is this process, that Lyotard believes is as close to the sublime that the image maker will get.� 60


Garden plan Wild flower chanel public spaces Communal Gardens

Communal Gardens

61


gardens that would rotate around the site like a medieval crop rotation, to adjust to different flooding sequences of the new topography. 62


Translation of Sublime types into section diagrams Balance The sublime refers to a tenuous place that exist between pain and pleasure. I it cannot be talked about as a purely positive thing, or a negative. The process of obtaining the sublime experience is a jolting between the 2 binaries, good and bad. However the result is once of anxiety. Perhaps the floodplain may give moments of great beauty. • Post flood bloom – seed stacks sit at the flood way entrance. With each flood they disperse wild flower seeds through the low lying area’s of the site. Several weeks later the flowers bloom, and a moment of beauty is experiences by all vantage points. • When the flood comes, all the hard work that has been carried out in recreational spaces and communal gardens will be swept away.

Submerged Housing sites submerged in the water courses, but not in the direct center. Housing would therefore not be washed downstream by major floods, but would be slowly eaten away at by the flow of water, down the river and through the new channels. This housing would be very close together and would force the center channel to deepen eventually

v scraper

The sublime fills us with an awe inspiring lofty sensation. It requires us to search endlessly for the ultimate high. The search for this high sends us further and further upwards, towards the heavens. The continuously generating topography is a metaphor for this, its infinite form.

Melting

Housing is purposive built on ground that will become unstable as time passes. As it falls into the river it is picked up and taken downstream to the more affluent suburbs. Choosing this housing type is an Investment in ones future

63


III

shifting The sublime requires us to shift between incomprehension and comprehension of the natural world, it is this shift back and forth that enables us to achieve the sublime. And leaves us ultimately with a feeling of anxiety. under the lintel, high, lofty, elevated, exalted

It is the representation of the unrepresent able that makes the sublime a useful lens. The aim of representing the sublime is one that will never be achieved. However it is the process of attempting to represent the sublime that is more interesting, as we dig deep into the various histories at our disposal. This content shifting around an impossible target is analogy for the infinite non-static ground of a floodplain. The inhabitants of that ground will never reach the final point of completion for their surface or their programs. And must continue to represent their collective identify through its spaces over and over again.

A

64


Iteration V mood n attempt at reflecting on what I had learnt from the previous 5 iterations was made at this point. How do you designing with all this in mind?

I

WHAT? What I’ m doing

Assigning program and materiality to the landforms generated from the previous iteration, to create these morphing gardens. The gardens are to have. The

Reflection Reflection Interestingly enough what I, in retrospect can see here is perhaps an early attempt at my final interaction; a concept for the site that ties in all I have learnt about topography so far in the research, and work it in to a part diagram part real place, to explain back to me how all the themes work together, to form an overall view of what topography is to me.

65


def: Topography [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] The shape of the land. That which determines all other systems, hydrolic, river, soil. (geology)

66


67


pre-flood and post-flood topography 68


69


sections from V iterative concept for new flooding suburb for Maribrynong. 70


71


gardens of varying permanency. surface morphology to match program morphology

72


73


to·pog·ra·phy [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] –noun, plural -phies. WKHUHOLHIIHDWXUHVRUVXUIDFHFRQ ¿JXUDWLRQRIDQDUHD

74


The

BINARY

(the gap) As I moved through the research I noticed that categories were starting to emerge and divisions became clear. At this point I saw a division within my practices; I call this the material and culture binary. I was either being driven by the material world or by the cultural world. SO there is a gap, But how can I explore the gap?

75

cape


inlet

inlet

pond

peninsula

delta 76


77


Narrative 78


79


local records found in the ice cream store and Country Club.

80


Narrative.

T

he boats articulate the story of the topography of that place. The Koondooloo has been the most present wreck throughout my visits, having to be negotiated on the shoreline, to now being embedded and alone in the most upper berm of the beaches’ dune complex. The ferry is now buried deep in the shoreline’s lowest sand stratum. The third ship is no longer visible and has in fact moved further out into the bay. These boats have traced the narrative of the beach’s topography. I have used them throughout the years as a measure for succession, erosion and deposition that the beach has conducted. Without these objects I would not have been able to read and trace the narrative that was playing out upon the beach. The topography of this place, like all topographies, is in a constant state of movement. There are many narratives here. There is the narrative of the boats. They have a maritime history and cultural significance in Sydney and Newcastle. Destined for the Philippines, and sinking in the bay, they remained trapped. However this enables another narrative to begin, namely the narrative of those wrecks, on those beaches. The characters remain the same; however the structure and scale, both physical and chronological, are changed. The topography is made up of an uncountable sum of narratives, operating across a diversity of scales. The job of the landscape architect is to read these narratives, and to create experiences within the topography that play with these structures. For when the narrative is read, the topography can also be read, as narrative is what is constructing the topography. Narrative is the vehicle through which we make sense of our experiences in the topography. To look for narrative structures that might help reveal the topography, I looked at a very structured narrative, in this case a play, the Antigone. I then used these structures to understand how the narrative of my site is constructing its topography. The Antigone exercise enabled me to see that, in fact, the cultural topography and the material topography are not overlaid on top of each other. The task is not to separate them, as they are inseparable. It is my task to understand them as one whole image of the landscape.

