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URBAN ECOLOGIES IN THE AERIAL AGE


Curated by Charles Waldheim and Sonja D端mpelmann Airport Landscape claims the airport as a site of and for landscape. Airports have never been more central to the life of cities, yet they remain peripheral in design discourse. In spite of this, landscape architects have recently reaffirmed their historic assertions about the airfield as a site of design through a range of practices. Airport Landscape presents these practices through case study projects for the ecological enhancement of operating airports and the conversion of abandoned airports. The exhibition assembles representations of the airport landscape in photography and film. It juxtaposes and presents plants, animals, objects, and artifacts that populate the airport landscape. In gathering this material, the exhibition claims an augmented role for landscape architects commensurate with their intention to be considered urbanists of the aerial age. Airport Landscape assembles canonical cases, projects, and practices, as well as specific species and selected sites in support of this claim. The exhibition is organized within two broad thematic categories: Operations and Afterlives. Cases included in Airport Operations embody the status and role of landscape as a medium of design for operating airports. Those featured in Airport Afterlives describe the status and role of landscape as a medium of design for envisioning the future of abandoned airports. These projects are organized according to five different themes that have also been central to the disciplinary formation of landscape architecture: Production, Urbanity, Succession, Topography, and Restoration.


AIRP O R T O P E RATIONS With the beginning of the Jet Age, operating airports have increasingly been perceived as landscape infrastructure. Landscape architects have seized the opportunity to design and plan the airport landscape on the land and airsides, and airport authorities have realized that landscape management and design are necessary to mitigate air, soil, and water pollution, manage storm water and wildlife, and enhance the airport’s aesthetic appearance. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol connects to the larger landscape through the design of gridded birch groves and water retention basins that integrate wildlife management practices. The Munich International Airport has used the site’s historic field patterns and biotope structures in the airport’s open-space designs and in the design of its storm-water management and water retention system. Oslo International Airport is embedded in a forest landscape, creating a new Norwegian vernacular landscape, whereas at Auckland International Airport, the cultural landscape heritage informs the new designs for the airport’s landside. An attempt was made in Chicago to turn a brownfield site in the Lake Calumet area into a new airport, to thereby enhance the region’s environmental quality.

PRO DUCT IO N

AIRP O R T AFT ERLIVES As intermodal transportation nodes for products from all over the planet, operating airports have contributed to creating a more globalized world. Food crises, urban food deserts, and public health concerns have led many decommissioned airfields to be considered as sites for urban agriculture. As large open sites, former airfields are also being used to produce renewable energy. As parkland, they can modify and create atmospheres and environments for human experience. In the winning project for the Taichung Gateway Park competition, the park becomes a weather machine, enticing citizens to spend time outdoors despite the oppressive tropical climate. The design for the airfield conversion at Gatow near Berlin converts portions of the former runways into agricultural land. The same is true at Parque Bicentenario in Quito, Ecuador, where the decommissioned field will also provide areas for urban farming. The existing thermal energy in Iceland is used in a design proposal for the former Reykjavík Airport. A large server farm underneath a runway heats greenhouses for food production above. In Germany, some former airfields, such as the one in Oldenburg, have been turned into solar parks as well as sites for agricultural production.


URBANITY SUC CESSIO N

The conversion of former airports has provided designers with the opportunity to experiment with new models for urban development and the public realm, engaging citizens in the shaping of the future urban landscape. At Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airfield, a form of temporary urbanism is practiced wherein citizens are invited to propose provisional uses for determined plots on the field. At the former Norwegian international airport, Fornebu, near Oslo, a new urban district is held together by a new community center and park. Likewise, the site of the old international airport in Munich, Germany, has been turned into a new urban neighborhood with a large park that draws people from other parts of the city. Similar plans exist for the Reykjavík Airport in Iceland, and for the airport in the Anfa district of Casablanca, Morocco. Plans to close the military air base in the center of Caracas, Venezuela, have led to a design proposal that expressly aims to create a park for people from all over the city. With its campground, community gardens, and educational programs, Floyd Bennett Field in New York City has become a playground for the entire city. Design projects for former airfields and airports have played a key role in recent developments in landscape architecture. The decommissioned fields have given designers, city governments, and developers new and unforeseen opportunities. They have provided the grounds for experimentation with old and new theories of ecological succession. The exceptional environmental conditions of former airfields—with their dry, compacted, contaminated soils and unobstructed exposure to weather—have paradoxically turned many of them into havens for endangered species. The vastness of these sites has led to many conversion proposals that assume the character of development frameworks and transformation strategies, rather than designs that locate specific programs and determine particular forms and materials. The proposals for Downsview Park, Toronto, emphasize the importance of temporal change, self-organization, and indeterminacy in landscape architecture. In contrast, the core of the Nature and Landscape Park in Johannisthal, in Berlin, is an inaccessible nature reserve and a habitat for endangered species in which succession is arrested through a maintenance regimen of a flock of sheep. The design proposal for Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airport provides a design framework for the park’s spontaneous appropriation by visitors, and the former Harvard Airfield in Quincy, Massachusetts, has been transformed into Squantum Point Park by fostering the ecological succession and reestablishment of tidal marshland.