The job of the landscape architect is to read these narratives, and create experiences within the topography by revealing through these narrative

81


82


topography

place

material

{

cu spe wri im phe

surface (land)form object ornament

process

material

process

83

culture


T

his diagram talks about how the dichotomy of the previous V iterations is coming together through narrative to make the topography.

ulture eaking iting age enomena

}

My practice is about wiring narratives through the topography. The narratives are liner and cyclical, the characters are flood, sand, soil, people, songs, fireworks. The narratives cross each other at linkage point’s when they cross they collies, repel, meld, mesh, fuse and more. The question of “what is topography?” Understanding narratives through topographies is a side way into my own design process. What does designing a topography through an established narrative, such as the Antigone, tell me about how I design through narratives. It has told me how crucial concepts of time are to my own practice. Time is explored in 2 main ways throughout.

• Time as framework for pinpointing vantage points for by (magic) alchemistic collisions through the topography. • And as narrative, for the story, whose lines cross, and intertwine with others. How can my practice of designing topographical narratives be improved? As landscape architects we design with stories, these stories manifest through topographies, and richer the design the richer the collection of stories and better articulation of these stories.

the Antigone

Creon

thymele*

surface (land)form object ornament

Antigo speaking writing image phenomena

chorus 84


I had to find a way to read and measure the two concepts of topography that emerged where emerging through my research. I understand “things” through difference, through motion, through change and through stories. Narrative is a fundamental way that I make sense of the experiences of topography, both material and cultural. Therefore narrative was to be used to explore the relationships between the material and cultural topographies. However my knowledge of narrative is very limited and linear

START M I D D L E END And I wanted to develop this further, to generate new designing processors for design the topography. Therefore I took a literary narrative whose structure I was familiar and began to re-make what I had created in the last iterations.

This is the topographies of the Sophocles, The Antigone. The play was read and re-read to see how the narrative of could generate a new topography for my site.

This is a contour model of my site. At the beginning of the play all the characters started in the thymel (which was the centre of the stage in Greek theatre), but becomes the bluestone capped hill of my site in this exercise. They then move about the model marking the ground as they pass. This was done to allow me to generate a ground vocabulary.

Written below is the third episodium of the play and a diagram to explain how I used the play to generate theses topographies. Antigone, after being put to death by Creon, surrounded by guards, is on her way to her living tomb. She mourns her fate, and the Chorus, touched with pity, but lamenting the infatuation which constrained her to fatal disobedience, condoles with her. Creon, re-entering, chides the guards for delaying her passage, and Antigone, strong in the “faith that looks through death,” takes her final leave of the world.

By this stage Antigone as moved across the topography as has Creon, the chorus and other characters, towards the outskirts of Thebes. This journey is marked by a soft sombre, but determined carving in the ground, the trial that leads to her tomb. As she passing over this portion of earth she crossing the heavy headed proud jarring’s of Creons previous decree made in the interlude, and the soft, wide lofty sweeps of the Chorus’ choral ode. Collectively the ground tells the narratives of the play and makes a new surface, this is the topography! It is made from narratives of cultural identities with a tangible material.

85


repentance, and anticipating that all will soon be bright and joyous in

the Chorus the fate of three cruel imprisonment, and they are commemorated--DanaĂŤ, Lycurgus, and Cleopatra.

A watch has been set to see that no one gives the banned one his funeral rites, and death is the penalty for any such attempt. While he is speaking, one of the sentinels appointed to watch the body--this character is one of the few in the Greek tragedies which border closely on comedy and drama

Creon, incensed that a woman should dooms her to death. But suspecting that Ismene also was an accomplice her orders her to be summoned

86

wit and works of man, his daring, his inventiveness which, however, can only bring him honour so long as he keeps within the bounds of law-if he breaks those bounds ruin only the conduct of Antigone is obvious.

in honour of Dionysus. We may here pause to note that Sophocles almost invariably ushers in the catastrophe of his tragedies--it is so in the Ajax, in the Oedipus Rex and in the Trachiniae--by these ironical preludes like bursts of sunlight just before the clouds gather blackest for storm.


I

teration VI

Second Stas Third Stasimon

Third Epeisodion

87


s dipu

def: Topography simon

[tuh-pog-ruh-fee] The shape of the land. That which determines all other systems, hydrolic, river, soil. (geology)

88

First Epeisodion


89


Plotting the Topography of the Antigone

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91


W

orking through the narrative of the play, the contour model of the site is manipulative. As the characters move across the site, they play out there narrative through the ground. The

tools

to

used

to

manipulate, carve, trace, erode, deposit the material around the site. How can this be used to read the ground narrative of the site, without the play? Or does it really matter that the play is used? Perhaps not, for the narrative of the topography are as the research is showing me, completely subjective.

playing out the narratives on a card contour model of the real site. 92


T

his iteration implies that within my own practice, narrative can also be used to explore site, and break apart the way we “see” landscape. Narrative as a design tool can not only generate form and place, but perform morphology on the way I position myself within the landscape, let’s call this “critique through narrative” for the designer. The two, form and critique, happen simultaneously as we move through a narrative design process.

Exodus

Fifth Stasimon

“Narratives . . . intersect with sites, accumulate as layers of history, organize sequences, and inhere in the very materials and processes of the landscape. In various ways, stories ’take place.’” --From Landscape Narratives. Fifth Epeisodion

thym

Fourth Stasimon

Forth Epeisodion

Third Stasimon

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OUTSIDE THE

Prologos

Parodos

First Epeisodion

mele*

First Stasimon

Second Epeisodion

Second Stasimon

Topography of the Antigone 3rd reading

Third Epeisodion

94


W

hat is the topography of topography? For me it is a book, full of a non-specific number of stories and narratives. These are not only the stories and narratives of people, or living things , but they are also stories of roads, soil, rivers etc. Everything in landscape can be understood in terms of stories. And topography is the coming together of those stories on a unified form. The design that we perform involves reading, writing, re-writing stories, multiple stores, to create new topography’s.

Exodus

v

v

Fifth Stasimon

Topography is a combination of a physical topography and a cultural topography. The two are fused together, how? That is what this project seeks to ask.

Fifth Epeisodion

thymele*

Fourth Stasimon

Forth Epeisodion

v

These diagram, like the model diagram represents a set of vectors from the previous iterations through the narrative of the site, and then being retold with different characters, different time scale. Being told over a week instead of only 1 day. These changes further add to morphology of these vectors.

Third Stasimon

95


OUTSIDE THEBES

Oedipus

O e s pu di

Prologos

Parodos

ipus Oed First Epeisodion

First Stasimon

Second Epeisodion

Second Stasimon

Topography of the Antigone 2rd reading

Third Epeisodion

us dip Oe

96


v

v

Exodus

Fifth Stasimon

Fifth Epeisodion

thymele

Fourth Stasimon

v

Forth Epeisodion

Third Stasimon

97


OUTSIDE THEBES

Oedipus

O e

s pu di

Prologos

Parodos

ipus Oed First Epeisodion

e* Fist Stasimon

Second Epeisodion

Second Stasimon Third Epeisodion

Topography of the Antigone 4th reading us dip Oe

98


Fifth Stasimon

Fifth Epeisodion

thymele*

Fourth Stasimon

Forth Epeisodion

99


Second Epeisodion

Topography of the Antigone

Second Stasimon

5th reading

100


OUTSIDE THEBES

Oedipus

Exodus

O e s pu di

v

v

Parodos Fifth Stasimon

ipus Oed First Epeisodion Fifth Epeisodion

thymele*

First Stasimon Fourth Stasimon

Second Epeisodion

v

Forth Epeisodion eisodion

Second Stasimon Third rd Stasimon

Third Epeisodion

us dip Oe

101


Various time scales within the play 102


OUTSIDE THEBES

Exodus Prologos

Oedipus

Parodos Fifth Stasimon

v

Exodus

O e

v

s pu di

First Epeisodion Fifth Epeisodion

Parodos Fifth Stasimon

thymele*

ip Oed us

First Stasimon Fourth Stasimon

First Epeisodion Fifth Epeisodion

thymele*

Second Epeisodion Forth Epeisodion

First Stasimon Second Stasimon

Fourth Stasimon

Third Stasimon

Third Epeisodion

Second Epeisodion v

eisodion Forth Epeisodion

Second Stasimon rd Stasimon Third

Third Epeisodion

us dip Oe

Exodus Prologos

Parodos fth Stasimon

First Epeisodion

thymele*

First Stasimon tasimon

Second Epeisodion Forth Epeisodion

Second Stasimon Third Stasimon

Third Epeisodion

OUTSIDE THEBES

1:100

Exodus Prologos 1:10.000

Parodos Fifth Stasimon

First Epeisodion Fifth Epeisodion 1:1 thymele*

First Stasimon Fourth Stasimon

Second Epeisodion Forth Epeisodion

Second Stasimon Third Stasimon

Third Epeisodion

physical Scale

2.588 ± 0.005*

OUTSIDE THEBES

3.600

± 0.0 05

11 .60 8±

0.0 5*

33 .9

± 1* 0.

Exodus Prologos

± .7 58

* 0.2

.6 70

Parodos

±0

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EMPO CONT

8±4 150. .0`

ETERNAL AND

1.0* thymele*

164.7 ± 4.0

FLOO D IS BOTH

.0 ± 112

RATY

.6* First Epeisodion Fifth Epeisodion

First Stasimon Fourth Stasimon

Second Epeisodion Forth Epeisodion

Second Stasimon Third Stasimon

Third Epeisodion

Time Scale

103


By taking the lessons learnt about how scale and time are used to generate the form of topography, the narratives of my Site where diagrammed. What I can see? That geology, for example, is occurring across a number of scales, both physical and time. My practice requires me to intervene with these narratives and rewrite them through design. 104


P

ersonification of the topography begins to appear evident. As the exodus draws near the topography appear to turn in on itself like clouds gathering black for a storm. The topography acts as vessel for the plot an characters. But also to seal Antigone and Haemon within their tomb together. This is the cultural topography crafted from the material topography.