TOPOG RAPHY RESTO RAT IO N

Among the characteristics of airfields are their large size, openness, and horizontality. The sites have been engineered to reduce biological and hydrological processes. Many designers have therefore interpreted airfields as blank slates for topographic and hydrological invention and intervention. Cut and fill, insertions, and landforms have been prominent in the work of many landscape architects on airport sites. These practices are often used in connection with the daylighting of streams and creeks, the recreation of wildlife habitat, and the implementation of extensive water systems. The design for Hellenikon Metropolitan Park on the site of the former international airport in Athens, Greece, is based on topographic modification for water collection and retention. Proposals for the conversion of the former international airport in Quito, Ecuador, foresee the creation of lakes to collect water from the surrounding mountains. In the tropical climate of Taichung, Taiwan, where water is paradoxically still in short supply, the park is envisioned as an enormous water treatment infrastructure. At Orange County Great Park near Irvine, California, streams and creeks are daylighted and provide the structure for the park design. The former Hamilton Air Force Base on San Pablo Bay, California, is being flooded and restored as a wetland. Decommissioned airports have provided opportunities to reclaim, restore, and reconstruct large stretches of land as habitat. The projects featured in this section build on the natural and cultural heritage of the former airfield site to create a legacy. The layers of the site’s history are unearthed and used as generators for design and restoration plans. The creation of new habitats for wildlife is paired with the design of environments for recreational and public use. At Crissy Field in San Francisco, a wetland and dune landscape has been restored in the context of a cultural landmark. The Orange County Great Park design creates a wildlife corridor and various habitats as well as a veterans’ memorial and other elements that memorialize the former air station’s history. At Northerly Island in Chicago, the closure of the airport allows designers to propose new wildlife habitats while turning other areas of the former airfield into destinations for recreation and cultural events. The landscape plan for the Midway Island Atoll in the Pacific proposes to demolish runways and reestablish the native habitat for various endangered marine species, turning the islands into a research center and a destination for ecotourism.


LIST OF PROJECTS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands. West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture Munich International Airport, Germany. Grünplan GmbH and Flughafen München GmbH Oslo International Airport, Norway. Aviaplan AS, Bjørbekk & Lindheim Landskapsarkitekter, Nordic Office of Architecture Auckland International Airport, New Zealand. Surfacedesign, Inc. Calumet Airport, Chicago, United States. City of Chicago Taichung Gateway Park, Taichung, Taiwan. Mosbach Paysagistes Gatow Park Landscape and Urban Agriculture, Germany. KieferCS Parque Bicentenario, Quito, Ecuador. Ernesto X. Bilbao and Robert Sproull Vatnsmýri, Iceland. Lateral Office Fliegerhorst Oldenburg, Germany. IFE Eriksen AG Tempelhofer Freiheit, Berlin, Germany. GROSS.MAX. Fornebu, Oslo, Norway. Bjørbekk & Lindheim Landskapsarkitekter Landschaftspark München Riem, Germany, Latitude Nord Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda Air Base, La Carlota, Caracas, Venezuela. Anita Berrizbeitia, et al. Anfa, Casablanca, Morocco. Agence Ter Paysagistes-Urbanistes Vatnsmýri, Iceland. Graeme Massie Architects Floyd Bennett Field, New York City, United States. National Park Service Downsview Park, Toronto, Canada. Bernard Tschumi Architects Nature and Landscape Park “Former Airfield Johannisthal,” Berlin, Germany. Büro Kiefer Tempelhofer Freiheit, Berlin, Germany. Topotek 1 Downsview Park, Toronto, Canada. James Corner Field Operations Squantum Point Park, Quincy, Massachusetts, United States. Carol R. Johnson Associates Hellenikon Metropolitan Park and Urban Development. Philippe Coignet/Office of Landscape Morphology Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Quito, Ecuador. Anita Berrizbeitia, et al. Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Quito, Ecuador. Paisajes Emergentes Taichung Gateway Park, Taichung, Taiwan. Stoss Landscape Urbanism Orange County Great Park, Orange County, California, United States. Hargreaves Associates Hamilton Army Airfield, Wetland Restoration. United States Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, and California State Coastal Conservancy Crissy Field, San Francisco, California, United States. Hargreaves Associates Orange County Great Park, Orange County, California, United States. Workshop: Ken Smith Landscape Architect Northerly Island Framework Plan, Chicago, United States. Studio Gang Architects Eastern and Sand Islands, Midway Atoll, United States unincorporated territory. Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Architects, Ltd. CREDITS Agence Ter Paysagistes-Urbanistes Associated Press Atelier Dreiseitl Aviaplan AS Pierre Bélanger Berlin Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung Yann Arthus-Bertrand Bernard Tschumi Architects Anita Berrizbeitia Ernesto Bilbao Bjørbekk & Lindheim Landskapsarkitekter Hubert Blanz Ivan Brodey Robert Burley Büro Kiefer Landschaftsarchitektur Berlin California State Coastal Conservancy Luis Callejas Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc. Clear Flight Solutions, Nico Nijenhuis Lucas Correa Flughafen München GmbH Frances Loeb Library, Harvard Graduate School of Design Tom Gandesbery Geoff Goldberg Golden Gate National Park Conservancy San Francisco Elias Gonzalez Graeme Massie Architects GROSS.MAX. Grünplan GmbH Andreas Gursky Hargreaves Associates Sebastián Hernández IFE Eriksen AG James Corner Field Operations Jones and Jones Architects Landscape Architects Planners Ashley Scott Kelly KieferCS Landschaftsarchitektur Berlin Mariusz Klemens An Te Liu Vera Lutter