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Exodus

106


a

day-long performance of The Comedy of Errors

[Image: From Andrejs Rauchut’s thesis project at the Cooper Union]. 107


precedence

For his final thesis project this year at the Cooper Union in New York City, student Andrejs Rauchut diagrammed and modelled “a constellation of architectural set pieces” meant for “a day-long performance of The Comedy of Errors” by William Shakespeare. 108




to·pog·ra·phy [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] –noun, plural -phies.

originally meant the creation of metaphorical equivalents in words of a landscape. Then by another transfer, it came to mean (Miller) “Topography

representation of a landscape accordingly to conventional signs of some system of mapping. Finally by a third transfer, the name of the map was carried over to name what is

Today we might say “lets make a topographical map of the topography of Key West”” Topographies, Joseph Hillis Miller

a map.

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to·pog·ra·phy [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] –noun, plural -phies.

Topography “is

system representation. the

The spontaneous or attributed form of the earth.” Nunes from Landscape Architecture and 100+ words to inhabit

a

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week 23 narrative



 the s



 week 23 narrative

the sublime

the limits of the material world upon my imagination the sublime

narrative as design generator.





week 23 narrative





111

the sublime






the topography of things

the sublime

the limits of the material world upon my imagination

 sublime

the topography of things

To look for narrative structures that might help reveal the topography, I looked at a very structured topography, in this case a play, the Antigone. I then used these structures to understand how the narrative of my site is constructing its



topo-,όπος

exercise enabled me to see that, in fact, the cultural topography and the material topography are not overlayed on top of separate them, as they are inseparable. It is my task to understand them as one whole image of the landscape.

topography becomes whatever it needs to be for design.



The image has come to be a concept that I can use to make sense of all the themes in my research; the material/culture dichotomy, the sublime, narrative and the overarching question about topography. This gets complicated however for ent, depending on who is representing it, and what they are trying to say with that image. It is always politicised in this way. This research has been a way of critiquing what am I trying to say about topography, through my representation of its image.

When constructing topographies through imagine what the human experience of being in that place is like.



the sublime the limits of the material world upon my imagination



Another attempts at representing how the “nature” of topography has changed throughout the research. Here I was attempting to create the topography of the research. Understanding that topography is its self a method of representing values of the landscape. 112


T

he Migration of Mel and Judith" by Thomas Hillier].

[Images: From "The Migration of Mel and Judith" by Thomas Hillier]. 113


precedence

“The Migration of Mel and Judith,” Hillier writes, “was the pre-cursor to The Emperor’s Castle and my first real exploration into using narrative as the vehicle for generating and scrutinizing my architectural ideas. It was also where I began using craft-based techniques and 2/3-dimensional assemblage to

“The Migration of Mel and Judith,” Hillier writes, “was the pre-cursor to The Emperor’s Castle and my first real exploration into using narrative as the vehicle for generating and scrutinizing my architectural ideas. It was also where I began using craftbased techniques and 2/3-dimensional assemblage to illustrate the design process.” 114




115


R

material/culture dichotomy, the sublime, narrative and the overarching question about topography. This gets complicated however for the image of topography is always going to appear different, depending on who is representing it, and what they are trying to say with that image. It is always politicised in this way. This research has been a way of critiquing what I am trying to say about topography, through my representation of its image.

epresentation of the image of topography

Louisa all you care about is representation, you’re just an artist” grrrr (fellow student) How am I representing the image of topography?

This ties again back into narrative; I am telling stories about the topography through the arrangements of the images of the topography. And can be also references in relation to my endeavours into the sublime, for like the sublime, the key to representing the topography is how I arrange these images. For even one flat cartographic representation of the topography has a narrative within it. A topographical map of a place could be said to be simply a set of vectors on white paper. However I know that there are stories, geological, human and hydrological embedded within that image.

On recollection of those shipwrecks, I can see them now as a series of images flashing though my mind. Memory recalls the images of the narrative of the wrecks and arranges them differently each time I recall them. Not too differently from dreaming about the story of how they came to be there sitting up in the dunes. These images of the narrative are changed with each time I visit the beach and recall this story in my mind. With the gathering of new information or myths of the wrecks, adds to the single images and the final image of topography. Finding the 8mm film of the footage of the beach several weeks after they had wrecked, the ships still intact, beached on the shore, changes this image of the narrative again. Now I see that the hull of th e Kooroongaba was in fact green. The initial image of the rusted, burnt orange artifact draped in creeping pig face, is now compromised. All these colours come together to make a new colour.

So what does this have to do with design? If the image is at the forefront of my mind when designing perhaps I am just artist, stuck in the wrong profession? No I disagree; for all design is subjective, and this project has forced be to push myself to own that subjectivity and appreciate where it comes from. It is what determines ones sensibility as a designer.

The image of the topography is not simply generated by a the physical attributes of the objects (matter) and the natural processors of the landscape (force), but also through this imagery and narrative. “Narrative is a very fundamental way people shape and make sense of experience in the landscape” (potteiger), but what is the image that they are creating? For the my practice, I see to be a visual one, so what is the role of the image of topography within this practice? When I’m talking about image I refer here to a wider theoretical conception of image explained well by Bernard Cache as “anything that presents itself to the mind, “whether it be real or not”, therefore this image of topography is a completely subjective thing, and its arrangements are as equally subjective and determine further the resulting final image of the topography. These moves need to be critiqued in order to determine what the image is saying about what it is representing, in the case of this research, topography. The image has come to be a concept that It can use to make sense of all the themes in my research; the

What decisions are being made about what is important about topography? How do they materialise within the drawing? Drawing the topography is a completely subjective act; topography has been represented in different ways throughout history, I have learnt in this project that topography is a heavy - weighted word. What we consider important about the topography is displayed in how we represent it. When I “draw” the topography, what I choose to leave out, what I include, what I highlight and the hierarchies within my representation, are saying a great deal about what topography means to me? I will now critique a drawing from my last interaction and define precisely what I am trying to say about this particular topography, and in turn topography in general. 1. What is it that is being represented through these drawings 2.

What are the hierarchies of information

3

What is being hidden from view

stills from super 8 footage of the ships sitting on the shore

116


117


def: Topography [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] The shape of the land. That which determines all other systems, hydrolic, river, soil. (geology)

118


119


B

ut as design tool what am I learning here from looking at narrative? What is the aesthetic of these narratives? These narratives are playing out through

how does the surface need to behave in order to tell these stories? the

ground,

therefore

I made these models of this new vocabulary and then began to match them back to the components of the sites topography I wanted to start telling stories with. I was interested in

strata and folding, colonization and sedimentation

120


121


This sub-iteration involved making strata models. Creating one layer of material, waiting for it to set, then overlaying another. i was looking for a vocabulary of sedimentary behaviour. Model works in this way to enable the design language to evolve.

122


def: Topography [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] The image of the “real” physical world

123


Iteration VII

124


he site is to become a new type of surface. Because the site is a floodplain, it has an unresolved surface. This shall be taken advantage of, to make a new place with a morphing topography. This is the most important type of topography to me as it is able to tell a story, through erosion and deposition. And these stories are within

T

    

  &  3         !   

          

! 4

the same time frame as “our� stories. The new site is to be a place where these two stores, that of the topography and “our� stories, are told together.

      3                 

 

*12 1  #                                 

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125

        +  ,


Drawing of the topography imagined through its narratives 126


127


making the topography of topography

128


I

teration VIII

129


Topography Def:

130


S

na rra tiv e

pr oc ess

gr ou nd tracing

traced from geological area’s where the sandstone bedrock and floodplain are at there most thinnest strata. when soil is excavated for remediation, these surfaces are exposed to the bedrock and pontoons are suspended through joints in the geology. these pontoon create walkways and platform to allow for movement across the site after flooded periods.

carving

Removal of alluvial soils allows for the exposure of the sandstone on the northern turn of the river. The sandstone is carved at this point to create a new geological pool. The grade will be lower than further down stream will this create a small inland lake during low tide.

the ground swells through the times of flood, flood spaces are the ultimate unresolved space. However geology works on several time scales. the sandsstone bed rock, will keep the pontoons in the specific are, the alluvial soils will allow for a varied direction. sometime the path will not be traversable. and the pontoons will become habitat for water animals, safe from humans.

By flipping the character profile of the alluvial soil and the sandstone, by moving the material of the site around the narrative of the river is changed. This inturn to affects the stories of the river downstream.

artificial framework

establishing character

strata excavation

c

meta narrative

This was done by laying down a framework of walls, paths, groins, glades, hills and river edges. This framework was to remain hidden dormant within the ground. And with alluvial, Aeolian and human activity, to site was to perform a process of self excavation on, to reveal its topography.

loc ati on

typ e

o I set about to make now make a topography out of my site, using what I had learnt from the previous 3 iterations. I wanted to use the narrative to reveal through material and culture, what topography was to me.

131

Contaminated soil is cordoned off into the south portion of the sire. This is due to it being of a higher topographical grade than the north side, and also that this is where the majority of the contaminated soil is located. Remediating grasses are then planted and over a period of 10 years the soil is cleaned. The walls that keep this area high and out of flooding site, will then at this point erode, allowing the north site of the site to join the rest of the topography in its many alluvial morphology’s.

The scientific narrative of the remediation of the soil means a separation of narratives from the rest of the site. However the materiality of the walls allows for an eventual joining of narrative. The once defunct high water channel running along the south side of the site can become activated. This can be part of episode III to be looked at during ADR.

the two main parks in the south high point of the topography, come to be through the combination of two narratives, the soil remediation narrative (orange) and strata excavation. Walls are erected to keep soils separate through first 10 years of story. However once all soil is cleans this walls break away. This form is what is left, it is generated from the geology of the site, and bluestone outcrops exist in this shape. It will therefore never wash away.

The path system works of 4 grades and is made of varying degrees of treated steel. This will effect how quickly they will erode. The paths are laid down as a framework at excavation stage. They then lay dormant for years until floodwaters erode away there topsoil and reveal, new accesses and programme. Areas of the site are now accessible.