Alex MacLean Danilo Martic Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Department of Cultural Resources Archives Massachusetts Port Authority, Aviation Department Massachusetts Port Authority, Boston Logan International Airport Massachusetts Port Authority, Capital Programs and Environmental Affairs Department Andrea Masuero Andrew McGee Jeffrey Milstein Mosbach Paysagistes Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University North Design Office/Pete and Alissa North Nordic Office of Architecture OLM Paysagistes/Philippe Coignet Paisajes Emergentes Parc Downsview Park, Inc. Reichen et Robert & Associés Lateral Office Latitude Nord Pablo Peréz Ramos Kathleen Shafer Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Archives Somatic Collaborative/Felipe Correa Robert Sproull State of California Coastal Conservancy Stoss Landscape Urbanism Studio Ernesto Bilbao Studio Gang Architects Surfacedesign, Inc. Topotek 1 Phil Underdown United States Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District United States National Archives and Records Administration United States National Park Service University of Texas Arlington Library Rikako Wakabayashi West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture Workshop: Ken Smith Landscape Architect


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Ilonka Angalet, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Atelier Pranlas-Descours Brandon Beach, United States Army Corps of Engineers SF District Jostein Bjørbekk, Bjørbekk & Lindheim Landskapsarkitekter Chicago History Museum Clare Lyster Urbanism and Architecture Philippe Coignet, OLM Paysagistes Roger Courtenay, AECOM Julia Czerniak, Syracuse School of Architecture Dogma Architecture and Urban Design Herbert Dreiseitl, Atelier Dreiseitl Bjørn Amund Enebo, Bjørbekk & Lindheim Landskapsarkitekter Linda Ford, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University Todd Friedenberg, Federal Aviation Administration New England Region Tom Gandesbery, California State Coastal Conservancy Geoff Goldberg, G. Goldberg + Associates Christl Holzer, Flughafen München GmbH Flavio Leo, Massachusetts Port Authority, Boston Logan International Airport Nina-Marie Lister, Ryerson University James Lord, Surfacedesign Inc. Alex MacLean Michael P. Marxen, U.S., Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon Herman Miller OMA Siena Scarff, Siena Scarff Design Jeremiah Trimble, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University Jeffrey Turner, USDA APHIS Wildlife Services Logan International Airport Kathy Velikov, University of Michigan Vogt Landscape Architects, Ltd. Harvard University Graduate School of Design Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean, Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design Patricia Roberts, Executive Dean Beth Kramer, Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations Benjamin Prosky, Assistant Dean for Communications Department of Exhibitions: Dan Borelli, David Zimmerman-Stuart Frances Loeb Library: Irina Gorstein, Johanna Kasubowski, Ardys Kozbial, Alix Reiskind, Ann Whiteside, Inés Zalduendo Publications: Melissa Vaughn Communications Coordination: Meghan Sandberg Web Content: Ronee Saroff Installation Team: Frank Braman, Ray Coffey, Charles Crowell, Anita Kan, Sarah Lubin, Lara Mehling, Matt Murphy, Reid Schwartz, Sara Uziel, Joanna Vouriotis Department of Landscape Architecture: Nicole Sander, Executive Assistant Dalal Musaed Alsayer, MDesS ‘15 Silvia Benedito, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture Sarah Bordy, Deputy Director for Development and Alumni Relations Luis Callejas, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture and Director of LCLA Office Azzurra Cox, MLA I ‘16 Kelly Doran, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture Kelly Fleming, MLA I AP ’04, MDesS ‘12 Brian Kenet, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture Ateya Khorakiwala, PhD Candidate Lisl Kotheimer, MLA II ‘12 Fadi Masoud, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture Anne Mathew, Manager of GSD Research Initiatives Nashid Nabian, Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design Nicole Sander, Executive Assistant Conor O’Shea, MDesS ‘14 Lukas Pauer, MAUD ‘14 Robert Pietrusko, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and Design Ostap Rudakevych, MArch II ‘12 Allen Sayegh, Associate Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology IMAGE CREDITS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Altitude, Tarmac 008 - Airport Tarmac, Phuket Town, January 2007. Phil Underdown, Grassland #110, 2004. Phil Underdown, Grassland #45353, 2009. Phil Underdown, Grassland #186, 2006. Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Altitude, Tarmac 002 - Aéroport de Paris-Roissy Charles de Gaulle, 2007.


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Airport Landscape Exhibition at the Harvard Graduate School of Design