The river, once removed of all mitigation and with the help of the carving of the sandstone, is realigned and reconfigured. This inturn will change the way the entire site functions.

Emerging narratives and topography of self-excavation. The topography reveals its strata over time. The topography is revealed through these narrative paths. They work through emergence for users to tell the story of the topography. The topography emerges through there narrative.


cro ss na rra tiv e

na rra tiv ep ro gr am

dy na m ic m ate ria l

The site is a contaminated mitigated floodplain in Maribyrnong. It is currently at a point of disjuncture. The contaminated soils of the site means that it is going to be a major cut and fill operation to allow for remediation. My design uses this opportunity to lay down my framework of paths and walls beneath the ground. I do this for several reasons: 1. I will have access to the sandstone bedrock in certain area’s. (This will allow me to set about a series of changes the realign the river at a later stage

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2. I am able to set down a framework, that will over time, work to allow the ground to reveal the topography.

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132

This project takes these ground narrative and works them into a design. The design is not only a place for my site, but works as a diagram for my research. It is the topography of topography according to myself.


133


existing site panaramoic

134


135


site at time of excavation.

136


to·pog·ra·phy [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] –noun, plural -phies.

resulting image

Topography is the of the Material and Cultural worlds collisions through .

narrative

137


138


to·pog·ra·phy [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] –noun, plural -phies. Topography is a stage on which the stories of our lives are played out? The way we organize memories through geographical

Landscape is pre-historic; it is eternal. Topography only becomes when we begin to talk, write, and conceive it. Topography is a concept of cultural consciences. coordinates.

139


140


to·pog·ra·phy [tuh-pog-ruh-fee] –noun, plural -phies.

Topography is the

Growth medium

conversations of the Material and Cultural world’s collisions, fusing and which supports the

growth via the process of narrative. Narrative and process are interchangeable facilitators of the evolution of the topography. It is through narratives that we make sense of the topography.

141


142


wobble pontoons installed into bedrock to allow for a semi permanent path after flood has swept alluvial soils around site, displacing the ground.

Corten steel for permanent river barrier, creates a permanent open space for recreation

land set aside for remediation of contaminated soil, becomes after 10 years secondary adjacent open space

traversable sandstone terrace new river inlet

143


N

wobble pontoons installed into bedrock to allow for a semi permanent path after flood has swept alluvial soils around site, displacing the ground.

sandstone revealed by alluvial soil removal and carving of bedrock

area flooded by river creates small lake within the existing contours

traversable sandstone terrace

new river inlet Traversable sandstone terrace

traversable sandstone terrace

new river inlet

traversable sandstone terrace

Excavation and re configuring of soils for remidiations/laying of framework for narrative paths.

144


145


N traversable sandstone terrace

new river inlet traversable sandstone terrace

Topography was to act as a diagram of my research. to test what I had learnt.

146


147


N

Materials were chosen that would degrade over time and allow the topography to reveal itself,

148


T

o conclude this discussion I would like to open the research up one more time to the possibility of further critique of this subject. Although I have stated that it is through the image of the topography that I most relate to, further investigation could only deliver realisations about what topography is. The most important part of this question, surrounding topography, has not been for me to become an expert on topography. But to reveal to myself something about my own practice. This has been done quite thoroughly, however I feel it could be pushed further. For only then will I know exactly what messages I’m am trying to convey through my drawings of the topography.

149


150


retarding basin

inlet

Pisces Iscariot

delta

peninsula meander

pond

floodplain*

watershed

inlet delta atoll

spit

cape

151


these images were starting to look at how representation of the topography effects what it becomes through the design process.

152


Representation

meander

inlet

VECTOR

floodplain* bones

geology

the beach inlet

retardingbasin basin retarding

pond

atoll

model

?

tissue guts

When I’m talking about image I refer here to the wider theoretical meaning of image explained well by Bernard Cache as “anything that presents itself to the mind, “whether it be real or not�, therefore this image of topography is a completely subjective thing, and its arrangements are as equally subjective and determine further the resulting final image of the topography. These moves need to be critiqued in order to determine what the image is saying about what it is representing, in the case of this research, topography.

annatomy

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meander

inlet

VECTOR

floodplain* bones

geology

the beach inlet

retardingbasin basin retarding

pond

atoll

model

tissue guts annatomy

?

When I’m talking about image I refer here to the wider theoretical meaning of image explained well by Bernard Cache as “anything that presents itself to the mind, “whether it be real or not”, therefore this image of topography is a completely subjective thing, and its arrangements are as equally subjective and determine further the resulting final image of the topography. These moves need to be critiqued in order to determine what the image is saying about what it is representing, in the case of this research, topography.

diagram of representation

Facing page image is a penal from my exhibition that started to un-pack how representation was effecting the “nature” of topography through the research. This needs to be looked at throughout more effective mode however. The following iteration starts to do this.

154


reflection upon the representation of the topography

155


156


To reflect and concluded upon my research i will now Unpack the work I have produced to demonstrate how i am understanding the techniques of

making

in relation to the

drawing

and

changing nature of ‘topography’.

157


MATERIAL

narrative

culture

21

11

1

testing 41

ES U

BL

IM

E

TOPOGRAPHY IS OCCURING ABVOE THE GROUND

22

42

13

23

43

14

24

44

25

45

12

3

ground comes back together through narrative

gr ov ou to erru nd co po lli is ng su mpo v de rfac na nt ob feat e s

ject . su on rfac ly e ain gr is ou nd pl

Ho we ve

s th one find Once lains exp ard yot sL ra

ra

sL yo t

a rd

t

t

Ho

ve

4

we

above ground

TH

2

15

5

e after w

the gods a house is s ha k

o .W

izes the power phas of d s em est Thi iny

ursue

oe p

oo m

s ad

fa ed

mil he n

e curse. Of the house of Labdacus the ore th er m nev ils , fa en

om

y.

W

fr

Anti

gon

ft e, a

er bei

ng

46

pu

26

16

6

tt ea od

eon, y Cr th b

t

as L y

ed

However

e correct mode to s th r nd

surround

he ent t res ep

by g

ins Once one expla ard fi ot

ua

rd

s, is

on

he rw ay

to h er liv

in gt

28

o ur

18

em

8

47

Sh

27

b.

17

om

7

ns

her fate

, and the Cho rus , to

uc

he dw

ith pit

in fa

tu

io

n

wh

ich con

s t rai n e d h e r to f at al dis

obe die

nce,

topography is being made from narratives of cultural identities with a tangible material. 9

10

30

40

ts

ial

t er

ir and n, a ge

yt

or mo r

20

ma m " terial" ter

wl rro na re mo

e d of one

49

sed

e od, ce m

n t , h y d ro

a ter are all examples o f m wa

19

29

u is

om t he s. S etim e s

es. Wo bstanc e su

o

re f

ta e r t o subs

or nces

com

pon

en

i ng

tut

de of matt er, c o s t i ma n

th

aterial

is

M

pictoral frame

lam entin g the

above ground

y, b ut

48 at

an y

40 paths to represent my research 158


T

his was done by taking a section of path of the existing site, and running that section through the research, to measure of the way I see topography has changed. What this showed was the location of the topography, i.e where the “action� of the topography is occurring, above, in or below the ground. The importance of framed views or foreground. Is vegetation shown. What role do people play in the topography at that point in the research? All these things come forward when i reflect on how I drew and made the topography at that point in the research. These sections where made by directly reflecting on the work from each iteration chronologically.

159


160


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1

2

gr ov ou to erru nd co po lli is ng su mpo v de rfac na nt ob feat e ject s . su on rfac pl ly e is ain gr ou nd

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

ts

t er ial

ir and n, a ge

or mo r

e d of one

tut

ing

th

is

M

yt

e od, ce m

162

ma m " terial" ter

wl rro na re mo

a ter are all example s o f m wa

n t , h y d ro

de of matt er, c o s t i ma n

an y

d use is

om t he s. S eti m e s

es. Wo bstanc e su

aterial

o

re f

ta e r t o subs

or nces

com

po n

en


10 paths to unpack the material topography

163


164


165


11

12

13

14

Ho we ve

s th one find Once lains exp ard yot sL ra

ve

ra

sL yo t

a rd

t

t

Ho

we

15

16

t

ins Once one expla ard fi ot

18

19

20

166

as L y

17

However

e correct mode to s th r nd

he ent t res ep


t

However as L y

e correct mode to s th r nd

he ent t res ep

ins Once one expla ard fi ot

10 paths to unpack the cultural topography

167


168


From Material to Culture The material topography allowed me to explore hoe the surface is changing and morphing thorough matter and force. Through making the models I am acting out on the site and observing the effects of my actions. However what is the experience of being in that place? What is the drama happening above the ground? I am at this point looking for the precipice that the cultural topography hangs from. The use of non - site related images (photo’s) is used to superimpose onto my site the qualities of the sublime. By taking something which is “known” to be sublime, and “holding” up to the I real site, looking for a match. At this point, all the “action” of the research is happening above the ground. The view experienced from the ground is related strongly to the sun, and appears to be happening at sunrise through an artificial atmospheric refraction which in nature causes the sun to be seen while it is still below the horizon. What images of the topography do I need to arranged and in what order to create the cultural topography? Line work here using the contours of site, with an array of images from site, and from other sites. Reading about of the watershed behaves in that area, not having a drawing, and having to represent what these written concept looks like. The vectors of the site are used to shape the pictures of the elements of the landscape. What I’m trying to show here is all the information embedded in the vector.

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169


21

22

23

24

25

e after w

the gods a house is s ha k

o .W

izes the power phas of d s em est Thi iny

ursue

oe p

oo m

s ad

fa ed

mil

he n

e curse. Of the house of Labdacus the ore th rm eve sn ail ,f en

om

y.

W

fr

26

27

28

29

30

170


10 paths to unpack the narrative

171


172


narrative Collectively the ground tells the narratives of the play and makes a new surface, this is the topography! It is made from narratives of cultural identities with a tangible material. The shape of the line needs to flex and take on an organic nature to allow for the telling of the narrative. Again however it is a re-representation of an already colourful image (the text of the play), to another medium, drawing. This translation occurs when somebody paint a scene from a play, writes a piece of music or in this case makes a topography. Here the action of the research is happening through the ground, as it was in the material topography. Narrative and the material topography appear at this point to be closely linked.

People continue to be important at this point in the research. However instead of it being simply about human passive experience of the landscape, it is their physical involvement with the ground that is making the topography.

173


41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

40

174


10 paths to unpack the testing of the research

175


T i

his last iteration brought to light two aspects of the research had not yet realised.

1. where the research is occurring on the topography; when i began the research all the “action” was occurring below the surface, this then moves to only be occurring above the surface (in the cultural topography), to occurring through the surface directly into the ground (in the Antigone). 2. the role of people; in the material topography people are forced to ride the waves of morphing plaster and are merely objects bobbing up and down on the surface. 3HRSOH DW WKLV SRLQW RI

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People continue to be important at this point in the research. However instead of it being simply about human passive experience of the landscape, it is their physical involvement with the ground that is making the topography.

176


A

nd when I reflect back on the body of work through representation. I can now see that the moments I consider to be design outcomes, begin to appear more and more as representations of site, and vice versa, the moments of “pure� representation, become direct design moves. My practice is concerned with the re-representation of topography through a series of lens, to create new images of the topography. Representation is my main design driver

one

I have also come to begin comprehend the power of this word. And the potential of its ambiguous definition. Within my practice and the broader discourse there should

investigation into these fundamental words that underpin landscape architecture, and these words should not just be taken simply on face value. These words that we use

be continued ambitious

to communicate Landscape Architecture. I also see that

my continuous definition

of topography does not end with this project. It is ongoing, and will be iterated further within my future practice, and perhaps a new word will become my obsession! However I will conclude with my most recent definitions of the topography.

Topography cultural

worlds

for me, in the

reveling

image of the PDWHULDO and

themselves

177

through

narratives

.


Reading list and bibliography Lessons on the Analytic of the sublime: Kant’s Critique of judgment -HDQ)UDQoRLV/\RWDUG 5HYLHZV 6WDQIRUG8QLYHUVLW\3UHVV

Topographies, Joseph Hillis Miller Stanford University Press, 1995 7KLVERRNLQYHVWLJDWHVWKHIXQFWLRQRIWRSRJUDSKLFDOQDPHV DQGGHVFULSWLRQVLQDYDULHW\RIQDUUDWLYHVSRHPVDQG SKLORVRSKLFDORUWKHRUHWLFDOWH[WV Civilizing terrains: mountains, mounds and mesas William R. Morrish William Stout Publishers, 1996 &LYLOL]LQJ7HUUDLQVUHFUHDWHVWKHVNHWFKERRNRI:LOOLDP 5HHV0RUULVKGLUHFWRURIWKH8QLYHUVLW\RI0LQQHVRWD¶V 'HVLJQ&HQWHUIRU$PHULFDQ8UEDQ/DQGVFDSH2ULJLQDOO\ SXEOLVKHGLQDQHOHJDQWRYHUVL]HGHGLWLRQWKLVFRQYHQLHQWO\ SURSRUWLRQHGUHSULQWFRQWDLQVKLVWRULFDODUFKHW\SHVRIWKH $PHULFDQODQGVFDSHFRQWHPSRUDU\DUFKLWHFWXUDOPRGHOVDQG SHUVRQDOUHÀHFWLRQV The spectator and the topographical city Martin Aurand University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006

Earth moves: the furnishing of territories Bernard Cache, Michael Speaks MIT Press, 1995 -

Delta primer: a field guide to the California Delta Jane Wolff William Stout Publishers, 2003  Landscape + 100 words to inhabit it 'DQLHOD&RODIUDQFHVFKL (GLWRULDO*XVWDYD*LOL** Superstudio: life without objects 3HWHU/DQJ:LOOLDP0HQNLQJ6XSHUVWXGLR *URXS

6NLUD

Intermediate natures: the landscapes of Michel Desvigne *LOOHV$7LEHUJKLHQ0LFKHO'HVYLJQH 6SULQJHU$UFKLWHFWXUH

Atlas of novel tectonics -HVVH5HLVHU1DQDNR8PHPRWR 3ULQFHWRQ$UFKLWHFWXUDO3UHVV$UFKLWHFWXUH

178


References Topographies, Joseph Hillis Miller Stanford University Press, 1995

Landscape + 100 words to inhabit it 'DQLHOD&RODIUDQFHVFKL (GLWRULDO*XVWDYD*LOL** Superstudio: life without objects 3HWHU/DQJ:LOOLDP0HQNLQJ6XSHUVWXGLR *URXS

6NLUD

Earth moves: the furnishing of territories Bernard Cache, Michael Speaks MIT Press, 1995 -

electronic refernces KWWSHQZLNLSHGLDRUJZLNL&XOWXUH KWWSZZZODQGH]LQHFRP"S 

image reference Parc de Pedra Tosca in Les Preses, Spain image obtained form Techniques & Architecture Magazine

Teardrop park image obtained from http://www.landezine.com/?p=802

“The Migration of Mel and Judith� by Thomas Hillier] Images: From.

179

Louisa King  

2010 ADR Louisa King The Topography of Topography

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